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Michael Hurley
Club Helsinki, Thursday

Singer-songwriter Michael Hurley has been hailed as one of the last folk troubadours; he’s still with us, some 40 years after stepping into the Greenwich Village folk scene of the ’60s. His first album, First Songs, released on the Folkways label in 1964, caught the attention of both the Holy Modal Rounders and the Youngbloods—each band recorded several of the songs off the album. In ’76, Hurley collaborated with Holy Modal leader Peter Stampfel, most of the Rounders, and Jeffrey Frederick and the Clamtones on the laid-back, critically acclaimed Have Moicy!. Hurley’s been at it for some time, and he’s still releasing albums and still performing. He’ll be performing his quirky brand of country-blues-folk at Club Helsinki tonight (Thursday), as a matter of fact. (April 24, 8 PM, $10, 413-528-3394)

Sara Ayers, dreamSTATE, Mindspawn
Chapel + Cultural Center, Friday

This Friday is ambient night at the Chapel + Cultural Center—on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute—and have they got some goodies for you. Area ambient-guru Sara Ayers will be in the house, performing her looped, processed and sampled vocal music (Ayers also utilizes self-customized instruments to create her sonic landscape). “She can multi-track herself and sound like Enya on drugs,” an reviewer says of Ayers’ most recent album, 2001’s Interiors. “Sometimes those are good drugs . . . and sometimes those are bad drugs.” Joining Ayers is Massachusetts-based Mindspawn—who share Ayers’ love of darkness—and the Toronto-based dreamSTATE, an ambient duo whose work includes a multi-speaker installation that played continually for six months at a Toronto art gallery and a yearlong once-monthly gig in which they performed “a tour through the 12 notes of the chromatic scales as foundations for ambient improvisations.” Area cutting-edge video team Twisted Pair provide the visuals. (April 25, 7:30 PM, free, 274-7793)


Soulive, Maktub
Northern Lights, Friday
Pearl Street Nightclub, Saturday

Jam-band aficionados will be rubbing elbows with jazz enthusiasts tomorrow (Friday) night when Soulive do their thing at Northern Lights. For, although Soulive dress like be-boppers circa 1950—they’re often called the best-dressed men in jazz—they play an unusual mix of Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock and mid-’70s Grateful Dead. Their latest album, Soulive, is a live disc which gives a pretty good indication of what brings out the Deadboppers. The trio lays down a loose soul-groove, over which guitarist Eric Krasno plays expansive, Jerry Garcia-style solos. In contrast, organist Alan Evans plays incisive, tight solos on his Hammond B3 redolent of traditional jazz. That the result is coherent is the mysterious secret of Soulive’s success. They’ll also play Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton, Mass., on Saturday. Maktub will open both shows. (April 25, 7:30 PM, $15, 371-0012; April 26, 8:30 PM, $15, 800-THE-TICK)

The Jim Weider Band
Revolution Hall, Saturday

Woodstock-bred guitarist Jim Weider came up among the national acts that hung out and recorded in his hometown—Bob Dylan and the Band among them—and earned a reputation as a sideman to be reckoned with. The musician moved to Nashville, working with Johnny Paycheck’s touring band and making money as a session musician, and eventually migrated back to Woodstock. It’s a pretty good thing, too, as that’s where, in 1983, Weider was asked to join the newly re-formed Band, playing guitar duties in place of Robbie Robertson. He’s toured extensively with the group, performing with them at the ’94 Woodstock festival, and Weider’s artistry can be heard on three of the Band’s albums from that era, Jericho, High on the Hog and Jubilation. The guitar master, playing Troy’s Revolution Hall on Saturday, has also worked with, among others, Robbie Dupree and Artie Traum, and in ’99 released his first solo work, Big Foot. His 2002 release, Remedy, contains 10 original tunes along with a couple of well-rehearsed covers: “The Weight” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” (April 26, 9 PM, $12, $10 advance, 273-2337)

