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Cui Jian
Union College, Friday

“The Bruce Springsteen of China” kicks off a U.S. tour tomorrow night with a free show at Union College’s Memorial Chapel in Schenectady. Widely regarded as the pioneer of rock music in his homeland, Cui Jian came to national attention during the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989, shortly after the release of his debut album, Rock ‘n’ Roll on the New Long March. Since that time, he has appeared in the independent film Beijing Bastards, and has sold more than 10 million copies of politically-charged albums like Balls Under the Red Flag and The Power of the Powerless. Not bad for a guy who was, until recently, limited to performing in just a few Beijing bars due to a de facto performance ban there. When he returns home, he will co-headline a brief Chinese tour with hard-rock dinosaurs Deep Purple. (April 9, 8 PM, free, 388-6131)

Blood for Blood
Valentine’s, Friday

Making up for a canceled Feb. 27 show—and yes, the tickets you purchased for that date will be honored—Blood for Blood will bring their brand of “viciously aggressive hardcore/punk rock sound” to Valentine’s tomorrow night. You know the songs. You love the songs: “I Am the Enemy,” “Soulless,” “Bitch Called Hope,” and “Piss All Over Your Hopes and Dreams.” As guitarist Rob Lind once explained, “This band is my opportunity to spit in society’s face and tell mankind and the whole world ‘fuck you’.” All right then. You know what you’re in for. Also on the bill will be kindred spirits Murderer’s Row, Dying Ta Live and That’s Life. (April 9, 8 PM, $13, 432-6572)

Jake Armerding and Teddy Goldstein
Caffe Lena, Friday

With two solo releases out on Compass Records, steady touring, and solid airplay on folk stations, Jake Armerding is making his mark on the Northeast folk scene, and will be visiting Caffe Lena tomorrow (Friday). Bluegrass fans may remember the Massachusetts singer-songwriter as the former fiddler in his father’s acclaimed newgrass band Northern Lights. He’s earned his reputation as a multi-instrumentalist playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and The Boston Globe described him as a “provocative mix of hip urban songwriter and crack traditional musician.” Terry Goldstein will add his sensitive and comedic songwriting style to the performance in his third appearance there. (April 9, 8 PM, $10-12, 583-0022)

Asylum Street Spankers
The Van Dyck, Friday

The Asylum Street Spankers have gotten their fair share of attention for what at first blush might appear to be their gimmick: They perform without any amplification. Totally in the raw, as it were. But, as anyone who has once been drawn in by the “gimmick” can tell you, it’s not a gimmick at all—in fact, it’s almost the anti-gimmick. The fact is that they don’t use it simply because they don’t need it; and the fact that that they don’t need it calls attention to how desperately some other outfits do—along with dozens of other examples of electronical trickeries, yer stompboxes, confetti cannons, ProTools, whatnot. The Spankers present their rootsy, ragged, hillbilly jazz with bravado and balls (“The Scrotum Song” makes this thematic as well as stylistic), making that newfangled gimcrackery just so much static. (April 9, 7 and 9:30 PM, $15, 381-1111)

Freddie Hubbard Nonet
The Van Dyck, Saturday

It’s hard to believe that this will be Freddie Hubbard’s first appearance at the Van Dyck, considering the club’s venerable jazz history. The trumpet legend—he is routinely called “one of the great jazz trumpeters of all time,” if such an accolade can ever be considered routine—has had a spectacular career, going back to his breakthrough tenure with Art Blakey. In addition to leading his own bands, he’s played with almost everybody: Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane. This Saturday night, he’ll be fronting a nonet featuring bandleader David Weiss. If a powerhouse nine-piece band in the Van Dyck’s intimate club setting doesn’t get you all jazzed up, nothing will. (April 10, 7 and 9:30 PM, $35, 381-1111)

Pernice Brothers, the Long Winters
Valentine’s, Monday

There’s nothing wrong with the natural mellowing process many singer-songwriters experience over the course of a career—it’s just evolution. You start a pop-rock band and bash your way through your extended adolescence; along the way and over the years though, you’re slowly acquiring less-obvious influences, developing more sophisticated emotions and a subtler vocabulary. Before you know it, you’re a more troubadour than enfant terrible. That’s fine; we’ve got no problem with, say, the new Westerberg. On the other hand, we’ve got to express our appreciation for the inverted course of Joe Pernice, who started out with a hushed and literary cult outfit, the Scud Mountain Boys, continued on to a similarly sedate solo project, and then, all of a sudden, decided to become a pop star. His last album, Yours, Mine & Ours, was a bright and sunny slab of uptempo mastery, evocative of the greatest hits of the bubblegum era while still maintaining Pernice’s characteristic lyrical intelligence. On this swing through Albany, Pernice will follow the Long Winters, who know a thing or two about pop mastery and defying expectations themselves. (April 12, 7 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Also Noted

Tonight (Thursday), catch blues-rocker Albert Cummings at Troy’s beautiful Revolution Hall (8:30 PM, $10, 273-2337). . . . Lately, Lark Street’s Justin’s restaurant has been carving out its place as a music venue for more than just jazz: Alt-country rockers knotworking will take the stage tomorrow (Friday, 10:30 PM, $3, 436-7008). . . . The Larkin once again will play host to an all-female singer-songwriter night; on Friday, award-winning musician Edie Carey (who has been compared to the likes of Shawn Colvin and Ani DiFranco) headlines the show opened by Jennifer Marks and Erin Hobson (8 PM, $8, 4635225). . . . Of Berkshire-based composer-improvisationist Larry Chernicoff, the Creative Music Newsletter had this to say: “The visual images that his sounds evoke came to me readily and vividly. This music is beautiful and complex.” Chernicoff and his all-star 10-piece ensemble, Windhorse, will perform their hard-to-classify blend of jazz, classical and world music at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday (8 PM, $21, 413-443-7171). . . . The 13-member orchestra Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra is said to “overwhelm the stage with monstrous horns and bass, polyrhythmic beats and funky breaks, and furious lyrics in English, Yoruba and Spanish”—see them on Saturday night at the Pearl Street nightclub in Northampton, Mass. (8:30 PM, $10, 413-584-0610). . . . Jordan Knight, of New Kids on the Block fame, will perform his brand of solo pop at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Monday with Jerry Redi opening (7 PM, $20, 413-584-0610).

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