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Manhattan Transfer
Palace Theatre, Friday

Formed in 1972, the vocal quartet of Tim Hauser, Janis Siegel, Alan Paul and Cheryl Bentyne rode a wave of 1970s nostalgia, resurrecting jazz trends from boogie-woogie to bop to vocalese. They developed a strong cult following while playing New York clubs and becoming the most popular jazz vocal group of their era, along with a string of Top 10 hits off their albums Coming Out and Pastiche in Europe. In 1981, they made music history by becoming the first group to win Grammy Awards in both pop and jazz categories in the same year, and are set to present their mix of music at the Palace Theatre tomorrow (Friday) night. (April 16, 7:30 PM, $47.50, 465-3334)

Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Satyricon
Saratoga Winners, Friday

Tampa-based extreme-metal legends Morbid Angel released their first album, Altars of Madness, in 1989 and, despite a few lineup changes over the years, they’ve only gotten heavier. The band’s latest, Heretic, is their eighth release, and follows in their pattern of naming their albums alphabetically (no joke), proving that there may just be a sense of humor beneath all the macabre. The innovative fretwork of guitarist Trey Azagthoth is a huge selling point—this isn’t just your average detuned death-metal sludge, folks—and the adept rhythm section of bassist-vocalist Steve Tucker and drummer Pete Sandoval completes one of the bright lights in a very dark field. Fellow heavies Suffocation, Satyricon, and Premonitions of War round out the bill. (April 16, 8 PM, $22, 783-1010)

Thursday, Poison the Well, Engine Down
Northern Lights, Saturday

Rock-star-in-waiting Geoff Rickly and his band Thursday have been riding quite the critical wave lately. Spin recently tapped Thursday for their “Next Big Thing” issue—the cover of which featured Rickly alongside rock-star-since-birth Justin Hawkins of the Darkness—in addition to picking their latest LP, War All the Time, as one of 2003’s 10 best releases. In a few short weeks, the screamo heroes will head off to California to take part in the tons-of-talent Coachella festival; in the meantime, they’re right here in our backyard, and they’re in some good company: The groovy postpunk sound of Richmond, Va.’s Engine Down will warm things up. Poison the Well and Spitalfield also will perform. (April 17, 7:30 PM, $19, 371-0012)

Tobin Sprout
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Saturday

Tobin Sprout is a prolific songwriter. No, Tobin Sprout is a prolific visual artist. OK, fine: Tobin Sprout is both of those things, but this Saturday at the Iron Horse, you can rest assured that he will place the emphasis on the former. During his tenure as guitarist for indie-rock marathon men Guided by Voices, Sprout lent his considerable abilities to well over 20 releases (including singles and EPs); as a solo artist and collaborator with groups like Eyesinweasel and Airport 5, that number has ballooned to nearly 100. Additionally, he has dedicated his “spare” time to photorealistic painting, and he opened his own gallery in Michigan a few years ago. You see, where Tobin Sprout comes from, they don’t sleep much. (April 17, 10 PM, $11, 413-584-0610)

Toxic Narcotic, the Epidemic, State Control, Kimmy Gibbler
Valentine’s, Saturday

Toxic Narcotic are one of Boston’s longest-standing bastions of that fair city’s roaring punk family. They’ve self-released their records since 1992 on their own Rodent Popsicle label. Their energetic combo of blistering punk, metal and hardcore is the kind that the kids just eat up. At Valentine’s on Saturday, Toxic Narcotic will be joined by labelmates and fellow Bostonians the Epidemic and State Control. The Epidemic—who just released their eponymous debut on CD—and State Control both play ’80s-style limey punk at breakneck speed. Dizzying, really. New, local, early-Dischord-inspired band Kimmy Gibbler (members of Mr. Wednesday) will kick the night off, though there’s no telling if the band are anything like their Full House namesake. Watch the firestorm as these bands burn through the downstairs roof, singeing the toes of Hamell on Trial upstairs. (April 17, 8 PM, $10, 432-6572)

Chapel +Cultural Center, Sunday

Things do keep longer in the chill, maybe that’s got something to do with Stambandet’s longevity: The Scadanavian vocal group currently are celebrating an impressive 25th anniversary in the biz. Comprising singers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the United States, Stambandet may very well be the longest-lived outfit advancing the cause of Nordic folk music—of course, given our knowledge of the genre, they’re free to claim pretty much whatever they want without fear of contradiction. This year, they say, they’re dedicating themselves to an exploration of the intersection of the indigenous melodies of Scandanavia and jazz. Insert cool-jazz punchline here. (April 18, 8 PM, $10, 274-7793)

Also Noted

The buzz-heavy Unicorns bring their indie-rock ghost stories to Bard College tonight (Thursday), along with special guests 90 Day Men and Coco Rosie (8:30 PM, $10, 273-2337). . . . Closer to home, the Orange Peel Records tour hits Valentine’s this evening, featuring Steel Train, Dexter Danger and others (7 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Gay Tastee (that’s Wasted frontman Steve Gaylord’s alter ego) and Blackloud (that’s former Small Axe bassman Jimbo Burton’s alter ego) make noise at the Larkin Lounge tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Also Friday, professional pottymouth John Valby—that’s Dr. Dirty if you’re nasty—returns to Northern Lights (8 PM, $15, 371-0012). . . . Six-string shredder Mike Campese will show what he’s all about at the Lark Tavern this Saturday night (10 PM, $3, 463-7875). . . . It’ll be a singer-songwriter lovefest on Saturday at the Larkin, with local faves Rich Baldes (of the Day Jobs), Brian Bassett, John Brodeur and Carl Smith performing solo and, just maybe, as a group (8 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Legendary soul crooner Percy Sledge will perform his classic, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and presumably some other songs, too, on Saturday at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson (7 PM, $22, 828-9839). . . . More classic soul comes courtesy of the Temptations and the Persuasions this Sunday at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton (7 PM, $27.50-47.50, 413-584-1444). . . . Floridian ska-punks Less Than Jake hit Pearl Street on Monday; the Early November and Fallout Boy warm it up (7 PM, $15, 413-584-7771). . . . Lis Harvey, Guinness World Record-holder for the fastest tour of all 50 states, slows it down a bit for an early show at the Larkin Lounge on Wednesday (7 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . It’s a family affair when the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players bring their multigenerational multimedia show to the Iron Horse on Wednesday night (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610).

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