Depending on how old you might be – or just how much of the Capital Region music scene you’ve soaked up over how many years – you could probably make a decent argument for maybe a dozen local bands who have trotted the boards at countless Nippertown nightclub stages to claim the title of the All-Time Best…
Fear of Strangers
The Kamikaze Hearts
The Grey Things
Those were just the ones that popped off the top of my head… and not in any order of importance. (We’re not trying to manufacture one of those created-for-the-sake-of-controversy best-of lists that, say, Rolling Stone likes to whip up just to piss off debate-hungry fans. (But OK, now that I’m dwelling on it a bit, I might also add some of my personal favorites – like the Dronez, Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, Home – into the mix.)
But if I had only one vote, I’d lay down all my chips down on the Figgs.
Dozens of absolutely killer, brilliant, hook-filled songs. Passionate delivery up the wazoo – both in the studio and on stage. And let’s not forget the cool/cuteness factor, either.
The Figgs do power-pop the way it’s supposed to be done … with equal and undeniable emphasis on the power and the pop.
Of course, I may be somewhat biased, having had the golden opportunity of watching the original band – guitarist Mike Gent, bassist Pete Donnelly and drummer Guy Lyons – grow and evolve from their early but unquestionably promising days as the Sonic Undertones to major-label stars with albums on the Imago and Capital labels to determined, self-sustaining indie artists with such magnificent albums as “Couldn’t Get High” and “Sucking in Stereo.” (Along the way Lyons left, drummer Pete Hayes signed on, Lyons rejoined the fold as second guitarist and then left again.) But they’ve always remained been a pretty tight-knit, insular little combo.
They’ve toured and recorded with Graham Parker. They’ve recorded solo albums and with side-project bands. Donnelly currently mans the bass position with Terry Adams’ NRBQ. But the Figgs are still the Figgs. They’ve never descended into self-parody or settled for being an oldies band. They’ve persevered, and they’re still rockin’ – as they proved with the release of the whopping 20-song-two-disc set “The Day Gravity Stopped” earlier this year.
And the fact of the matter is that the Figgs are celebrating their 25th anniversary this weekend, and it’s time for some serious partyin’ in their honor. The Figgs will be playing shows at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany on Friday night and at Putnam Den in their former hometown of Saratoga Springs on Saturday evening. Guy Lyons will be dropping by for a reunion with the guys both nights – marking his first time playing with the band since 1997. Tix are $10 for each night.
Congrats, Figgs. Keep on rockin’…
BUT WAIT… We’ve got a pair of FREE TICKETS to give away to Friday night’s Figgs’ anniversary show. And another pair to give away to Saturday night’s show. To enter the contest, just post a comment below – and be sure to indicate which night you would like to attend. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The winners will be selected at random and notified on Friday morning. Good luck! Congratulations to the winners, who have been notified by email.