It’s the Weekend!

October 31st, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
This is my blanket. I like to eat it.

This is my blanket. I like to eat it.

Congrats for making it through yet another week, so now it’s time to get out there and soak up some of that big Halloween weekend fun. But before we head out for the weekend, 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 art and entertainment offerings around Nippertown without a dedicated 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:

Kirsten Ferguson
Andrzej Pilarczyk
Stanley Johnson
Larry Murray
Don Wilcock
J Hunter
Rudy Lu
B. Patrik

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:

The Egg, Albany
MASS MoCA, North Adams
Gloversville Public Library, Gloversville
The Palace Theatre, Albany
The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
FreshGrass, North Adams
The Berkshire Theatre Group, Stockbridge
Step Up Presents, Albany

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes


LIVE: The Amsterdam Halloween Parade, 10/25/14

October 31st, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

The Amsterdam Halloween Parade

Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson

I took a walk with the living dead along Guy Park Avenue in Amsterdam on Saturday (October 25). Not only were there zombies everywhere, but all kinds of ghosts, vampires, werewolves and fairy princesses, too. It was the City of Amsterdam’s annual Halloween Parade, and the weather was too nice to be spooky.

I walked with Abigail (dressed as an eskimo maid) and her elementary school group from Barkley Microsociety in Division 2 of the parade. Others groups in the division included McNulty Academy, Techler Arts in Education, St. Mary’s Institute, Marie Curie Institute, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and the Amsterdam High School Cheerleaders.

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

October 31st, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg


Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Yes, yes, yes, we know…

We’ve heard all the complaints that some of you simply don’t have the time to read all of the news as fast as we write it. And, yes, there was a whole lot of news to write about this week…

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. LIVE: Empire Jazz Orchestra with Claire Daly, Sharel Cassity & Ada Rovatti @ Colonial Theatre, 10/18/14 (by J Hunter, Rudy Lu)

2. New Concert Announced for Washington Avenue Armory (by Staff)

3. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Announces New Concert (by Staff)

4. LIVE: Richard Russo @ the Gloversville Public Library, 10/23/14 (by Stanley Johnson)

5. LIVE: Robin Trower @ The Egg, 10/21/14 (by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

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RIP: Cecil Myrie, 1928-2014

October 31st, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg

Cecil Myrie – known simply as the Banjo Man to just about everyone who walked down Broadway in Saratoga Springs during the past 30 summers – passed away on Tuesday, October 7 from multiple myeloma cancer. He was 86 years old.

Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Myrie is best remembered for plucking and strumming his banjo on a Spa City street bench near Lillian’s, but his band Motherless & the Merry Knights were also one of the Local 518’s most popular reggae bands for many years.

In memory of Myrie, an online fundraising campaign has been launched to install a new bench and commemorative plaque on Broadway. Fans and friends are hoping to raise $1,500.

Cecil Myrie’s obituary

10/31/14: Today’s Tips: Friday (Halloween)

October 31st, 2014, 8:46 am by Greg

MUSIC: Renaissance @ The Egg, Albany. Annie Haslam leads the band – keyboardists Rave Tesar and Tom Brislin, bassist David J. Keyes, drummer Frank Pagano and guitarist Ryche Chlanda – serve up an evening of prog-rock classics and songs from their new album, A Symphony of Light. 8pm. $38.

FILM: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” @ UAlbany’s Page Hall, Albany. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version of the classic vampire tale, starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins. 7:30pm. FREE.

MUSIC: Eastbound Jesus @ Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs. Northern rockers. 9:30pm. $10; $15 if under 21.

MUSIC: Built4BBQ’s Whole Hog Halloween Bash @ Pauly’s Hotel, Albany. The second annual bash features the album release of Barroom Weather by Local 518 country-blues troubadour Henry’s Rifle, as well as sets by Rival Galaxies, Kimono Dragons and Hammer Hawk. Costumes, candy and between-band Halloween jams from DJ Mercy. Doors open at 7pm. $5.

MUSIC: Consider the Source @ the Parish Public House, Albany. It’s the CD release party for the self-decsribed “sci-fi middle eastern fusion” band’s new disc, Put Another Rock in That Bag, the first installment of the planned three-DC set, World War Trio. With Mister F. 9:30pm. $15.

