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Tower of Power, the Alan Payette Band
Albany Riverfront Park, Thursday

Albany’s new Riverfront Stage will shake with the gleeful fury of funk and soul when horn-heavy biggies Tower of Power play the weekly Alive at Five series tonight (Thursday). Man, these dudes sure know how to lay down a groove—they’ve even driven Ray Charles to exclaim, “No band kicks it like Tower of Power.” Not only have they been around for nearly three decades, the Tower have backed everyone from Elton John to Santana. Their new album, Souled Out, finds the band planted firmly in their soul-funk traditions. One critic’s take on the release: “The veteran band is serving up as lean and nasty a slap of contemporary urban soul as it has ever turned out, juiced up with a spectacular new lead vocalist, some spunky new instrumentalists, a fresh roster of horn arrangers . . .” When they perform in our humble hamlet tomorrow (Thursday), local seven-piece horn-driven blues outfit the Alan Payette Band will open. (July 24, 5 PM, free, 434-2032)


Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Long Hill Farm, Hillsdale, Thursday-Sunday

For 15 years, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival has been throwing a whopping celebration of roots-oriented music and dance, and this year it’s even whoppinger: four days of live music (more than 50 acts) provided by big names—Arlo Guthrie, Holly Near, Richard Thompson, Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky and John Gorka, just to name a few—and up-and-comers alike. And that’s not all: Falcon Ridge also boasts music-industry workshops (from production to publicity, soup to nuts), a dance tent (where kindly instructors will get both your left feet working in conjunction), juried craft shows, a guitar raffle, swap meets, an international food court . . . Sounds exhausting, but since you can pitch your tent right there on the grounds, there’s nothing to prevent you from just sleeping wherever you drop. Of course, single-day passes also are available for those of you who tremble at things that clog dance in the night. (July 24-27, $20-$100, 866-325-0366,

Berkshire Jazz Festival
Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, Mass., Friday-Sunday

This is a jazz festival for both the connoisseur and the whole family. The jazz aficionado can enjoy legends like Chico Hamilton (performing with his latest combo, Euphoria), Lou Donaldson with Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Heath and Charli Persip. Plus the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Houston Pearson, Donald Harrison, Leroy Jones, Roberta Gambarini with the Richie Hart Trio, Steve Kirby and many more. There will be a main stage, as well as performances in Ski Butternut’s upper lodge and clubhouse. There will be jazz workshops, too, on bop singing and Brazilian jazz, and as a special attraction, Persip will lead his How Not to Play the Drums seminar. For the kids, there’s the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (plus jazz workshops). There will be plenty of food available and crafts for sale; feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Passes are available for the entire weekend or by the day. For more details, check out the Web site at (July 25-27, $60 weekend pass, $20 Fri, $35 per day Sat and Sun, 914-674-2007)

Francisco López
51 3rd Street, Friday

Whaddya know? Just last week in our Best Of issue we advised a visit to the new Troy arts space 51 3rd Street, and out pops an exceptional night of music at that very place. So sit back in one of the room’s easy chairs and behold Francisco López, nmperign, Jason Lescalleet, Brendan Murray and Howard Stelzer, and Jason Talbot. Headliner Lòpez will attempt to completely immerse listeners in his electronic soundscapes, going so far as to pass out blindfolds to further this goal. The artist has spent the last 20 years processing environmental recordings—traveling the globe to create his field recordings—in an attempt to forge as refined and pure a musical essence as possible. With 140 sound works to his credit, he’s probably getting pretty darn close. The others on the bill have been said to rock their particular genre, which includes tape-loop manipulation (Lescalleet), cassette-deck manipulation (Stelzer) and turntable manipulation (Talbot), computer manipulation (nmperign) and reverberant-drone manipulation (Brendan Murray). (July 25, 8 PM, $5, 281-3206)

