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Nada Surf, Bible Study
Valentine’s, Friday

If you go out to shows regularly, you’re likely to sign up to receive e-mail information from bands. Besides the fun of getting nonspam electronic missives, it’s a good way to chart the progress of a favorite combo. Nada Surf’s e-mails underline the fact that these guys—who had a massive U.S. hit with “Popular” a few years back—are big in Europe. Not just David Hasselhoff-big-in-Germany popular, but popular in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and sunny Spain. They spend more time touring and recording over there than over here. (Can you blame them?) So their return to Valentine’s (where they played a great set a few years back), in support of a new album, is an event. This disc, Let Go, finds Nada Surf still making infectious, hook-heavy music with a lyrical content that mixes sincerity and sarcasm; the fun is not knowing where the former ends and the latter begins. Local trio Bible Study, who seem to have been off the radar lately—maybe they’ve been poring over ancient texts in a remote monastery—will start the evening off with their bent-but-not-broken art-pop. (June 6, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Lou Reed
Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass., Friday

Few rock & rollers have covered so much ground so resiliently as Lou Reed, who would be a legend today even if the Velvet Underground’s final studio album in 1971 had been Reed’s own swan song. VU’s combination of insidiously catchy melodies and nihilistic guitar noise, along with lyrics depicting a New York City demimonde of drug and sexual experimentation, often is cited as a major inspiration for punk and much alternative music to follow (not to mention a virtual blueprint for bands of the Jesus and Mary Chain ilk). That alone would have ensured a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for Reed, but his subsequent solo career also has been remarkable—and relentless. While critical acclaim for his vast output varies, New York City’s rock poet laureate has aged gracefully without losing any of his acerbic edge; by turns romantic and cynical, literate and primal, Reed still has plenty to say (two new albums due out about now are The Raven and a career retrospective titled NYC Man). Reed will check into the Calvin Theater for a show tomorrow (Friday). (June 6, 8 PM, $48.50-38.50, 800- THE-TICK)

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason with Swingology
WAMC Performing Arts Studio, Saturday

This weekend, all-American sweethearts Jay Ungar & Molly Mason will bring their repertoire of waltzes, vintage jazz, two-steps and Dixieland jams to the WAMC stage to celebrate their latest release, Relax Your Mind. Although they remain musically rooted in the styles of the ’20s and ’30s, Ungar and Mason incorporate a wide range of classic styles including country blues, western swing, and Celtic fiddle tunes. They are most famous for their performance of Ungar’s Emmy-nominated composition “Ashokan Farewell,” which became the theme of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Enhancing the sound of Ungar’s fiddle and Mason’s guitar will be Swingology, a group of their favorite musicians, including Peter Davis, Peter Ecklund, Harry Aceto, Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar (Jay’s daughter), who brings her own talents on voice, ukulele, fiddle and guitar to the mix. Jay Ungar & Molly Mason will try to turn back time to the days of traditional American fiddle tunes Saturday at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio. (June 7, 8 PM, $20, 465-5233)

Beck, Dashboard Confessional, the Black Keys
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sunday

Beck’s most recent release, Sea Change, drew particular notice from critics who were surprised at its melancholy. Rumor has it that Sea Change is the pomo folk-funkster’s breakup album, and certainly it is a less festive creation than the previous Midnight Vultures, a Princelike blowout. We’re willing to lay odds, though, that when Beck plays SPAC on Sunday, there won’t be much woe-is-me-my-girl-done-gone moping. See, we doubt that Beck is willing to sacrifice his reputation as a killer live act just to read you excerpts from his diary. Emo act Dashboard Confessional may get a little personal when they open, but the Black Keys will counterbalance that with their Jimi Hendrix-meets-James Brown indie funk. (June 8, 7:30 PM, $42.50, 476-1000)

Turbo A.C.’s, Easy Action, To Hell and Back, the High School Hellcats
Valentine’s, Monday

