Be Here Now: Acoustic Blues Fest @ Caffe Lena, 3/4-5/11

February 28th, 2011, 4:00 pm by Greg

You don’t have to plug in and crank it up if you want to play the blues. If you’re a fan of the acoustic blues, the place to be this weekend is Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. The Caffe’s sixth annual Acoustic Blues Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday, featuring two concerts, three workshop sessions and a rare record raffle, too.

Here’s the complete line-up for the fest:

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LIVE: “Deep Freeze” @ Upstate Artists Guild, 2/19/11

February 28th, 2011, 3:15 pm by Greg
Century Plants

Century Plants

What’s that ringing in my ear?

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective’s 2011 season kicked off with the aptly titled “Deep Freeze: Experimental Music for Snowy Times,” last Saturday at the Upstate Artists Guild in Albany. The event was well attended – not a folding plastic chair to spare, despite the lack of video backdrop.

First up was the guitar-wielding duo Mark Lunt and Chris Bassett – collectively know as Insect Posse – who coxed tone and feedback from their instruments including their feet with great effect. Self described as “purveyors of noisy yet hypnotic hymns to other worlds of nothingness.”

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LIVE: “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” @ the Palace Theatre, 2/23/11

February 28th, 2011, 2:08 pm by Greg

Before I tell you my take on Rain, let’s rewind back to December – the first time I learned about the Beatles. I was sitting at my desk in music class. The day’s topic was the Beatles. I had heard about them before, listened to some of their music when my dad was playing it, but I didn’t know much about them. Our substitute teacher put some of their music on to play in the background while she talked about each of the Fab Four. She passed around albums, and by the time I left the classroom, I was in love with their music.

Now it’s time to fast forward to mid-January. My mom and I were sitting at home watching television. Mom switched to channel 11 (PBS). They were showing a clip of Rain performing “Hey Jude.” Then a man came on and started talking about Rain and how they would be at the Palace Theatre in February. A few days later, my dad was able to get us tickets – even though they were getting close to being sold out.

Now, it’s time to tell you a little about Rain, their performance, and my take on it:

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LIVE: Willie Nile @ The Linda, 2/19/11

February 28th, 2011, 12:15 pm by Greg

This time, Willie Nile wasn’t on crutches, and he had more than twenty new and vintage songs to prove it.

A year ago, Nile played The Linda just days after tearing a calf muscle incurred while playing a Parkinson’s benefit with his good friend, Bruce Springsteen. It was a gutsy, inspired performance – easily one of the best concerts of the year in Albany.

On Saturday, February 19, Nile came back full of vigor and eager to deliver a batch of new songs from his excellent new album “The Innocent Ones” (River House Records), as well as songs dating back to the early days of his storied career.

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This Week’s Hit Parade: The Live Album Edition

February 28th, 2011, 11:30 am by Sara

“Blowin’ it Out”
(Self-released, 2011)
If the late Bread & Jam Café is remembered for only one thing, this electrifying live disc should be it. Joe Barna sets the full house on fire with an all-originals set that recalls jazz’s past, but doesn’t bow to it. The front line is seriously heavyweight, featuring Vanguard Jazz Orchestra alums Joe Magnarelli and Jon Gordon: “Joey Mags” injects muscle-car power into whatever he plays, while Gordon’s soprano on “Ivory Romance” is some of the best you’ll hear. Local hero Dave Solazzo’s usual lyrical piano matches Gordon on “Ivory”, but Solazzo also punches up Blowin’ with a funky aggression that gets B&J howling. This drops March 17, and it’s a must-have. Joe Barna & Sketches of Influence celebrate the release of “Blowin’ It Out” in concert at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday, March 17. Tix are $15.

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Leo Kottke, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

February 28th, 2011, 11:02 am by Greg

Leo Kottke“The first album I bought was probably a recording of Villa-Lobos music by Laurindo Almeida, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. Back then, I detested the sound of classical guitar. I thought it just sounded bland and colorless, although I’m actually quite fond of it now. Anyhow, that was the first.

I think the second record – and they were the only two guitar records I could find, and I had to go into Oklahoma City to find them because I was living in Muskogee, but my trombone lessons brought me into Oklahoma City – was called ‘Flamenco Fire.’ It must have made Sabicas want to die because on one side was Sabicas and on the other side was Carlos Montoya, who, well, let’s just say that he was less than highly regarded by flamenco players. And they screwed with Sabicas on that record, too, adding a rooster to one piece on the record. In the middle of this song, suddenly you hear a rooster crowing. What were they thinking?

I got something from both of those records, though. With the Almeida album, I just knew that that wasn’t where I wanted to go. And the flamenco record, well, I couldn’t begin to conceive of what they were doing.”

Guitar virtuoso and innovator Leo Kottke heads into The Egg in Albany for a two-night stand with performances at 8pm on Friday and Saturday. Tix are $34.50.

2/28/11: Today’s Tips: Monday

February 28th, 2011, 9:00 am by Greg

THEATER: “Krapp’s Last Tape” @ MCLA Church Street Center, North Adams. Samuel Beckett’s classic one-man play starring T. Ryder Smith. 7:30pm. $12.

BURLESQUE: Bing Bamboo Room Burlesque @ Savannah’s, Albany. Emcee Guy Smiley and a Mardi Gras parade of tantalizing talent keep you entertained. Laissez les bon temps rouler. 8 & 10pm. $10.

FILM: “The Defiant Ones” @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. The 1958 racial drama about two escaped convicts fleeing capture in the south. Starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis. 7pm. $5; youth 14 and under $3.

ART OPENING: “Bookmarks: Text as Art” @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy. Seven writer-artists (or are they artist-writers?) explore test as a multi-dimensional medium. Curated by Nancy Klepsch and featuring the work of Kathryn A. Laity, Sara Tack, Alan Casline, Daniel Nester, Mary Kathryn Jablonski, Joelle Nadeau Hotaling and Susan Rivers. 7pm. FREE. Through Friday, March 11.

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2/27/11: Today’s Tips: Sunday

February 27th, 2011, 9:00 am by Greg

THEATER ON FILM: “Waiting for Godot” @ MCLA Gallery 51, North Adams. A film of director Chris McElreon’s audacious restaging of the Samuel Beckett masterpiece set in post-Katrina New Orleans. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion “Art as a Catalyst for Change,” featuring McElreon, “Waiting for Godot” actor J. Kyle Manzay and others. 3pm. FREE.

MUSIC: Happy Traum @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. The veteran Woodstock folkie (and head honcho at Homespun Tapes) steps into the spotlight at the hallowed folk venue. With Andy Friedman. 7pm. $16 in advance; $18 at the door.

MUSIC: Marka Gustavsson and Frank Corliss @ the Bard Center’s Olin Auditorium at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson. The special faculty recital featuring Marka Gustavsson on viola and violin and Frank Corliss on piano features Bach’s Sonata in A Major for violin and keyboard, Stravinsky’s Duo concertante, George Enesco’s “Impressions d’enfance” and the world premiere of Kyle Gann’s “Scene from a Marriage.” 3pm. FREE.

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