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Blue State Blues Festival

Valentine’s, Thursday

The organizers of this evening’s Blue State Blues Festival describe the event as “not really the blues.” But, we ask, why not? Sure, the show might not be full of the “since my baby left me” and “born under a bad sign” sentiments typical to the blues-music idiom, but we’re fairly sure the blues—as in the downtrodden, depressive emotional state—will be in full effect as a gaggle of experimentally minded performers assemble to “celebrate a one-month anniversary of what was not exactly an exercise in better judgment.” Ahhh, we get it now. The Not Marching Band, a seven-or-more-piece band of “risk-takers, floor-shakers, and peace makers,” will make its debut tonight, along with a number of unique ensembles: the James Keepnews-Mike Lopez Duo, Adichatz (Mitch Elrod, Nicole Peyrafitte and Mike Lopez), Faking Trains, and a collaboration between Tom Burre and Matthew Loiacono. (Dec. 2, 8 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)


club Helsinki, Friday

OK, first off, we’ve got to tell you that this is not our description, so stay off our backs about the clichéd construction, got it? Babaloo describe themselves as the “bastard child of King Sunny Ade and the Ramones.” (It’s their job to make the music, not to write about it.) The Boston-based band’s fans don’t bother with the rock-crit formulations, though, content as they are to turn out in droves and dance their asses off to Babaloo’s multilingual punk mambo (in which you’ll find not only mambo but elements of soukous, cha cha, samba, reggae, ska and cumbia). Due to the loyalty of the hometown music cognoscenti—and to their high-energy shows and anarchic take on dance music of the world—Babaloo scored the Boston Phoenix’s Best Local Band award in 2002, which meant that some Beantown scribbler had to come up with a whole new bastard-child metaphor. (Dec. 3, 9 PM, $15, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Two if by Sea, Oxford Collapse, Bible Study

King’s Tavern, Friday

Lately, the name Franz Ferdi-nand is often thrown around when describing Baltimore quintet Two if by Sea. So what exactly, if anything, do the well-dressed Marylanders have in common with their equally well-dressed Scottish counterparts? Besides the sharp suits and sharper haircuts, both bands pair the syncopated dance beats of early new wave with choppy guitars and smooth, disaffected vocals. But while the Scots tend to aim their rock at both the mind and body, Two if by Sea seem perfectly fine with providing the soundtrack for a sweaty, late-night bump-and-grind on the floor of a Manchester discotheque. The group currently are on tour with New York-based dance freaks Oxford Collapse. Art-rockers Bible Study will make a rare appearance to round out the bill. (Dec. 3, 9 PM, $5, 241 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs, 581-7090)

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Egg, Saturday

First and foremost, the Preser-vation Hall Jazz Band would like to make clear that New Orleans jazz (what they play) is not the same as Dixieland (what others play). “The tempo is a shade slower than the other jazz forms and the melody is always clearly heard with improvisation at its heart. Unobscured by complicated arrangements, its greatness lies in its simplicity,” they say. It should be a special treat, then, to hear the group take on standards of the holiday season when they present “A Creole Christmas” this weekend. Expect trees trimmed with Mardi Gras beads, a Christmas ham spiked with Tabasco, and a whole lot of happy dancing feet. (Dec. 4, 8 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1865)

Drag the River, the Enablers, the Nerds

Valentine’s, Monday

Colorado-based alt-rock-country band Drag the River (composed of punk veterans Chad Price of All, Jon Snodgrass and Paul Rucker of Armchair Martian, and JJ Nobody of the Nobodys) will perform tonight at Valentine’s with their new labelmates the Enablers. The Enablers, featuring former Fay Wray frontman Rob Coe, and Dan Bonebrake from Dashboard Confessional, came out with their debut EP, Sweet Fuck All, last year on Newest Industry. The six songs on the disc have been described as, among other things, “country-tinged and punk-inspired rock.” Drag the River’s label, Mars Motors, will rerelease Sweet Fuck All as a new full-length album called To Thine Own Ruin Be True—this version is actually due out today (Thursday); Drag the River’s latest EP Hey Buddies is also scheduled to hit stores today. Catch these bands on Monday as they celebrate their new releases. Local indie-rockers the Nerds will open. (Dec. 6, 8 PM, $6, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards

Saratoga Winners, Tuesday

“I don’t go anywhere without my switchblade, I don’t go anywhere without my crew,” sings Lars Frederiksen on 2004’s The Viking. The album’s liner notes are covered with pictures of Lars and his bastards carousing with various prostitutes in different stages of undress and manages to combine the street attitude of punk with the tough posing of gangsta rap and ’80s hair metal. The straightforward, brutal-yet-catchy punk music that backs up Lars’ bragging and threats may scare away the usual baggy-pants-wearing Good Charlotte worshippers and MTV programmers. Then again, Lars’ style of M.C.-ish gangster bravado may just as easily slice the face of popular punk music. (Dec. 7, 8 PM, $12, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham, 783-1010)

Also Noted

Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra will re-create an entire Dead set from the past at Revolution Hall tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $22, 273-2337). . . . The Figgs are back for their annual holiday throwdown at Valentine’s this weekend; handling opening chores will be Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts on Friday, the Rudds on Saturday (9 PM, $8, 432-6572). . . . Northern Lights will host the final round of Channel 103.1’s “Most Original Band” contest on Saturday night; Rory Breaker, Lynch, Edison and the Brian Kaplan Band will duke it out for the honor of opening next weekend’s Cake show (7 PM, free, 371-0012). . . . In the mood for some intelligent hiphop? Head over to Northampton and catch Definitive Jux recording artists the Perceptionists, featuring Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, and DJ Fakts One, with special guest Cold Duck Complex, at Pearl Street on Saturday night (8:30 PM, $18, 413-584-7771). . . . On the heavier side of things, Twelve Tribes, E-Town Concrete, Diecast and Devilinside will rock Saratoga Winners on Saturday (8 PM, $10, 783-1010). . . . The College of Saint Rose will host a fund-raising benefit for the Albany Pop Warner football program on Saturday, featuring a live performance by Ernie Williams (8 PM, $10-30, 372-4382). . . . Get a double dose of metal on Sunday, starting with a matinee show at the Hudson Duster, featuring Merauder, Agents of Man, Heart of Darkness and Scucca (3 PM, $5, 687-2391). . . . Later on, head up to Northern Lights and catch Damageplan (featuring Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul of Pantera), Shadows Fall and the Haunted (7:30 PM, $15, 371-0012). . . . The roster of shows at King’s Tavern is looking real good these days, and this Tuesday is no exception, as the fine Philly-based group Matt Pond PA will take the stage, with Kamikaze Heart-about-town Matthew Loiacono opening (9 PM, $5, 581-7090).

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