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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

Winter Concert Preview

OK, it’s a little late for a winter concert preview, as January is just about over. But I wanted to highlight some of the more interesting musical events of the next few months.

Tift Merritt and the David Wax Museum at The Linda in Albany on Feb. 1 — I like both Tift Merritt and the David Wax Museum, and I think this will be a really fun double-bill. However, I’m probably going to watch Godzilla films at Proctors instead.

Greg Brown at The Egg in Albany on Feb. 2 — Brown is a terrific singer-songwriter, with a distinctive baritone and sharp wit. I saw him a few years ago, and the show was spare, intimate and full of good songs and stories.

Ben Frost at EMPAC in Troy on Feb. 7 — Frost is an Icelandic experimental composer, whose music draws upon an array of influences, such as punk and black metal. I’m not really familiar with his work, but a friend who is informs me that he is not to be missed.

Black Francis at Club Helsinki in Hudson on Feb. 8 — Black Francis is better known as Frank Black, of the seminal alternative rock band The Pixies. He’s basically a legend, and Club Helsinki should offer an up close, personal glimpse of a genius at work.

Passion Pit with Matt & Kim at the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy on Feb. 11 — I’m really been looking forward to this concert. I’m a big fan of Passion Pit’s first CD, and their second one, although not as good, is growing on me.

Josh Ritter at The Egg on Feb. 13 — I’ve seen Josh Ritter several times, and was thinking I’d skip this show. But my landlord won free tickets, and asked me if I wanted to go, so I think I will. In any case, Josh puts on a very good show, and he’s performing with his band, The Royal City Band, which means that this will probably be a lively concert.

Jeff Mangum at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Feb. 16 — This concert is sold out, but I bought tickets months ago, so I’m all set. Mangum is best known for his work with the indie-folk band Neutral Milk Hotel, and after a period of reclusiveness, he’s playing shows again. I can’t wait to see what he’s like.

Ken Stringfellow at Valentines in Albany on Feb. 23 — Ken Stringfellow has played with a number of really great bands, including Big Star, REM, the Minus 5 and the Posies. He even played with Lagwagon, the band behind the best punk cover ever, a raucous version of “Brown Eyed Girl.” Anyway, Ken Stringfellow has quite the resume, and I suspect he puts on a good concert, too.

Sean Rowe at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Feb. 23 — The intimate Caffe Lena will be a great place to see Rowe, a singer-songwriter from Troy with a very good new album.

Balkan Beat Box at MASS MoCA on March 16 — This American-Israeli group plays music that combines Balkan and Middle Eastern musical traditions and electronica, and comes highly recommended by my friend Dave. I’ve heard some of their music, which is likely to appeal to people who like bands such as the Gogol Bordello, DeVotchKa and Firewater. People like me, in other words.

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