BEST OF 2013: Greg Haymes’ Favorite Concerts of the Year

Cedric Watson

Cedric Watson (photo by Michael Kats)

By Greg Haymes
Photographs by Michael Kats, Ted Were, Rudy Lu

Yeah, it was another wild, wacky and quite often wonderful year of music on Nippertown stages. Of course, I didn’t see (or hear) it all, but here’s the way I called what I saw during 2013:

10 BEST CONCERTS OF THE YEAR
1. The Waterboys with Molly Durnin @ The Linda, Albany, March 26
2. Chic Gamine with Olivia Quillio and MaryLeigh Roohan @ Red Square, Albany, June 28
3. Ryder & Hazel with the Dust Bowl Faeries with Tommy Stinson @ Dennis Herbert’s Folk Art Gallery, Hudson, July 7
4. Chris Thile @ College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, Albany, October 27
5. Elvis Costello @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, November 6
6. Jim Kweskin Jug Band 50th Anniversary Reunion @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, August 28
7. Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, April 19
8. Richard Thompson with Teddy Thompson @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, September 28
9. Wilco All-Request Concert with White Denim and the Relatives @ Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA, North Adams, June 21
10. Joe Ely @ the Hangar, Troy, November 14

AND A FEW MORE HONORABLE MENTIONS…

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11. Pete & Peggy Seeger @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady, May 12
12. Goat Rodeo Sessions @ Tanglewood, Lenox, August 15
13. The Waterboys with Freddie Stevenson @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, Albany, September 26
14. Brian Wilson & Jeff Beck @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, October 8
15. Todd Rundgren @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, Albany, July 30
16. Los Lobos @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, Albany, December 3
17. Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Band at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, June 30
18. Syd Straw with Michael Eck & Ryan Dunham @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, Albany, October 5
19. The Tiger Lillies’ “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” @ Williams College ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, Williamstown, October 24
20. Nikki Talley @ Rhythm On the Ridge at Maple Ski Ridge, Rotterdam, June 8
21. Loudon Wainwright III @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, January 25

Todd Rundgren (photo by Ted Were)

Todd Rundgren (photo by Ted Were)

BEST OPENING ACT
Houndmouth with Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ The Egg, Albany, February 6. Had no idea there was an opening act until I saw their merch table in the lobby. Had never heard them before, or even heard of them. But the rootsy, multi-talented band from New Albany, Indiana, had completely won me over before they were even halfway through their second song…

THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE
Live streaming from the Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy and Concert Window from Caffe Lena: Yes, even for die-hard music fans, there are some nights when you just can’t seem to get out of the house (except, of course, for Timothy Reidy and Steve Nover). So why not turn on your computer? No, it’s not the same as sitting in a theater or a club, but it’s certainly a welcome option on those nights when you need a live music fix without leaving home.

THE NAME GAME
Albany’s Bayou Cafe became the Hollow Bar + Kitchen.
Railbird became Lip Talk.
Albany’s Appletini’s became the Rail Yard.
Troy’s Design It Together became Troy Cloth & Paper.
Albany’s Riverfront Park became Jennings Landing.

BEST NEW VENUES
The Hangar in Troy
The Half Moon in Hudson
NaNola in Malta

MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Mandolin master Chris Thile returned to Nippertown four times this year, each time in a different musical collaboration/configuration – with guitarist Michael Daves at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill; with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington; and with cello great Yo-Yo Ma and the rest of Goat Rodeo Session at Tanglewood in Lenox and a dazzling solo show at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts.
Runners-up: Aoife O’Donovan with Noam Pikelny & Friends at The Egg in January; on her own at Club Helsinki in Hudson in June; and at Tanglewood in Lenox with Goat Rodeo in August. (PS: She’ll be back at Club Helsinki on her own again on Saturday, February 22). And of course Chandler Travis, who played countless shows around town as the ringleader of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, the Chandler Travis Philharmonette, the Chandler Travis Three-O and the Catbirds.

Chris Thile

Chris Thile (photo by Rudy Lu)

BEST CONCERTS WE DIDN’T SEE (most disappointing cancellations):
1. Rosanne Cash @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, December 19 (although the show is slated to be re-scheduled on an as-yet-undetermined date)
2. Buffy St. Marie @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, October 26
3. Vieux Farka Toure @ the Music Haven, July 7 (although thankfully, he did return to play a benefit concert at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy in October)
4. AfroSkull @ Proctors, April 12
5. Social Distortion @ Upstate Concert Hall, June 21
6. Tal National @ the Half Moon, September 12
7. Josh Roseman & Line of Swords @ Proctors, May 25 (re-scheduled for February 25)
8. Goblin @ Upstate Concert Hall, December 8
9. Suzzy Roche @ The Egg, February 15
10. Missy Raines & the New Hip @ Caffe Lena, October 25

MORE OF NIPPERTOWN’S BEST OF 2013 LISTS
Berkshire on Stage’s Best Plays & Musicals of the Year
Richard Brody’s Top 14 Shows of the Year
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 greg@nippertown.com

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