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A Pollinair Rave

The Elephant 6 Collective centered loosely in Athens, Ga., has always been a sprawling, inclusive thing. Bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, Apples in Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control and Of Montreal have shared styles, influences and members to the extent that it’s tough to know where one band ends and another begins. And the live experience of those bands is a virtual potluck for the concertgoer; you’ve got to expect the unexpected.

So, when Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes comes to Valentine’s on Saturday under the moniker A Pollinair Rave, there will be music—we’re pretty much positive of that. And, actually, we’ve been given reason to believe that the music will be Of Montreal’s music, so there’s a good chance you’ll hear songs from Aldhils Arboretum, Of Montreal’s most recent collection of psychedelic pop (which critics have lauded as the band’s most focused and catchy). But there also will be the performance of short plays written by Barnes’ brother; film and projected images; costumes; and, we’re told, screaming. That’s just for starters.

Also on the bill: the Kamikaze Hearts’ Gaven Richard, who will perform songs from his newest solo work, the brilliant and melancholy Restaurant Island. Press materials are vague as to whether this is a solo or supported performance—and, in keeping with a theme, we might not tell you even if we knew. We all love surprises.

The Stars of Rock will be present as well, and in augmented form: They’ve swiped Gregory Adams of the Users for the night, so you may hear both SOR songs and Greg Adams compositions. You might hear a track or two from Stars frontman Brent Gorton’s solo record, San Diego. It’s possible that the hopped-up Stars of Rock will play a Kamikaze Hearts song. Maybe Kevin Barnes’ brother has written a play about Kamikaze Heart Troy Pohl. Maybe Troy Pohl will show up to star in an abridged production of The Rose. There’s only one way to be absolutely certain.

A Pollinair Rave will play Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Saturday (Feb. 22), along with the Stars of Rock and Gaven Richard. Tickets for the 9 PM show are $8. For more information, call 432-6572.

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Of the music fans among you, who have heard of the Funk Brothers? Raise your hands. Impressive. Now how many of you haven’t? Interesting. Would you believe that this band of fellas have been on more No. 1 records than the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Elvis combined? (You’ve heard of them, haven’t you.)

Well the Funk Brothers were basically unacknowledged during their day, although the studio band plucked from Detroit’s fertile club scene by Motown head Berry Gordy Jr. during that label’s heyday were the creators of that “Motown sound” the kids went so wild for—backing such stars of the day such as the Supremes, the Temptations and Stevie Wonder. The film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, coming to TSL Warehouse this weekend and next, intends to bring to light the pioneering work of these unsung heroes.

Standing in the Shadows of Motown began as a book, a labor of love by musician Allan Slutsky, which focused on legendary Funk Brother bassist James Jamerson (whose jazz and blues background, unique approach and intuition for the bass revolutionized the playing of the instrument in pop and R&B for years to come). Slutsky spent 11 years raising money for the filmic version of his tale, the scope of which was expanded to include all of the Funk Brothers, and enlisted music-video and documentary director Paul Justman.

The film, narrated by actor Andre Braugher, is part documentary and part concert: Interviews with surviving members of the group, archival footage and re-created scenes are interspersed with scenes from a 2000 Funk Brothers reunion show featuring Chaka Khan, Ben Harper, Bootsy Collins, Montell Jordan, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne and Gerald Levert. The soundtrack alone is reason enough to attend the screening, as 20 Motown master tracks are included (which is, apparently, a difficult score—no pun intended—as Mr. Gordy is reluctant to lease the tunes out to just anybody).

Standing in the Shadows of Motown will be screened at Time & Space Limited (434 Columbia St., Hudson) tonight (Thursday, Feb. 20), tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 21) and Saturday (Feb. 22) at 7 PM; Sunday (Feb. 23) at 4 PM; and next Thursday (Feb. 27) and Friday (Feb. 28) at 7 PM. Tickets are $7.50. Call 822-8448 for information.

Madame Butterfly

Get out your handkerchiefs—Pinkerton’s about to do Cio-Cio-San wrong again, in Puccini’s lushly romantic opera of passion and betrayal, Madame Butterfly. The tragedy of the selfish-but-suave American sailor who marries and abandons a more-or-less unworldly Japanese girl is one of the best-known (to non-opera fans) and loved of the Italian master’s many works. This production, by the London City Opera, has been praised by critics for the simplicity of its sets, the beauty of its costumes, and the soft textures of its inspired lighting. The singing is supposed to be pretty good, too.

Formed seven years ago by its artistic director, Martin McEvoy, the London City Opera is principally a touring company—meaning they don’t actually spend too much time in London. What they have done in their extensive travels, however, is build a reputation for first-class productions of much-loved opera and operetta warhorses, including La Boheme, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, HMS Pinafore and Carmen.

The London City Opera will perform Madame Butterfly on Tuesday (Feb. 25) at 8 PM at Proctor’s Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady). The performance will be in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets are $39, $36, and $34. Call 346-6204 for reservations and information.

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