Archive for August, 2013

8/31/13: Today’s Tips: Saturday

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

MUSIC: Saratoga Blues Celebration @ Stockade Imports, Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga Acoustic Blues Society presents its sixth annual end-of-summer fest featuring Holly & Evan, Michael Eck, Mark Tolstrup, George Fletcher and lots more. 6pm. FREE. GO HERE for info and complete schedule…

MUSIC: A Tribe Called Red @ MASS MoCA, North Adams. Tinting Native American tradition with a distinctly urban color, the Canadian collective produces a throbbing, thriving sound culled from various musical styles that include hip-hop, electronic, dance, and their own mash-up of club and pow-wow music. 8pm. $15; $10 for students.

MUSIC: The Chandler Travis Philharmonette @ Musica, Hudson. 4pm.

MUSIC: The Zac Brown Band @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. After their sold-out SPAC debut last year, they’re back for more… 7pm.

COMEDY/MUSIC/CABARET: Sandra Bernhard @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. She’s a keen cultural observer, political satirist, actress, singer and author who straddles the line between comic and performance artist while always pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a comedian in the great tradition of Lenny Bruce. With Musty Chiffon, the cabaret/drag-queen alter ego of Hudson hotelier Dini Lamot. 9pm. $55.

MUSIC: Che Guevara T-Shirt @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany. Performing their rock opera “White Fever” in its entirety. With Casa Sleep and Eye and I. 9pm.

MUSIC: Hamell On Trial @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany. 7pm.



It’s the Weekend!

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Day Planner

Congrats! You made it through another work week. Summer is too rapidly coming to a close, so now is the time to get out there and soak up as much weekend fun and sun as possible.

But before we head out for our big, festival-filled Labor Day Weekend around Nippertown, we’d like to send a great big thank-you to everyone who dropped by this week to add encouragement, support, proof-reading and, yes, criticism, too. And thanks for helping to spread the word about

Of course, we couldn’t possibly cover the wide, wonderful scope of offerings around town without a dedicated and devoted bunch of wonderful writers, photographers, artists, tipsters and other assorted enablers who continually enrich us all with their contributions. So a big salute goes out to this week’s community contributors:

Larry Murray
Gail M. Burns
Timothy Reidy
Andrzej Pilarczyk
Stanley Johnson
Bryan Lasky
Hilary Scott
J Hunter
Ed Conway

Please consider adding your name to this list. Just send us something – a review, preview, interview, photo, list, rant, crayon drawing or whatever’s on your mind. Remember, Nippertown is your hometown, and we can’t possibly do this without your help.

And thanks to all of the folks from the area venues and organizations who were gracious enough to provide us with review tickets and/or photo passes for their events:

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs
The Egg, Albany
Tanglewood, Lenox
Vapor Nightclub, Saratoga Springs
Rockin’ On the River, Troy
Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield
Club Helsinki, Hudson
Riverlink Concerts, Amsterdam
Shakespeare & Company, Lenox
New York State Office of General Services, Albany
Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington
Theater Barn, New Lebanon

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes

LIVE: The Philadelphia Orchestra with Bela Fleck @ SPAC, 8/21/13

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Review by Greg Haymes

I know what you’re thinking – is a classical banjo concerto really anything more than a novelty? And the answer is no, probably not… unless the composer-banjo player happens to be Bela Fleck, who is certainly one of the most fearlessly adventurous musicians on the planet. And, yes, Fleck’s instrument of choice is the banjo, an instrument that resided squarely in the bluegrass and old-timey mountain folk music realms until Fleck came along.

And while Fleck’s musical roots are buried deep in bluegrass traditions, he has made a career out of breaking away from the banjo’s limitations and expanding the instrument’s musical horizons into previously unheard of genres – beginning with the progressively minded New Grass Revival, then the even more freewheeling Strength in Numbers, then the jazz-rock funk of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones.

Those pioneering accomplishments by themselves would make Fleck a major figure in the banjo’s development, but it turned out that they were just the start of his musical journey. He’s recorded jazz with such great pianists as Chick Corea and Marcus Roberts. He recorded the exquisite album Throw Down Your Heart with an array of African musicians. He played with country music artists from Garth Brooks to the Statler Brothers to Dolly Parton. He lent his talents to such folk music veterans as Doc Watson, Hazel Dickens and John Hartford. Celtic music with Maura O’Connell, Solas, the Chieftains and Paul Brady. On the rock end of the spectrum, his five-string wizardry can be heard on recordings by Jerry Garcia, Phish and the Dave Matthews Band.