MUSIC: The Ed Palermo Big Band Halloween @ the Falcon, Marlboro. Ed Palermo’s big band doesn’t fire up Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey or even Woody Herman. But rather they dig into the repertoire of Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Todd Rundgren, Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. Mindboggling stuff. 7pm. Donations encouraged.

MUSIC: Hunter Hayes @ the Times Union Center, Albany. The country music up-and-comer and four-time Grammy nominee brings his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour to town. With Dan + Shay and the Railers. 7pm. $29.50-$42.

MUSIC: Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra @ the Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park. With DJs Voltran and Kip Chapman, food and freaks… 7pm. $28.

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LIVE: Primus @ The Palace Theatre, 10/24/14

October 30th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Sara


Review by B. Patrik
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Primus playing the entire soundtrack to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sounds like a match made in heaven.

And for the most part, it was at Albany’s Palace Theatre last Friday (October 24). Before a sold-out crowd of excitable diehards, the band’s original line-up tore through every song from the 1971 Roald Dahl adaptation, which doubles as their reunion album released Tuesday, “Primus and the Chocolate Factory With the Fungi Ensemble.”

What makes the pairing work is the film’s and band’s shared penchant for weird. “Willy Wonka,” which stars Gene Wilder in the title role, is a tonally faithful (though not scene-for-scene) translation of Dahl’s whimsical-yet-dark children’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in which five children visit a magical chocolate factory and each but poverty-stricken main character Charlie Bucket befalls a grave “accident” related to his or her vice. It’s a colorful, near-psychedelic film, especially the second half when the action in the factory starts, but when the basic plot is laid out, it almost sounds like a horror movie. Moments in the film are downright terrifying to a seven-year-old (the tunnel scene, in particular, comes to mind).

Primus, formed by bassist and lead howler Les Claypool in 1984 and solidifying around guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander in 1989, spent the ’90s mixing rubbery yet sinister funk and hard rock riffs, monster bass lines and Claypool’s oft-hilarious, faux-Southern accented rants. It’s a sound that is truly all the band’s own, and one that lends itself well to the creepier and more psychedelic moments of the Wonka story, especially Wilder’s big solo from the film “Pure Imagination,” and the aforementioned “Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride.” Live, assisted by Wonka costumes, video screens, a mushroom-festooned set and the Fungi Ensemble – percussionist Mike Dillon and cellist Sam Bass – the band upped the trippy quotient of Dahl’s story, creating a musical and visual carnival onstage.

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RIP: Manhattan Transfer’s Tim Hauser, 1941-2014

October 30th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Tim Hauser

Tim Hauser

Tim Hauser, the founder and guiding force behind Manhattan Transfer, the Grammy Award-winning jazz vocal group, died on Thursday, October 16 in Sayre, Pennsylvania. He was 72 years old.

Hauser was a native of Troy, and he brought Manhattan Transfer back to the Capital Region on a regular basis since the group first formed in 1969 – playing a wide variety of Local 518 venues from J.B. Scott’s to the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC.

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A Few Minutes With… Paul Nelson of the Johnny Winter Band

October 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Interview and story by Don Wilcock

“He wasn’t just playing it. He was living it.” That’s the way Paul Nelson remembers Johnny Winter. Nelson was Winter’s lead guitarist, band leader, songwriter, album producer and perhaps most importantly, the man who brought the albino blues rocker back from the brink of a lifestyle that threatened to kill him a decade ago. Winter finally succumbed to pneumonia on July 16.

“I made my first records when I was 15,” says Winter in the film documentary, “Down & Dirty: The Johnny Winter Story.” I started playing clubs when I was 15, started drinking and smoking when I was 15, sex when I was 15. Fifteen was a big year for me.”

That documentary will open the Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert on Saturday evening (November 1) at The Egg. This show headlines Johnny’s band under Nelson’s direction with guest guitarists Sonny Landreth, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Debbie Davies, all blues-based artists who, like Winter, know how to put a kick into blues guitar.

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