Dirty Projectors, Joy Formidable, Deerhoof on tap
The answer is John Wetton. What’s the question?
Who played with both Renaissance and U.K., the British prog-rock bands playing The Egg (Renaissance on Wednesday and U.K. on April 25), but who no longer plays with either?
A short-lived supergroup stacked with talent, U.K. played a memorably hot, but under-attended Albany club show late in their 1977-80 run, while Renaissance just keeps selling out shows, like next Wednesday at The Egg. Renaissance may set the record for the most members over time: 33 since 1969, plus the current six.
A Yardbirds offshoot (like Led Zeppelin, the Jeff Beck Group and Cream), they’re more about persistence than pedigree, but both took big hits recently. Wednesday’s show is rescheduled from a date postponed when longtime singer Annie Haslam was injured last fall; then, guitarist Michael Dunford (who was in and out of the band four times) died late last year.
Yet, here comes Renaissance again, with Haslam’s trademark ethereal voice front and center.
Skidmore always presents a hot spring show, and Saturday at the Williamson Sports Center (North Broadway, Saratoga Springs) it’s the prolific Dirty Projectors — seven albums since 2002, while enlisting and shedding half as many members as Renaissance has in just 10 years. Orbiting around the restless David Longstreth, they make films as well as music and have collaborated with David Byrne and Bjork while playing everything from ambitious orchestral arrangements to stripped-down rock. Even-newer popsters Delicate Steve, now a four-piece, opens on Saturday at 8 p.m. Admission is $20, $5 for students in advance, $10 for students at the door. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com.
On Sunday, the Joy Formidable plays the Upstate Concert Hall (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park), hot off a triumphant South By Southwest run and tour from California across Canada. Click here to climb on Ritzy Brian’s guitar, via video camera, to watch them play “Little Blimp” from their second album “Wolf’s Law.” Band Teen Spirit, and Ribs, open at 7:30 p.m. Doors at 6:30. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 on Sunday. Phone 371-0012 or visit www.upstateconcerthall.com.
Also Sunday, San Francisco noise-rockers Deerhoof blast out a wall of sound at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). Current members Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dietrich, Ed Rodriguez and Greg Saunier have almost as many side projects as Wilco will display at its Solid Sound Festival in June at MASS MoCA, and they’ve still managed to release 11 albums — “Breakup Song” hit last year — plus numerous singles, downloads and split release collaborations. People Get Ready opens at 7 p.m. Tickets are $13. Phone 432-6572 or visit www.valentinesalbany.com.
Busy Proctors weekend
On Friday, the Outer Borough Brass Band plays the second show of the Party Horns NYC series at Proctors GE Theater (432 State St.). Assembled in New York by New Orleans’ own Joe Scatassa of fellow Big Easy refugees and NYC jazz cats, they feature horns from sousaphones to cornets, plus a funk rhythm section. The Outer Borough Brass Band hits at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Admission is $15. Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.
At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Schenectady Musical Union plays its Jazz Appreciation Month show for free in the Robb Alley (winter home of the Schenectady Greenmarket). Tim Coakley of The Gazette, WAMC and A Place for Jazz will receive the 2013 Jazz Hero Award there, with performances by the Dylan Canterbury Quintet and Keith Pray’s Soul Jazz Revival, also a quintet.
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., perennial folk fave Tom Paxton returns to the Eighth Step in the GE Theater. Paxton brings the whole package. He writes smart songs straight from the heart — “Bottle of Wine,” “Wonder Where I’m Bound,” “The Marvelous Toy” and enough others to cram this column. He sings with a deceptively easy style and entertains just as effortlessly.
At a previous Proctors show he appointed a clap-along leader to help “the rhythmically challenged” and charmed everybody rather than insulting anyone, and he held his own with the seriously formidable Janis Ian at The Egg last year.
Busy Caffe Lena weekend
Tonight, troubadours Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer team up at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs), singing ancient ballads that folklorist Francis James Child collected through the British Isles. Child’s rich archive inspired Joan Baez and many other Folk Revivalists to sing them in the 1960s. Mitchell says the language and music are at once familiar and exotic while Hamer says, “The songs worked on us as much as we worked on them.”
Samples they sent me show off remarkable harmonies with laid-back guitars — utterly charming and full of feeling, with no museum-y dust in sight. Irish transplant Eamon O’Leary (County Mayo to the Lower East Side) opens at 7 p.m.
Admission is $20, $18 for members, $10 for children under 13. Phone 583-0022 or visit www.caffelena.org.
Amy Speace writes and sings of getting past grief on her new album “How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat,” and she performs this deep new music on Friday at the Caffe with her band the Storm: cellist Hanna Schroeder and multi-instrumentalist Josh Oliver. Opener Davey O sings new songs from his “Testing for Rust” album. Amy Speace and the Storm, with opener Davy O, perform at Caffe Lena on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 for members and $8 for children under 13.
Sharon Katz’s mixed-race 500-voice Peace Train ensemble showed post-apartheid South Africa how democracy and equality could sound. She brings a touring version of Peace Train, featuring dancer Wendy Khethiwe Quick, to the Caffe on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $16 for members, $9 for children under 13.
String wizards Del Rey (no, not Lana Del Rey . . .) and Steve James — slide guitar and mandolin, respectively — team up on Wednesday at the Caffe to play blues and other roots music. Together and separately, they’re festival mainstays at the King Biscuit Blues Festival, Merlefest and the Waterfront Blues Festival. They’ve recorded nine albums separately and two together. Tickets are $18, $16 for members, $9 for children under 13.
Warren at Fort Salem
A frequent Caffe Lena attraction, singer-songwriter-bandleader Bob Warren changes venues on Saturday, performing vintage faves — he’s been amazing for 30 years — plus fresh tunes from “The Poet in Me” at the Fort Salem Theater (11 E. Broadway, Salem). He’ll lead his seven-piece Bob Warren Band, a crisp and tight ensemble featuring singer Joy MacKenzie and bassist Tony Markellis. Tickets are $25 and include coffee and dessert. Phone 854-9200 or visit www.fortsalemtheater.com.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.