Archive for the ‘LIVE’ Category

LIVE: Phish @ SPAC, 7/1/16

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

REVIEWS
Pete Mason’s review and Darren Kemp’s photographs at NYS Music
David Johnson’s review at The Saratogian
Skyler Gilbert’s review at The Spot 518
Excerpt from David Singer’s review at The Daily Gazette: “The first of a three-night run at SPAC, the four guys, all 50-plus in age, showed no signs of wear and tear. In fact, they play cleaner, crisper and more to the point than ever. While they may reserve their chops a bit when they can, they held back little for this show. When they finished ‘Bathtub Gin’ for the classic big set-closer, everyone seemingly satisfied with the full set, Anastasio turned to his band members and asked to do one more song — for no apparent reason other than to play more. ‘Bathtub Gin’ was clearly sufficient, the audience screaming the line ‘we’re all in this together,’ capturing the general feel of the band’s one-of-a-kind fan base. The energy was high here, and went higher for the bonus song ‘The Squirming Coil,’ a melodic tune that led to a well-behaved jam.”

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LIVE: The Boogie Wonder Band @ Empire State Plaza, 7/4/16

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

boogie8

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

How do you celebrate Independence Day at Albany’s Empire State Plaza? With a red-white-and-blue, star-spangled disco band, that’s how!

Capping off New York State’s official, day-long Fourth of July celebration earlier this month was the Boogie Wonder Band, who lived up (or down, as the case may be) to their claim of being “the most disco-loving band in the land.”

Happy birthday, America!

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LIVE: Lake George Elvis Festival @ Lake George Forum, 6/1-5/16

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Congratulations go out to Tim E. Hendry, who was named the Grand Champion at the 2016 Lake George Elvis Festival.

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LIVE: Rodrigo y Gabriela @ The Egg, 6/23/16

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

RG2

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was almost like magic…

Somehow, the fleet-fingered duo of Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero conjured up a heavenly heavy metal sound from just their two acoustic guitars.

Or was it a nuclear-flamenco sound that filled The Egg last month?

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LIVE: Don Byron & Friends @ the Van Dyck, 7/15/16

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
Don Byron

Don Byron

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Don Byron & Friends rolled into the Van Dyck in Schenectady last weekend pumping their way through “Do the Boomerang,” a soul-soaked R&B excursion focusing on the music of Junior Walker, but also dipping into the vast catalogs of other greats, including Ray Charles and James Brown.

They have been playing this music in the Greater Nippertown area for some time, including recent performances at The Falcon in Marlboro and Club Helsinki in Hudson.

Their Schenectady stand had more of a rock ‘n’ roll feel to it. The substitution of vocalist Jonny Rosch (of the Blues Brothers) for Dean Bowman gave the performance a more secular focus rather than leaning toward the gospel end of the R&B spectrum.

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LIVE: Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival @ SPAC, 6/26/16 (Day Two)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson

Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Andrzej Pilarczyk

The second day of Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center began in a way I had never witnessed; the first performance was at the Gazebo stage 20 minutes prior to the main stage at 12:30pm. Backed by an able rhythm section, 30-year-old Aaron Diehl was a gifted pianist and a 2007 graduate of the Juilliard School. I enjoyed a few of his songs before I made my way to the amphitheater.

Bria Skonberg commanded the main stage despite the lack of a large audience. A native of British Columbia now based in NYC, she delivered perhaps the most diverse set of the two-day fest, showcasing many of the sides of jazz. Opening with Dixieland numbers by Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet (“Egyptian Fantasy”), she and her clarinetist Evan Amtzen had the New Orleans fever, and it was contagious.

And in a business where looks can be advantageous, it didn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous. Beauty also doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the chops, but she certainly did – as well as good voice that can put across a song like Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.” But it was her trumpet that talked the loudest, whether doing a rhumba, or a mash-up of ’30s Duke Ellington with ’70s Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”

On paper Day Two of the 39th annual jazz fest looked to be stronger than Day One, and it was, with every performer on the main stage a highlight of the day. Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen were crossing genres, but mostly churning out roots Americana bordering on R&B. You’d probably never guess that the pianist was British, having relocated to New Orleans two decades ago. He performed “What Do You Want the Girl to Do” as a tribute to the passing of Allen Toussaint and Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina,” as well as other soulful gems from his 2015 CD GoGo Juice, which won the Grammy a few months back for best Regional Roots Album. And as their set progressed, the funk grew to irresistible levels, and the interplay with his guitar trio was subtle and psychic.

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LIVE: Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival @ SPAC, 6/25/16 (Day One)

Monday, July 18th, 2016
The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers

Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Rudy Lu

Our planet has circled the sun once again, and one of my fave weekends has come and gone, the 39th annual Saratoga Jazz Festival (now sponsored by Freihofer’s) coinciding with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s 50th anniversary. Traditionally, as with European jazz fests, other genres of music were also included, and I applaud the diversity.

Shemekiah Copeland has earned her title as Queen of the Blues, and not just because of the passing of Etta James and Koko Taylor. Though only 37 years old, she was signed as a teenager, debuting on Alligator Records with Turn Up the Heat in ’98. Her stage presence was both commanding & charming, and her talent was partially inherited, as her dad was Texas bluesman/guitarist Johnny Copeland. Her between-song patter was pretty funny, too, explaining, “I just sang about Jesus, now I’m gonna sing about the devil. I’m a full service blues singer,” before singing her dad’s “Devil’s Hand.” Copeland had a talented band with both of her guitarists supplying scorching solos throughout her main stage set. Look for her return to Greater Nippertown on Friday, September 2 for a show at Albany’s The Egg opening for Robert Cray.

Joey Alexander was also a big highlight of the day celebrating his 13th birthday with many fans who had seen his “60 Minutes” profile but hadn’t yet seen him perform. I was lucky to see him last summer at the Schenectady Music Haven, and, yes, he lives up to all the hype. On stage the Indonesian-born pianist seemed totally at ease with his much older rhythm section, as you might expect from a musician Wynton Marsalis hailed as a genius at age 12. He performed Coltrane’s “Resolution” and “Giant Steps,” as well as Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints.” He also served up a pair of original compositions – “Sunday Waltz” and “City of Lights,” and the arrangements on his 2015 Grammy-nominated debut album My Favorite Things were all by him. Watching a master so young is a bit scary and makes me believe even more in reincarnation. After his set, a birthday cake was rolled out onstage, while free boxes of Freihofer’s cookies were handed out to the crowd.

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LIVE: Miranda Lambert @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 6/24/16

Friday, July 15th, 2016
Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

WHO: Miranda Lambert
WHAT: The Keeper of the Flame Tour
WITH: Kip Moore and Brothers Osborne
WHERE: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs
WHEN: Friday, June 24

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