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Catch 22

New Jersey-based ska-punk band Catch 22 were formed seven years ago by a few guys who were intent on playing a new sound. Drummer Chris Greer, saxophonist Ryan Eldred and trumpeter Kevin Gunther put together the combo, and after a few lineup changes, their attitude and mission remain the same: Put out good music and get people into the live shows. The most recent additions to the lineup are Pat Calpin (guitar), Pat Kays (vocals) and Ian McKenzie (trombone).

The band have toured with other famous punksters—Sum 41, Suicide Machines and Reel Big Fish, to name a few—in support of their previous albums, which include Keasbey Nights and Washed Up and Through the Ringer. They also headlined Victory Records Tour 2002. Since the band released Alone in the Crowd in 2000, they’ve been touring relentlessly and have had little time to work on a new album. However, this summer they finally got a break from the road to record, and now they’re touring the United States and Canada in support of their new album, Dinosaur Sounds.

Catch 22, who credit a variety of influences ranging from Sublime to Weezer to James Brown, incorporate elements of jazz, R&B, soul and funk into Dinosaur Sounds, and have claimed the resulting material some of their best to date. Univercity raves, “The sextet effortlessly blend musical genres. While Catch 22 brings thrash-type tempos and heavily distorted guitars to nearly every tune, their heavy-handedness is balanced by the highly melodic nature of their compositions.”

If you’re into ska-punk unity, see Catch 22 when they perform at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Saturday (Dec. 27) with Bigwig, Fallout Boy and Punchline. The show, which starts at 8 PM, is $12. For more information, call the club at 432-6572.

Roger the Jester

We’d like to offer up a new iconic character for the holiday pantheon, one to add to the ranks of Kris Kringle, Hanukkah Harry and that elf who really wanted to be a dentist: We nominate the fool—no, we don’t mean your mom’s drunken brother Curly. We mean a real old-school, Medieval-style fool. Where we gonna find a fool—one not belching loudly around a mouthful of holiday roast while gruffly espousing his opinions on same-sex civil unions—this time of year? At Steamer No. 10 Theatre, of course. On Saturday, the region’s premier professional fool, Roger the Jester, will hit 500 Western Avenue with a bag full of riotous tricks and routines enough to redeem the word “clown.”

Roger began his training on the streets of Boston, but he had a peripetetic bent that motivated him to see the world. So he traded Beantown for the ancient streets of Europe, where he honed his skills enough to eventually make it into the ranks of the esteemed Swiss troupe Mummenschanz—and with them to the theatrical street of streets, Broadway. Pretty good for a clown. But the wanderlust that had scored him such a plum gig couldn’t be satisfied, and after his time on the Great White Way, Roger decided to commit himself fulltime to the “wandering lifestyle of the medieval fool.”

Roger the Jester will perform at Steamer No. 10 Theatre (500 Western Ave., Albany) on Saturday (Dec. 27). Shows are at 11 AM and 3 PM. Tickets are $12, $10 kids/students/seniors. The theater offers a $2 discount on all advance tickets. For more information, call 438-5503.

Kerida Espana: The World of Ladino Songs

The cruelty of, and trauma resulting from, a forced exile can tear a culture apart. When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century, they took with them their language, Ladino, and a rich musical tradition. As one historian notes, “Ladino folksong contains the passion of Spanish poetry . . . yet is distinctly Jewish in its musical flavor and moral messages.”

Miriam Sanua is one of many people working to keep this tradition alive. Performer and teacher Sanua—who is expert in two “endangered” languages, Ladino and Yiddish—will present a program of traditional Ladino song this Saturday night (Dec. 27).

Miriam Sanua will present Kerida Espana: The World of Ladino Songs on Saturday (Dec. 27) at 8 PM at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center (2565 Balltown Road, Niskayuna). Tickets are $6, $3. For more information, call 377-8803.

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