Jukebox: Gas up the pickup, head for SPAC this weekend

Local heroes Phantogram play a near-hometown show Saturday at Upstate Concert Hall
The Zac Brown Band will play Friday night at SPAC
The Zac Brown Band will play Friday night at SPAC

Don’t have a pickup? Borrow one for this weekend at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Fill the bed with cold ones and a barbecue.

Friday, Zac Brown Band and Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real play a roadhouse-ready twin bill. The ever-popular (since 2004, anyway) Brown and his stage-filling band are playing fan faves and fresh tunes from “The Owl,” a new album that hits next month. Nelson and his band have backed Neil Young on recent tours and albums. 7 p.m. Inside seats available through resellers, lawn $38.50. 800-745-3000 www.livenation.com

On Saturday, two southern-fried acts that wouldn’t die team up at SPAC: the several-times-reborn Alabama guitar powerhouse Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr., hard-rocking son of the original honky-tonk wailer and father of a new generation of high-twang rural angst-ers, Hank III and Holly. If Skynyrd hung around ’til next Tuesday, I’d hijack their tour bus and take them to the Van Dyck, where Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble would play “Free Bird” and knock their socks off. 6 p.m. Inside seats available through resellers, lawn $29.50

Like Kiss, British ’80s pop-rock guitar giant Peter Frampton is saying farewell to fans this summer, playing SPAC on Sunday. Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening opens. This winter, Frampton said this tour would be his last, as he fights a progressive muscle disease. When the Ramones opened for Frampton in SPAC’s most incongruous twin bill ever, Joey Ramone told me Frampton was “my hero in the last war.” Ironic then, maybe; but Frampton — veteran of Humble Pie, the Herd and 20 solo albums — is clearly in a battle now. Son of late, great Led Zeppelin drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham, the younger Bonham started playing Zep tunes with his dad at age 5. 7:30 p.m. $129.50, $69.50, $54.50, $49.50, lawn $30.50

SPAC keeps rolling past Labor Day, with seven events remaining after these three. Stay tuned.

Local heroes Phantogram play a near-hometown show Saturday at Upstate Concert Hall (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park). Greenwich-based rockers Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel perform with a rhythm section that fills out the guitar swirls (Carter), keyboard space echoes (Barthel) and lighter-than-air vocals (both) with a beefy beat.

Beyond eclectic, they make music with a broad reach, from classic rock through funk, prog and hip-hop. In addition to performing on late-night TV shows, their songs have appeared in soundtracks of 20-plus films and TV productions; collaborators include Big Boi and the Flaming Lips. Munya opens. 8 p.m., doors 7. 518-371-0012 www.upstateconcerthall.com

Powerful piano rocker Marcia Ball plays two shows Friday at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs), returning here after a fine swamp-funk blast in March. Born in east Texas, she spans the Gulf Coast: roadhouse boogie, swamp-pop romps, bottomless blues. Like Williams, she hails from a musical family: her grandmother and aunt both played piano and she started lessons early. She absorbed the rocking New Orleans keyboard fire of Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and James Booker when she started playing local bars.

At the Caffe Friday, she’ll cross impossibly long legs under her keyboard, cue her killer band and rock it. She’ll warn errant partners, “That’s Enough of That Stuff,” she’ll mourn her adopted home in “Louisiana 1927,” she’ll cook up a “Hot Tamale Baby,” tell the tale of “The Tattooed Lady & the Alligator Man” and sing about a poodle. The 7:30 p.m. show is sold out. 6 p.m. $40 advance, $45 door, $22.50 students and children. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org.

In what’s become a welcome biannual tradition, Hamell on Trial starts a September-long weekly residency Wednesday at the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany). A one-man rock band (believe it!) of unparalleled power, he’s humorous and hot, a star from here to Australia to Edinburgh, where he won the Herald Angel Award at the Fringe Festival. He’s a singular talent rocking at the crossroads where vintage folk, shouting rock, vehement political broadsides, whack jokes and wails of heartbreak meet, to mighty effect.

After a nasty car crash, he recorded “Ed’s Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive” (borrowing the title from Frampton). He called his divorce album “The Happiest Man in the World,” and wrote and recorded a song a day for a year to heal his heart. He named his filmmaker son Detroit. His cassette/album “Letter to Mike” (Eck) collects tunes and talk, like his live shows, and is one of the most precious and powerful on my shelves. 7 p.m. $10. 518-432-6572 www.thelowbeat.com

Brian Patneaude and his quartet, a merry band of lyrical modernists, closed down Jazz on Jay last week with music whose easy flow reflected the saxophonist/composer’s upbeat outlook, and whose precision showed his influence as leader and teacher. 

While drummer Danny Whelchel and pianist Rob Lindquist are longtime bandmates, bassist Jared Greico is Patneaude’s former student at SUNY Schenectady.

The staccato romp “Drop” gave an energetic start, then “Exit” cruised easy before building up speed, like an open ramp off a crowded freeway, before a serene recap.

In addition to well-crafted Patneaude originals including a blues he calls “Red”; “Andrew’s Anthem,” which surveyed the moods of his young son (in attendance); and “Orb” written for Whelchel, Patneaude also paid tribute to musical inspirations.

The throbbing ballad “Suspone” (by Mike Stern for Michael Brecker’s “Don’t Try This at Home” album) and Bob Reynolds’ “Hush” were all mellow sweetness. “Double Trio,” a brisk Joshua Redman rip, showed off the same smooth-but-burly Patneaude tenor sax tone as his originals, plus questing solos by everybody, especially Lindquist, and a crisp ensemble attack. Muscular on uptempo tunes, they eased into the mellower numbers that dominated and fit the warm sunny afternoon nicely.

Extra credit for Louisiana-born Whelchel’s snappy second-line drumming to launch their playful Stern/Brecker cover.

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

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