Best Concerts of 2010: Nippertown’s Greg Haymes

It was a good year for concerts.

But it wasn’t exactly a good year for concert venues. At least three of the performances on my Best of the Year list drew a downright embarrassing lack of an audience. In fact, you could sum up Nippertown’s 2010 state of the concert scene with one phrase – the Year of the Small But Enthusiastic Crowd.

Fortunately, the quantity of the crowd members never seemed to get in the way of the quality of the music. Here are my thoughts on the Best Concerts of the Year:

1. Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread @ The Egg, Albany on September 25 (Read review.)
2. The Nels Cline Singers, Wilco (and everybody else) at the Solid Sound Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams on August 14 (Read reviews: Day One, Day Two, Day Three)
3. John Ellis & Double-Wide @ Red Square, Albany on March 4 (Read review.)
4. Nona Hendryx with Bryan Thomas @ the Music Haven, Schenectady on July 25 (Read review.)
5. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba @ the Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy on March 24 (Read review.)
6. Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs on May 21 (Read review.)
7. Lost in the Trees with Cuddle Magic @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady on September 24 (Read review.)
8. Young@Heart @ The Egg, Albany on July 16 (Read review.)
9. Ute Lemper @ the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield on August 27 (Read review.)
10. The Black Crowes @ the Palace Theatre, Albany on October 15 (Read review.)

Anais Mitchell with Anne Heaton @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs on May 16 (Read review.)
The Ike Reilly Assasination @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany on June 3 (I never did get around to writing a review of this show, but here’s a review of Reilly’s return appearance in August.)
Sonos @ The Linda, Albany on October 8 (Read review.)
Spottiswoode & His Enemies @ Club Helsinki Hudson, Hudson on May 1 (Read review.)
Rufus Wainwright with Lucy Wainwright Roche at The Egg, Albany on December 9 (Read review.)
Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore @ The Linda, Albany on March 9 (Read review.)
“Sisters in Soul” (featuring Bettye LaVette, Marcia Ball and Maria Muldaur) @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy on March 14 (Read review.)
Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs on April 16 (Read review.)
Ivan Neville’s DumpstaPhunk (and everyone else) @ the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, Riverfront Park, Albany on September 11 (Read review.)
Carolina Chocolate Drops with Guy Davis @ The Egg, Albany on September 12 (Read review.)

BEST FESTIVAL: A no-brainer. The Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams (August 13-15) was a rare and marvelous weekend of music, art, comedy, film, and even a bit of first rate theater, too. The members of Wilco and the folks at MASS MoCA created a magnificently audience-friendly event brimming over with musical diversity. The fest is returning June 24-26, but I don’t know how they can possibly top this one.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival at Riverfront Park in Albany (September 11) was a wonderful blend of musical styles from Somi to DumpstaPhunk to John Scofield. It was the best in the fest’s history. And if was still free… (Read review.)

BEST COMEBACK: Lonesome Val @ The Linda in Albany (December 4). The former frontwoman for ’80s local favorites the Units/Fear of Strangers returned to the spotlight with former bandmate Todd Nelson on guitar for wonderfully open-hearted, slightly loopy set opening for the Crash Test Dummies. (Read review.)
HONORABLE MENTION: The Penny Knight Band @ Savannah’s in Albany (November 10). If you didn’t already know, you’d never have guessed that it was their first show in 25 years. Now if Penny would just get behind the drums again… (Read review.)

BEST OPENING ACT: The Low Anthem @ The Egg in Albany opening for Emmylou Harris (November 14). Can’t wait to see what they can do with a night all to themselves, but we’ll find out at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday, March 5. (Read review.)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Lonesome Val @ The Linda with Crash Test Dummies (December 4) (Read review.); Bryan Thomas @ the Central Park Music Haven, Schenectady with Nona Hendryx (July 25) (Read review.); Julia Brown @ the Bread & Jam Cafe, Cohoes with Bryan Thomas (March 19) (Read review.)

WEIRDEST SHOW OF THE YEAR: The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra @ Proctors, Schenectady (November 3). That’s right, 10 musicians performing on instruments made out of vegetables played an hour-long program of music that ranged from Kraftwerk to Stravinsky to originals – actually, verrry originals. (Read review.)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Harptallica @ the Judge’s Inn, Troy (September 1) (Read review.); Rufus Wainwright @ The Egg (December 9) (Read review.)

Got a Best of 2010 list that you’d like to contribute? Best concerts of the year? Best local music moments of the year? Best whatever? Please send it along to

Best Art Exhibitions of the Year: The Daily Gazette’s Karen Bjornland
Best Concerts of the Year: The Daily Gazette
Best Albums of the Year: Nippertown’s Matt Mac Haffie
Best Concerts of the Year That I Missed: Nippertown’s Greg Haymes
Best Local CDs of 2010: The Daily Gazette’s Brian McElhiney
Most Disappointing Concerts of 2010: Nippertown’s Greg Haymes
Best Albums of the Year: Justin Mikulka
Best Capital Region Theater of the Year: Nippertown’s Greg Haymes
Best Entertainers Who Moonlight as Artists of the Year: Art:21
Best Albums of the Year: Spin Magazine
Most Disappointing Capital Region Concert Cancellations of the Year: Nippertown’s Greg Haymes
Best Television Commercials of the Year: TV Squad
Best Feature Films of the Year: Roger Ebert
Best Albums of the Year: Brian Patneaude
Best TV Character Deaths of the Year: Entertainment Weekly
Best Viral Videos of the Year: Videogum
Best Albums & Best Selling Albums of the Year: Billboard
Best Concerts of the Year: Nippertown’s J Hunter
Best Country Albums: The Boot
Best Albums of the Year: WEXT’s Chris Wienk
Best TV Music Moments of the Year: Treble
Best Book Covers of the Year: The L Magazine
Best Folk Albums of the Year: Guide
Best Albums of the Year: We Are Not a Rock Band
Best Movies of the Year: Christian Science Monitor
Best Television Shows of the Year: Channel Surfing
Best Concerts of the Year: Nippertown’s Andrzej Pilarczyk
Best Music Videos of the Year: IFC
Best Books of the Year: The New York Times Book Review
Best Live Acts of the Year: Paste Magazine
Best Poetry Books of the Year: Dan Chiasson of The New Yorker
Best Albums of the Year: Andy Maroney
Best Movie Titles of the Year That Sounded Like Porn, But, Alas, Were Not Porn: Movieline
Best DVDs of the Year: Rolling Stone
Best Albums of the Year: NME
Best Fiction of the Year: Salon
Best Jazz Albums of the Year: A Blog Supreme
Best Albums of the Year: Tim Livingston
Best Albums of the Year: Filter Magazine
Best Albums of the Year: Mojo Magazine

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