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Nightlife Highlights for January 2010 

First Sunday Afternoon Dance Party
January 3. It’s freezing outside, but the windows of beloved K-town hang Keegan Ales will steam up good when the dance floor ignites for this inaugural installment of the brewery’s monthly First Sunday Afternoon Dance Party series. Tango goddess Ilene Marder invites you to move and groove to the spiciest Latin, swing, and world beat rhythms. Come early for the 2pm “Intro to Tango” lesson. Cover includes snacks. (The Retro Rockets, featuring Jimmy Eppard, Charlie Knicely, and Pete Levin, blast off on January 24.) 3pm. $10. Kingston. (845) 331-2739;

Crooked Still

January 8. Imbued with the haunting voice of Aoife O’Donovan and the banjo of erstwhile Bruce Springsteen sideman Greg Liszt, Boston’s Crooked Still lost founding member and cellist Rushad Eggleston in 2007. But the band, which visits the Egg this month, bounced back immediately, adding new cellist Tristan Clarridge and fiddler Brittany Haas to continue its reign as one of America’s greatest modern roots units—just ask anyone who caught the Still’s set at last year’s Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. (Gregg Allman plays on January 3; Al Di Meola’s World Sinfonia weaves its spell on January 30.) 8pm. $24. Albany. (518) 473-1845;

Fred Smith Jazz Ensemble

January 16. Not to be confused with the local vintner and Television bassist or the late MC5 guitarist of the same name, Peekskill trumpeter Fred Smith is the former director of the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band and has worked with such hallowed acts as Lloyd Price, Lou Donaldson, Panama Francis, Etta Jones, King Curtis, Hugh Masekela, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. This engagement sees Smith leading his own crack band at hometown venue the Beanrunner Café. Swingin’! (Skin Against Metal brings Afro-Cuban sounds on January 22; bassist Harvey S. performs on January 29.) 7:30pm. $10. Peekskill. (845) 737-1701;

David Malachowksi & the Woodstock All Stars
January 22. Guitarist David Malachowski is one of the scene’s most ubiquitous figures, gigging constantly with his own groups and sitting in with just about everyone else. A storied musician with a highly attentive ear, he’s been the go-to player for Shania Twain, Commander Cody, and others. This date at WAMC’s Linda Performing Arts Studio by his changeable Woodstock All Stars features Joe Jackson bassist Graham Maby and drummer Gary Burke, Pink Floyd and Sting backup singer Machan Taylor, Levon Helm saxophonist Erik Lawrence (Malachowski’s fellow Chronogram scribe), and organ king Pete Levin. (Power popper Willie Nile rocks on January 23.) 8pm. $20. Albany.
(518) 465-5233;

January 23. A paragon of the freak-folk faction, Vetiver is a loose cooperative headed by Andy Cabic, a frequent collaborator of the scene’s breakout leader, Devendra Banhart. The group’s critically adored fourth album, the all-covers Thing of the Past (Gnomonsong Records, 2008), features lulling, shimmering chestnuts by Bobby Charles, Hawkwind, Ian Matthews, Townes Van Zandt, and Loudon Wainwright III, plus guest vocals by Vashti Bunyan and Michael Hurley. Currently on tour in support of 2009’s Tight Knit (Sub-Pop Records), Vetiver makes its soft landing at Jason’s Upstairs Bar for this much-awaited date. With Kevin Barker. (Bears with Wings fly in on January 16.) 8pm. $10. Hudson. (518) 828-8787;

click to enlarge Freak-folkers Vetiver play Jason's Upstairs Bar in Hudson on January 23.
  • Freak-folkers Vetiver play Jason's Upstairs Bar in Hudson on January 23.

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