OK, there’s good news and bad news.
The Egg presents extra-cool shows this week, as usual, but both on Sunday are sold-out: the Wood Brothers — blues brothers for real — and Band of Horses, continuing a string of popular-bands-going-acoustic shows that Three Doors Down launched last Monday. Also sold-out is Tuesday’s Zappa Plays Zappa show.
Good news: Other venues present strong shows.
Proctors’ Party Horns NYC series continues on Friday when the grandiosely named but deceptively compact Line of Swords plays the GE Theatre. Line of Swords isn’t a “Game of Thrones” offshoot: It’s an improvising jazz trio of trombonist Josh Roseman with six-string bassist Ben Monder and drummer Rudy Royston — just one of the handful of bands Roseman leads when he’s not on some A-list sideman gig. Show time is 7:30 p.m. on Friday at GE Theater at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Admission is $15. 346-6204 www.proctors.org.
Also at Proctors, but this time on the Main Stage, three acts from the fourth season of “The Sing-Off” will sing individual sets and mix it up. The groups are Home Free, The Filharmonic and VoicePlay. Each has something special — music-wise, image-wise or both. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $65, $50, $35 and $30.
On Saturday, ex-Soul Coughing singer songwriter Mike Doughty takes over the stage at WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany) for his “World Renowned Award-Winning Question Jar Show.” Like NRBQ’s celebrated “Magic Box” shows, this interactive format finds Doughty drawing audience requests and questions from a jar, then answering with words, music or both.
Doughty has gone about as alt as possible since leaving Soul Coughing — crowd-sourcing albums, singing covers, even returning to the Soul Coughing material he’s long avoided — so this interactive show makes perfect sense.
Raised in the Adirondacks, opener Ashley Sofia relies on the same powers of candor and craft as Doughty. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $22. 465-5233 ext. 4 www.wamcarts.org.
Busy Caffe Lena
Freedy Johnston’s may be the biggest name on the Caffe Lena calendar this week: But Don & Victoria Armstrong may be the best-loved.
Johnston plays on Sunday, a few hours after mother-and-son Indian music team Veena & Devesh Chandra play an afternoon show. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Tonight Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) hosts an open mic at 7 p.m. Admission is $3. 583-0022 www.caffelena.org.
On Friday, Beaucoup Blue, the father-and-son blues duo of David and Adrian Mowry, adds a rhythm section for a fresh run at their rootsy sound. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $16, advance; $18, door.
On Saturday, the longstanding duo of Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman return to the Caffe, touring to take a break from making their 14th album. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $16, advance; $18, door.
On Sunday at 2 p.m. sitarist and teacher Veena Chandra brings tabla-playing son Devesh for a duo show. Admission is $12, advance; $14, door.
Later on Sunday, at 7 p.m., Freedy Johnston plays the Caffe. The Kansas kid who famously sold the farm to make the album that earned plaudits, if not as the new Dylan, at least as the new Steve Forbert, Johnston writes exceptional songs and sings them in a distinctive heartland voice conveying candor, vulnerability and courage. NPR critic Tom Moon chose Johnston’s “Can You Fly” as one of his “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.” $16, advance; $18, door.
On Monday, the Caffe belongs to Don and Victoria Armstrong, though they may be there only in spirit.
Longtime spring-season Caffe Lena highlights, this durable duo has had to cancel this year as Victoria undergoes cancer treatment. Like most musicians, any illness constitutes a crisis of finances as well as of health and spirit. So the Caffe community is rallying around, gathering in an all-star show to support Don and Victoria. The lineup: hosts Joe & Jesse Bruchac; Huxtable, Christensen & Hood; Frank Wakefield; Michael Jerling & Bob Warren; George Ward; Rick & Sharon Bolton; and John Kribs — though this list is probably longer now as other musicians generously sign on.
The Caffe is streaming this show on www.ConcertWindow.com, with a “virtual tip jar” collecting donations — which can also be mailed to Don Armstrong c/o Caffe Lena, P.O. Box 245, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]