Pearl Jam, Sparta
Pepsi Arena, Tuesday

Who’s storming the Pepsi this Tuesday? Why Pearl Jam, that’s who. Yeah, you know Pearl Jam—straight outta Seattle, sole survivors of the grungy 1990s, the rockers who stuck it to Ticketmaster, the only group named after grandma Pearl’s delicious preserves (not seminal fluid). Yeah, that Pearl Jam. They’ll be playing some tunes off their newest album, last year’s Riot Act, and surely some old favorites as well. How much you wanna bet Mr. Vedder has something to say about U.S. imperialist aims in the Middle East? Dollars to doughnuts the perennial political-rockers have an earful for George W. and that nasty ol’ Donald Rumsfeld. Of late, Eddie’s been known to don a W. disguise and prance around the stage during “Bushleaguer,” then remove the costume, and set into kicking, and head-butting the president’s rubbery likeness before making the mask fellate him. “He’s not a leader, he’s a Texas Leaguer/ . . . Born on third, thinks he got a triple,” sings Vedder. Artistic and educational. Austin’s Sparta (a phoenix risen from the ashes of late-’90s emo-hardcore rockers At the Drive-In) will open the show. (April 29, 7:30 PM, $35, 487-2000)

 also noted
Local punk-rock rebels Rory Breaker are celebrating their CD release tomorrow (Friday) at Valentine’s, with the Flight, Four in July and the Score opening (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . New York City-based hardcore band Madball will play Saratoga Winners Friday, with fellow hardcore acts Death Threat and Burning Bridges and the punk-rock Murderer’s Row (ex-Stigmata and Dying Breed members) opening (8 PM, $13, $12 advance, 783-1010). . . . Capital area resident Beth Jochum, onetime leader of the rocking blues trio Begonia from days gone by, will play a solo show at the North Pointe Cultural Arts Center in Kinderhook on Friday (8 PM, $10, 758-9234). . . . Legendary jazz guitarist John Scofield will play MASS MoCA in Lenox, Mass., on Friday as a collaboration with the Williamstown Jazz Festival (8 PM, $16, $10 students, $8 kids, 413-662-2111). . . . Area pop faves the Wait and Sirsy will headline a benefit for the Habitat for Humanity on Friday in the Rensselaer Union on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Tangent and Off White will open the show (7:30 PM, $5, 330-7594). . . . Her name is not Luka, it’s Suzanne Vega, and she’ll be performing at the Egg on Saturday; Boston folksinger Mary Lou Lord will open (8 PM, $24, 473-1845). . . . Folk-punk trailblazer Hamell on Trial will play Valentine’s on Saturday, with Backdoor Lucy and Dana Monteith opening (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Performing music of the newly created “Swamp Jangle Rhythm and Blues” category, local act Rumdummies—made up of Al Kash (drums), Todd Nelson (guitar), Pat Conover (vocals) and Steven Clyde (bass)—will play the Garden Grill on Saturday (9:30 PM, $2, 462-0571). . . . Area country band North 40, winner of the Northeast Instrumental Group of the Year two years running, will hold a CD-release party on Saturday at the Just Country Dance Hall and Saloon in Malta on Saturday (3 PM, $5, 580-1470). . . . OK, this time they really mean it: The Lionheart is moving from its Lark Street location to its new Madison Avenue digs (near the corner of Madison and Lark), and they’ll celebrate one more time on Monday with a show featuring John Brodeur (of the Suggestions), Rich Baldes (of the Day Jobs), Carl Smith (former Preying Field) and Brian Bassett with Ryan Barnum (of the Wait—Barnum, that is) (8 PM, free, 436-9530). . . . This week’s Goodship Tuesdays at B.R. Finley’s (formerly Positively Fourth Street) in Troy features music with laptop duo Evidence, electronic artiste thejessestiles3000, turntable magician Flip one, and video by Fi$h 2000 and Hisao Ihara (10:30 PM, free, 271-9190). . . . Renowned folk-singer and Woodstock performer Richie Havens will play Hudson Valley Community College on Wednesday (7:30 PM, $20, $10 students, 629-4TIX).

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