Tuned In: Demetri Martin, and more

Published: 3/30/2018 10:58:14 AM

“Let’s Get Small” is what stand-up era Steve Martin called his first comedy album. Comedian/actor/director/author Demetri Martin has his own variation of that phrase for the name of his current tour — “Let’s Get Awkward” — which comes to the Academy of Music in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

The star comedian knows all about awkward. A recent video found him emceeing his first awards show, an event for audio professionals, in which he calmly navigates the odd vibe in the room full of tech folks eating dinner while servers zip around. Sounds like it could be a skit, but it was real life, and just one of Martin’s diverse gigs — another of which was making his directing debut with the personal film “Dean,” a movie he also wrote, produced and starred in (Kevin Kline co-starred).

Martin left Harvard Law School in the ’90s to pursue comedy, and in the spirit of Steven Wright and Gary Larson’s Far Side comic, he created jokes and drawings that were economical and clever. He seems to be always tinkering, like a combination of an inspired scientist and a playful brainy kid. He likes palindromes, doodles, and explained in a recent interview that he’s been trying to create a joke with just four words, and his best attempt so far was: “Cannibals make me dinner.”

Like Wright or Mitch Hedberg, Martin shares an old-school dedication to jokes and punchlines — there are more than 100 in his average show. He’s said in interviews that he’ll sometimes try to work in some more personal material, but his main love remains the unique — and funny — one-liner.

Brooks Williams — singer, songwriter, acoustic guitarist and longtime friend of the Valley music scene — performs at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m.

Local legend Ray Mason brings his trusty Silvertone electric guitar, Peavey Bandit amplifier and treasure chest of original pop songs back to the Thirsty Mind in South Hadley on Saturday at 7 p.m. It’s a relaxed place to hear Mason’s unique music (with the occasional interruption from the espresso machine).

Rose Hips & Ships (from Maine/NYC) — described by some as what a fanciful collaboration between Tom Waits and Madeleine Peyroux might sound like — is on a spring tour that brings them to The Root Cellar in Greenfield on Saturday at 7 p.m. It’s their debut western MA performance.

Folk-pop supergroup Cry Cry Cry (Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky) takes to the stage for one of their first performances in almost two decades, at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Vocalist Wanda Houston, (shown at left,) known for her loving tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, brings her quartet (and some Ella tunes) to a show that also includes a performance by Juke Joint Jazz, at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday at 8 p.m.

For fans of Massachusetts hardcore, a historical show: Boston legends The F.U.’s headline a quadruple bill that also includes Eric Gaffney’s Grey Matter (who opened for The F.U.’s 34 years ago), Wishful Thinking (’80s western MA hardcore band in reunion mode) and Smartyr (new punk from Northampton), at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence on Saturday at 9 p.m.

In Tall Buildings — Chicago songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erik Hall’s one-man polymathic project, with a new album, “Akinetic” — appears at The Parlor Room on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Bunnies celebrate the release of their new LP “Transportation To Mind Transformation,” headlining a bill that also features Pigeons and Carinae. It’s the latest Reanimate the Bay State show at The Sierra Grille in Northampton, on Thursday at 10 p.m.



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