THE DOZEN: April’s Must-See Concerts
By Greg Haymes
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 month of April:
FRIDAY (APRIL 3): Robert Randolph & the Family Band @ Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs. The pedal steel master gets back to his roots on his latest album, Lickety Split, firing up everything from soulful sacred steel jams to blistering blues-rock. With the Dave Spadaro Group, in support of their new self-titled album. 9pm. $25; $30 if under age 21.
SATURDAY (APRIL 4): Tal National @ the Half Moon, Hudson. By the time the African band Tal National reached international acclaim with 2013’s Kaani (their first release outside of Niger), they had spent more than a decade criss-crossing their native country, usually on dirt pathways through the Sahara, playing epic five-hour sets, seven days a week and selling their CDs on street corners. Now they’re headed to Hudson in support of their new album, Zoy Zoy. With DJ Effie Asili. 8pm. $10.
SATURDAY (APRIL 4): Nellie McKay @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady. The sweet and quirky alt-pop singer-songwriter continues to confound with her brand new album, My Weekly Reader, a collection of ’60s covers that includes such off-the-wall selections as Moby Grape’s “Murder in My Heart for the Judge” and Frank Zappa’s “Hungry Freaks Daddy.” 6:30 & 8:30pm. $22 in advance; $26 at the door. ALSO at Club Helsinki in Hudson at 8pm on Sunday, April 5 ($25 in advance; $30 at the door).
SATURDAY (APRIL 4): Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. There’s no better way to kick off April as Jazz Appreciation Month than with the New Orleans torchbearers of the traditional sound. With Jay Collins & the Kings County Band. 9pm. $35, $55, $65 & $79.
FRIDAY, APRIL 10: The Charlie Watts Riots @ the Low Beat, Albany. It’s been waaaay too long since the Local 518 power trio has graced a hometown stage, and it’s great to finally have ’em back. With the debut of the Sidd Finch Project. 9pm. $5.
SUNDAY, APRIL 12: Schenectady Musicians Union’s Jazz Appreciation Gala @ Proctors, Schenectady. The unsinkable jazz pianist Lee Shaw will be honored with the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Hero Award, and the documentary film “Lee’s Keys” will be screened. Followed by performances by Michael Benedict & Bopitude and the Keith Pray Quartet. 3pm. FREE.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15: Sufjan Stevens @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. The utterly unclassifiable alt-popster makes his Nippertown concert debut in support of his just-released new album, Carrie & Lowell. With Cold Specks. 8pm. $30, $35, $40 & $45.
THURSDAY, APRIL 16: The Funky Meters @ the Massry Center for the Arts, Albany. New Orleans’ mighty funk masters and guardians of the groove Art Neville (keyboards), George Porter Jr. (bass), Brian Stoltz (guitar) and Terrence Houston (drums) bring their sizzling second-line beat to the College of St. Rose. Do not forget your dancin’ shoes… 7:30pm. $45; $25 students.
THURSDAY, APRIL 16: Martin & Eliza Carthy @ Old Songs, Voorheesville. The acclaimed father and daughter are both icons on the British folk music scene, and now they’re together in support of their debut duo album, The Moral of the Elephant. 7:30pm. $25; $5 children age 12 & under. ALSO at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Wednesday, April 15 ($24 in advance; $26 at the door).
FRIDAY, APRIL 17: Neutral Milk Hotel @ MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, North Adams. The return of Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel — who influenced a generation of songwriters with a string of records in the ‘90s, culminating with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea — is one of the most welcome re-births on the indie music scene. With the Dot Wiggin Band. 8pm. $36 in advance; $45 at the door.
FRIDAY, APRIL 17: Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Two founding members of the classic ’60s Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band get together for a night of jaunty jug band music, old-time blues and more. 8pm. $28 in advance; $30 at the door.
SUNDAY, APRIL 19: Albany Musicians Union’s Jazz Gala @ Colonie Elks Lodge, Latham. Performances by the UAlbany Jazz Ensemble, the Pearl River Trio, Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard, String of Pearls, the Teresa Broadwell Quintet and Akiko with Joe Magnarelli, Myron Walden and Rudy Petschauer honor the 30th anniversary of Bill McCann’s “Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz” radio show on WCDB-FM, as well as AlbanyJazz.com’s Tom Pierce and Nippertown.com writers J Hunter and Greg Haymes. 1pm. FREE.
TUESDAY, APRIL 21: Rhiannon Giddens @ The Egg, Albany. The founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the all-star New Basement Tapes returns to The Egg in support of her dazzling debut solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn. Singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman opens the show. 7:30pm. $34.50.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: They Might Be Giants @ Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park. The two Johns – John Flansburgh and John Linnell – and their band have been lacing their unique brand of alt-rock/art-pop with a sly sense of humor and a dash of the surreal since 1982, and as they prove on their new album, Nanobots, they still make it work. Doors open at 7pm. $20 in advance; $23 at the door.
THURSDAY, APRIL 23: Richard Thompson @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. It’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to see the the super singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire in an intimate club setting. 8pm. $45 & $65.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24: The Feelies @ BSP Lounge, Kingston. After a 17 year break, the Feelies came roaring back in 2011 with Here Before, an album of all new original material that touches on different styles from the Feelies’ long history while adding new grooves and musical ideas to the mix. And they’ve been back in the spotlight ever since… 7pm. $20 in advance; $25 at the door.