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Dave Mason, Anthony Gomes
Riverfront Park, Corning Preserve, Thursday

It’s been a long road for ’60s vet Dave Mason, from his start as a founding member of Traffic through his later solo successes. Lest we forget, Mason was in the more concise, accessible version of Traffic, before Steve Winwood took over and steered the band in a jammier direction. (Not for nothing is Winwood currently touring with the Dead.) From this era, Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” went on to become one of Joe Cocker’s signature tunes. Through the ’70s Mason had a string of hit albums, scoring a Top-10 hit with that classic anthem of relationships gone sour, “We Just Disagree.” More recently, Mason did a tour of duty in Fleetwood Mac, and was featured on their 1995 disc Time. (Mason looks a bit like Mick Fleetwood—or should we say Fleetwood looks a bit like Mason). He’s back touring with his own band now, and will headline Albany’s Alive at Five tonight (Thursday), with Anthony Gomes opening. (July 10, 5 PM, Free, 434-2032)

The Buzzcocks, Billy Talent, the Erotics
Valentine’s, Thursday

Though you probably heard the Buzzcocks most recently in a car commercial (“What Do I Get?”), you’ve got to give these Mancunians their due as the pioneers they truly are. Though lesser-known than other early Brit punks like the Sex Pistols and the Clash, the Buzzcocks arguably are the proto-power pop band and the vanguard of the DIY ethos. Their self-released EP Spiral Scratch combined punk’s sonic brashness, pop’s structural cleverness and an unprecedented emotional forthrightness (albeit a self-involved adolescent sort; the band’s label was called New Hormones, after all), and in 1977 it lit up the aural pleasure centers of disenchanted youth from Bolton to Land’s End. Sadly, the band’s lineup was never particularly stable, and by 1981 the Buzzcocks had called it quits. They reunited formally in 1990 and the live shows were consistently lauded, but critics generally were underwhelmed by the recorded results—until now. With the release of The Buzzcocks (on Superchunk’s Merge), the band have captured the youthful aggressiveness of their heyday and wedded it to more mature—though still direct and relentless—subject matter. When the band play Valentine’s tonight (Thursday), they’ll be joined by Billy Talent and Albany’s own the Erotics. (July 10, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Fleet BluesFest
Empire state plaza, friday- Saturday

The 8th annual Fleet BluesFest, taking place at the Empire State Plaza this weekend, features the music of regional and national blues artists, including the one and only Bo Diddley (who was scheduled to perform last summer but had to cancel due to illness). The show begins tomorrow (Friday) with the Northeast Blues Society’s Colossal Contender contest, in which three local groups fight for the title and a trip to Memphis to compete nationally. On Saturday, the music flows at noon (on four stages) featuring the 74-year-old archetypal blues-rocker Diddley on the main stage at 8:15 PM. Diddley has been performing for 40 years, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and has a couple of lifetime achievement awards. ’Nuff said. Also on the Saturday’s bill are the Debby Hastings Band, Delta Boy, Deborah Coleman and Louise Taylor. (July 11: 6:30 PM; July 12, noon-10 PM; free; 877-659-4ESP)

Poleposition, Brian Bassett
the Larkin, Saturday

It’s not too often these days that you hear bands citing Gary Numan as an influence. But New Jersey’s Poleposition candidly name-check him, as well as Kraftwerk and David Sylvian. They’re wearing their new wave proudly on their sleeves; so, in the event that your knowledge of the sounds of early ’80s synth culture goes no deeper than A Flock of Seagulls, check out Poleposition’s EP XO. It matches its post-Low chill with a fey and languid new-romantic vibe perfect for a penthouse afternoon of champagne, ’ludes and ennui. Or, more realistically, a Larkin Saturday night of pale ale and conversation. Also on the bill, a relative newcomer to Albany’s power-pop scene, Brian Bassett. (July 12, 8 PM, $5, 463-5225)


BIG SANDY

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, The Lustre Kings with Eddie Angel
Captain J.P. Cruise Line, Monday

Sail away with SoCal’s popular purveyors of western swing, rockabilly and (occasionally) Cajun stylings, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. With his smooth-as-Maker’s Mark vocals, Big Sandy has earned a reputation for putting a modern spin on traditional American music without seeming too hip or trendy. Their latest disc, It’s Time!, was recorded more-or-less live in Hollywood’s historic former Electro Vox studios. (Electro Vox is right across the street from Paramount Pictures, and was the place where everyone from Bing Crosby to Henry Mancini recorded a slew of hits.) Big Sandy’s peeps describe It’s Time! as a “meaty slab of American roots music that channels the pure sound and energy of the genre’s classic recordings.” That’s a big promise. Also on board will be the Lustre Kings with special guest Eddie Angel. Note that the ship boards at 6:30 and sails from 7 until 10 PM; don’t be left waiting at the pier. Also, this is a 21-and-over show; don’t forget you’re ID. (July 14, 6:30 PM, $20, $18 advance, 270-1901)

 also noted
Beginning today (Thursday) and right through Sunday, you can help keep “the vibe alive” at the Gathering of the Vibes at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville. Others who will be pitching in to do so include the Allman Brothers, James Brown, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, the Derek Trucks Band, and Rusted Root. Wavy Gravy will handle the MC responsibilities, so leave your Mr. Microphone at home ($135 weekend camping pass, $75 single day, 866-837-7274). . . . Also tonight, big bluesman Popa Chubby plays Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki (9 PM, $18, 413-528-3394). . . . And tomorrow (Friday), Helsinki welcomes Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys (9 PM, $18, 413-528-3394). . . . Also Friday, not one but two New York City singer-songwriters stop in at the Larkin to wow you with their cosmopolitan ways: Nini Camps and Emily Curtis, the former of whom works the blues-pop axis, and the latter of whom just had a knockout CD-release party at legendary folk club the Bitter End (8 PM, $7. 463-5225). . . . Staples of radio’s yesteryears come back to haunt the Pepsi Arena on Saturday, when Journey, Styx and REO Speedwagon join forces to drag you kicking and screaming back to your adolescence (7:30 PM, $46, $56, 476-1000). . . . MASS MoCA hosts an alternative cabaret, boasting some hotshot session musicians, under the moniker the Polygraph Lounge on Saturday (8 PM, $15, $12 advance, 413-663-4481). . . . Sandy McKnight plays a CD-release party at the North Pointe Cultural Arts Center on Saturday (7:30 PM, $7, $5 advance, $10 with CD, 758-9234). . . . The Ray Baretto Sextet kicks off the Central Park Concert Series in Schenectady on Sunday, bringing the beloved Alex Torres and friends along (4 PM, free, 866-333-8191). . . . On Monday, Israeli diva Chava Alberstein plays Washington Park (7:30 PM, free, 866-333-8191). . . . Stopping into Albany on his wonderfully named Poodle Hat tour, Weird Al Yankovic will throw down the parody and the polka at the Palace on Tuesday (8 PM, $20-$32.50, 476-1000). . . . Northern Lights welcomes a party platter of the heavy stuff, hosting Ra, Smile Empty Soul, Revis and Steriogram on Wednesday (7:30 PM, $12, $10 advance, 371-0012). . . . And on the same night, Saratoga Winners joins the fray with Further Seems Forever, the Movielife, Autopilot Off and Anberlin (7 PM, $12, 783-1010)

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