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LESLIE HELPERT

Dead Cat Bounce
The Van Dyck, Friday

Boston’s favorite sons Dead Cat Bounce, known for their hard-bop-meets-Brazilian-jazz sound, are coming to the Van Dyck tomorrow (Friday). Last year’s winner of the Boston Phoenix music poll for best jazz band, this reed-heavy (fronted by four saxes, who also double on clarinet and flute) outfit have built a reputation for tight phrasing and complex textures. Oddly, considering the kudos they’ve received for their live shows, DCB started out (in 1997, under the direction of Matt Steckler) as a self-described “recording project.” Steckler and posse have individual résumés that include performances with such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval and Gunther Schuller. In the Boston Globe, critic Bob Blumenthal wrote that “this six-piece group . . . has become one of Boston’s most original jazz units.” If a blurb from their hometown paper doesn’t convince, then how’s about this from the Washington Post: “Dead Cat Bounce revels in a reed-driven sound marked by sharply contrasting forms, textures and tones . . . strident, joyful, lush and strutting use of a horn section.” (Jan. 31, 7 and 9:30 PM, $15, 381-1111)

Saliva, Breaking Benjamin, Green Wheel, Brand New Sin
Northern Lights, Saturday

It’s a great crowd of loud on Saturday at Northern Lights when Saliva come through town. The Memphis quintet have been described in a puzzling variety of terms, from rap-rock to heavy metal to Southern rock, but they have been consistently praised for their high-energy performances of adrenalized fare and for their connection with their audiences. The band are known for enthusiastically proclaiming from the stage their appreciation for their fans, and judging from the official Web site’s bulletin board, it’s an avidly reciprocal affair. One devotee, for example, makes mention of the fact that he no longer plays the band’s newest release Back in Your System “24-7,” but only due to the summons for “sonic terrorism” that his late-night listening parties earned him. Tour mates Breaking Benjamin and Green Wheel and Syracuse’s own Brand New Sin will round out the racket. (Feb. 1, 7:30 PM, $17, 371-0012)

Skinless, Shadows Fall, Burnt by the Sun, Locked in a Vacancy
Saratoga Winners, Saturday

“Shadows Fall assault their listeners with roaring vocals, bludgeoning blast beats, and gut-scraping guitars. The band’s latest release The Art of Balance (Century Media) pushes the music even farther, with rhythms reminiscent of Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, and the kind of ultra-precise guitar licks and harmonies that the New Wave of British heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Diamond Head brought to prominence in the early ’80s,” wrote David Ballard of Revolver in the Nov./Dec. 2002 issue about the band’s third album. The band, who have been together for six years, now includes Jason Bittner (formerly of Stigmata) on drums. The band roars into Saratoga Winners on Saturday to join local heavy-hitters Skinless, who will be recording a DVD that same evening. All attending receive a free Relapse/Victory split sampler. Also on the bill are Burnt by the Sun and Locked in a Vacancy. (Feb. 1, 8 PM, $14, $12 advance, 783-1010)

Leslie Helpert, John Rice, Ryan Dunham
The Larkin Lounge, Sunday

Athens, Ga.-based songstress Leslie Helpert has been writing songs since she was a wee lass—initially singing with piano accompaniment and moving on to that of guitar at age 11. She tweaked her vocal method under the direction of prestigious jazz saxman George Garzone while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and her style, which Helpert has claimed was informed in part by Nina Simone and Edie Brickell, melds jazz, soul, folk and pop. But her artistry don’t stop at music. Helpert is a poet (you can check it out on her Web site, www.serpentfly.com) and visual artist as well. In fact, she designed the artwork on her self-released album The Serpentfly Complete. What’s with the serpentfly stuff, you ask? Well, the answer is varied and complex, so soak it in up on her site, but we can give you this much info about the entity: “A serpentfly is struggling, in a perfect sense, to continue to uphold a high mythological standard of Being.” It’s better when she tells it, so check out her show at the Larkin on Sunday. John Rice and Ryan Dunham open. (Feb. 2, 7:30 PM, $5, 463-5225)

Hudson Falcons, the Extras, Razors Never Die, Mary’s Ugly Children, Plastic Jesus
Valentine’s, Sunday

