THE DOZEN: December’s Must-See Concerts

Grand Slamboveans Joziah Longo and Sharkey McEwen
Joziah Longo and Sharkey McEwen of the Grand Slambovians

By Greg Haymes
Photograph by Stanley Johnson

You could call it Best Bets or Top Tips or whatever. We call it The Dozen, whereby we offer a monthly round-up of 12 (or so) of the shows around Nippertown that have got us jazzed the most. One entry per venue. Of course, your results may vary, so please feel free to weigh in on what you think we missed.

Here’s The Dozen for the big holiday month of December:

TUESDAY (DECEMBER 2): The J. Geils Band @ the Times Union Center, Albany. The hot-wired Peter Wolf fronts the re-formed (but not reformed) Beantown hitmakers as they open for heartland rocker Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. 7:30pm. $49.50 & $69.50.

THURSDAY (DECEMBER 4): Kitka @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. Eight women. No instruments. Haunting, captivating a cappella music in the vein of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. 7:30pm. $15, $20 & $25.

THURSDAY (DECEMBER 4): Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night @ MASS MoCA, North Adams. An ethereal, electronic soundscape played by the audience on boomboxes as they parade through the city streets. A magnificent 21st caroling experience. Meet at MASS MoCA’s parking lot at 5:30pm. FREE.

FRIDAY (DECEMBER 5): A Blue(Grassy) Christmas @ The Linda, Albany. It’s a pickin’ & singin’ celebration of the season led by fab fiddler Sara Milonovich and singer Jim Gaudet, featuring members of their respective bands, Daisycutter and the Railroad Boys. 8pm. $15.

FRIDAY (DECEMBER 5): Lucius @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. The alt-pop band was the breakout act of the 2013 Solid Sound fest, and their debut album, Wildewoman, has earned them Rookie of the Year consideration this year. With Bahamas, the brightest discovery of the 2013 Farm Aid fest at SPAC. 8pm. $18.

SATURDAY (DECEMBER 6): The Grand Slambovians @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady. Yes, they were formerly known as Gandolf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, but don’t hold that against ’em. Led by Joziah Longo, the band has been seriously (and not-so-seriously) folk-rockin’ for a decade strong. 7:30pm. $26 in advance; $28 at the door; $35 Gold Circle.

SATURDAY (DECEMBER 6): Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy. The dynamic drummer leads his wicked, edgy jazz band featuring saxman Jaleel Shaw and guitarist Chris Sholar. 7pm. $15.

SUNDAY (DECEMBER 7): The Gibson Brothers @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year, Leigh & Eric Gibson leave most of their band behind (except for bassist Mike Barber) for an intimate performance celebrating the brotherly harmonies of country and bluegrass greats. 3pm. $25 in advance; $27 at the door.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11: Gwar @ the Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park. The perfect antidote if you’re ODing on the fa-la-la-la-la and sugar plum fairies of the season. The cartoon metalheads make their first Local 518 performance since the death of singer Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus), now featuring new female vocalist Vulvatron. With Corrosion of Conformity and American Sharks. 8pm. $20 in advance; $22 at the door.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19: Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue @ The Egg, Albany. The Number One entry on our list of this month’s concerts. The Jesus of Cool delivers a decidedly non-sentimental holiday concert backed by Nashville’s Mexican wrestling masked twangmaster Los Straitjackets (led by Rensselaer native Eddie Angel). Not enough for you? Ian McLagan, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer with the Small Faces/the Faces opens the show. 8pm. $35.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19: The Figgs @ the Low Beat, Albany. The boys are back in town… celebrating the release of their new album, Badger, and performing Low Fi At Society High with Guy Lyons. With Lyons’ power trio Blockhouses. 8pm. $10 in advance. Also at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs at 9pm on Saturday, December 20. $10; $15 if under age 21

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20: The Terminals Band @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. A one-time-only performance in support of master jazz drummer Bobby Previte’s new album, Terminals, with guitarist Nels Cline, saxman Greg Osby and keyboardist John Medeski. 8pm.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28: NRBQ @ Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. Madcap keyboard genius Terry Adams leads his pioneering omni-pop band in a post-Holiday Hoedown accompanied by the Whole Wheat Horns. 8pm. $20 in advance; $25 at the door.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30: moe. @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. The jam band veterans and former Nippertonians close out 2014 with the first show of a two-night stand. 7pm. $35 in advance; $40 at the door. Also at 8pm on Wednesday, December 31; $45 in advance; $50 at the door.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31: Saratoga First Night @ various locations, Saratoga Springs. Nippertown’s best and most diverse New Year’s Eve option at a low-dough price. Featuring Bryan Thomas, Lee Shaw, the Lustre Kings, the Tartan Terrors, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, Olivia Quillio, Miss Tess & the Talkbacks, Beaked Whale, Holly & Evan and lots more. 6pm. $15.

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