Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
Saratoga Springs indie-rock trio Dryer – who first formed in 1993 – reunited in 2010 after eight years apart. A disastrous 2002 tour and personal squabbles among guitarist Bob Carlton, bassist Rachael Sunday and drummer Joel Lilley had contributed to the band’s initial painful demise.
But the band – who were on producer Dominick Campana’s local Paint Chip Records back in the ‘90s – put their differences aside two years ago when New Jersey’s Fake Chapter record label offered to release a digital compilation called “Strut and Fret” of out-of-print Dryer songs. Label head Mike Gilligan convinced the band to get back together to support the release, and Dryer dusted off their instruments for a reunion show at Saratoga’s Putnam Den in April of 2010.
Since then, the band’s gigs have been somewhat rare, including a November performance last year at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City for Fake Chapter’s 15th anniversary. And a month ago, Dryer returned to Putnam Den for a free show with vaunted Albany indie outfit Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned and Skidmore College party band Houseboat.
It was a well-attended show, and somehow a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor from the bar made it onstage, adding to the overall feel-good vibe. Sunday gave out cookies after rocking one of her best tunes, “Beckons Wanted,” with its “She’s a gale storm in a Maidenform” lyric (love that line). Her “Back Off” alluded to the death of Kurt Cobain and how stunning it seemed at the time. And one of the first songs Sunday ever wrote, “I Can’t Wait,” a Nancy Sinatra-meets-Green Day pop-punk blast, got played out for the first time in 15 years.
“We wrote this song to get free drinks. It’s worked for 10 years,” Carlton said of “Desperate Annie’s,” a tribute to the Caroline Street bar in Saratoga Springs that has been the preferred watering hole among rockers and locals for years. Carlton debuted the band’s first new song in years, a sprawling Sonic Youth-esque tune; hard-hitting drummer Lilley – powered by 5-hour Energy shots – blasted the band through “The Wolves,” while the Fox Mulder-inspired “Spooky Action” and the driving “Amp Casters” closed out the set.
MORE DRYER BACK-STORY by Kirsten Ferguson from Metroland, April, 2010
DRYER SET LIST
Windy Bill McKay
I Can’t Wait