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Al Stewart
The Van Dyck, Thursday

If you can remember the last time a future Nobel Prize winner held the office of president of the United States, then you might also recall the only two Top 10 hits by Al Stewart, a Scottish singer-songwriter who has been described as anything from a folk troubadour to a sci-fi rock geek (the latter label having been applied when he was too much under the influence of Alan Parsons). Those hits are “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages” (1977 and ’78, respectively), but Stewart’s recorded output actually spans the early ’70s to the present. The persistence of his fan base probably owes to Stewart’s consistently catchy material and to their (his fans’) fascination with Stewart’s favorite topics: peculiar moments in history; mysterious, unattainable women; mysticism; and wine (yes, wine: His latest studio album, Down in the Cellar (2002), was inspired by his love of the grape). Stewart will play the Van Dyck tonight (Thursday). (Nov. 14, 7 and 9:30 PM, 381-1111)

Clutch, Scissorfight, Murderer’s Row, To Hell and Back
Saratoga Winners, Saturday

Maryland-based crunchy sludgy rockers Clutch will grace us with their presence once again—at Saratoga Winners on Saturday—and you might want to check them out if you haven’t yet done so (if you have, we know you’ll be there). Mixing Led Zeppelin with Black Sabbath, topped off with a dash of funk, these dudes have got some songs. Clutch’s 1993 debut, Transnational Speedway League, came out on EastWest Records, the label having signed them on the merits of just one seven-inch single. Clutch moved to Columbia for their ’98 release, Elephant Riders. We’ll leave you with this quote from Metal Edge magazine about the album: “A soon-to-be classic that most bands wait a lifetime to record, few see materialize. . . . Too retro to be progressive, and too progressive to be considered a throwback, Clutch trek effortlessly in directions few bands are brave enough to venture, able to see through the forest of modern rock clutter and album rock safeguards to a sound that is fresh and inspired.” Scissorfight, Murderer’s Row and our very own To Hell and Back open the show. (Nov. 16, 8 PM, $18, $16.50 advance, 783-1010)

Art Garfunkel
The Egg, Saturday

Perhaps the most famous “other guy” in the history of pop music, Art Garfunkel made contributions to the folk-rock juggernaut Simon & Garfunkel that are, nonetheless, to be taken seriously. Though, as the songwriter, Paul Simon rightly received the lion’s share of the praise (and, no doubt, the cash), Garfunkel’s lilting high tenor harmonies were so integral to the sonic appeal of the duo’s work, it’s impossible to think of him as just a backup singer. Post-breakup, Garfunkel has maintained a low-key and varied career, doing a bit of acting (check him out in the brilliant Catch-22) and putting out an album from time to time. And on his most recent, there’s a bit of a surprise: Everything Waits to Be Noticed is aptly titled, as Garfunkel has penned six of the 13 tunes his own damn self. Well, here comes Rhymin’ Garfunkel. (Nov. 16, 8 PM, $32.50, $29.50, 473-1845)

The Ataris, Sugarcult, Autopilot Off, Rufio
Valentine’s, Monday

Take Blink 182, add two scoops of punk, take out two scoops of pop, and you’ve got the Ataris. These kids from Santa Barbara, Calif., are very nearly always on tour, and regional punk fans will be delighted to know they’ll be stopping by Valentines Monday night. They may be young, but in the four-year span of their career, the Ataris have had one hell of a whirlwind experience. They’ve put out three full-length albums, toured with MXPX throughout Europe, Australia and Japan, and just keep getting bigger. Sugarcult, Autopilot Off and Rufio open. (Nov. 18, 8 PM, $13, 432-6572).

Kim Cascone, Pauline Oliveros
West hall, RPI, Wednesday

Two major players—check that, freakin’ major players—in the world of electronic music perform at RPI’s West Hall on Wednesday, and if you’re interested in cleansing your musical palate of the usual menu of a bash-and-twang weekend, this is for you. First up will be a music-and-video presentation by Kim Cascone, computer musician and “microsound pioneer.” An experimental, improvisational minimalist influenced by John Cage and Terry Riley, Cascone has been described as a composer of “space symphonies for the digital age,” and has been called upon to lend his talents to works by both David Lynch and Thomas Dolby. For the second set of the night, Cascone will be joined by composer- performer (and RPI prof) Pauline Oliveros, who has been credited with the development of the concept of Deep Listening, which combines “principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation.” (Nov. 20, 8 PM, $5, 276-4829)

Peter Wolf

Peter Wolf
Northern Lights, Wednesday

Whether you love him or hate him, you know Peter Wolf: The gangly art-school dude and onetime Boston radio DJ who shimmied and shook his stripe-clad frame as frontman for the J. Geils Band. (Our sincerest apologies for planting “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame” in your head for the next five hours—it couldn’t be helped.) Wolf left the band in ’83, and subsequently released six albums (we’re gonna place a few more tunes in that noggin)—with his debut solo release, Lights Out, and its follow-up, 1987’s Come as You Are, charging out of the gate. Wolf’s recent release, Sleepless, second in a trilogy that began with his ’98 release Fool’s Parade, is a tribute of sorts to many of the musician’s influences, and the regions from whence they came—Nashville, Memphis, Chicago and New York City are all represented. And some of Wolf’s buddies—Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Steve Earle—appear on the album. (Nov. 20, $15, $13 advance, 371-0012)

 also noted
Cavoy, Nilsson and Kogut
Tonight (Thursday) at Valentine’s, DJ Flip 1 (aka Bernard Weekes), and Jason Martin will provide spinning/scratching/jamming delights for the downstairs clientele, and Wisconsin singer-songwriter Lis Harvey will join in the party (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Country boy Toby Keith will play the Pepsi tonight, with Rascal Flatts opening (8 PM, $37.75, $47.75, 476-1000). . . . Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Corey Harris, Henry Butler and Deborah Coleman will play the Front Porch Blues show at Proctor’s Theatre tonight (8 PM, $19, $29, 346-6204). . . . Canadian singer-songwriter Tim Harrison will perform tomorrow (Friday) at Mother’s Wine Emporium in the RPI student union ($7, $3 students, 276-8585). . . . Reggae/world-music ensemble Wah! will play the Yoga Room in Malta Friday (8 PM, $20, 899-4372). . . . Tom Savoy, Malcolm Kogut and Metroland’s own Byron Nilsson will perform an evening of songs by Noël Coward and Flanders & Swann on Friday at the Van Dyck (7 and 9:30 PM, $8, 381-1111). . . . The annual Metroland Feedback show takes place Friday at Valentine’s [see Night & Day, page 41]. . . . Peter, Paul & Mary stop by Proctor’s on Friday (8 PM, $39-$45, 346-6204). . . . Reggae/soul/R&B group Jermaine Wells and the Pain and hiphop outfit Triple Threat will perform at the College of Saint Rose Campus Center on Saturday (free, 8 PM, info: 463-0346). . . . Grateful Dead productions features the Other Ones and Robert Hunter at the Pepsi on Saturday (7:30 PM, $43.50, 476-1000). . . . Latino-Jewish band Hip Hop Hoodios will play the University at Albany’s Campus Center Ballroom on Sunday (8 PM, $3, 591-8605). . . . Mr. Primus, Les Claypool, brings his band the Frog Brigade to Northern Lights on Monday, with Dead Weight opening ($20, $17.50 advance, 371-0012). . . . Velvet Underground founding member John Cale will play the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., on Monday (7 PM, $20, $17.50 advance, 800-THE-TICK). . . . Unplugged traditional-country-and-roots purists Asylum Street Spankers return to Valentine’s on Wednesday (8 PM, $10, 432-6572).

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