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Americana Music Club Festival
Valentine’s, Friday-Saturday

Clean your glasses and/or wipe your eyes: The moniker of this two-day extravaganza is Americana Music Club, not to be confused with the much-loved and missed band American Music Club. Valentine’s poobah Howard Glassman has put together a swell lineup of what he calls Americana, an inclusive concept that embraces alt-country, garage rock, pop, punk and more. Tomorrow (Friday), Luther Wright and the Wrongs will headline, with sturdy local faves Jackinany opening. Saturday, the Coal Palace Kings—you know those guys—will be featured, along with Ithaca roots-rock heroes Hubcap. Hubcap are beloved beyond Ithaca, too: The Erie (Pa.) Times-News described the band as performing “ambitious alt-country with scope and a sense of adventure.” When it comes to grimy, authentic American music, if you can make it in Erie, you can make it anywhere. (Feb. 6-7, 9 PM, $7 Friday, $5 Saturday, 432-6572)

Ernie Williams Birthday Bash
Revolution Hall, Saturday

Q: What can we say about Ernie Williams that hasn’t already been said? A: Not much. So how about we just remind you a little about the man himself on the eve of his 79th birthday? Ernie started picking guitar in the 1930s while living in a shack on a plantation in Virginia. He moved to Harlem in the late ’40s to pursue his lifelong dream, and spent much of the next two decades playing as many as seven nights a week throughout New York City. He relocated to Albany in the ’60s, where he established himself as one of the underground blues scene’s most important fixtures. He formed his longtime backing band, the Wildcats, in 1992, and it’s been nothing but gravy since then for ol’ Ernie. Blues fans have seen the Wildcats grace just about every stage in the Capital Region over the years, from the Plaza to the Palace, and they can help ring in Ernie’s 79th at Revolution Hall this Saturday night. (Feb. 7, 8 PM, $10, 273-2337)

Peter Tork and James Lee Stanley
Caffe Lena, Saturday

Yeah, that Peter Tork, the Monkee. The one your mother crushed on in 6th grade. While it may be true he entered the Prefab Four as an actor and part-time folksinger, he hung up his TV bass in favor of his own music. Tork’s voice helped catapult the Monkees to fame, and he’s using its warmth to explore more easy folk and blues, now playing mostly guitar, banjo and keyboards. Joining Tork is his longtime pal and more recent collaborator, James Lee Stanley; as a duo they released Two Man Band in 1995. (Feb. 7, 8 PM, $15, 583-0022)

Clutch, Mastodon, Nebula, the Hidden Hand
Saratoga Winners, Wednesday

Now in their second decade of speed rock, Clutch have been called hardcore’s jam band. They sit directing traffic at the crossroads of metal, ’70s heavy rock, and hardcore, flying their Maryland flag high. Atlanta’s Mastodon (ex-Today Is the Day guitarist and drummer) crash through the fence between grindcore and metal, quickly razing everything in their path. Nebula were born when Fu Manchu’s guitarist and drummer broke away from the band in 1997; now they’re busy churning out spacey psychedelic rock cloaked in feedback. And if you haven’t heard doom rock that’s political, get there in time for the openers the Hidden Hand, Wino’s (Spirit Caravan and Place of Skulls) newest band. Remember your earplugs, kiddies. (Feb.11, 8 PM, $14 advance, $16 door, 783-1010)


Also Noted

The South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo—perhaps most famous in America for their appearance on Paul Simon’s Graceland—are back with a new album of their own, and tonight (Thursday), they’ll perform two shows at the Calvin Theater in Northampton (6:30 and 8:30 PM, $38, 413-586-8686). . . . Also tonight, vibraphonist extraordinaire Nick Mancini will join the Adrian Cohen Trio for the second set of their weekly jazz jam at Justin’s (9 PM, free, 463-7008). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), the picking cousins of Hector on Stilts will kick off their stint as artists-in-residence for the Storefront Artist Project at the CompuWorks building in Pittsfield (5 PM, free, 413-445-2780); later that evening, they’ll head over to Club Helsinki in Great Barrington for a full-band show (9 PM, $10, 413-528-3394). . . . The Lark Tavern has a full slate of all-star rock & roll scheduled for this weekend: the Blue Machine, featuring Blue Hand Luke vocalist Tommy Love and the members of Super 400, heat things up with a steamy set of classic rock on Friday (word has it they do a killer Zeppelin impression!); Mitch Elrod and CountrySoulHouse—that’s one Kamikaze Heart, one knotworker and the one and only Steve Candlen—play songs from their new album, Meltdown, on Saturday (10 PM, $3, 463-5225). . . . A wide array of jazz greats, including James Carter and Randy Brecker, will take part in the Newport Jazz® Festival’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Tour at Proctor’s Theater on Saturday (8 PM, $19.50-$35.50, 382-6204). . . . He’s been a part-time session guitarist, record producer, horse trainer and psychological astrologist; on Wednesday, Francis Dunnery will return to his role as singer-songwriter for a stop at the Bearsville Theater, with keyboardist David Sancious in tow (8 PM, $25, 845-679-7303)


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