But last week at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Fleck was surrounded by the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing his “The Impostor: Concerto for Banjo and Symphony Orchestra.” As the title suggests with Fleck’s usual wry sense of humor, the 35-minute concerto musically follows a poseur (in this case, Fleck’s banjo) who tries to sneak in and mingle in a place that he doesn’t necessarily belong (the orchestra), only to eventually be exposed as an interloper. If you need further explanation, Fleck has titled the three movements “Infiltration,” “Integration” and “Truth Revealed.”


Festival Fever: Capital District Scottish Games @ Altamont Fairgrounds

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The annual Capital District Scottish Games will once again take over the Altamont Fairgrounds in Altamont on Saturday and Sunday (August 31 & September 1), and naturally there will be plenty of competition going on – everything from the traditional caber toss to the Northeastern United States Pipe Band Championship, from the Highland Dance Competition to the Bonniest Knee Contest.

And, of course, it just wouldn’t be a Scottish festival without music – lots of music. The grounds will be jam-packed with a wide assortment of musical variety all day long on Saturday and Sunday. There’s solo piping and drumming, as well as the massed pipe band extravaganza featuring more than 500 pipers.


Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Friday, August 30th, 2013

From Albany Jazz: Trumpeter Dylan Canterbury – a regular member of Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble – was unable to perform with the band for the August date of their regular first-Tuesday-of-the-month gig at the Van Dyck in Schenectady – but he sat in the audience, and offered a particularly smart and insightful commentary on the band and their performance. BSE is back on the bandstand at the Van Dyck at 8pm on Tuesday (September 3). Admission is free.

From All Over Albany: The line-up of readings for the Frequency North writing series at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, highlighted by Rick Moody on Thursday, September 26.

From Rural Intelligence: Robert Burke Warren interviews the husband-and-wife team of Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion about their new Jeff Tweedy/Pat Sansone-produced album Wassaic Way in advance of their CD release party at Club Helsinki in Hudson on Saturday, September 7 and Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Sunday, September 8.

From Berkshire On Stage: Larry Murray previews the staged reading of Mark St. Germain’s new play, “Dancing Lessons,” at Barrington Stage Co. in Pittsfield on Sunday (September 1).

From All About Jazz: Regular Nippertown contributor J Hunter reviews the self-titled debut album by Prism, an all-star band featuring bassist Dave Holland, pianist Craig Taborn, guitarist Kevin Eubanks and drummer Eric Harlan …

Friday Flashback: The Plague’s “Suckin’ in the Wind”

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The Plague: Suckin' in the Wind
Well, the title’s at least half right…

Yes, the year was 1984, and that’s Michael Eck, Nick Grind, Mike Rappazzo and illustrious frontman J.P.

And guess what? The Plague is gearing up for a reunion performance at Scumfest II somewhere in the wilds of Berne on Sunday (September 1). Apparently Rappazzo is MIA, so on Sunday the drum throne will be manned by the power-pounding George Lipscomb (the A.D.’s, Coal Palace Kings, Mime Choir, Erin Harkes & the Rebound, etc.).

You have been warned…

GO HERE for more info on Scumfest II.

HOT READS: Nippertown’s Top 10 Stories of the Week

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Yes, yes, yes, we know…

We’ve heard all of the complaints that some of you simply don’t have the time to read all of the news as fast as we write it.

So for all of you casual once-or-twice-a-week readers, here’s a summary of the Top 10 most-viewed stories from Nippertown in the past week:

1. Festival Fever: Scum Fest II in Berne, 9/1/13 (by Staff)

2. Comin’ Soon: New Concert Announcements (by Staff, Stanley Johnson)

3. The Replacements: Back in the Saddle Again… (by Staff)

4. Jugs & Kisses: The 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band @ The Egg, 8/28/13 (by Greg Haymes, Andrzej Pilarczyk)

5. Real Good for FREE: The Final Stretch Music Festival, 8/31 & 9/1/13 (by Staff, Stanley Johnson)


“Mean Melin” Crowned New Air Guitar World Champion

Friday, August 30th, 2013

A truly monumental musical event took place last weekend. And we’re not talking about the trainwreck formerly known as Miley Cyrus. Or even the much heralded reunion of Half the Replacements.

No, no, no…

Lawrence, Kansas-based Eric “Mean Melin” Melin pulled a major upset at the Air Guitar World Championships held at Rotuaari Square in Oulu, Finland, beating out fellow countryman Doug “The Thunder” Stroock (second place), the UK’s Thom “W!ld Th!ng 37” Wilding (third place) and reigning champion Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard (fourth place) for top honors in the 18th annual competition.

Caffe LenaThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaArtist Charles HaymesBerkshire On StageHudson SoundsLeave Regular Radio BehindAlbany PoetsArtist GG Roberts