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Orchestra de Fou
Arts Center of the Capital Region, Thursday

The Orchestra de Fou are billed extravagantly as the “world’s greatest electronic/improv/jazz/country and eastern big band”—and who are we to doubt the designation? The orchestra got their start as the backing band for the “epic puppet opera” The 23rd Toad, but have since expanded their repertoire to include original pieces by the orchestra’s improviser-composer members. But, rest assured, when they play the Arts Center of the Capital Region tonight (Thursday), they’ve promised to bust out a few gems from the opera—so you can sing along to your best-loved epic puppet arias as well as gain some new electronic/improv/jazz/country and eastern big band favorites. Visuals for this performance will be provided by Capt. Entropy. (April 3, 8 PM, $5, 276-2511)

Springfest 2003
University at Albany, Friday

Everybody throw your hands in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care—that you’ll probably still have to dig your car out at least once more this season—because it’s Springfest 2003. Whatever else the capricious Capital Region’s spring may bring, you can count on this: UAlbany’s RACC will host some of rap’s heavy hitters tomorrow (Friday) for the school’s celebration of all things vernal. Fat Joe—whose newest one, Loyalty, combines the big man’s trademark thuggin’ with a little bit of lovin’—teams with Amerie, Chimere, Plural, Trife and D-Mob to get the party—and with any luck, the sultrier weather—started. (April 4, 8 PM, $15, 427-6564)

Angry Johnny and the Killbillies
Valentine’s, Saturday

Valentine’s turns itself into Nashville North again Saturday with another Brand New Opry shindig. This time, the main attraction is Angry Johnny and the Killbillies. Johnny and the boys may be from just over the border in the Berkshires, but their songs—ditties about cheatin’ and sinnin’ and drinkin’ and chainsawin’—sound like they were learned from old Scratch around one of the cozier fires in hell. Well, if not from the devil himself, then maybe Hank Williams—“we’re the rightful heirs to Hank’s throne,” Angry Johnny modestly admitted to an interviewer. Though we don’t remember that Hank ever wrote a song about bein’ dumped by your girl, coming back to kill her with a chainsaw, slicin’ and dicin’ the guy you find at her place instead, and discoverin’, too late, that he was just an innocent meter man from the gas company. Michael Eck, Jackinany, Furnature Music and City Limits will also be kickin’ some shit. (April 5, 8 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Vanilla Fudge
The Van Dyck, Saturday

During their successful run in the late ’60s, Vanilla Fudge helped pave the way for bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin. Now the classic-rock band have re-formed and are back on tour with original members Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert and Vince Martell, plus a new addition, Bill Pascali. Known for covering popular songs in a psychedelic blues-rock style, Vanilla Fudge have released 10 albums over the years, toured with Jimi Hendrix and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. Vanilla Fudge are still performing songs like “Take Me for a Little While,” “People Get Ready” and “Season of the Witch”—as well as their best-known cover, “You Keep Me Hanging On”—along with some new material. On their last date of their tour before a two-month break, Vanilla Fudge will perform at the Van Dyck Saturday. (April 5, 7 and 9:30 PM, $25, 381-1111)


Susan Tedeschi
The Egg, Sunday

How does a skinny white girl from Norwell, Mass., manage to belt out roots music with the same fervor as, say, Mississippi Delta blues god Muddy Waters? Susan Tedeschi likely owes her pipes and sizzling technique (think a powerhouse combination of deep blues, R&B and rock) in equal parts to her father’s Southern-blues-heavy record collection, a once-famous opera-singing aunt, and plain old natural talent. She formed her first band at age 13 and was a regular on the Boston club scene soon thereafter. Tedeschi is often compared to such roots-rock greats as Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, and her incendiary (and ironically titled) debut release, Just Won’t Burn, led to a Best New Artist Grammy nomination in 2000. Her latest, Wait for Me, garnered Tedeschi a 2003 Grammy nod for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. On Sunday night at the Egg, she’ll show Albany what the fuss is all about. (April 6, 7 PM, $28, 473-1845)

Slide Hampton with the Empire Jazz Orchestra
Schenectady County Community College, Tuesday

Continuing their tradition of spotlighting world-class artists, the Empire Jazz Orchestra will perform with trombonist Slide Hampton on Tuesday evening. Hampton is recognized as one of the true jazz greats. From his days with Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, through his own groundbreaking Slide Hampton Octet in the early ’60s, to his current gig as musical director of the JazzMasters, Hampton has been lauded for his thoughtful improvisation and imaginative arrangements. Typical praise: Critic Stanley Crouch has lauded the “fire, immaculate intonation and writing skills reflected in the continuity, variety and drama” of his improvisations. The 19-piece Empire Jazz Orchestra boast many of the Capital Region’s best-known professional musicians, all dedicated to the full range of jazz styles—from King Oliver to Duke Ellington to Charles Mingus. The performance will be in SCCC’s Carl B. Taylor Community Auditorium. (April 8, 8 PM, $15, $6 students, 381-1231)

 also noted
Take a journey to the center of your mind with Thee UMMmm... tonight (Thursday) at Valentine’s, as they perform the Outsiders’ 1968 concept album CQ, an epic of love, deceit, murder, revenge and other good stuff; Rochester’s the Riviera Playboys open (8 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), post-punk power-poppers Phillips Head celebrate the release of their CD Live @ CBGB with a free—we repeat, free—21-and-up show at Pitcher’s in Glens Falls. They’ll even be giving away free CD samplers containing a couple of tunes from the album. Is that enough free shit for you? (10 PM, free, 745-1566). . . . Celebrated jazz bassist Stanley Clarke brings his band to the Van Dyck for two shows Friday (7 and 9:30 PM, $30, 381-1111). . . . Saturday night will find a whole gang of bands makin’ a racket at Albany’s New Age Cabaret, including To Hell and Back, the Killing XXX, Struction, the Highsocks, Amazing Plaid and Holding the Knife (6 PM, $8, 436-3465). . . . Also Saturday, NYC-based Kill Henry Sugar will return for a show at the Larkin Lounge, with a new CD—Sell This Place—which the Village Voice sez is dripping with “cinematic gravitas”; the Drunk Stuntmen are also on the bill (8 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Endicott headline an all-ages show Saturday at Valentine’s, with Every Time I Die, Dead Stuff and Gunslinger on hand (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . And if that’s not hard enough for you, Dying Fetus is at Northern Lights—also Saturday—with Disciples of Berkowitz, Scucca and Beyond Reason (8 PM, $10 advance/$12 door, 783-1010). . . . The Hazard County Girls, a youthful combo with a Sonic Youth-meets-Black Sabbath sound, will inundate Club Helsinki with volume Saturday (10:30 PM, $8, 413-528-6308). . . . Boysetsfire, riding high on the critical praise for their Tomorrow Come Today album, bring their passionate, hardcore-meets-emo thunder to Valentine’s Monday; also appearing will be the Hope Conspiracy, Vaux and Written in Stone (8 PM, $12, 432-6572). . . . Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza will be at UAlbany’s Page Hall on Monday (8 PM, $20, 442-5657). . . . The Branches monthly concert series presents the blues of No Outlet at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Albany on Tuesday (7 PM, free, 465-7545). . . . Finally, Ra—known for a stage presence as dramatic as their music—are top-billed at Valentine’s Tuesday, with guests Manmade God, Black Inc. and Reaching Forward (8 PM, $8 advance/$10 door, 432-6572).

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