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CL previews upcoming shows

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24

Toots & the Maytals Like many, my first exposure to the music of Toots Hibbert came courtesy of the Clash's incendiary covers of "54-46 Was My Number" and "Pressure Drop." Delving into the originals, however, was a revelation. Here was "Funky Kingston" made palpable, Hibbert's burning bush vocals – part Ska-shaman, gospel minister and Otis Redding soul machine – conjuring the island's sounds, smells and political aggro. The real Maytals departed in '81, but Hibbert just keeps rolling along, and as his new record, Light the Light, suggests, in surprisingly fine voice, too. Neighborhood Theatre. (Schacht)

Hoots and Hellmouth Funny how Philly, the most urban of urban environments, occasionally produces such rootsy fare. Like early, banjo-totin' Marah or Dr. Dog's twangier moments, what makes Hoots and company intriguing is the clash of urban and rural elements; gospel-flavored tent-revival hoedowns, folky ballads and gut-bucket blues rock you'd hear at the corner bar. Their eponymous debut suggests you'll be hearing more about them soon, so now's the chance to say you saw 'em when ... With Bruce Hazel & Some Volunteers. Snug Harbor (Schacht)

THURSDAY, Oct. 25

Nebula Formed a decade ago by ex-guitarist and drummer of Fu Manchu, Nebula is a stoner-rock power trio bulldozing Sabbath sludge, psychedelic drones and spacey effects into a netherworld blast. There's a groove to the madness, though, and the blokes tour like there's no tomorrow. That road-hardened repetition and ethos translate into maniacal live shows. With Bonk, Zoroaster, and Husky. Milestone (Shukla)

Tony Furtado Banjo master Furtado began his musical career as a bluegrass sensation but has since expanded his musical palate to include blues, country and rock. On his most recent recording, 13, Furtado shows he is just as adept on guitar, with its '70s bent on country-rock, as he is on banjo. The album highlights several funky covers including The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again." Evening Muse (Shukla)

Martin Sexton A Cambridgean who busked for years before nabbing the National Academy of Songwriter's Artist of the Year award in 1994, Sexton's blue-eyed soul-spiked folk has earned him comparisons to both The Boss and a Nor'easter version of Dave Matthews. As a guitarist, he's firm, if not particularly agile, with a good right hand. As a singer, he's a natural, though too often his sweet-n-sour voice gets stuck with some rather saccharine melody lines. With Melissa Ferrick. Amos' Southend (Davis)

FRIDAY, Oct. 26

Cross Canadian Ragweed Oklahoma-based CCR (not that one, smart aleck) plays heck-raising alt.country with a persistent backbeat, twangy guitars, trippy vocals and lyrics that teeter on witty, brews-induced banter. The band's freshly released disc, Mission California, is yet another fine roots-rock effort by the oft-touring band. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Eisley Not to be confused with either Owsley, the Grateful Dead's soundman and, er, chemist, nor former NBA point guard Howard Eisley, Eisley the band (Texans Chauntelle, Sherri, Weston and Stacy Dupree, along with cousin Garron Dupree) was named after Mos Eisley, which, I am told, was like a town in Star Wars or something. Earnest and only occasionally overbearing, they're something like the youthful, ying/yang spawn of Evanescence's Amy Lee (the dark) and Sunny Day Real Estate (the light). For a group of kids hardly born when current Carolina Panther QB Vinny Testaverde was drafted, not bad. With MuteMath. Amos' Southend (Davis)

SATURDAY, Oct. 27

Leah Randazzo Vocalist and composer Randazzo's ease of delivery and stage presence conceal her age. The 23-year-old singer from Northhampton, Mass., writes and performs funky jazz and R&B that straddles the line between traditional and contemporary. Her astute back-up band's horns and percussion are tightly woven while Randazzo sings along with studied inflection and confidence. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

TUESDAY, Oct. 30

Saosin Cali's Saosin have ratcheted up many props with their blend of melodic punky hardcore. The band's name comes from a Chinese proverb meaning "small heart." They've evolved from their screamo beginnings to a more crooned and composed show band. The angst is still there, but it's just a tad sugared up. Nothing wrong with that. Also on the bill are Norma Jean, Alexionfire, and Envy on the Coast. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

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