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Spencer Bohren
Caffe Lena, Friday

Spencer Bohren is a traditional-music gem whose music matches an affectionate, meandering blues with a warm gospel voice. Bitten by the troubadour bug early, Bohren drifted through spots of the Western folk scene, learning the blues firsthand from artists like Dr. John until settling in New Orleans in the early ’70s. In the early 1980s, he hit the road again, taking his family on a seven-year tour of the states in an Airstream trailer, and he played just about everywhere. Still, Bohren’s domestic popularity has been somewhat limited to folk and blues circles, and, despite his extensive catalog, he has never had a major-label deal in the United States. His newest record, Solitaire (Last Call), was recorded in Germany while on a break from touring, and is full of treasures from his live repertoire, including his invigorating take on several blues standards. Bohren will surely bring these songs to the intimacy of Caffe Lena with equal intensity and charm. Listeners savvy enough to attend his shows are surely lured in with Bohren’s interpretation of traditional Appalachian and Southern field blues, as well as his gospel influences. Oh, and all of this says nothing of his guitar collection, full of stunning vintage instruments pretty enough to warrant witnessing alone. (Sept. 19, 8 PM; $14, $10 members)

Tarbox Ramblers
Club Helsinki, Friday

The Tarbox Ramblers’ shows in Boston are perpetually packed, and that should take no doing tomorrow (Friday) at Club Helsinki. The Tarbox Ramblers are like an old, dirty delta-blues band, just transported by time machine and tossed through the wringer of music history, emerging with a hillbilly-blues sound that is also thoroughly now. Full of rattles and howls, the Tarbox Ramblers are a ferocious string band who bring the juke joint to you. They frequently play forgotten songs of the public domain as well as their own, with a sound that is fresh yet grounded. Their arsenal includes hypnotic slide, fiddle, string bass, and a monster kick drum, all of which spin quite a web for the ear, full of grit and guts. It should be a treat to watch a band such as this in a setting as intimate as Club Helsinki. (Sept. 19, 9 PM, $15, 413-528-3394)

Kill Hannah, The Menace Society, Big Blank Theory
Valentine’s, Friday

Chicago-based Kill Hannah formed in 1995, and have garnered themselves quite a following over the past several years. Touted by the Chicago Sun-Times as “the cutest band in Chicago” (we’re not kidding), the band promise that they can play, too. With comparisons to the Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage, the quintet churn out power chords, electronic-laden loops and keyboard parts, anthemic vocals—and hooks. These guys are good, old-fashioned hard workers—diligently promoting themselves and their albums, and touring every chance they get. This weekend they stop by Valentine’s to give us what they promise to be an energetic live show, featuring power vocals and good hair. The Menace Society and Big Blank Theory open. (Sept. 19, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival
Altamont Fairgrounds, Saturday

Time to get your Irish up. The seventh annual Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival returns to the Altamont Fairgrounds on Saturday, bringing with it a full day of music, fun and medicinal beverages—rain or shine. There are three (count ’em, three) stages of music. The contemporary stage features Black 47, the Prodigals, the Young Dubliners and the Glengarry Bhoys, among others. On the traditional-music stage you’ll find the legendary Tommy Makem, along with a gang of other artists including Danú, the John Whelan Band, Seamus Kennedy and the McKrells. Finally, there’s a stage reserved for the local and regional talent: Yvonne Mahar, the Murphy Brothers, Uisce, Skuttlebutt, our old friends the McKrells again—proving that you can be in two places at one time—and many more. If that’s not enough for you, there will be performances by the New Hampshire AOH Pipes and the Schenectady Pipe Band. There’s even shuttle-bus service available from Albany to the fairgrounds. For more info, visit the Web site at www.irish2000fest.com. (Sept. 20, 10 AM-11 PM, $15, 888-414-3378)


autopilot off

Autopilot Off, Lost City Angels, Throw Rag, The Flight
Valentine’s, Sunday

Valentine’s plays host to Island Records’ newly signed pop-punk quartet Autopilot Off this Sunday, in a show spotlighting the catchy emo-metal sound of these Orange County (New York, not California) natives. Their first full-length release, 1999’s Looking Up (released under the Internet label Fastmusic), was originally a product of Cooter, the band’s previous incarnation, but has since been reissued under their current moniker. After changing their name in 2002, the band performed during the 2002 Warped Tour alongside a host of their peers, including Island Records labelmates Sum 41. Joining Autopilot Off for Sunday’s show will be the Boston-based quintet Lost City Angels (whose debut album on Nitro Records is scheduled for release in mid-September), as well as Throw Rag and the Flight. The doors open 7 PM for this all-ages show. (Sept. 21, 7:30 PM, $10, $8 advance, 432-6572)

 also noted
Celtic soundweavers the McKrells will play a benefit for Troy’s Ark After School Program tonight (Thursday) at the Chapel + Cultural Center, on the RPI campus (8 PM, $15, 274-7793). . . . One more time, with feeling: We jumped the gun in our last issue, claiming that the CD-release party for the Adrian Cohen Trio was taking place a week early. Please believe us that the much-anticipated event will go off tonight at the WAMC Performing Arts Center. The trio recently released Standardized, an album’s worth of jazz standards performed in the unique manner that we’ve come to expect from this threesome. The second set of the evening 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). . . . Cuban bandleader Orlando “Maraca” Valle and his band Otra Vision (he’s also a flutist in the band) will provide the audience at the Egg tomorrow (Friday) his unique jazz-salsa fusion, with some of the proceeds supporting the production of next year’s Albany LatinFest (8 PM, $20, 432-8923). . . . Boston-based Misfits cover band the Crimson Ghosts will play Troy’s All Sports Pub on Saturday, with area ’50s-’60s rock & rollers the Staynes opening (9 PM, 687-0064). . . . Roots-rock Canadian troubadour Fred Eaglesmith will play Troy’s Ale House on Sunday, touring behind his newest release (8 PM, $12, 272-9740). . . . The second in a series of three shows that Miss Mary’s is putting on at the Chapel + Cultural Center will take place Monday, with artists of all types (poets, musicians, singers, puppeteers, artists, dancers) performing. The show also serves as the release party for the new Screed, with performances by Struction, Niki Lee and Mass Chaos, Yankee Doodlas and the James Brown Dangerfields, among many others (7 PM, free/donations welcome, 274-7793). . . . Midwestern alt-folkie Lis Harvey is heading east—“Think Victoria Williams meets Ani DiFranco,” claims the Washington Post—and she’ll play a show at the Larkin on Monday, with Brooklyn-based Girlyman opening (8 PM, $5, 463-5225).

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