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Arts Center of the Capital Region, Thursday

Even the luddites, the stub- bornly anti-tech-types, by now know that interface is where man and machine meet. And the performance duo who have taken on that moniker have done so decidedly, as it’s their mission to enter into a partnership with their hardware, manipulating machine-enhanced music with very human artistry. As their press release puts it, “All of the common criticisms of computer music are null and void here.” Interface aim to work their computers like a chamber orchestra, and to that end Dan Truman and Curtis Bahn have enlisted a third member: Scott Smallwood, cofounder of Impulse/Response, which is sponsoring the show. (Feb. 6, 8 PM, $5, 273-0552,

Bari Koral, Tom Driscoll
Mother’s Wine Emporium, RPI, Friday

The Greeks had a word for it—and in the case of Bari Koral, the word is “hit.” The New York City-based pop songstress, dubbed by the Village Voice as “among the most likely to succeed,” has already charted a song in Greece. Newsday says that she’s carved out a niche “somewhere between that misty emotional territory” of Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco. Not bad for a self-described “theater brat” who started appearing in off-Broadway productions at age 13, and didn’t discover the joys of rock & roll until college. Koral has since released two albums, and opened for Lenny Kravitz, Joan Osborne and Lisa Loeb. Also on the bill will be singer-songwriter Tom Driscoll. Driscoll, who released his debut album, Guesses at Wisdom, last year, is known for mixing up his set with traditional folk songs. (Feb. 7, 8 PM, $6, 276-6505)

Ominous Seapods
Valentine’s, Friday

If Ominous Seapods, who call themselves “North Country freaks” and are known to suddenly burst into skit while on stage, can’t entertain you with their primordial rock & roll, then you might be lethargic. If they can’t grab your attention with their brand of “oratory theater,” then you might not have a pulse. The Seapods have had a long, mutated evolution, which began in 1989, and they’ve recorded a total of five CDs—starting with Econobrain in 1994, and releasing their most recent, The Superman Cure, in 2002. Their show Friday at Valentine’s will be the band’s first performance in more than a year and will feature all the Pod members, including former member Max Verna and Todd Pasternack. With the reappearance of the previously exiled Verna, and more than a year off, this one-night-only show stands to be truly unique, and as always, full of energy. (Feb. 7, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Brand New Opry
Valentine’s, Saturday

WRPI country program Sunday Morning Coming Down presents the live show Brand New Opry, part of their winter BBQ series perhaps (they hosted a similar show at Artie’s in the fall), in the spirit of that Nashville mainstay the Grand Ole Opry. The show, which takes place at Valentine’s on Saturday, features music in the wide-open-country spirit, comedy, performance, and, very likely, stitching and piping. A newcomer to both the area and to this series, Hayseed, a Kentucky native who moved to Waterford this summer, will perform his original songs backed by whomever is available (our guess is as good as yours), as he doesn’t play an instrument. Coal Palace Kings, also on the bill, have backed Hayseed in the past, and the other roots-rocky alt-country ensembles on the bill, knotworking and Jackinany, are likely collaborators as well. (Feb. 8, 8 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Don Byron
Bard College, Saturday
Club Helsinki, Great Barrington, Mass., Sunday

Jazz clarinetist Don Byron wants to achieve a “sound above genre.” He’s been all over the music map for more than a decade, trying his hand—and succeeding, according to many critics—at various styles besides jazz, like classical, salsa, hiphop, funk and klezmer. His parents probably deserve some credit for the prodigious talents of their son, as they were a calypso-band bass player and a pianist. Byron has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by Down Beat in 1992. He’s been praised for his creativity just as much as he’s been praised for his versatility; he arranges and composes, and his list of artistic collaborators is long and notable, to say the least—Mario Bauza, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, John Hicks and Tom Cora, to name a few. Lucky for you, he’s playing two area shows, so there will be no excuses to miss him. Byron will perform with his longstanding ensemble Music for Six Musicians on Saturday in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College, and on Sunday at Club Helsinki. (Feb. 8, 8 PM, $15-$20, 845-876-7666; Feb. 9, 8:30 PM, $25-$30, 413-528-3394)


J Mascis + the Fog, Small Axe
Valentine’s, Sunday

The onetime leader—OK, the very personification—of alt-rock forefathers Dinosaur Jr., J Mascis, seems to be developing a nice healthy relationship with Albany’s Valentine’s. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to count on him in the future to swing his latest projects through our humble burg with the reliability of, say, a Mike Watt. On this jaunt, he’ll be backed up by a couple of the fellows from New Radiant Storm King, and turning out tunes from his newest one, Free so Free, which has been lauded as one of Mascis’ warmest and most organic works. And we hope the praise gets back to him and cheers him up some, as one of Mascis’ loved ones was recently injured in a freak house fire—so if he’s playing a curiously blackened Jazzmaster, be kind. Opening will be a revamped Small Axe. (Feb.9, 8 PM, $15, 432-6572)

Francesca Tanksley Trio
Pleshakov Music Center, Sunday

Francesca Tanksley has come into her own. The acclaimed jazz pianist released her own trio’s debut disc, Journey, last year. Previously, Tanksley had recorded with the Billy Harper Quintet and the Erica Lindsay Quintet, and performed with Sheila Jordan, David Newman and Nick Brignola, among many others. An American born in Italy and raised in Germany, Tanksley came stateside at 16 to study at the Berklee College of Music. After starting her musical career back in Deutschland, she moved to New York City and established herself on the scene. Critics have noted a spiritual dimension to her work, as well as the influence of McCoy Tyner; Peter Watrous, in The New York Times, wrote: “Ms. Tanksley reworked the vocabulary of McCoy Tyner as if she had taken just one small aspect of his style and developed it into a full language. She gave the music color, her harmonies and chording adding surprise to the performance.” Sunday’s concert at Hudson’s new Pleshakov Music Center is a benefit for Friends of Hudson. A reception, with food and refreshments, will follow. (Feb. 9, 2 PM, $40, 822-0334)

 also noted
Asleep at the Wheel will fill the Egg with Western swing tomorrow (Friday); “gypsy jazz” cats Hotclub of Cowtown will open (8 PM, $22, 473-1845). . . . Alex Torres y Los Reyes Latinos will celebrate their seventh release, Punto de Vista, at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio on Saturday. The event includes dance instructors from 2Dance4Ever, who will offer salsa and merengue lessons prior to the show at 6:30 PM (8 PM, $5, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Also on Saturday, Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers will host a Mardi Gras performance at Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery in Glens Falls; the event is also a benefit for the Regional Food Bank, so bring a can to leave (free, 7 PM, 743-9026). . . . Blues guitiarist Popa Chubby will play the Van Dyck on Saturday (7 and 9:30 PM, $17, 381-1111). . . . Avant-folksters the Kamikaze Hearts will likely fill Caffe Lena on Saturday, so get your tickets early—they sold out the place on their last time through (9 PM, $7, 583-0022). . . . On Tuesday, flamenco guitarist Maria Zemantauski will perform at the Branches Coffeehouse in Albany’s St. John’s Lutheran Church—a once-a-month concert venue booked by Mother Judge (free, 465-7545).

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