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John Hiatt
The Egg, Thursday

The Indiana-born singer-songwriter—whose music fuses blues, folk, R&B, country and rock, featuring lyrics laced with equal doses warmth, wit and insight—never quite achieved the Next Big Thing status some predicted, but is still widely admired and respected by many a discerning fan, critic and fellow musician. Hiatt’s songwriting skills have been recognized by artists like Bonnie Raitt (remember “Thing Called Love”?), Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson and B.B. King, all of whom have performed Hiatt’s songs. Ironically, it took Hiatt 13 years to hit the charts himself, even after writing hit after hit for other musicians. Some songs have had quite a long life, too—“Have a Little Faith in Me” was performed by everyone from Delbert McClinton to Joe Cocker to Jewel (who recorded it for the Phenomenon soundtrack). Although Hiatt usually tours with his band the Goners, he’s taking this touring opportunity to go solo. Nab this opportunity to check him out when he performs tonight at the Egg in Empire State Plaza in Albany. Country crooner Kieran Kane will open the show. (May 27, 7:30 PM, $26, 473-1845)

Spouse, the Sixfifteens
King’s Tavern, Friday

Spouse’s beautiful and twisted pop is a cross-pollination of experimental noise and deceptively simple melodies. They hail from Northampton, Mass., and Maine, and have a revolving door of contributing musicians all under the direction of the band’s one consistent member, José Ayerve, who keeps the collective sounding like an indie dance band fronted by Joe Pernice. This has been a busy year for Spouse, with a new EP and with work on their third album, so expect some fresh material on Friday’s set list. Spouse also share an affinity for jagged pop with their host band, the Sixfifteens. The Sixfifteens say this is one of their only shows until late fall, so catch them now before they hide out to prep for their first full-length record. Mysterious “Icelandic” imports 5 Alpha Beatdown will bring their broken English and boas for starters. It should be noted that the show will not be on standard King’s time—it’ll start at 9 PM. (May 28, 9 PM, $3, 581-7090)

The Quitters
Valentine’s, Friday

The Quitters—are they really? These fellows from Rochester have been at this rock & roll thing since 1994. They’re not afraid to trumpet their numerous accomplishments, which include the invention of rock & roll, as well as three “(s)hit singles,” a couple of CDs, videos and a successful reign as “the greatest band in the world.” This was accomplished by playing an appealingly garagey pop and such stunts as their infamous “12 month tour of Rochester.” As they say, they’re not trying to make it—they’ve already made it. Also on the program will be Lucia Lie, Public Access, Menace Society and I Voted for Kodos. Well, at least you didn’t vote for Nader. (May 28, PM, $7, 432-6572)

The Living End, Stand Up Citizen, Small Axe
Northern Lights, Friday

Gretsch-slinging Chris Cheney, upright bassist Scott Owen, and new drummer Andy Strachan have been pairing a Stray Cats visual aesthetic with a Jammy, mod-punk sound for a decade now, but it looks like things are just now starting to take off for them here in the States. They got their break back in ’95 after sending a demo and T-shirt to Green Day in hopes of landing the opening slot on their Australian tour—which they did. Their self-titled 1998 debut LP was the biggest debut in Australian music history, but they enjoyed only a moderate amount of attention here. Looks like the spell may be over: “Who’s Gonna Save Us?” from their third and latest LP, Modern Artillery, is all over the radio these days, and the accompanying video is starting to make some noise on TRL as well. This Friday, they stop in Clifton Park on a night off from their summer tour with Blink-182 and No Doubt. Also appearing are local pop-punkers Stand Up Citizen and the psychedeleriffic Small Axe. (May 28, 7:30 PM, $14, 371-0012)

Weirdfest 2004
The Flywheel, Easthampton, Mass., Friday-Sunday

Everything about this show makes sense to us. First of all, it’s called Weirdfest (it’s a celebration of the fifth anniversary of Weirdsville Web Radio). How can that fail to tempt you? Secondly, it’s being held at Easthampton’s Flywheel, which means the name is likely not in vain. And thirdly, to further reinforce the legitimacy of the three-day loon-a-polooza, check out the bill: On Friday, there’ll be acts such as Tinklepotty, Trashy Wedding Guest, Uncle Bob and Albany’s own Blackloud (that’s the magical, mystical bass-basher Jimbo, who formerly made with the boomstick for Small Axe); on Saturday, you’ll get Bunnybrains, Unicorn Hard-On, Tan as Fuck and the sonically youthful T. Moore, among others; and the whole shebang comes to a rapturous end on Sunday, with the assistance of the Chemical Wedding, Freddy K, Paradise Camp 23, Dufus and a multimedia performance suite titled Shadows in Passage. Say it with us, weird is good. (May 28-30; Fri, 7:30 PM; Sat, 5:30 PM; Sun, 6 PM; $5 per night; 413-527-9800)

Jake Holmes
Saratoga County Arts Council, Saturday

Jake Holmes has lived quite an eclectic life: From being the often-unaccredited author of Zeppelin’s ’70s anthem “Dazed and Confused” (not to mention the come-join-the-army jingle for the “Be All You Can Be” commercials) to writing a concept album for Frank Sinatra, this guy seems to have done it all. Though classically trained at accomplished places like Juilliard and Bennington College, Holmes prefers a much less classical approach to music: He fancies writing humorous, socially conscious and romantic songs. A member of the Song Writers Hall of Fame, Holmes has written for Harry Belafonte in addition to Sinatra and others. Holmes will perform original compositions from albums he’s made for Columbia, Polydor and Tower Records at the Saratoga County Arts Council on Saturday night. (May 29, 7:30 PM, $15, $12 members, 584-4132)


Also Noted

The annual Bob Dylan birthday celebration at Union College’s Old Chapel takes place tonight (Thursday). For this year’s party, Michael Eck has assembled an all-star cast of locals to pay tribute to Dylan’s 1975 “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour. Bryan Thomas, Mitch Elrod, Jason Martin, Dana Monteith and Carl Smith will be among the performers gathered to say feliz cumpleaños to ol’ Bob. Although it’s a free show, a $5 donation is suggested to benefit the Chris Ryan Scholarship Fund. There’ll be cake, too! (6 PM, free, 388-6124). . . . You may have heard their latest single, “Two Girls,” on WEQX, and if so, you probably either love it or hate it; rest assured, Paranoid Social Club will perform that one whether you like it or not tonight at Troy’s Revolution Hall (8 PM, $12, 273-2337). . . . Yes, it’s now official—Phish are finally calling it quits. That means no more tour, no more parking-lot drug parties, and no more giant flying hot dogs (thank heavens). But you can put down your hankies and pick up your hacky sacks, oh lovers of the jam, for there’s a whole world of vibe-catching opportunities ’round these parts, including tomorrow night’s show at the Lark Tavern, featuring local noodlers School Bus Yellow (10 PM, $3, 463-7875). . . . MASS MoCA will kick off its concert season with the most unusual triple-bill of Steve Earle, Odetta and Carl Hancock Rux at the Hunter Center on Sunday (6:30 PM, $26, 413-662-2211). . . . Folky spitfire Erin McKeown is also going to be out Massachusetts way on Sunday night, and she’ll perform a show at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington (8 PM, $15, 413-528-3394). . . . There’s a multi-band extreme-metal show going down on Tuesday; among the bands participating are Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus—a name we’re quite fond of, in an existentialist kind of way, for aren’t we all really just part of the big machine that is life? Oh, sorry, wrong meeting. Anyway, that show takes place at Northern Lights (7:30 PM, $10, 371-0012).


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