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Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing Trio
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Thursday

Genre-hopping fiddler Mark O’Connor is no stranger to the Troy Music Hall. In 2000, he premiered (with the Metamophosen Chamber Orchestra) his beguiling four-movement classical work The American Seasons: Seasons of an American Life, which was commissioned in honor of the Hall management’s anniversary. He’s back in town tonight, but this time he’s with his Hot Swing Trio. Guitarist Frank Vignola and bassist John Burr join O’Connor as he jazzes it up in the tradition of one of his mentors, the late French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. While he has racked up acclaim (and Grammys) for both his country fiddlin’ and classical efforts, O’Connor has most recently recorded two swing albums, including his just-released In Full Swing (which features guest spots from Wynton Marsalis and Jane Monheit, again proving that the hip musicians want to swing with O’Connor.) This should make it a hot time in the old hall tonight. (Feb. 13, 7:30 PM, $26, $23, 273-0038)

Sleater-Kinney, the Black Keys
Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Thursday

Have Sleater-Kinney really been around for almost 10 years? For the Olympia, Wash.-based trio, time flies when you’re kicking ass. Long after riot grrrl became a fashion statement, Sleater-Kinney have remained fierce and independent—despite major-label tempting, they never decamped for El Lay or abandoned longtime indie label Kill Rock Stars. And they’re still making loud, hard, uncompromising music. Their latest album, One Beat, is shot through with serious topics, neatly cataloged by a PopMatters critic: “motherhood (for co-lead-singer Corin Tucker), civil liberties, chaos theory, the return of the patriarchy, and, as always, the sincere defense of rock & roll against any and all pretenders.” The writer overlooked “Light Rail Coyote,” however, a fun number about a coyote that hopped a trolley in Portland. The Black Keys, a snarky blues duo who allegedly are the best thing to come out of Akron, Ohio, since the golden age of Devo, Chrissie Hynde and Jim Jarmusch, will open. The show is in the Pearl Street Nightclub’s Ballroom. (Feb. 13, 8:30 PM, $12, 413-584-0610)

Bucky Pizzarelli
The Van Dyck, Saturday

Although it’s doubtful that Bucky Pizzarelli minds being regularly referred to as father of pop-standards crooner-guitarist John Pizzarelli, the elder jazzman (whose real name is John, too) is arguably the real star of the family: a universally respected jazz guitarist in the tradition of great ’30s soloists like Dick McDonough and Eddie Lang. Pizzarelli got his start at the end of the big-band era, playing with the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra. He later toured and recorded with legends like Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman and Zoot Sims; Pizzarelli also did a long stint with the last great big band on TV, Doc Severinson’s Tonight Show Orchestra. Interestingly, he didn’t start making his own recordings as a bandleader until the ’70s—and he’s still going strong. Pizzarelli will bring his Gretsch Van Eps seven-string guitar and, we’ve been told, a killer band, to the Van Dyck Saturday night for two shows. (Feb. 15, 7 and 9:30 PM, $22, 381-1111)


Trust Co., Blindside, Depswa, Pacifier
Northern Lights, Saturday

There’s no substitute for hard work, they say. But there are pleasant additions. Say, you’re a young band banging it out on the club circuit, playing to the kids, recording and releasing your own CDs, slowly building both your chops and your fan base. That’s the real deal. But then say an indie label with great street cred picks you up gives you real tour support and sends you around the country. And then say that the president of Geffen Records, the same guy who broke Puddle of Mudd and Limp Bizkit, sees you in L.A., signs you hours later and has mega-producers like Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Eve 6) and Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine) rerecord your indie debut. That would not suck, would it? Now you’ve heard the Trust Co. story; on Saturday at Northern Lights you can hear the sound that got them that story. Blindside, Depswa and Pacifier also are on the bill. (Feb. 15, 8 PM, $$10, 371-0012)

