Holiday and nonholiday shows hit this week. Tonight has one of each: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (HOLIDAZE) and Donna the Buffalo (NON).
Horn-powered California combo Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings its “Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party” to Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St.) tonight. Before they rock the Hall, they host a Holly Jolly Holiday Party at Takk House (55 Third St.) at 5:30 p.m. with a swing-dance lesson and costume contest. 7:30 p.m. $39.50, $34.50. 518-273-0038 troymusichall.org
An acoustic band from Trumansburg that keeps on jamming, Donna the Buffalo rocks tonight at Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St.). Founders Jeb Puryear (guitar) and Tara Nevins (fiddle) bring new kids David McCracken (keys), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums), and tunes from a dozen full-band or solo albums. 8 p.m. $32 (open) floor and (seated) parquet, $27 balcony. 518-953-0630 thecohoesmusichall.org
Maybe liveliest of tonight’s shows, accordionist C.J. Chenier (son of the late, great Clifton C. — nonholiday show) leads his Red Hot Louisiana Band into Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) to blow off its roof with swampy funk. Pre-show talk 6 p.m., 7 p.m. show. Hattie’s southern style restaurant (45 Phila St.) starts the evening with a three-course Louisiana feast: $45 for dinner and show. Show only: $22 advance, $25 door, $12.50 students and children. 518-583-0022 caffelena.org
The Gibson Brothers, our own Adirondack-raised bluegrass giants, present their “North Country Christmas Show” Friday at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). An annual go-to event for fans of acoustic country seasonal faves, this may also feature tunes from their “Brotherhood” album. 7:30 p.m. $30.50, VIP $75.50. 518-346-6204 www.proctors.org
Also Friday, the McKrells present their touching/hilarious Christmas show at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Kevin McKrell and Brian Melick co-starred in now-retired folksingers’ Chris Shaw and Bridget Ball’s longtime seasonal fest Mountain Snow and Mistletoe, and now lead its troubadour/bluegrass/comedy successor with the full McKrells band. 8 p.m. $25. 518-473-1845 theegg.org
One more holiday show Friday: Bob Halligan hosts “Christmas from Dublin,” successor to the Chieftains’ “Bells of Dublin” holiday show. It’s a 30-performer holiday revue. 7:30 p.m. $30 orchestra, $25 parquet and balcony. As with the Caffe Lena/Hattie’s tie-in tonight, Donnie Magoos (165 Remsen St. — 518-203-6244) serves a pre-show dinner: $28.25
Saturday at Proctors GE Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady), “It’s a Jazzy Christmas” features area jazz stars in Vince Guaraldi’s engaging piano-centered holiday classics: Mia Scirocco, vocals; Dave Gleason, piano; Brian Patneaude, tenor sax; Chris Pasin, trumpet; Ben O’Shea, trombone; Mike Lawrence, bass; and Pete Sweeney, drums. 7:30 p.m. $25 adults, $10 children 17 and younger
Saturday, Caffe Lena hosts its annual Holiday Folk Show featuring Addie and Olin; John Kirk and Trish Miller; David Kiphuth (former Gazette illustrator, now a Maine resident); and Sara Milonovich. 8 p.m. $20
Super soul, folk and blues all-woman group Sweet Honey in the Rock sings Saturday at The Egg, celebrating the holidays and their 45 years onstage. With founder Bernice Johnson Reagon now retired, the group comprises singers Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel and Aisha Kahlil, with accompanist Romeir Mendez. They’ll sing traditional American holiday spirituals, hymns and seasonal songs from other cultures. 8 p.m. $49.50, $39.50. 518-473-1845 theegg.org
Darlingside delighted deluxe at The Egg last Saturday night; four airy tenors aiming bluegrass instruments at sophisticated, post-modern folk-rock songs of their own ironic or sincere invention. Some songs sampled both flavors at once. The Boston-based Williams grads examined travel (geographic, in time), love and loss, memory and mood through their singular prism of smarts and melodic mastery.
Band intros meditated on McDonald’s chicken products: cellist/guitarist Harris Paseltiner, mandolinist/violinist Auyon Mukharji, bassist/drummer Dave Senft and guitarist/banjoist Don Mitchell. After they noted Sour Patch Kids on sale in The Egg’s Swyer Theatre lobby (“The Nutcracker” was happening in the larger Hart Theatre), fans heaped those candies onstage during the break. The lads partook, between songs, in the second set.
No prettier blend may exist among current harmony groups or such giants as CS&N than Darlingside’s four rather similar voices linked at the synaptic level in blithe cheerfulness or deep melancholy. They started in fresh territory, with the neo-baroque “Extralife” and wistful “Singularity” from their most recent album (“Extralife”), and went even fresher in unrecorded tunes mid-set before returning late to the newish, delicate “Lindisfarne” late.
In a summing-up mood (noting this is their last show of the decade), they also reached back to crowd-pleasing effect. Cheers of recognition greeted favorites, but old or new, the songs generated their own momentum. The off-center “Whippoorwill” and driving “Blow the House Down” put a big finish on the first set.
The arrangements layered instruments with voices in distinctive but low-key beauty; “White Horses” closed in wordless vocals, for example, then Mukharji’s violin wrapped the tune in sweetness. They shifted both instruments and vocal roles, but solos were brief and the singing was most often together. Very together.