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Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

Our neighbors to the north are sending their very best to Jacob’s Pillow this summer in the form of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. The company will be on hand for six performances displaying selections from its distinguished repertory of European-style works at once contemporary and traditional. Six Dances is a baroque (it’s set to Mozart of the same title) and comedic piece of powdered wiggery by Jirí Kylián, artistic director for the Nederlands Dans Theater. The troupe also will perform Mats Ek’s steamy Solo for Two, the story of two lovers told to ambient music by Arvo Pärt, and the sensual Without Words, the tale of four couples choreographed by Nacho Duarto, set to Schubert. And for you fans of hot dance bods: This program contains nudity. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.) There will also be a preshow PillowTalk on Wednesday (July 21) with company artistic director Gradimir Pankov.

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal will perform Wednesday through Saturday (July 21-24) at 8 PM and Saturday and Sunday (July 24-25) at 2 PM at the Ted Shawn Theatre (Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, Mass.). Tickets are $50, $45 for students, seniors and children under 13. For reservations and information, call (413) 243-0745.

Wigstock @ Water Works

You probably thought that the New York City Ballet was the only Manhattan culture headed our way this week. You couldn’t be more wrong, darling, as the Lady Bunny and Wigstock—a trés different kind of love-in than Woodstock—will have their own special “residency” Friday night at the Water Works Pub in Albany.

Wigstock is New York City’s annual Labor Day dragfest, an institution founded by the Lady Bunny in 1984. Ms. Bunny, whose motto is “the higher the hair, the closer to God,” will be featured in this upstate version of the drag extravaganza, hosted by J.J. Gay. Please note: There will be a cash prize for best wig, so think big.

Wigstock will explode in all its pageantry tomorrow (Friday, July 16) at 11 PM at the Water Works Pub (79 Central Ave., Albany). For more information, call 465-9079 or visit www.waterworkspub.com.

Slayer

Ah, the mighty Slayer. Mere mention of the diabolic foursome sends minions of pit-hardened misanthropes into an almost surreal display of spasmodic acrobatics. Slayer have more than 20 years of wrecking concert halls under their goat skins, and very few dispute the precision and alacrity with which they do so. The band’s 1986 album Reign In Blood is most likely the most important 28 minutes in the history of thrash metal—even today, critics point to its unprecedented cohesion of speed, aggression, delivery and seamless production as the industry standard from which all music of the genre has grown. Metroland caught up with drummer Dave Lombardo in Boston to see what’s new with California’s finest metallurgists, who visit the Capital Region Saturday (July 17) to co-headline the first annual, two-day Aggressive Music Festival at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Lombardo sounds charged, still confident with his 2002 decision to put aside past differences and return to the band after an eight-year hiatus (he is the outfit’s original drummer—some feel the only drummer), and ready to appear on yet another Ozzfest tour with the off-dates filled, almost obsessively, with headlining shows like Glens Falls.

“The relationship you have with your coworkers really matters,” he says. “You have to see these people every single day, and even more. It’s a lot, more than at a [regular] job, you can’t just go and be alone after a show. The only time you have to yourself is in your hotel room. But we’re getting along great, and we’re playing great.”

Having also earned a reputation as one of metal’s greatest live bands, Slayer have long waged enormous, protracted touring campaigns that often keep them on the road for several years between releases (their last studio effort, God Hates Us All, was released in 2001). Lombardo says that while all the material is written for a new album, there is no scheduled time when they will actually be able to record it.

“We have a lot of music ready, amazing music. . . . I’m really trying to stay focused, true to the speed metal [form], but also, you know, finding these weird little drum rhythms to enhance the songs,” he explains. “But I have absolutely no idea when it will happen. Hopefully next year. I mean, it has to. We have to get off of the road and stop touring! We’re like a machine.”

He discusses the previous night’s show, which should keep fans sated for a while: To the delight of Hessians in Augusta, Maine, Reign in Blood was performed in its entirety and filmed for a DVD release in September. In order to revisit the look and feel of the time, original stage banners from that era were re-created, incorporating the infamous Slayer eagle and the once-controversial upside-down-cross lighting rig. And then it started to rain.

“It was incredible, we had like, this blood trickling down on us,” he explains. “It looked exactly like rain. We were all just absolutely drenched in it. We had Dean Karr too, a great director, so it turned out really good. We’re really happy.”

When asked if the band members were aware at the time Reign was originally recorded that they had created a master stroke, Lombardo pauses.

“It doesn’t phase you,” he says. “It never struck us that it was going to break us out. But we did understand that we were working with professional, reputable people. We were with Rick Rubin, who had just produced Licensed to Ill for the Beastie Boys and Run DMC’s Raising Hell. We were also working with Andy Wallace. At that time you knew you were dealing with pros, but fame? A masterpiece? Nah.”

“Success was a surprise, really weird,” he continues. “It wasn’t forced, it was a very natural progression. One minute you’re a kid in a garage playing songs by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, next thing you know we’re writing our own songs. Then we’re on tour. Now we’re actually [playing with] Priest at Ozzfest. All I know is that we all had dreams, and were determined [regarding] what we wanted to do with our lives. And we’re still doing that.”

Slayer will appear at the Aggressive Music Festival this Saturday (April 17) at 6:30 PM at the Glens Falls Civic Center (1 Civic Center Plaza, Glens Falls) along with Slipknot, Hatebreed and God Forbid. The festival continues on Sunday (April 18) at noon with Soulfly, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Deicide, Sick of It All, Skinless and many more. Tickets are $35 per day advance, $38 on the day of the show. A two-day pass is $60. For more information, call 798-0202 or visit www.aggressivemusicfestival.com.

—Bill Ketzer


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