Pat DiNizio
Artie’s Lansingburgh Station, Sunday

Pat DiNizio once fronted the college-rock band the Smithereens—a band keenly in love with British Invasion pop—and he’s led quite the interesting post-’eens life. But we’ll get to that in a minute. After minor success in the early ’80s with the release of a bunch of EPs and their mid-decade debut long-player, Especially for You, the Smithereens finally made it to the masses via a couple of singles off of their Green Thoughts (1988) and 11 (1989)—specifically the songs “Only a Memory” and “A Girl Like You.” The band never really regained that success once grunge reared its ugly head, but they played to a devoted cult following to the end of the ’90s. DiNizio released a solo album in ’97, Songs and Sounds, enlisting Stranglers bassist J.J. Burnell, onetime Miles Davis sax player Sonny Fortune and former Lou Reed drummer Tony Smith to join in. The recent years have found DiNizio crossing the country on a tour of people’s living rooms (for $2,000 he will play Smithereens requests), working as a programmer for satellite radio and a running, in 2000, for an open New Jersey Senate seat (his Reform Party candidacy, which got 1 percent of the vote, featured a rhinoceros mascot and included quotes by Camus, Harry Truman and Ghandi). Oh, and he’s playing Artie’s Lansingburgh Station on Sunday afternoon. (Feb. 16, 3 PM, $10, 238-2788)

Hal Ketchum
The Egg, Sunday

Hal Ketchum has much to feel lucky about. A native of Greenwich (that’s our Greenwich, right here in upstate New York), the country singer-guitarist has had 15 Top 10 hits since his career took off after he relocated to Austin, Texas, in 1979. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1994. He has recovered from a 1998 spinal-column illness that temporarily left him paralyzed from the neck down. And for his most recent album, Lucky Man, he has handed over production duties to Rodney Crowell, who shares Ketchum’s interest in strong, varied songwriting and all things Texan. Ketchum—who also happens to be a poet, painter, carpenter, actor and author—has been referred to as the “poet laureate of country music,” and is especially known for his thoughtful lyrics. His music draws on many inspirations, especially classic Texas country, but also includes shadings of rock, folk and R&B. Ketchum will perform live on Sunday at the Egg; opening is Adirondack singer-songwriter Roy Hurd, accompanied by fiddler Frank Orsini. (Feb. 16, 7 PM, $22, 473-1845)

 also noted
We’ll begin with the anti- Valentine’s Day shows (someone should inform Hallmark about a new line of cards): Tonight (Thursday), the Ginger Brothers, that’s the “wildest acoustic duo in upstate NY” to you and me, will play their fourth annual anti-VD show, Love Stinks (sounds more like a public-service message), at E. O’Dwyer’s in Saratoga (11 PM, 583-9912). . . . Bluegrass giants the Del McCoury Band, featuring father Del (onetime member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys) and sons Ronnie and Rob on mandolin and banjo, will play the Egg tomorrow (Friday) (7 PM, $24, 473-1845). . . . Larry Lewis will perform love songs for heart day in the key of jazz on Friday at Daisy Baker’s (8 PM, free, 266-9200). . . . The second annual Kissy-Kiss Love Affair takes place at Valentine’s on Friday, with local favorites Amazing Plaid, Kitty Little and Complicated Shirt, Kingston-based, ex-Phlegmchucker-sportin’ Kissups, and Burma, aka a clothed Jeff Tobias. It’s a full-on love fest, with a kissing booth, lover’s lottery, slow dancing and the exchange of Valentine’s cards. (9 PM, $5, cheaper for “festive attire,” 432-6572). . . . On the other hand, it’s the annual Valentine’s Day Is for Assholes party at Artie’s Lansingburgh Station on Friday, with Lowthief and Niki Lee and Mass Chaos hosting (10 PM, $2, 238-2788). . . . Arcane, atypical, Fund the Mentals, Sean Reid and DJ PZ will perform a Pitch Control Music show at Troy club B.R. Finley’s—formerly Positively 4th St. (10 PM, 271-9190). . . . Orleans, including original members John Hall and Larry Hoppen, are touring behind their new release Still the One LIVE!—A 30th Anniversary Retrospective, and they’ll stop in to Northern Lights on Sunday (9:30 PM, $12, 371-0012). . . . On Wednesday at West Hall on the RPI campus, Donald Lindsay will perform traditional bagpipe music, accompanied by the high-tech shenanigans of iEAR Studio’s Collier Hyams and live video of iEAR grad student Jack Turner (8 PM, $5, 276-4829).

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