Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson and Timothy Reidy.
New Jersey indie-punk band Titus Andronicus kicked off their amped-up headlining set on the second night of the WCDB birthday bash with a charged cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.”
The ‘70s anthem may as well have been the theme song for Boston trio the Neighborhoods, who played earlier in the night and peppered their high-energy set with remembrances from shows past in Albany, where they were a fixture on the local music scene – and a WCDB staple – in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“Some of my earliest depravities were enhanced by my musical trips to Albany,” said intense-eyed guitarist David Minehan during a sweat-flying set of rockers like “Parasite” and “Peeping Tom,” which concluded with the vintage ‘Hoods song “She Promised Me” and a life-affirming version of the Monkees’ “Daydream Believer.”
No one seemed to know the exact significance of the 34th anniversary of UAlbany radio station WCDB (people tend to choose multiples of five when celebrating such things), but it sounds like the dedication of hard-working general manager Nicole Dellarocca – who booked the acts and organized the two-day event – made much of it happen.
Secret Release – members of the Albany recording collective B3nson Family, along with Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, who also performed – opened the Saturday festivities with a catchy set of keyboard-guitar-and-drum-fueled indie dance rock. Ramblin Jug Stompers – featuring three members of Albany music legends Blotto, as well as former WCDB DJ Michael Eck – brought dueling kazoos and a joyful mix of jug band classics, bluegrass and hobo freight train blues.
Solo songwriter and guitarist Matthew Carefully, who played a Saratoga skate park benefit just a couple of hours earlier as half of his instrumental duo Rosary Beard, played an engrossing set of quietly poignant tunes like ‘New York Guest,” and the surprise stunner of the night was Catskills (via Brooklyn and Massachusetts) transplant Brian Dewan, who plucked an autoharp and his own hand-crafted electric zither on a fascinating set of parlor-meets-cabaret music, including the quirkish “Ever Improving Village,” an ode to his adopted hometown.