Altamont Fairground, Saturday

The brand-new radio station K-Rock (WHTR, 93.7 FM)—will host its very first concert, the K-Rockathon, at the Altamont Fairgrounds on Saturday. The all-day K-rock festival will feature the sort of bands whose sounds will help define the new modern-rock station. The Saturday concert features headliners moe., a Buffalo-based jam band who layer a wide variety of instruments into their sound. The nine-piece John Brown’s Body infuse their sound with a reggae beat. Hamell on Trial (aka former Albany resident Ed Hamell wailing on his acoustic guitar) combines folk story-songs with screaming rants of hardcore rock. The Figgs, also former local faves, combine a melodic pop feel with a harder, punkier edge. Peter Prince and the Trauma Unit round out the afternoon with some R&B. (July 27, 1 PM, gates at noon, $20, 476-1000)

Buckwheat Zydeco
Revolution Hall, Saturday

Buckwheat Zydeco, the modern herald of southern Louisiana’s accordion-based musical genre, is still partying. By consistently blending traditional Creole style and contemporary flavor for more than two decades now, this multiple Grammy nominee has become the ambassador of zydeco to the world of mainstream music. Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural became the heir to the zydeco legacy created by Clifton Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band after making the transition from R&B in 1976, and scored the band’s first Grammy nod with 1984’s Turning Point. Combining the accordion, bass, and electric guitar components of traditional zydeco with the modern sounds of synthesizers and horns, Buckwheat Zydeco has been instrumental in bringing worldwide acceptance and critical acclaim to the Creole standards. Years filled with performances alongside a diverse listing of musical greats, including Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Neil Young, have solidified Buckwheat Zydeco’s status as the chief representative of the genre. The doors open at 8 PM for this 21-and-over show. (July 26, 9 PM, $22, $20 advance, 273-2337)

 also noted
Tomorrow (Friday), Valentine’s welcomes the moodily melodic Connie Acher and the head-crushingly riff-rocking Small Axe; sandwiched in between those sonic extremes will be new local supergroup Total Chaos Unit, featuring Brent Gorton (Stars of Rock), Jonathan Pellerin (Complicated Shirt), Gaven Richard (the Kamikaze Hearts) and Greg Adams (the Users). We’re guessing they will be moodily head-crushing, rather than riff-rockingly melodic. But, what with the total chaos, who knows? (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Upstairs at Valentine’s on Friday, the Highsocks will celebrate the release of their CD, offering a free copy to the first 21 people through the door. The Flying Bobbz also are on the bill, and Nogoodnix will perform their “see ya” set, reportedly the band’s last ever. . . . Also Friday, pop-folk-country crossover fave Mary Chapin Carpenter hits the Calvin Theatre in Northampton,Mass. (8 PM, $27.50-$45) . . . . Skank, mosh, go mad with Reel Big Fish, Zebrahead, Gob and the Matches at Saratoga Winners on Friday (8 PM, $16, 783-1010). . . . Legendary jazz pianist Hal Galper—he’s played with everyone from Cannonball Adderly to John Scofield—will sit in with Joe Barna and Jazz Explosion at the Van Dyck on Friday (7 and 9 PM, $12, 381-1111). . . . Beginning Friday and running through Sunday, Max Creek celebrate their 32nd anniversary with a blowout at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville. Lending a hand will be Tom Tom Club, Jen Durkin & the Bombsquad, Strangefolk, Railroad Earth and a slew of others, including the cleverly named Fuzz & the Gratuitous Sextet ($75 includes camping, . . . precocious jazz vocalist Sonya Kitchell will make you feel bad about your own life’s accomplishments on Saturday at the Iron Horse Music Hall (7 PM. $10, 413-586-8686). . . . Sunday at the Iron Horse, indie-pop charmers the Ladybug Transistor will play, along with King Radio and Claudia Malibu (7 PM, $8, 413-586-8686). . . . and African instrumentalist Diblo Dibala and his eight-piece band will perform at Albany’s Washington Park on Monday (7:30 PM, free).

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