Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Neatly attired in sensible button-down shirts, the newly-streamlined version of Hey Marseilles that performed at The Linda last Thursday looked more like a college debate team than a rock band, five young men that co-eds could take home and introduce to their folks without any apprehensions. There’s a certain restraint to the band’s sound as well, as if they’re afraid to rattle the china cabinet.
The arrangements are spartan and tend to eschew any flashy displays of virtuosity – Sam Anderson on cello (and occasionally bass) solos nearly as often as guitarist Nick Ward, while keyboardist Philip Kobernik is content to lay the foundation of most tracks. Matt Bishop was joking when he said, “As a singer, it’s really nice that I can hear so much of myself,” but there’s some truth to his jest. Just as the players don’t overplay Bishop doesn’t over-sing – even on the band’s cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” he doesn’t really get worked up, just lets the soundman apply a dollop of reverb. The West Coast spawned cool jazz in the fifties, and this Seattle band is perfecting its own brand of cool pop.
The set list featured nearly all of the band’s new self-titled record, along with four tracks from their debut To Travels and Trunks and three from sophomore effort Lines We Trace. There’s been a great deal of fuss about Anthony Kilhoffer producing Hey Marseilles, since his prior credits include Kanye West and Rick Ross. Thankfully he seems to have respected the band’s intentions – the new album is a progression from the preceding two rather than a departure. If anything, it’s essentially a more focused presentation of the band’s chamber-pop aesthetic.
F. Alex Johnson (photo: Bloom Machine Photography)
NAME: F. Alex Johnson
BAND AFFILIATION: Colorway
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … In the town where I grew up (Fall River, MA) we had a supermarket called Almacs. At the end of the checkout aisle was a wire rack of the current LPs on the charts. The album I actually wanted to buy was Tattoo You by the Stones. But the cover scared my mom half to death. I think she worried I’d want to get tattoos because of it. Funny, it took 20 years or so, but she ended up being right. But the first album I actually bought with my own money was Dimensions by K-tel. It had a mesmerizing orange and gold pseudo-Celtic knot on the cover and featured songs by Juice Newton, Pat Benatar, Billy Squire and Hall & Oates among others.
It had the rock, pop and smoothness that only an album that came out in 1981 could provide. I will never forget the feeling of being 11 and handing over my hard earned money – from picking up the dog poop in our yard; I got a nickel for each one I scooped; we had some active dogs – and being handed that giant (to me) glowing orange and gold cover. I ruined that thing within about a week, but the music it held stayed with me – for better or worse – for a lifetime.
David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars @ Hearts 4 Haiti at the Palace Theatre, 2/11/10
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
It’s Throwback Thursday, so we’re back with another installment of our weekly flashback feature: On This Date in Local 518 Concert History. Check out our round-up of February 11 concerts through the years…
2015: Roomful of Teeth @ Proctors’ GE Theatre, Schenectady
2014:Warhols Woodshed @ the Low Beat’s unofficial opening, Albany
2013: Passion Pit, Matt & Kim @ RPI’s Houston Field House, Troy
2012: Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers@ The Egg, Albany
2011: Lou & Peter Berryman @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
2010: “Hearts 4 Haiti Benefit Concert” featuring David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars, Jill Hughes, Sirsy, Slick Fitty, the Audiostars @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
2007: Jeremy Wallace Trio @ Club Helsinki, Great Barrington
2006: Country Joe McDonald @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady
2005: “Rock 2 Rebuild: Capital District Concert for Tsunami Relief” featuring the Burners UK, Ernie Williams, Hair of the Dog, Sirsy, Doc Scanlon’s All-Star Revue, Johnny Rabb, Jill Hughes, Hector on Stilts, the Brian Kaplan Band @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
2004: Clutch, Mastodon, Nebula, Hidden Hand @ Sarataoga Winners, Cohoes
2003: Cary DeNigris & Brenna Bavis @ the Larkin, Albany
2002: Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, Spare Parts, Thrivin’ On a Riff @ The Linda’s grand opening, Albany
2000: John Herald @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
1999: SmokStik @ Savannah’s, Albany
1998: Seven Nations @ McGeary’s Pub, Albany
1997: Lazlo Bane, Dryer @ QE2, Albany
1996: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Spacehog, the Rentals @ RPI’s Houston Field House, Troy
1995: Crawdad, the Dugans, Beef, the Mildreds @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
1994: BeauSoleil, Buckwheat Zydeco & Ils Son Partis Band @ Proctors, Schenectady
1993: “Jesus Christ Superstar” @ the Knickerbocker Arena, Albany
1992: Veena Chandra @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
1991: Hall & Oates @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
1990: The Toll, John Kruth @ QE2, Albany
1989: Poison, Tesla @ RPI’s Houston Field House, Troy
1988: The Silos, Eric Wood @ QE2, Albany
1987: The New Johnny Five @ QE2, Albany
1986: General Eclectic @ the Half Moon Cafe, Albany
OK, it wasn’t really a full Candlebox unplugged concert. It was just the duo of Kevin Martin and Brian Quinn sitting down with their acoustic guitars playing tunes from the Candlebox catalog. But that was just fine with the sold-out crowd of fans who packed The Egg’s Swyer Theatre last week.
