'FIRST SIGHT IMPROVISATION WEEKEND: AVANTJAZZ AGAINST AN IRAQI WAR' The long title signals something of a preamble to the "Visions Festival" as William Parker and Patricia Nicholson convene Yoshiko Chuma, Frank London, Rob Brown, Joe McPhee, and others to stand against the land grab in Iraq. For the first set on both evenings, Nicholson introduces her new company, PaNic, and for the second, Parker reunites for the first time in nearly a year his 15-piece Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8 AND 9:45 AND SUNDAY AT 5 AND 6:45, the Center, 268 Mulberry Street, 212-226-0513. (Giddins)

TERRY GIBBS The Russian-born pianist Eugene Maslov will lead an opening (or is that intermission?) trio, which hardly seems necessary, because Gibbs's rare return to New York—in support of his new CD tribute to Lionel Hampton, From Me to You (Mack)—is a fairly star-studded affair, with David "Fathead" Newman, Joey De Francesco, Howard Alden, and Gerry Gibbs. Known for his great L.A. big band of the late '50s, his long-running TV sidekick work with Steve Allen, his quintet with Buddy DeFranco, and his speed and swing on the vibes, Gibbs is nearing 80, and his pleasure in revisiting Hampton's signature classics is palpable. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 8:30 AND 10:30, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT MIDNIGHT, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212-582-2121. (Giddins)

GOLD CHAINS Call it dork 'n' bass. San Francisco's Gold Chains sports the Al Franken-meets-biophysics-grad-student look and has made a name with two EPs of post-ironic bass satire. His forthcoming album is a bit tighter-lipped, but still thumps. Onstage, the man nods his head with more force than anyone I've ever seen, which sometimes makes me think he's overcompensating, but certainly seems to motivate the ladies far more than someone who looks like him has any right to. Also: Starlight Mints and PS. FRIDAY AT 8:30, Mercury Lounge, 217 East Houston Street, 212-260-4700. (Caramanica)

Remote control: tune in for another perspective on "War Culture," including Ward Sutton's "That’s Entertainment" (see open city).
illlustration: Ward Sutton
Remote control: tune in for another perspective on "War Culture," including Ward Sutton's "That’s Entertainment" (see open city).

TIM MCGRAW & THE DANCEHALL DOCTORS On Tim's third, if not fourth, excellent suburban midlife-crisis concept album in a row, his touring band finally gets fine-print billing. Forget country; by now this is classic California studio rock. Quick rundown of top tracks: revolutionary fife-and-drum riddims, Cuervo going down nice and slow, best Matchbox 20 song ever, best Eagles and Jackson Browne songs in ages, a pro-choice hit that ranks with "Cotton-Eyed Joe" and Loretta's "The Pill" in Nashville's birth-control hall of fame, a goofily reactionary rant that disses The Village Voice by name, and a cover of a famous Almost Famous song that enunciates better than Elton ever did. I truly believe now that "Tiny Dancer" is about Faith Hill. WEDNESDAY AT 8, Continental Airlines Arena, 50 Route 120, Meadowlands Sports Complex, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 201-935-3900. (Eddy)

NOTWIST These Munich sprocketers have made unique muzik since the mid '90s, when they were covering Robert Palmer's Gary Numan tributes while mixing Metallica and Pavement into gargantuan math-metal. Once the foursome calmed down and embraced techno-glitch, quietness-fetishizing Web critics deemed their import-till-now Neon Golden a cult classic. They're hardly the new Can, but "Pick Up the Phone" is as sad a song as you'll hear. And they have the prettiest Kraut accents. Friday with James Yorkston, Saturday with the Burnside Project. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 10, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006. (Eddy)

YEAH YEAH YEAHS Just say No No No. O, she's rich all right. Fever to Tell is more overheated junk-punk crash-bash, howl-'n'-hoot, banshee nonsense. Just what we were hoping for. And more songful too. A couple times the slink gets a little too Peaches for our cream, but live, these new rattle-riffs will twist you out again like they did last summer (and the one before). We're all gonna burn in hell, so come on and let Karen O take you standing up. With Cause for Applause. THURSDAY AT 10, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Sinagra)


'WAR CULTURE' Give pieces a chance! An army of performance artists, choreographers, comedians, animators, and others invades Judson Church for a free, one-night-only mixture of live, filmed, installed, hung, animated, portrayed, and played art focusing on—what else?—war. It's the first of what's planned to be a multidisciplinary series called "stART," presented quarterly and zooming in on a particular issue through art, dance, music, spoken word, and multimedia theater. Organizers include Voice cartoonist Ward Sutton. Among the featured artists are animator Robert Smigel, performance artists Zeroboy and Martha Wilson, and cartoonist Peter Kuper. Visual and installation works will remain on display, for free, Friday through Sunday afternoons. THURSDAY AT 7, Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, 212-477-0351. (Harkavy)


GAIL ALBERT-HALABAN These handsome color photos of thirtysomething women at their leisure in L.A. recall the work of Tina Barney, Lauren Greenfield, and Tierney Gearon, so their combination of glossy artificiality and bland naturalism feels awfully familiar. Even if Albert-Halaban doesn't stage her tableaux of career gals getting pedicures, attending pottery workshops, playing Scrabble, and trying on shoes, her pictures have the distinct sense of oblivious unreality that privilege conveys. The intent may not be satirical, but Albert-Halaban's pampered, pretty women are too self-absorbed to elicit sympathy, and she's smart enough to reserve judgment. THROUGH APRIL 12, Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery, 120 Eleventh Avenue, 212-414-2770. (Aletti)

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