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American Idols Live!
Pepsi Arena, Thursday

We’ll admit it—we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our television. We want to put an Elvis-sized shot of lead through the tube every time we see Bill O’Reilly’s fat, blubbering head, but sometimes it’s just so fun to let him annoy the heck out of us. We get the same itchy trigger finger every time we see Simon Cowell’s fat, blubbering head, but there’s just something about American Idol’s Gong Show-esque parade of Warholian flashes-in-the-pan that glues us to our seats. Before the dust has completely settled, the finalists from the most recent installment of Idol have hit the road to capitalize on their fleeting fame. All nine also-rans will appear—including Diana DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, and the cute-in-a-Rick-Astley-way John Stevens—along with the “big winner,” Fantasia Barrino. Meanwhile, William Hung is laughing all the way to the bank. Off-key. Gotta love that guy. (Sept. 2, 7 PM, $36-$46, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 476-1000)

Jane Bunnett & the Spirits of Havana
Club Helsinki, Friday-Saturday

If a Canadian musician plays Cuban-influenced jazz (an authentically American art form), does that count as world music? All right, don’t break your brain on this one, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett has gained a lot of attention, and no shortage of high praise, for her combination of the aforementioned traditions (no, we don’t really know what constitutes Canadian musical tradition either, but play along, will ya?), and she’s going to be offering up a two-night sample of it on Friday and Saturday. Bunnett and her band, the Spirits of Havana, have been described as near the top of “the Latin Jazz Ladder,” so catch her before she ascends to the lofty heights, just so you can say you did. (Sept. 3-4, 9 PM, $25, 284 Main St.,Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Fund the Mentals CD-release party
Lark Tavern, Saturday

Fund the Mentals, the hiphop group consisting of artists Dez and Sween, have released a new CD called Bonk Bonk. We’ll leave the connotation to your imagination. We’d love to tell you about the songs’ subject matters, or quote some lyrics, or describe the cover art, but this is a PG-13 paper, and the description of the disc would most likely belong in the adult insert. What we can tell you is that the group are holding a release party presented by Pitch Control Music at the Lark Tavern on Saturday. Consider yourself warned: This show is not for virgin ears. (Sept. 4, $3, 453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779)

Kid Rock
Pepsi Arena, Sunday

Grab a six pack and load the kids into the trailer—Kid Rock is comin’ to town. The Kid—touring in support of his 2003 self-titled album—certainly had a huge role (or takes the blame—you decide) in the rap-metal explosion a few years back. However, instead of fading into Fred Durst-levels of obscurity (Limp who?), Rock kept it cool and surprised fans with “Picture,” a surprisingly tender countrified duet with Sheryl Crow. Since then, Rock’s work has been more ZZ Top than Slipknot, earning him the respect of the NASCAR crowd and giving him the chance to collaborate with a wide variety of artists. Talk about someone taking lemons and turning them into hard lemonade. (Sept. 5, 8 PM, $36, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 476-1000)

Boy Skout
Fuze Box, Monday

Singer-guitarist Leslie Satterfield literally threw the band that would become Boy Skout together three weeks before their first show. Three years and a few lineup changes later, Boy Skout—that’s Satterfield, keyboardist Zola Goodrich, bassist Piper Lewine, and drummer Alana King—have released their debut CD, School of Etiquette. It’s an androgynously giddy good time, pairing barely-post-disco new-wave backbeats with Blondieriffic sass, and just a taste of the bilious riot-grrrl attitude, like Sleater-Kinney and the Rapture in a dance-floor tangle. The album has gotten high marks from the Washington Post and Lollipop; we hear the live show is a hoot as well. Doing the opening honors on Monday night are Brevator—Albany’s self-proclaimed “hot new boy band” (we think they’re kidding)—and Matthew Laque, better known as Matto (but you already knew that). (Sept. 6, 8 PM, $5, 12 Central Ave., Albany, 432-4472)

Caravan, Nektar
The Egg, Wednesday

Maybe, just maybe, you’re worn out by the garage-rock revival. Maybe you’re bored by three-chord ferocity and simplicity. Maybe you’re in the mood for something more complex, something more intricate, something more—dare we say it—progressive. You’re in luck. On Wednesday, the Egg hosts not one but two cult faves of ’60s-era prog-rock ambition and artsiness: Canterbury-based Caravan were a critical fave, even though they never broke through commercially, as did stylistically similar groups such as the Soft Machine; and Nektar, a quartet of Englishmen who got their start in Germany, and draw comparisons to such acts as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes. (Sept. 8, 7:45 PM, $27.50 advance, $30 door, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)


Also Noted

Tonight (Thursday), catch some of the overflow from tomorrow night’s Big Pop Bar-B-Q (see Night & Day, page 35) as Malta-gone-Boston rocker Brett Rosenberg and our own John Brodeur will play rotating solo sets (with drum machines!) at the Lark Tavern (9:30 PM, free, 463-7875). . . . It’s that time again—the fifth annual moe.down festival takes place at the Snow Ridge Ski Area in Turin from Friday through Sunday; this year’s performers include moe. (of course), Blues Traveler, Nellie McKay, Leftover Salmon, and Trainwreck (featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D), among others ($100, 315-348-8456). . . . Friday night finds former D-Generation singer and Ryan Adams drinkin’ buddy Jesse Malin returning to the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. (10 PM, $13, 413-584-0610). . . . Also on Friday, NYC hardcore heavies Madball and H2O, along with locals Burning Bridges and My Revenge, invade Saratoga Winners (8 PM, $12, 783-1010). . . . Washington Park will be the site of a most unusual production on Saturday afternoon—the “Hiphop vs. the Labor Movement” event will feature performances by Immortal Technique and M1 of Dead Prez, plus a number of local hiphop artists and union members speaking about their collective struggle (noon, free, 785-4672). . . . Catch legendary vocalist Marlene VerPlanck and her jazz trio on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga’s Alsop Hall (3 PM, $22, 584-4132). . . . The Chapel + Cultural Center at Rensselaer will host its annual Welcome Back picnic on Sunday evening; the Carbondale Shafts will treat those assembled to a set of rural-rock (6 PM, free, 274-7793). . . . There’ll be time enough for rockin’ when the filming’s done—soul-
rocker Bryan Thomas will film a video for the song “Babylon” at the Lark Tavern on Monday afternoon, but unfortunately, it’s a closed set. However, he’ll play a set for the public once the cameras stop rolling (7 PM, free, 463-7875).


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