Greater Nippertown LGBT community celebrated Pride Month with its annual Capital Pride Parade and a free, day-long fest in Albany’s Washington Park. Hitmaker Dev and American Idol finalist David Hernandez headlined the celebration, with additional performance by Local 518 favorites Bell’s Roar, Macero and Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde.
Luna slots neatly into the lineage of New York-area twin-guitar bands with singers who aren’t exactly Rock Gods. It’s a tradition that began with the Velvet Underground in the sixties, was refined by Television in the seventies, carried forward by the Feelies in the eighties and finally given new life by Luna from 1991 to February 2005.
Critics who like their history neat portray Luna’s opening slot on the Velvets’ 1993 European tour as a symbolic passing of the torch – rather ignoring the fact that Lou Reed would’ve been more likely to choose self-immolation over designating any successor! Besides there are plenty of stronger connections linking Luna to this heritage. Their first drummer was Feelie Stanley Demeski, Velvets’ guitarist Sterling Morrison guested on 1994’s Bewitched and the following year Television axeman Tom Verlaine made a cameo appearance on Penthouse.
After seven studio albums and one (strongly recommended!) live CD, Luna played a series of farewell gigs documented on the Tell Me Do You Miss Me DVD, culminating with a “final” show at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom. Singer/guitarist Dean Wareham and bassist Britta Phillips continued as a duo, bringing 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Test to MASS MoCA in 2009.
Luna’s final incarnation (Wareham, Phillips, guitarist Sean Eden and drummer Lee Wall) reunited last year. While Phillips has a new solo record Luck or Magic, the band itself doesn’t have anything new to plug, aside from a pricey white vinyl box set compiling their extant catalog. So at their recent season-opening concert at MASS MoCA, Luna played essentially a greatest hits set (five tracks from Bewitched, four from Penthouse) enlivened by three obscure cover versions.
Edges, the debut full-length album from the Local 518 brother-and-sister duo of Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, was released back in March, but they didn’t get around to throwing themselves a CD release party until mid-May.
I guess that’s the way things are when you’re both full-time students at Harvard while pursuing a music career…
The Flecktones are a crack team of instrumentalists who are all among the best in the world at their particular instrument. Or, in the case of Futureman who plays primarily an instrument of his own invention, the best and only proponent.
The band has undergone various line-up changes, but their recent reunion performance at The Egg saw a return to the original quartet featuring bandleader and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck joined by Howard Levy on piano and harmonica, legendary bassist Victor Wooten and his brother Futureman on drums and drumitar (think keytar with drum pads).
Back in October, the latest spin-off incarnation of the Grateful Dead launched their inaugural tour with a concert at Albany’s Times Union Center. The pieces didn’t quite all fit together perfectly, but there was no doubt that the new line-up of Dead & Company – featuring Grateful Dead alum Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann augmented with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti – definitely showed promise.
On Tuesday evening (June 21), the band returned to Greater Nippertown for their debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where the Grateful Dead still hold the record for the biggest concert crowd. And this time around, they lived up to the promise…
The bringing together of local talent with musicians from NYC is far from a foreign tradition here in Greater Nippertown. Michael Benedict, Joe Barna, Keith Pray and others have done it in recent years, bringing some of the first-call musicians from NYC up the Hudson to the Local 518.
This recent evening at the Van Dyck in Schenectady was no different. Tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama – who has gigged several times up here in the hinterlands both in small combos and in a big band led by Michael Benedict – was paired with a local tenor titan in his own right, Lee Russo. This piano-less quartet was backed by the ace rhythm section of Michael Lawrence on bass and Michael Benedict on drums.
Lalama served as the master of ceremonies; he introduced most of the music and amused the audience with his dry sense of humor. The evening featured a broad mixture of burners, ballads and even a calypso tune thrown in for good measure.
MUMFORD & SONS SET LIST
Little Lion Man
Below My Feet
White Blank Page
Lover of the Light
Tompkins Square Park
Ghosts That We Knew
Si tu veux (with Baaba Maal)
There Will Be Time (with Baaba Maal)
Dust Bowl Dance ENCORES
Wona (with Baaba Maal)
I Will Wait