Review and photographs by Matt Mac Haffie
It was a beautiful Sunday, and the Altamont Fairgrounds played host to a good cause – the Festival of Hope: Storm Aid 2011. This festival really had it all – bake sales, face painting, horse power and horses, too.
But it was the diverse line-up of five professional, hard-working bands – Joe Sinatra, Out2Play, County Line Rebels, Inky Salad and Chicken Herders – that got my car pointed southwest.
Hard-rockers Out2Play’s Stephen Gabree and Dean Daversa launched into a twin-lead-guitar-powered set filled with crowd-pleasing covers and even better originals. Despite the ungodly early 1:15pm start time, stand-out front-woman Lila Lynn Laguna was in full voice, full rock regalia and in full charge, right down to nailing the impossible Plant yelp on “Immigrant Song.” O2P gigs at Albany’s original music clubs regularly, but this was my first chance to catch them. It won’t be my last.
The real-deal old-school purveyors of country music County Line Rebels seemed right at home with an Altamont rural background. Well-crafted songs were delivered with an easy and inviting style. CLR was also a new one on me, but some of their songs have been covered by big-name national artists.
Inky Salad served up technical rock in a classic vein. With its jazz-prowess drumming and solid, schooled bass playing, the rhythm section takes its cue from founding member Freddy, who plays with the kind of guitar chops you just can’t fake. The late day sun showed no-mercy-steaming-down on lead vocalist/keyboardist/founder Dianne Giannetti, who undaunted delivered a tireless, elegant, powerful performance captivating the crowd with her top-flight vocals. Inky Salad, whose core has been together for over a decade, seems immune to the passing of time.
The county fair setting combined with the beautiful weather along with natural set breaks allowed plenty of time to take in bits of the horse show or revisit the muscle cars of my youth while snacking on a fresh baked good. This corner of Nippertown was hit hard by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and this was great and worthy effort to raise the continued needed funds.