Of course, the twosome churned through the band’s biggest hits – including the back-to-back “You” and “Far Behind” – but what made the evening special was Martin’s between-tune patter in which he explained the influences and circumstances behind the songs. They also offered a sneak peek at the upcoming Candlebox album, Disappearing in Airports (slated for release on Friday, April 22) with performances of “I Want It Back” and the encore “Alive at Last.”
Part of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the Fantastic February Frolic will be the acclaimed electronica duo’s Pittsfield debut. Home Body brings a fresh tangibility to electronic-based music, creating songs that are wildly original. Their sound has been described as new-wavy-electronic-a’pop’calyptic-shimmer-core that’s down to earth, vivid and visceral. An expert synthesist, Eric Hnatow uses old-school Korg synthesizers, drum machines, and note sequencers to build dark glitzy pop songs full of drive and surprise. Haley Morgan’s vocals are beautiful, bold and uninhibited, exhibiting playful raw soul. Magnetic live, their animated performances include exuberant dancing and dramatic manual light manipulation, resulting in an eccentric spectacle which amplifies their music.
Here’s an interesting new combination: Def Leppard lead guitarist Phil Collen and Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo have teamed up with blues diva Debbi Blackwell-Cook and drummer Forrest Robinson to form Delta Deep, a new blues band making their Greater Nippertown debut at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton at 7pm on Thursday, March 31. Colorway – who also play the Low Beat on Friday – opens the show. Tickets are $15 in advance; $18 at the door. Other newly announced concerts at the Iron Horse include Lee Moran & Davy Carton of the Saw Doctors at 7pm on Saturday, April 30 ($25 in advance; $30 at the door); and comedian-actress Janeane Garofalo at 7 & 9:30pm on Friday, September 23 ($35 in advance; $40 at the door).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Sawyer Fredericks, Greater Nippertown’s own winner of “The Voice,” is slated to play an intimate concert at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock next month. Tickets are on sale now, and they’re likely to go mighty fast…
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Proctors goes hip-hop? Yes, indeed. Veteran rapper Rakim headlines the 2016 I Love Hip Hop Music Festival at the Schenectady theater, sharing the stage with such old-school faves as Kool G Rap, Brand Nubian, Nice & Smooth and Lil Mo.
Two new concerts have been added to the season’s schedule for the Eighth Step at Proctors in Schenectady. The multi-talented, sassy ‘n’ sophisticated singer-songwriter-guitarist-pianist-trumpeter Suede steps into the spotlight at 7:30pm on Saturday, March 5. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door; $50 for Gold Cirle tickets and reception. Also new at the Step is Roy Zimmerman’s “This Machine: Funny Songs About Ignorance, War & Greed,” which lands in the Electric City at 7:30pm on Saturday, April 16. (Ticket prices TBA.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Jazz singer and Loudonville native Kim Nazarian plays a homecoming concert at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre in Albany in support of her solo album, Some Morning.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: The Fairground Saints were originally slated to open for Jackie Greene at The Egg in Albany on Friday (February 12) and at Club Helsinki in Hudson on Thursday, February 18, but they have dropped off the tour. Now opening both shows will be Hollis Brown.
OPENERS: And why did the Fairground Saints drop off the Jackie Greene tour? Apparently because they got an offer to open for Carly Rae Jepsen, who, as previously announced, will be making a stop (with the Fairground Saints in tow) at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park on Tuesday, March 22.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Our personal favorite new concert announcement of the week? Alejandro Escovedo is coming to the Cohoes Music Hall. And so is Amy Helm. Tickets go on sale on Friday (February 12).
This could be interesting… or maybe just another tribute band. Kofi Baker’s Cream Experience – led by drummer and son of Ginger Baker – takes the stage at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 9pm on Friday, March 4. Tickets are on sale now priced at $15 in advance; $20 & $25 at the door. Also new at the Bearsville Theater are Melvin Seals & the JGB on Sunday, February 28. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 & $30 at the door).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A big batch of country music favorites are heading into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this summer, including Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch, Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne, Cole Swindell, the Cadillac Three, Kane Brown and more. See ’em all with a Country MegaTicket, which go on sale on Friday (February 12).
Sawyer Fredericks, the 16-year-old farmboy from Fultonville who won became “The Voice” a year ago, is slated to play an intimate concert at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock at 8pm on Friday, March 11, as the latest installment of the Amy Helm Presents Friday Nights at The Barn concert series.
Tickets just went on sale at 10am this morning (Wednesday, February 9) priced at $65 for seating; $45 for standing room.
In addition, Fredericks is slated to play at the seventh annual New York Women’s Expo at Siena College in Loudonville at 11am on Sunday, February 28.
He has also just released “Take It All,” the first music video for his recently released self-titled EP on the Republic label. (See above). And – gasp! – he’s hatless…