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Damon & Naomi with Kurihara, PG Six
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton,Mass., Saturday

The show Saturday night at the Iron Horse Music Hall is a veritable Olympus of dreamy, downbeat music (if it’s contradictory to refer to such depth with such height, maybe it’s a Marianas Trench of an evening). Damon & Naomi come to us via the legendary Galaxie 500, undersung kings of late-’80s minimalist indie-rock. After the band’s acrimonious split with frontman-guitarist Dean Wareham in 1991, the musical future of Damon & Naomi seemed tenuous. Instead, they focused their energies on running a small surrealist publishing house, Small Change. The persistence of their former producer, however, motivated them to come out of retirement, and in the ensuing years they’ve turned out a handful of albums continuing on in the spare and melancholy tradition of Galaxie 500, but with added warmth and innovation. In 2000 they teamed with Japanese psych- folksters Ghost for a critically acclaimed album and, on Saturday, Ghost’s guitarist Kurihara will join them onstage. Opening for Damon & Naomi will be chamber-folk act PG Six. (Sept. 13, 10 PM, $9, 800-THE-TICK)

Northern Lights, Saturday

We’re all still patiently waiting for Albany to become the next Athens or Austin or Seattle, or whatever, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that other cities suffer similarly—and always have. All across the country, no doubt, scenesters watch with bated breath anytime a hometown fave starts making progress up the charts. Consider Syracuse: They had Benny Mardones, whose single “Into the Night” was a Top 10 hit in 1980 and nearly repeated the feat in 1989, when it reached No. 11. (That’s a first, by the way.) Granted, Mardones was hardly hip. But Syracuse also had 805, who just might be upstate New York’s most successful progressive-rock act to date. Their 1982 RCA debut, Stand in Line, reached No. 36 on the Billboard album charts, and they had a video featured on an infant MTV. But, as so often happens, early success was not indicative of career longevity: 805 disbanded in 1989, seemingly for good. Now, however, the band are back, albeit briefly. They’ve got a new compilation, End of Light, and a show at Northern Lights to celebrate the fact. But, they warn, that’s it for this area. Last show here, ever. (Sept. 13, doors 7:30 P M, $12, $10 advance, 371-0012)

Dirty Water, Street Dogs
Valentine’s, Sunday

Two supergroups from Boston’s incestuous punk family are coming around to remind the kids of what rock is at its core: catchy, gritty and direct. Taking their name from the Standells’ affectionate ode to Boston, Dirty Water emerged with their self-titled debut EP this spring to the satisfaction of the many fans of their many previous bands. In Dirty Water, Mark Lind, singer and founding member of the legendary Ducky Boys, swaps vocals with Andrew Mauriello (Sinners and Saints, River City Rebels). They’re joined by Ducky Boys drummer Jason Messina and John Davidian on bass. The band blend honest rock & roll à la Springsteen with the broad-shouldered swagger of Social Distortion. The Street Dogs likewise boast a stunning all-star Boston lineup, with Mike McColgan and Jeff Erna, the original singer and drummer of the Dropkick Murphys respectively, and bassist Johnny Rioux (the Bruisers, the Freeze, Roger Miret and the Disasters). Their new album, Savin Hill (Crosscheck), due out Sept. 23, is sure to snap braces and stand up liberty spikes all over. Rounding out the night will be the ballsy rock of Albany supergroup To Hell and Back (members of Kitty Little, Devoid of Faith and Disenchanted) and local punkers Plastic Jesus. (Sept. 14, 7 PM, $8, 432-6572)

