Terrific Friday features Menegon, Fleck

What a great Friday night! Local shows scheduled include Johnny Mathis, Primus, John Menegon, Bela F
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn play banjos together at 8 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Friday.
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn play banjos together at 8 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Friday.

Categories: Entertainment

What a great Friday night.

Going by seniority, it’s 79-year-old pop icon Johnny Mathis at Proctors. (See Bill Buell’s story, page D1.) With hits in five decades and 73 albums (of his 80-plus, including five Christmas albums!) hitting the Billboard charts, Mathis is the third most successful recording artist of the 20th century.

He has sung every kind of music, including disco; and Sinatra always considered Mathis his only singing rival. Anybody of the last several generations who hasn’t made out to a Mathis romantic classic needs hormone replacement therapy. 8 p.m. $120, $95, $70, $50, $20. 346-6204 www.proctors.org

Jam-rockers Primus bring their classic lineup — Les Claypool, bass, Larry LaLonde, guitar, and Tim Alexander, drums — to pay tribute to “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (the 1971 Gene Wilder original, NOT the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp re-make) at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at North Pearl Street).

The show will include tracks from “Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble,” their eighth album since 1990, plus Primus faves. 8 p.m. $54.50, $44.50, $39.50, $34.50 and $29.50. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.com

Hudson Valley bassist John Menegon leads his quartet into A Place for Jazz (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady; 1221 Wendell Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. Celebrating his new album “I Remember You,” a tribute to saxophonists David “Fathead” Newman and “Dewey Redman (both former Menegon employers, now both deceased, and revered), Menegon brings saxophonist Tineke Postma, pianist Frank Kimbrough and drummer Matt Wilson, who keeps the “play” in play music. $15. 393-4011 www.aplaceforjazz.org

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn play banjos together at 8 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St., Troy). No anti-banjo snark now! Well, just one joke, maybe. They ARE the perfect setup for the one about realizing you’ve left your banjo in an unlocked car and returning too late: Now there are TWO banjos in there.

Wonderfully restless, Fleck has played dozens of shows here but probably never twice with the same band. Nobody keeps things fresher than Fleck. He and Washburn — a formidable all-around talent in her own right, on her own banjo — are now musical and life partners. So imagine yourself invited onto their back porch some quiet evening with a cold one in hand. No, make that a coffee: You’ll be doing some fast listening. $42, $34, $25, test drive ticket $15. 273-0038 www.troymusichall.org

Lip Talk (formerly Railbird; formerly from Saratoga Springs, now from Brooklyn) play on Friday at the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany) — and then on Saturday they head downriver to play at Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson).

At the Low Beat, Better Pills, and Alexander Turnquist open the 9 p.m. show. $7. 432-6572 www.thelowbeat.com.

At Club Helsinki, Yassou Benedict opens. 9 p.m. show doors 6. $12. 828-4800 www.helsinkihudson.com.

Lip Talk is singer-keyboardist Sarah Pedinotti Kyle, guitarist Chris Kyle, bassist Derek Leslie and drummer Ian Chang or Bryan Bisordi.


“A Hard Day’s Night at the Van Dyck” places two classic Beatles albums into the expert hands of local all-star rockers on Saturday. Johnny Rabb, Graham Tichy, Steven Clyde, Dave Maswick and Pete Vumbaco; these guys know what to do. First set: “A Hard Day’s Night;” second set: “Beatles for Sale.” 8 p.m. $12 today, $15 on Friday. 348-7999 www.vandycklounge.com

Pianist and bandleader Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox reaches back on Saturday, too. At the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, they’ll apply the venerable arranging and playing styles of distant decades to the hits of more recent ones.

Bradley calls this “an alternate history of pop music,” and proves it by showing what would happen if “Careless Whisper” time-traveled to the dawn of jazz, or Edith Piaf had discovered “Burn,” or Lorde sent some sheet music to a seven-foot-tall clown, with a golden voice. As evolved as they are, they only recently escaped from YouTube to stages everywhere. 8 p.m. $29

Road trips

No snow, yet — so head to MASS MoCA tonight when the Oh Yeah! Tour brings New Orleans stalwarts Allen Toussaint and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to its Hunter Center (87 Marshall St., N. Adams, Mass.) at 8 p.m. Katrina drove Toussaint from New Orleans to New York, and from the studio to the road. In NYC, Toussaint teamed up with Elvis Costello on “The River in Reverse” (2006); he released the sublime, mostly instrumental “The Bright Mississippi” (2008) and the Grammy-nominated “Songbook (2013), recorded live at his NYC Joe’s Pub residency.

Also last year, PHJB released the funky, uplifting “That’s It,” produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. At 76, Toussaint remains as vibrant ever, and some of the PHJB guys are older and just as ready to rock. Clarinet and saxophone player Charlie Gabriel, 82, is the youngest of 21 children and the fourth generation of musicians in his family.

Toussaint co-starred in the Preservation Hall Ball benefit on Oct. 3 at New Orleans Civic Auditorium. They’ll play together and separately. $70, $34, $28. 413-662-2111 www.massmoca.org.

Another crew of New Orleanians, the John Gros Band, plays the after-party in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10. Organist John “Papa” Gros’s band is guitarist Brian Stoltz, drummer Eric Bolivar and bassist Eric Vogel. 10 p.m. $10

Punker than punk

Britain’s over-the-top Pork Dukes detonated raucous, risqué outrageous punk for just two years before splitting in 1978. Proudly obscene, they marginalized themselves, as the legendary DJ John Peel explained: “The Pork Dukes would have hits with their infuriating catchy singles, were they not so manifestly unbroadcastable.”

Reuniting to punk the world once again, the Pork Dukes play at The Low Beat on Monday. Rotten (also from England), Bourbon Scum and Neutron Rats open. 7 p.m. $15

Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]

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