If you travel and/or speak to friends in other parts of the country, you quickly realize what an abundance of musical riches come through our area. So I would like to thank some of those that make that happen: Peter Lesser (The Egg), Sal Prizio (Massry Center), Mark Gamsjager (Ale House, Hangar), the folks at Club Helsinki and the Van Dyck.
Here are some of the shows that were highlights of my last musical year:
1. The Waterboys (trio) @ The Linda, March 26. Mike Scott, channeling Yeats, came as close as humanly possible to converting The Linda into a turn of the 20th century Irish pub. Simply fabulous.
2. The Waterboys (six piece) @ The Egg, September 26. Six months later we got a return engagement with a larger Mike Scott-led band and broader coverage of their 30 year history that featured an absolutely sizzling “We Will Not Be Lovers.”
3. Eric Burdon @ The Egg, May 19. I needed something to look forward to as I grinded away at end-of-the-semester papers, and so I took a flyer on this show. A great move. Burdon was in excellent voice, had a new album with some concert-worthy cuts to perform, but most importantly he had a superb band that gave the songs, both old and new, the support they deserve and took “Spill the Wine” for a great ride.
4. The New Gary Burton Quartet @ the Massry Center, September 24. A great performance by one of the all-time great vibraphone players and a fab band that introduced me to guitarist Julian Lage.
5. Richard Thompson @ The Egg, September 28. Another stunner by RT, who took us from the lyrical heartbreak of “Beeswing” to the supercharged fretwork of “Crawl Back” to the duets with opener and son, Teddy Thompson.
6. Rudresh Mahanthappa @ Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC, June 29 (Gazebo Stage). Rudresh brought a sensational band that featured one of the best guitar players, Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, that I have heard.
7. Los Lobos @ The Egg, December 3. After 40 years, the question has been answered: The Wolf has done far more than survive. And with the shot of adrenaline that youngster Enrique “Bugs” Gonzales provided on drums, the wolf will continue to delight.
8. Ninety Miles @ The Massry Center, April 18. The Stefon Harris-led septet treated us to a joyous show of Afro-Cuban jazz.
9. Graham Parker & the Rumour @ The Egg, April 10. Graham and his great band were in fine form, treating us to all the classics and some good ones from the latest album, including “The Last Bookstore in Town.”
10. Joe Ely with Jeff Plankenhorn @ The Hangar, November 14. Thank you, Mark Gamsjager, for booking Joe and opening up the space across from the Ale House for the show. Joe sang his songs, spun his yarns, and, along with Jeff, put on a show that left everyone with a smile on their face and plans for a road trip.
11. J.D. McPherson @ the Ale House, July 24. Roots, rockabilly, blues, ska – who cares? – this is a band that swings in many directions.
12. The Charlie Hunter/Scott Amendola Duo @ Albany Riverfront Jazz Fest at Jennings Landing, September 7. I kept missing Charlie, who has been a frequent performer in our area, but not this year. And I was rewarded with a two-piece band that played with precision and joy.
13. Willie Nile @ LarkFest on Lark Street, September 21. Willie’s quartet hit the stage in high gear and didn’t seem to slow down in a set that featured a number of songs from the new album American Ride.
14. Duke Robillard @ the Van Dyck, January 18. Duke’s quartet took us on a blues ride that covered more styles than a fashion show.
MORE OF NIPPERTOWN’S BEST OF 2013 LISTS
BEST OF 2013: Timothy Reidy’s Top 10 Concerts Outside of Albany
Timothy Reidy’s Best Albany Concerts of the Year
Stanley Johnson’s Top 15 Most Memorable Entertainment Events of the Year
Fred Rudofsky’s Top 25 Concerts of the Year
Timothy Reidy’s Year in Review Video
Mike Hotter’s Favorite Albums of the Year
Fred Rudofsky’s Best Albums of the Year
J Hunter’s Best Concerts of the Year
J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part II
J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part I
Got a Best of 2013 list that you’d like to share with Nippertown readers? Best concerts of the year? Best Local 518 music moments of the year? Best plays? Best art gallery exhibits? Best books by local authors? Best whatever? Please keep it local, but send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org