Review and photos by Kirsten Ferguson. See more of Kirsten’s photos from this show here.
We can’t wait for August, when the Figgs play two back-to-back shows in the area to celebrate their 25 years as a band and their killer new double album, “The Day Gravity Stopped.” They’ll be at Valentine’s in Albany on Friday, August 17 and then the next night (Saturday, August 18) at Putnam Den in their hometown of Saratoga Springs.
But back in April, the Figgs played a special show at Valentine’s with their long-time collaborator Graham Parker (a line-up bolstered by multi-instrumentalist Scott Janovitz), the first night in a short tour with the rock-and-roll statesman, who has a new Graham Parker & the Rumour reunion album recorded for future release.
Parker, in amber aviator glasses and wrist sweatbands, reached back to 1973 for set rarity “Hole in the World,” broke into a grin after working up a groove on ‘Impenetrable,” and sardonically ripped on 1980s album production before “When You Do that to Me,” a 1985 song from his “Steady Nerves” album that he’d never before played on stage.
Janovitz and members of the Figgs took turns backing Parker alone on stage for a spell – Figgs drummer Pete Hayes adding decidedly non-‘80s drums on “When You Do that to Me,” Janovitz joining Parker on keyboards for a touching version of “You Can’t Be too Strong” from 1979’s “Squeezing out Sparks,” Figgs bassist Pete Donnelly adding harmonies on “Blue Highways,” and Figgs guitarist Mike Gent accompanying GP on another set rarity, 1988’s “Under the Mask of Happiness.”
It may have taken a few songs for the band to warm up, but by the end they were in a groove, knocking out Parker classic “Fool’s Gold,” tackling the Small Faces’ “All or Nothing,” sharing croons and comical hand gestures on the Figgs’ sexy-time tune, “Do Me Like You Said You Would,” and backing Parker as he busted out some funky dances moves on “Soul Shoes.”
NOTE: The Figgs will be playing at the free, outdoor Beacon Riverfest in Beacon’s Riverfront Park on Saturday afternoon (June 30), along with Brooklyn Qawwali Party, Bing Ji Ling, Schwervon!, the Octomen and the M Shanghai String Band.
Paul Rapp’s review at Metroland
GRAHAM PARKER & THE FIGGS SET LIST
It’s My Party (But I Won’t Cry)
Turn It Into Hate
No Holding Back
If It Ever Stops Rainin’
Hole in the World
When You Do That to Me
You Can’t Be too Strong
Under the Mask of Happiness
You’re Not Where You Think You Are
Tough on Clothes
You Hit the Spot
Get Started, Start a Fire
All or Nothing (Small Faces)
Do Me Like You Said You Would (The Figgs)
Get Over It and Move On