LIVE: The New Music Festival @ Empire State Plaza, 9/713

Mayer Hawthorne (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Mayer Hawthorne (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Photographs by Stanley Johnson
Additional photographs by Richard Brody

Granted, the name “New Music Festival” sounds more than a bit generic, but it’s certainly a better moniker for the end-of-summer bash than the previous “Local Legends Live.” Especially considering that this year only two of the five bands on the bill – twang-timin’ guitarslinger Graham Tichy and the garage-rockin’ Mysteios – hail from the Local 518.

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The LA-based Superhumanoids grabbed the middle-slot on the fest, and neo-soul-stirrer Mayer Hawthorne closed out the day as the headliner in fine fashion. But it was the scorching penultimate set by pedal steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph & the Family Band that undeniably stole the show, tearing through old funk ‘n’ soul favorites and rip-snorting selections from his rollickin’ new album Lickety Split.

Robert Randolph and His Family Band (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Robert Randolph and His Family Band (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Superhumanoids (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Superhumanoids (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Graham Tichy (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Graham Tichy (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Robert Randolph (photo by Richard Brody)

Robert Randolph (photo by Richard Brody)

Danyel Morgan (photo by Richard Brody)

The Family Band’s Danyel Morgan (photo by Richard Brody)

Mayer Hawthorne (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Mayer Hawthorne (photo by Stanley Johnson)

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4 Responses to “LIVE: The New Music Festival @ Empire State Plaza, 9/713”

  1. Dan says:

    Robert Randolph and the Family Band was good.. I agree. But was the author of this article even AT the show? Mayer Hawthorne KILLED it. What a performance. What a PERFORMER!

  2. OswegoMatt says:

    I am 100% certain the author was at the show. I arrived as the Superhumanoids were on stage, not impressed at all. Robert Randolph and the Family Band are always fantastic. Admittedly, I am biased. I have been a RR&TFB fan for a long time. This particular set was pretty good, not great, but pretty good. I had to listen to the new album a couple times through to really enjoy it. This set was much of the new album. I stuck around to check out Mayer Hawthorne. Having never heard of them/him I figured I check out some more free music. After enjoying some fantastic fried dough sticks and seeing a pretty nice fire, I could only manage about 3 songs. I guess the music was OK but when the band started some sort of choreographed mini dance routine that was enough for me and out the proverbial door I was.

  3. Tim says:

    I liked the pics but would have liked to see the mystieos in this set.

  4. Stanley Johnson says:

    It was a great day of music because of the variety of styles: Rockabilly, Punk, Electronic, Gospel, Lounge and more all rooted in well-played rock. Graham did his best to rile up a very small audience at the beginning. It took a while for the crowd to build because of the light rain and the million other festivals that day. My girlfriend didn’t care for the Mystieos, but I thought their song selection and enthusiasm worked. There was a picture of them submitted, maybe you’ll see it down the road. The Superhumanoids were a nice oasis of floating music before the hyper energy of Robert Randolph and The Family Band, who I had seen before at the Plaza and twice at Mountain Jam. I enjoyed Mayer Hawthorne’s rockin soul Vegas lounge style because it was slick, well rehearsed and had excellent lighting, which was such a change after several previous years of terrible lighting at The Plaza. Many of us who stayed till the end moved up to the top level of stairs to watch the fireworks from the Jazz Fest down on the river. Good one, Albany.

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