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Gaelic Storm
Revolution Hall, Friday

If you’re thinking, “Geez, I’ve heard that name before,” but can’t really identify the cause of familiarity, we’ll help you out: Gaelic Storm are the Celtic-fusion group who rocked the ship below the decks in that oh-so-popular movie Titanic. (You know the scene, with Jack and Rose twirling around so fast it’s a surprise there wasn’t more vomiting in the theaters.) Anyway, Gaelic Storm released their fourth album, Special Reserve, last August, and within two weeks it settled into the No. 2 position on Billboard’s World Music Charts. Their stage show is said to feature “rousing, upbeat vocals, wild energetic dance tunes, haunting ballads and infectious madcap humor.” The band tour relentlessly and perform more than 100 shows a year, and they’ve been breaking attendance records worldwide. Tomorrow (Friday) night, they’ll make a stop in Troy to play Revolution Hall. (Feb. 13, 8 PM, $14, 273-2337)

Valentine’s Day in Candyland
Valentine’s, Saturday

Valentine or no valentine, celebrate the day at Valentine’s with a sweet romp through Candyland. The fun-loving kids in Kitty Little have put together a dance party featuring a lineup of energetic bands, and we’re told downstairs will be a candy-coated paradise, reigned over by a candy castle and mountains of baked goods. El Guapo, a new-era Dischord band, and local politicos Denim and Diamonds were enlisted for their brand of punky, electronic dance music, spastic enough for the sugar high. The punchy pop will be taken care of by Kitty Little and their comrades in arms, the Kiss Ups, a hyper duo from downriver. Kitty Little and the Kiss Ups are also celebrating their new split release, which will be unveiled at the show. Opening up are Brevator, a new band with members of Struction and To Hell and Back, so don’t be surprised if the noise is turned up to 11 from the beginning. (Feb. 14, 8pm, 18+, $6, 432-6572)

A Jazz Valentine of Standards and Ballads
The Van Dyck, Saturday

Just mention Valentine’s Day, and folks start getting stressed out. This particular holiday carries more baggage than a bellhop; whether it’s a first or 500th date, getting it right on the day officially designated for Love is a task fraught with peril. Stop. Relax. The Van Dyck is offering an evening’s entertainment engineered to smoothly facilitate the complex workings of the big L. Four well-known and -loved local musicians—MotherJudge, George Muscatello, Rob Cohen and Danny Whelchel—will join forces to present “smoky, sultry jazz standards.” We’re thinking that a little Porter or Ellington is just the thing to put your sweetheart in the proper (or improper mood). (Feb. 14, 7 and 9:30 PM, $15, 381-1111)

Chris Whitley
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Tuesday

We could tell you that, commercially speaking, Chris Whitley is criminally overlooked; we could swear up and down to you that his latest release, Hotel Vast Horizon, is among his finest; we could bemoan the fact that one of the most convincing, passionate—even spiritual—practitioners of American roots music can’t seem to find a foothold in his native country and now resides in Germany. But you’ve heard all the same or similar clichés attached to lesser performers, and we’d hate to trigger your B.S. detector falsely. So, we’ll just mention that the frequent Robert Johnson comparisons elicited by Whitley’s devil-of-the-Delta blues have never once struck us as a stretch, and that his newest release hasn’t left our carousel in a month. The man plays like his soul’s at stake, and manages to make it as much celebration as dire warning. (Feb. 17, 9:30 PM, $13, 413-586-8686)

Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Saratoga Winners, Wednesday

If you were watching last Sunday night’s telecast of the Grammy awards, at one point you might have been scratching your head and wondering, “Who was that bad mofo playing the hell out of the pedal steel guitar?” (Or, you may have just wondered what that crazy guitar was in the first place.) Look no further: Robert Randolph and the Family Band are coming to town to spread the good word. Randolph and company have been turning a lot of heads lately with their soulful blend of funk, gospel, R&B and blues; enough so that they were tapped to perform “I Need More Love” during the Grammys’ extended tribute to funk. What sets Randolph apart from his peers is his choice of instrument: the pedal steel guitar. Yes, the same instrument that’s use to create the sound of a weeping choir of angels in country music is transformed into a howling, screeching bolt from the blue in the hands of young Robert. Picture Ben Harper and Stevie Ray Vaughan worshipping together at the altar of Robert Johnson, and you’re about halfway there. See for yourself this Wednesday night. (Feb. 18, 8 PM, $17.50, 783-1010)


Also Noted

Woodstock’s Soulive bring their funky, jazzy jams back to Revolution Hall on Troy tonight (Thursday), with special guests Lynch (8 PM, $20, 273-2334). . . . Also tonight, Valentine’s is hosting a dance party, featuring DJ Bobbie Junkie, to benefit the still-homeless Miss Mary’s Art Space (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Friday night at Valentine’s looks to be an inadvertent Battle of the Bands, with the head-crushing death metal stylings of Goratory, Malomar and Clitorture upstairs (7:30 PM, $10, 432-6572), and the return of Albany’s premier goth-rockers, The Flying Buttresses, along with special guest Ninth House downstairs (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Here are a few more choices for Valentine’s Day: Artie’s River Street Stage will host what we can only hope is the first-annual “Broken Hearts are for Assholes Ball” with music from Chris Busone (9 PM, $5, 687-0064), while Paddy Kilrain and Laura Boggs will do the kinda-folk thing at the Larkin (9 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Sean Rowe and Bryan Thomas will provide a liberal helping of soul-inflected rock for this week’s installment of the Lionheart’s Monday night music series (9 PM, free, 463-9530). . . . Looking east, the Flecktone known as Future Man, also known as Royel, rolls into the Iron Horse Music Hall for the early show on Tuesday, along with the Isaiah Williams Project (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610). . . . And if you camp out at the Iron Horse for one more night, you can catch the legendary Claude Russell Bridges—that’s Leon Russell for the uninitiated—on Wednesday night (7 PM, $30, 413-584-0610).


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