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Pete Donnelly and Mike Gent
Caffe Lena, Friday

If you can escape your families, Lena’s is the place to be on Boxing Day. Pete Donnelly and Mike Gent of the Figgs will descend on their hometown for an evening of songs old and new, and promise everything in between—and after 16 years together there’s a lot to pull from. Equal parts rock lexicon and pop superheroes, both Donnelly and Gent are experts in their craft and are a treat to see out of the full-band setting. They’re likely to pull from solo material as well as the recently reissued and expanded version of Ready, Steady, Stoned and Gent’s new record The Intake. Evidently, Figgs drummer Pete Hayes will be in New Hampshire and sends his love. (There will be cookies to help fill the void.) Local picker Torey Adler and roots rocker Kevin Mullaney will open. (Dec. 26, 8 PM, $6, 583-0022)

Brian Bassett, the Suggestions
Valentine’s, Friday

A special one-night-only event will rock the downstairs stage at Valentine’s the day after Christmas. Local favorite solo artist Brian Bassett will team up with the Suggestions, the band led by singer-songwriter (and recent Metroland staff addition) John Brodeur. The Suggestions will back Bassett for a set of Bassett’s tunes, including catchy rockers and a certain power-pop song that’s been getting airplay on local rock stations (for all of you who just haven’t been paying attention, that’d be “Nichole, Nichole”). After that, Bassett will sit in on keys during the Suggestions’ set, which should include songs from their most recent LP, Mix Tape, and some new stuff too. And, as a special bonus, former Suggestions drummer Slade Jones will return for the show. The Day, formerly Gideon Folk, will open. (Dec. 26, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Pepsi Arena, Friday

Roll over, Beethoven. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra have been rockin’ the holidays since 1996, and they’re bringing Christmas Eve & Other Stories—an orchestral mix of hard rock, classical, R&B and show tunes—to the Pepsi tomorrow (Friday). There will be traditional holiday music, new songs, symphony excerpts and Christmas stories, all whipped together with an elaborate stage presentation. (Will Santa stop by? We’re not telling.) To those naysayers who would proclaim that hard rock and classical music don’t mix, TSO founder Paul O’Neill retorts: “There’s no question in my mind that if electric guitars and modern keyboards were around in Beethoven’s or Mozart’s time, they’d be using them.” You go, dude. (Dec. 26, 7:30 PM, $46-$26, 487-2000)

Matthew Loiacono, Sean Rowe
Barnaby’s, Saturday

Most of you know Matthew Loiacono as one-quarter of local folk-punk heroes the Kamikaze Hearts. What you may not realize is that he’s also been staking his claim—slowly and stealthily—as a solo performer over the last few years. In fact, he was our 2003 pick for Best Solo Acoustic (Male), and his recent CD, A Book About the Rest, was one of this year’s strongest local releases. Matty seems able to play any instrument he picks up, although we’re pretty sure he’ll be bringing something along the lines of a guitar to Saturday’s performance at Barnaby’s, a venue which has been—slowly and stealthily—breaking itself in as a live-music venue. Along for the ride is Sean Rowe, a self-proclaimed “one-man folk/funk/soul machine” whose gravelly voice and penchant for tackling Marvin Gaye tunes—quite admirably, we might add—has been turning quite a few heads around the local circuit. (Dec. 27, 9 PM, $5, 463-5140)

Ducky Boys, Plastic Jesus, Confront, Dead Heroes
Valentine’s, Sunday

Boston punk legends the Ducky Boys decided that they lied about breaking up, got back together, and officially started playing shows this month. And lucky for us, they’re coming to set Albany ablaze with classic oi! and their fellow Bostonians, Confront. Both Confront and the Ducky Boys are working on new albums for 2004, so new material should abound. The shredding punk trio Dead Heroes hail from Detroit, but their influences are strongly on both sides of the pond. The band are now out supporting their new release, Let It Ride. Plastic Jesus pair powerhouse punk with traditional rock & roll. Mr. Wednesday will also join the party downstairs at Valentine’s on Sunday. (Dec. 28, 8 PM, 16 and over, $10, 432-6572)

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