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Valentine’s, Thursday

The man himself wrote, “Take a writer away from his typewriter and all you have is the sickness that started him typing in the beginning,” but we think that the hovering spirit of Charles Bukowski will forgive you for briefly ditching your work-in-progress to attend the Buk! bonanza tonight. At this memorial to the barfly bard (who died March 9, 1994), music and poetry will be provided by an absolutely packed roster of local talent—and all to the benefit of the Capital District Food Pantries. Mike Eck, R.M. Englehardt, Paddy Kilrain, Jason Martin, John Brodeur, members of the Sifters, Mary Panza, members of knotworking, Thom Francis, Mitch Elrod and many, many more will all be on hand to celebrate the intoxicating effect of the arts—oh, and beer. (March 11, 7 PM, $6, 432-6572)

Ahmad Jamal
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Friday

Ahmad Jamal, a 1994 recipient of the American Jazz Masters award from the National Endowment for the Arts, is a jazz pianist who, according to the Chicago Tribune, “defies practically every convention of the jazz pianist’s art.” He considers his trio an orchestra, and treats them as such, focusing on a unified sound, but also giving every section of instrumentation its own highlights. Jamal has a veritable resume of successes he’s achieved throughout his career: He recorded his first of many, many albums, Jamal’s Blues, in 1951 for Okeh Records, he’s had piano books published, and has written a plethora of songs and inspired many a famous musician, including the legendary Miles Davis. Catch Jamal’s performance when he plays the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall tomorrow (Friday) night. (March 12, 8 PM, $25-28, 273-0038)

Catie Curtis
The Egg, Friday

Thoughtful and sensitive music such as Catie Curtis’ can be lost in the cacophony that is pop culture. Then again, when songs are as lovely as Curtis’, they’re hard to ignore. Her music is honest and often delicate, but is decidedly not wimpy. Curtis’ new album, Dreaming in Romance Languages, is due out on Tuesday, so she’ll likely offer a sampling of new material—perhaps even her powerful cover of Morphine’s “The Night”—on Friday. She’ll be joined by the Nields sisters, also touring in support of their new release, This Town Is Wrong. (March 12, 8pm, $20-$15, 473-1845)

Spider John Koerner
Club Helsinki, Great Barrington, Mass., Sunday

What began for Spider John Koerner as revivalism became a career spanning four decades of American roots music. His repertoire consists of songs from deep in the folk and blues traditions; pieces of the American lexicon that you may or many not know, but should. Koerner stomps, rattles and hollers the old dusties in addition to tunes from his personal catalog. Texan Denice Franke, who’ll open the show, brings her incisive, tear-in-your-beer songs as a sonic aperitif. (March 14, 8pm, $15, 413-528-3394)

Thrice, Poison the Well
Saratoga Winners, Wednesday

With their Island Records debut, The Artist in the Ambulance, the Southern California quartet known as Thrice have established themselves as a band apart. Blending the melodic sensibilities of fellow Orange County pop-punk bands with the heaviness and growl of metal and hardcore, Thrice have risen through the ranks of the “emo” pack by committing themselves to writing—gasp!—good songs, 11 of which ended up on Ambulance. And they’re nice guys, too: They’re donating a portion of all the retail sales of Ambulance to the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment to benefit breast cancer victims, and there’s not a facial piercing or trucker cap between the four of them, so you can bring ’em home to meet the folks. Wednesday marks the kickoff of their headlining U.S. tour with Poison the Well. Vaux and Moments in Grace open this all-ages show. (March 17, 8 PM, $15, 783-1010)

Bette Midler
Pepsi Arena, Wednesday

You know you love her—admit it! The Divine Miss M makes her way to the Pepsi on Wednesday as part of her Kiss My Brass Tour, her first in four years. The tremendously accomplished singer-actress-dancer-performer released her latest album, Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook, on Columbia Records in September, teaming with Barry Manilow for a tribute to the late, legendary singer. Midler’s Wednesday performance will feature selected songs from the album, as well as many other hits and characters that have made her so famous over the years. We know it’s on St. Patrick’s Day, but hey, it’s Bette Midler! You can hold off on the drinking a while, can’t you? (March 17, 8 PM, $41-151, 476-1000)

Also Noted

It’s that time of the year again, folks: time to don as much green as you can, find yourself a four-leaf clover, head out to your local Irish pub, and celebrate St. Patty’s Day. The Celtic tones will be plentiful over the coming seven days, starting with local mainstays the McKrells, who will play tonight (Thursday) at the Van Dyck in Schenectady (8 PM, $12, 381-1111). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), legendary Irish folksinger Mary Black will perform at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Mass. (8 PM, $20-35, 413-584-1444). . . . Donnybrook Fair will play the Egg on Saturday (8 PM, $9-18, 473-1845). . . . Also on Saturday, youthful torchbearers Seven Nations return to Troy’s Revolution Hall (8 PM, $15, 273-2337). . . . Sunday, head to Caffé Lena in Saratoga for the Wild Harps of Ireland, a special program featuring some of the region’s finest harp players (7 PM, $14, 583-0022). . . . On Tuesday, the Glengarry Bhoys will play songs from their latest album, Rhoots, at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, with special guest Brendan Carey Block (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610). . . . Tuesday also brings Donnybrook Fair to the Parting Glass in Saratoga (7 PM, $15, 583-1916). . . . For the big day, Wednesday brings an abundance of Irish music. Begin the day with the Monroe Brothers at McGeary’s (noon, free, 463-1455). . . . Later on that day, local faves Hair of the Dog will rock Revolution Hall, Celtic-style (5 PM, $10, 273-2337). . . . Or, if you want to spend the evening in western Mass., the Big Bad Bollocks will bring their blend of “the Cheiftans, the Clash, the Sex Pistols [and] a touch of Benny Hill” to the Iron Horse (7 PM, $13, 413-584-0610). Just don’t be drinkin’ and drivin’, now.

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