Review by Matt Mac Haffie
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
Critics’ darlings Charmboy took the Putnam Den stage in Saratoga Springs promptly at 9pm armed with a batch of songs culled from their debut CD “Let it Feed.” The unassuming cool of bassist Sarah Clark belies her ridiculous command of the instrument which, when locked with the versatile drumming of Scott Smith, forms a dangerous rhythm section.
Guitar ace Eric Halder (AKA the Birthday Boy) unleashed a grand parade of classic riffs, familiar yet fresh, from behind his lead vocals. Songs that kill on the album – “The 18,” “White Nights” and especially “Werewolves” – are just as killer in concert. Live you also got a gem-of-a-cover: the obscure Alice Cooper track “Is It My Body.”
Also on the bill and no less compelling was the Rob Skane 3, who are an excellent vehicle for Rob’s superb songwriting. The end of the night was brought home by the Blisterz who can affectionately be described as children-of-a–lesser-Dropkick Murphys. Charmboy’s Halder also joined the Blisterz on stage to pump up a couple of numbers.
The Putnam Den – if you have not ventured in recently – is nicely revamped; gone are all but three of billiard tables of its pool hall past. In their place is a good-sized stage with a well-equipped, professionally-operated sound system. While essentially a box shape, the room is open, with a decent array of seating options and a staff that seems happy in their world. It’s a nice surprise to see a music venue where accommodating both the audience and band is not an after-thought.
Bonus: A post-gig jaunt to Esperanto for a doughboy capped off a great rockin’ night out.