On Monday, Valentine’s welcomes a full contingent of paint-peeling hardcore sleaze: New York City’s Turbo A.C.’s—who have been described as a “younger, hungrier Supersuckers”—wed punk-rock energy with a distinctive surf-rock flavor, while Detroit’s Easy Action gild their punkishness with a healthy dose of classic Motor City rock. (Easy Action’s lineup is, in fact, chockful of players from other quasi-legendary rock bands like the Laughing Hyenas, Gravitar and other acts we’re not cool enough to have heard of before.) Opening will be the High School Hellcats, with To Hell and Back representing the 518. (June 9, 8 PM, $7, 432-6572)

Joan Armatrading
The Egg, Wednesday

If you’re, say, rounding your mid-’30s and happened to live aboveground from, say, age 12 through age 15 give or take, you remember fondly your days listening to Joan Armatrading. She was the shit in the early ’80s. Yes, her debut came out in ’72, and ’75’s Back to the Night—which featured members of Fairport Convention—put her on the U.K. Top 20 and featured her only Top 10 single, “Love and Affection.” But the British artist struck our U.S. nerves in 1980 with Me Myself I, and when she belted out her reggae-tinged folky tunes in that deep soulful voice—you just had to believe her. Walk Under Ladders and The Key followed, and more great tunes—“When I Get It Right,” “The Weakness in Me,” “I Love It When You Call Me Names”—furthered our feelings. Apparently Armatrading merely hit cult status in the States, and she did go on to record a ton more albums, but to us, then, she was huge. Armatrading, who has 18 gold records, 10 platinum records and two Grammy nominations, will play the Egg on Wednesday, touring behind her new critically acclaimed release, Lovers Speak. (June 11, 8 PM, $28, 473-1845)

 also noted
The Alive at Five concert series begins tonight (Thursday) with the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, one of the last surviving members of the legendary group (“Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “I Can’t Get Next to You”). It’ll take place in downtown Albany’s Tricentennial Park—on Broadway across from Union Station—unless it rains. Then the party moves to the Corning Preserve Boat Launch. The shows are free and take place at 5 PM. Call 434-2032 or visit for information. . . . One of soul music’s founding fathers, Ray Charles, will stop in for a show at the Palace tomorrow (Friday), and this year marks his 40th as a recording artists. (7:30 PM, $39.50-$54.50). . . . It’s a ska-punk-splosion at Northern Lights on Friday, with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the PieTasters, Voodoo Glow Skulls and Catch 22 performing (doors 7:30 PM, $18, $16.50 advance, 371-0012). . . . The George Boone Band will play a show at the Van Dyck on Friday, a warm-up of sorts for many of the band’s members, who are heading to Europe in July for a slate of blues festivals (7 and 9:30 PM, $8, 381-1111). . . . Area hard-rockers Tripsonic will unveil a new lineup and sound on Friday at Saratoga Winners. Also on the bill are locals Release, whose set (at 7:30 PM) will be taped by Fox 23 News for a segment about the band’s appearance on Jason Keller’s Big Break. So anyone still looking for their 15 minutes of fame can use up about 15 seconds worth as a writhing crowd member; Going Blind and Binaural are also on the bill (7:30 PM, $8, $4 advance, 783-1010). . . . There’s a big rock/hiphop show (how often does that happen?) going down at B.R. Finley’s in Troy this Saturday, featuring the new geeky pop-rock Scientific Maps (containing a few geeky pop Stars of Rock, along with a Dayjobber), and hiphoppers White Lotus and Gyro, an MC and a DJ (10 PM, $3, 271-9190). . . . The Unseen, the Forgotten, Plastic Jesus, 2 Dollars Short and Stand Up Citizen will provide the audience at Valentine’s some punk-rock bruising on Saturday (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Performing at the Egg on Sunday are acclaimed singer-songwriters Guy Clark, he of such nuggets as “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” and Mary Gauthier, touring behind her newest, the critically acclaimed Filth & Fire—which was voted top indie album of the year by New York Times critic Jon Pareles (7:30 PM, $22, 473-1845). . . . Jazz great (and five-time Grammy winner) Al Jarreau will play the Palace stage on Sunday (7 PM, $46.50, $56.50, 476-1000).

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