Saves the Day, Taking Back Sunday, Moneen
Saratoga Winners, Sunday

Emo-rock takes center stage in Latham this Sunday, as Jersey-based Saves the Day bring their melodic sound to Saratoga Winners (their Dreamworks debut, In Reverie, will hit shelves on Tuesday). The band now find themselves doing what has always come naturally: drumming up support through their live performances. Their last album, 2001’s Stay What You Are, on indie label Vagrant, found its way onto the Billboard 100 music charts and sold more than 120,000 copies, despite little radio airplay and minimal financial backing. That says quite a bit about the musical ability of Chris Conley, the band’s resident singer-songwriter, and the rest of the Saves the Day crew. With the age of the oldest band member topping out at a wizened 23 years (guitarist David Soloway), five albums already behind them, and a new contract with industry giant Dreamworks, Saves the Day have become one of the most highly regarded ambassadors of pop-punk and emo-rock. Joining them for this all-ages show will be fellow emo-rockers Taking Back Sunday and Moneen. (Sept. 14, 8 PM, $20, $18.50 advance, 783-1010)


Erin McKeown, Andrew Bird
The Larkin Lounge, Monday

To promote her newest release, Grand, Erin McKeown is touring throughout the Northeast and Midwest, and brings her blend of jazz, country, classical pop and folk to the region this week, playing a show at the Larkin Lounge on Monday. The 25-year-old from Massachusetts draws from an array of inspirations, everything from Missy Elliott to Judy Garland, whose standard “Lucky Day” she covers on her new release, and who is referenced in several other songs. Dabbling in music since age 3, McKeown has mastered the bass, drums and guitar (both acoustic and electric), as well as the piano, mandolin and banjo—she’ll play all live, too. Her first record, 2000’s Distillation, earned McKeown critical praise both for her lyrics and her unique tunes. She comes to the area fresh from opening for the Dave Matthews Band in Boston. Opening for McKeown is Andrew Bird, whose latest release, Weather Systems, has just come out on Righteous Babe. Vocalist-violinist Bird creates lush and lovely compositions, wielding his violin in ways that might stun your average back-porch fiddler—playing it like a guitar, sampling and looping it to create thick, atmospheric beds in which to lay his evocative lyrics. His poetic bent is further illustrated by one of Weather Systems’ two nonoriginal tracks, a musical adaptation of a Galway Kinnell poem. (Sept. 15, 8 PM, $10, 463-5225)

 also noted
It’s finally time for the Adrian Cohen Trio to hold a CD-release party for their latest, Standardized—composed entirely of uniquely performed jazz standards, Cohen-style. Here’s what has to say about the pianist after a listen: “Cohen is an artist well on his way to developing a unique voice on his instrument. . . . His playing is confident and swinging, and it is clear that he will go far.” The show is tonight (Thursday) at the WAMC Performing Arts Center, and the second set features the debut of Cohen’s new Earchow Quintet—with Danny Whelchel (drums), Brian Patneaude (tenor sax), Michael DelPrete (acoustic bass) and Steve Lambert (trumpet)—performing mostly originals (7:30 PM, $5, 800-323-9262). . . . Do you hear that? Shhhhhh. That. It’s the sound of Hum Machine, a long way from their Madison, Wis., home, en route to downtown Albany’s Bayou Café tonight. The hardworking Midwesterners, purveyors of college-radio rock, are in the middle of a 65-day tour—playing a different city each day—in support of their new record, Theorems and Compositions of the Last Action Rocker. These guys know the road, and the album is mostly made up of songs about it. Don’t hit the road much? Head on over to the Bayou to hear what it’s like lately (9 PM, $5, 462-9033). . . . Meander down to Joe’s Pub in Hudson on Saturday to check out the hometown boy who’s making good, Tony C and the Truth. It’s Tony C. who’s from these parts (we’re sure his yearbook lists his last name), but the 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist has lived all over the states, it seems. He caught the eye of Lava Records, and his new CD, due out in January, was recorded at his “compound”—made up of trailers where his bandmates are neighbors, and a rickety barn, now stocked with new gear courtesy of Lava (9 PM, free, 828-9028). . . . Troy Savings Bank Music Hall kicks off its 2003-2004 concert season on Saturday with an acoustic show by legendary folk singer-songwriters Tom Rush and Jesse Colin Young (8 PM, $27, $24, 273-0038). . . . Boston hardcore thrashers Give Up the Ghost, formerly American Nightmare, will rock Valentine’s on Wednesday, with Most Precious Blood, Cursed and Daughters opening (8 PM, $12, 432-6572).

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