Ten dollars won’t get you a lot these days, especially in downtown Saratoga Springs, where the average drink-plus-tip will leave you with precious little change.
But at Putnam Den in Saratoga on Friday night for the Skeletons in the Piano CD release party, 10 bucks got you: admission to the four-hour show, a free CD, stuffed animal piñata prizes, half-naked belly dancers and some guy dressed up like it was Halloween carrying around a skull-topped stick.
First up was Troy’s Purifier with guitar-swinging, head-banging tunes reminiscent of a ’90s Type O Negative.
The Killerados were up next, warming up the crowd with their throaty vocals and fast licks, even giving a nod to no doubt one of their influences Johnny Cash, with a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Pandha Piranha literally rolled out the carpet for petite, pixie-haircut-sporting singer Laura Hajek, and she kicked off her sparkly, four-inch-tall Wizard of Oz ruby slippers so that she could sink her stockings into the soft, white shag rug. Her Bjork-esque yodel echoed over the band’s rock-metal groove while the crowd demolished a huge stuffed panda pinata that exploded, spewing condoms and candy into eager hands.
Celebrating the release of their sophomore album, “Strangers On a Damned Staircase,” Skeletons in the Piano were introduced by the Grim Reaper himself, welding a skull cane, and were quickly joined on stage by exotic belly dancers. Made up of keyboard, violin, bass, drums and guitar, the band’s sound was swinging between a hazy mix of ’60s hippie music and modern rock-metal, often sounding like two different radio stations bleeding together.
And as they often do, the band encouraged artists to set up shop on the side of the stage to create live watercolor paintings that were auctioned off at the end of the night along with other art and jewelry.
Ten bucks, people!
Review and photographs by Lindsay Malachowski