What’s In a Name; or, Which of You Guys is Dire?
Guitarist, main writer and singer Mark Knopfler so dominated Dire Straits (1977-88, 1991-95) that I betcha some mistook the band’s name for his. (Also, betcha some thought Peter Wolf was actually J. Geils, namesake of that band, but I digress . . .) Knopfler leads his solo band on Sunday at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at N. Pearl St., Albany).
When Dire Straits played Rensselaer’s cozy Hullaballoo in 1979, Knopfler and the boys knocked me out with “the quietly open, airy sound [that] echoed the early Byrds — clean as new snow, sharp as an icicle simple, almost country-sounding textures as backgrounds for complex, literate songs of English city life.” I dubbed them “. . .one of the best new bands of the seventies.”
As a solo artist, Knopfler returned in February 1992 to the Knickerbocker Arena, then to the Palace in May 2010 with a mostly Nashville-recruited band. He returns to the Palace on Sunday after releasing his eighth solo album, “Tracker,” in March, and after recent tours with Emmylou Harris.
Knopfler’s band likely includes longtime collaborators Guy Fletcher and Matt Rollings, keyboards; Danny Cummings, drums; Richard Bennett, things with strings; Glenn Worf, bass; and Mike McGoldrick, many instruments. 8 p.m. $105.50, $95.50, $85.50, $75.50, $65.50. 465-3334 www.palacealbany.com
And, no — the guy who sings up front with the J. Geils Band isn’t J. Geils (who doesn’t play with the J. Geils Band any more, but I digress again).
No, it’s Peter Wolf, but Wolf brings his solo band the Midnight Travelers to The Egg in Albany on Saturday.
Like Mark Knopfler, Wolf has a long track record here, including J. Geils Band shows in March 1972 at the Palace; in September 1972 at the RPI Armory with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frampton’s Camel; in November 1974 at the Palace; in July 1975 at SPAC with Muddy Waters (!); in April 1975 at Proctors in Troy with the Pousette Dart Band; in July 1977 at Lebanon Valley Speedway with Blue Oyster Cult, Black Oak Arkansas and the Dictators; in August 1982 at SPAC and Dec. 2, 2014 at the Palace with Bob Seger.
Wolf started making solo albums in 1984 with “Lights Out.” “Come as You Are” (1987) charted highest, and “Sleepless” (2002) hit Rolling Stones list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; but “Midnight Souvenirs” (2010) may be his best; a road-trip fave that lives in my car. Solo, Wolf plays mostly at The Egg (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), where he returns on Sunday with his own band. His touring crew is every bit as good as the J. Geils Band and features former Albany guitarist Duke Levine. Wolf is one of rock’s greatest-ever frontmen; recent-past shows here prove he still has it. 8 p.m. $38.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
PLACE FOR FOLK
Extra-fine fiddle and guitar team Jay Ungar and Molly Mason open the new season on Friday at A Place for Folk (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.).
Confused about them, as perhaps with Mark Knopfler and Peter Wolf? Watch Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” and you’ll know; their melancholy/lovely “Ashokan Farewell” is its theme. Also like Knopfler and Wolf, they’ve done way more than just the celebrated music they’re best known for: more than a dozen albums of beautifully made rustic string-band music. 7:30 p.m., doors 7. $20. 377-0002 www.aplaceforfolk.org
LOUIE AT LENA’S
OK, we’re explaining everybody else; now it’s Professor Louie’s turn. Professor is the nom de rock of Aaron Hurwitz, keyboardist and producer with The Band in its later years and solo albums by its late members Levon Helm and Garth Brooks, and surviving member Garth Hudson.
An artist and performer in his own right, Professor Louie brings his band the Crowmatix (Miss Marie, vocals; Gary Burke, drums; Frank Campbell, bass; and John Platania, guitar) to Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) on Saturday. Burke played with Bob Dylan and Shania Twain’s first band (assembled/led by David Malachowski), and Platania played with Van Morrison. 8 p.m. $22 advance, $25 door. 583-0022 www.caffelena.org
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]