New Jersey’s Hudson Falcons have been providing empowerment and enlightenment for the working class via their punk-rock & roll anthems since the late ’90s, melding a hearty Clash influence with that of fellow Jerseyman Bruce Springsteen. Like a wildfire gone mad, the band spread word of the plight of the worker, or other folks that been done wrong, thanks to a touring schedule that’ll make any nine-to-fiver thank their lucky stars. The Falcons gained a loyal following with their ass-kicking live shows, but their recorded material is in high demand as well. They appear on many a split-CD and 7-inch—and their single “Working Class War” appears on the Awesome Dawson Best of the Best: A Punk Rock Compilation, along with such notables as the Dropkick Murphy’s, Blanks 77 and other Capital-area punkers the Disenchanted. Local punk band Razors Never Die will celebrate the release of their CD, Breadcrumbs to the Birds, at the show as well, and will share opening duties with the Extras, Mary’s Ugly Children and Plastic Jesus. (Feb. 2, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Bonnie Prince Billie, Long Live Death
Valentine’s, Monday

More people than now know it will be interested in this show. Bonnie Prince Billie is, in fact, the elusive Will Oldham, who is Palace or, at least, the nucleus of Palace, sometimes known as Palace Songs and sometimes known as Palace Brothers (though Will’s real-life brothers, Paul and Ned, who play with him from time to time, aren’t necessarily involved in that project under that rubric), as when he released Days in the Wake (which was originally known just as Palace Brothers, because it was issued without obvious title or clear credits). So, again: Bonnie Prince Billie is, in fact, Will Oldham, who is not only a musician but also an actor. He was in John Sayles’ Matewan and Thousand Pieces of Gold, both of which were about miners—which does kind of tie back to Oldham’s music, which is a type of cracked and haunted Appalachian indie-rock meets historicist folk so
authentic-sounding that early listeners assumed he was a senior citizen (by the way, he’s not). So, fans of Will Oldham the musician, Palace, Palace Songs and/or Palace Brothers, take heed: Bonnie Prince Billie plays Valentine’s on Monday (and Northampton’s Iron Horse on Saturday) with Long Live Death. (Feb. 3, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

 

 also noted
Avant-alt-country-cabaret ensemble Gloria Deluxe will play Club Helsinki tomorrow (Friday), and regardless of the glowing press they receive regarding their live shows (y’know they opened for David Byrne) and recordings, we’re all hopped up ’cause frontwoman/performance artist Cynthia Hopkins plays a mean saw (9 PM, $10, 413-528-3394). . . . Bluegrass-banjo legend Tony Trischka will play Valentine’s Friday, with Blue Moon opening (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Funk band Rainbow Trout, featuring former members of old Albany favorite From Good Homes, will play the Larkin Friday (8 PM, $10, 463-5225). . . . Roots-rock trio the Mammals will stop into Mother’s Wine Emporium on the RPI campus Friday as they tour behind their most recent release, Evolver (8 PM, $8, $4 students, free for RPI students, 276-8585). . . . Roots-rockin’ & rollin’ local faves Arc will play their first show of the new year on Friday when they take over the Lark Tavern (they’ve also recently rehabbed their Web site, www.arctheband.com, so check it out if you’re so inclined ($10, 463-9779). . . . The new Troy arts-space/freakout-zone at 51 3rd St. now has a name, Cultural Proving Ground, and on Friday area bands Lincoln Money Shot, the Wasted and Bible Study share the space with out-of-towners Celebration Free Jazz; DJ Flip One will scratch beats between sets (9 PM, 270-5119). . . . The Erotics will make their debut as a trio on Saturday at Valentine’s, co-headlining the show with Boston garage-rockers the Charms, and they’ll be distributing a few advance copies of their recently recorded All That Glitters Is Dead, so pay attention. Opening the show are local goth/glam-rock bands Hypnotica, Sorrow and the Flying Buttresses (8 PM, $6, 432-6572). . . . Brian Patneaude and Adrian Cohen have assembled a quartet for their weekly Tuesday-night jazz jams at the Van Dyck (the quartet includes bassist Mike DelPrete and drummer Danny Whelchel), which begins this Tuesday. The band’ll play a set, with the jam to follow (sign up at 8 PM, free, 381-1111). . . . Singer-songwriters Rob Skane and Charlie Morris will play Saratoga’s Caffe Lena on Wednesday (7 PM, $5, 583-0022).

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