Blotto has played every bar, park, theater and arena here in 30 years of rocking us and making us laugh. Tonight, they play the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany), just steps from where JB Scott’s became their regular hang, and everybody’s, when they were on the charts, on MTV and on tour.
These guys are too fun to go away. Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, some other bands) gave our guys props on the Amoeba Music “What’s In My Bag?” online feature, brandishing and praising Blotto’s “Across and Down.” Drummer F. Lee Harvey Blotto Facebook-touted his new Gretsch drums, claiming they sound as good as they look: In pale pastel blue, they resemble a ’57 Impala or a diner of the same vintage.
Perfect. $10. 432-6572. www.thelowbeat.com
Free stuff remains
No one wants summer to end, especially after the brutal winter we just suffered. But the waning of our extra-rich free music season carries that season-shifting message.
Music Haven and Alive at Five have shut down, both with a bang. The Ghost Train Orchestra dusted off jazz antiques at Music Haven, and Sheila E. bashed out a percussion-rich show at Alive at Five.
But some freebies remain. Jazz trumpeter Dylan Canterbury leads his quintet, co-starring tenor saxophonist Brian Patneaude, at Schenectady’s Jazz on Jay at noon today. Rainsite: Robb Alley at Proctors. Patneaude also co-stars in Keith Pray’s big, bustling Soul Jazz Revival, playing Jazz on Jay next Thursday (Aug. 28). The Frank Capri Show wraps up Jazz on Jay on Sept. 4.
Soulful rock trio Wild Adriatic plays Scotia’s Freedom Park free next Wednesday at 7 p.m. These local heroes rock with as much soul as skill. They’ve played all over, including SXSW in Austin.
David T. Carter of the Trailer Park Rangers and Maury Rosenberg of Hypnotic Clambake played the Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge last Sunday and have stuck around: The versatile-plus duo plays the Ale House (680 River St., Troy) tonight at 9 p.m. Free. 272-9740 www.alehousetroy.com
Pete Donnelly (always a Figg, once a member of NRBQ and now a respected solo artist) returns to Saratoga, his college (Skidmore) town, to play the Spring Street Gallery (110 Spring St.) on Friday at 8 p.m. Even when touring and recording nonstop with the ’Q, Donnelly also played with the Figgs and solo projects. His latest album is “Face the Bird,” and his previous, “When You Come Home” is just as good. Brett Newski opens, packing intense tunes from his new “American Folk Armageddon” album. $10 to $6 (sliding scale). 587-6433 www.springstreetgallerysaratoga.org
Really big shows
These are all cozy-scale shows; now some big ones: The Zac Brown Band plays Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. On an arena-packing, award-grabbing roll for years now, they recently had Cheap Trick open for them in Chicago (Cheap Trick’s home town!), they recorded “Black Water” with the Doobie Brothers and released “The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1”). Sturgill Simpson opens. $69.50, lawn $29.50. 800-745-3000 www.livenation.com
Same place, very different deal: Motley Crue and Alice Cooper team up at SPAC on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The Crue claim this is their last tour; but would we really be surprised to see them back on the road in a few years — touring with Cher? (She plays the Times Union Center on Sept. 11.)
$125, lawn $25.
And how wonderfully odd is this: Nashville country artists stood in line to record Crue tunes for “Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue”? It’s LeAnn Rimes, the Mavericks, Big & Rich, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line (at SPAC with Jason Aldean on Aug. 29), Brantley Gilbert and others.
The biggest show hereabouts might be Camp Creek, the jams-and-camping festival that returns this weekend to Indian Lookout Country Club (1142 Batter St., Pattersonville) after a few years elsewhere. The Connecticut jam-sters Max Creek, who organized and headline this fandango, play on both Saturday and Sunday. Their two new drummers weren’t born yet when Max Creek began, 40-plus years ago; long time members guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Mark Mercier and bassist John Rider remain up front.
Camp Creek starts at 3 p.m. on Friday with Eastbound Jesus featured at 9 p.m., six bands total. On Saturday, the music starts at 11 a.m. with Ryan Montbleau hitting at 2 p.m., Max Creek playing at 7 p.m. and The Kind Buds playing late, the last of seven sets. Sunday’s show starts at 10 a.m. and Max Creek wraps up the five-set bill, starting at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $80 if bought today, $100 on Friday. www.campcreek2014.com.
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.