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The Brilliant Mistakes, Wheat, Spanish for Hitchhiking
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday

With the recent release of Dumb Luck, the New York City-based Brilliant Mistakes are quickly gaining a loyal audience. Band founders Erik Philbrook and Alan Walker have put together the sort of recipe that would impress a world-class chef, mixing the roots rock of the ’60s and ’70s with a distinct power-pop spice, and then tossing in a bit of classic piano flavor just for kicks. Since the album’s debut at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, the band have served up their unique blend of musical ingredients throughout the Northeast, earning audience praise at every turn. Intelligent lyrics and catchy melodies have made the Brilliant Mistakes a crowd favorite in clubs around the region. They’ll play tonight (Thursday) at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. (Aug. 7, 8:30 PM, $13, $10 advance, 413-584-0610)

Tito Jackson
Northern Lights, Thursday

Poor Tito Jackson. For some of us he’s still best remembered as a punch line in Eddie Murphy’s routine satirizing his brother, Michael “the King of Pop” Jackson. That’s kind of giving Tito short shrift, though. After all, for years he provided the lead guitar in the Jackson 5, long before Michael was crowned. And he is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. So, it’s no surprise that Tito has decided to step out of his younger brother’s shadow a little more assertively. Tonight (Thursday), Tito will play Northern Lights to herald the beginning of his career as a blues performer (an album is scheduled for Internet release in the near future). Fans of Tito’s previous outfit should not despair, however, as the evening likely will reference Tito’s past: He’s being backed by many of the musicians who backed the Jackson 5 in the studio, and advance press indicates that Tito will share anecdotes about life as one the famous five. (Aug. 7, 7:30 PM, $15, 371-0012)

Hey Mercedes, Sense Field, Damone, Soundtrak
Valentine’s, Friday

Illinois emo-darlings Hey Mercedes began as basically a reconfiguration of the popular Chicago math-rock ensemble Braid (minus Braid guitarist Chris Broach, plus former Alligator Gun guitarist Mark Dawursk), and their powerful, hooky, angular sound is definitely reminiscent of the band from whom they sprung. But Hey Mercedes—a band since 2000, although Dawursk is no longer with them—have tweaked their former sound a bit, downsizing the aggression and adding a bit more melody. They got themselves on a few big-name tours right off the bat—Jets to Brazil, the Anniversary and Dashboard Confessional among them—and played their little hearts out, eventually signing to Vagrant Records. Their debut for that label, 2001’s Everynight Fire Works, was recorded in a mere two weeks at the legendary Pachyderm Studio, and they went on in the summer of 2002 to release the EP This Weekend on Vagrant. The tours behind these albums have taken Hey Mercedes across the country and the globe, and now they’re coming to our very own Valentine’s on Friday. Sense Field, Damone and Soundrak will also perform the all-ages show. (Aug. 8, 8 PM, $12, $10 advance, 432-6572)

The Waifs, Bluehouse
Washington Park Lakehouse, Monday

Is summer really almost gone? Well, it’s on its way out the door—and one indication is the conclusion of the Monday concert series at the Washington Park Lakehouse. Last will not be least, however, as the featured act is Albany’s own the Waifs. Not Albany, N.Y., but a tiny little Albany in Australia, from whence the Simpson sisters (Donna and Vikki) hail. The Simpsons, along with bassist Josh Cunningham, have built an international following over the last decade with their American-style folk-blues-rock-country-swing. Proudly old-school, they sing about love and trust and loss and the road. They are also riding on a wave of success—this appearance is a side trip from their status as an opening act on the current segment of Bob Dylan’s seemingly endless tour. Bluehouse will open. Rainsite is the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. (Aug. 11, 7:30 PM, free, 866-333-8191)

28th Annual Food Festival
Empire State Plaza, Wednesday

More than 70 vendors, peddling everything from German Wiener schnitzel to Jamaican jerk chicken, will descend upon the Empire State Plaza for the yearly monster foodfest. What goes best with international food? Aside from international beer (of course), the answer is music. Headlining this year will the latest incarnation of an original British Invasion combo, Eric Burdon and the Animals. The Animals were the gritty, working-class contrast to both the clean-cut Beatles and those entitled bad boys, the Rolling Stones. With Burdon’s gruff yet plaintively bluesy vocals and a tough, organ-based R&B sound, the Animals had an impressive string of hits including “House of the Rising Sun,” “We’ve Gotta Get out of This Place” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” Burdon solidified his eternal hipster status, though, when he collaborated with War on the endearingly loopy classic “Spill the Wine.” Also on the bill: perennial favorites NRBQ, and the Capital Region’s favorite party boys, the Burners U.K. (Aug. 13, festival starts at 11 AM, music starts at 5:15 PM, Free, 473-0559)

 also noted
There’s a crew of Miss Mary’s folks who have been playing music together as a fun way to pass the time, but the group decided to formalize their loudness into the area’s newest surfy-garage-pop act, the delMars. The band’s members—bassist Dan Winchester (some of you may remember his bass work with knotworking), father-daughter team Dave (rhythm guitar) and Leah (singer) Walsh, drummer Matt Toomey and guitarist John Hoffman—have been busy recording their songs for an upcoming release, and they’re only now getting around to playing the clubs. So the delMars show tonight (Thursday) at Valentine’s, with Complicated Shirt and the Scientific Maps, marks their first live performance (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . The Jonathan Cohen-helmed funk-fusion trio the erftones are well on their way to their next release, Stand, and you can get a preview of some of the disc’s songs when the band play Valatie’s Purple Pepper tomorrow (Friday) night. . . . Saratoga Winners is the place to be on Saturday if hardcore blowout is what you’re after, with Terror, Throwdown, Endicott, Every Time I Die and Once and for All performing (8 PM, $10, 783-1010). . . . Master mandolin player for the Jazz Mandolin Project, Jamie Masefield, will join forces with guitarist Doug Perkins, of Vermont newgrass band Smokin’ Grass, for a show on Sunday at Saratoga Springs venue Bailey’s Café (8 PM, $5, 583-6060). . . . Hardcore stalwarts Sworn Enemy will play Valentine’s on Sunday, with Burnt by the Sun, Disciples of Berkowitz and Lore also on the bill (8 PM, $12, $10 advance, 432-6572). . . . The Boys Choir of Harlem have returned to Skidmore College for their summer residency, and the world-renowned vocal ensemble will perform at SPAC on Tuesday, along with the Girls Choir of Harlem (7:30 PM, $15, $8 kids under 12, $8 on the lawn, kids free on the lawn, 476-1000).

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