Archive for the ‘LIVE’ Category

LIVE: Birds of Chicago @ Caffe Lena, 1/22/16

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
Birds of Chicago

Birds of Chicago

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Led by JT Nero and Allison Russell, the roots music collaborative Birds of Chicago made their Greater Nippertown debut last April as the opening act for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They returned for an outdoor Made in the Shade of The Egg concert in July, and their soulful mix of folk, country and rhythm & blues also captured plenty of attention at MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass fest in September.

Building on the momentum (and fan base) that they built up in 2015, BoC kicked off the new year with a pair of back-to-back sold-out shows – first a Friday evening at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, followed up the next night by a stop at MASS MoCA’s Club B-10.

Going drummer-less this time around, the band was on a pre-release ramble, showcasing selections from their highly anticipated, Joe Henry-produced upcoming album, Real Midnight. (Listen to the album’s title track below).



LIVE: The Joey Alexander Trio @ the Woodstock Playhouse, 1/30/16

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Last weekend, Joey Alexander – the Indonesian-born 12-year-old Grammy-nominated jazz pianist – made his third appearance in Greater Nippertown within the last six months. Following his Local 518 debut at the Music Haven in Schenectady and a show at Club Helsinki in Hudson (both last August), the jazz prodigy took over the Woodstock Playhouse, playing to a sold out audience. And that was after the concert was moved from the smaller Woodstock Community Center due to the demand for tickets.

He dazzled the audience with his technique, originality and most impressively with the emotional depth of his playing during a set of standards mixed with originals. Up-and-coming drummer Kyle Poole and bassist Dan Chmielinski had the daunting challenge of following Alexander’s lead throughout the set and follow him they did – both accompanying the adventurous pianist and performing solos when they were given a chance to stretch out.


LIVE: Mister F @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, 1/1/16

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Kicking off the new year, Mister F kept the groove going deep into the night at the Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany for the moe. after-party. The band will do it again, rockin’ The Hollow with Ampevene on Saturday night (February 6) for the Umphrey’s McGee after-party. The music gets crankin’ about 11pm, and tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.

LIVE: moe. @ the Palace Theatre, 12/31/15

Friday, January 29th, 2016

moe. does Talking Heads… Yes, it was “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” as the encore at Albany’s Palace Theatre on New Year’s Eve.

LIVE: moe. @ the Palace Theatre, 1/1/16

LIVE: The Mike Stern Trio @ the Van Dyck, 1/22/16

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
The Mike Stern Trio

The Mike Stern Trio

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

The first time I saw Mike Stern was in a club about the size of the Van Dyck’s upstairs performance space: It happened in a former disco near Boston University, where the guitarist was backing an older musician’s long-awaited comeback. The year was 1981, the venue was Kix Live, and the “older musician” was Miles Davis. (Fun Fact: Kix Live – immortalized by the track “Kix” on the serially infuriating live date We Want Miles – closed right after Davis’ multi-show stand and never re-opened again.) Stern has gone through a ton of changes between then and now, but if his flame-throwing performance in Schenectady was any indication, that journey was more than worth it.

After a brief Spinal Tap moment where Stern was announced but only his rhythm section – drummer Richie Morales and bassist Teymur Phell – appeared, Stern stepped onstage to loud applause from the packed house. “Sorry about that,” he said sheepishly, flashing the ingratiating grin we’d see multiple times during the 75-minute set. He gave his custom guitar (a dead-ringer for a Fender Telecaster) a quick tune, and that tuning became riffing, playing on progressions in the clear before Morales and Phell joined him on the nice hot groove of “Coupe de Ville.” That groove turned into a swinging thing that had Morales switching over to brushes. The vibe was straight out of Wes Montgomery, but Stern never stopped sounding like himself.


LIVE: Davell Crawford @ the Cock ‘n Bull, 1/20/16

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
Davell Crawford

Davell Crawford

Review and photographs by Michael Hochanadel

“We better get right to it!” said Davell Crawford, doffing his coat enroute to the Yamaha spinet in the corner of the Cock N’ Bull dining room, apologizing for arriving late after Amtraking from Manhattan to Rensselaer at 7 and taking a cab up to Galway. He kept his cap on, noting he was dressed down: His luggage hadn’t made his flight from Minneapolis to New York the day before after a two-day, four-show Allen Toussaint tribute.

He looked up, around the converted barn, walls festooned with farm tools; then, he got right to it. He played and sang from 8:15 to 10:05pm; noting near the end that he’d planned to play all New Orleans music, “but I guess I moved away from that!” He sure started there, though, and kept pilgrimaging back in song. You could feel him thinking his way from song to song in easy-flowing unbroken glides, but you couldn’t see the seams since he played without any.

Servers glided among the tables, delivering drinks and dinners smoothly, though the room was packed, some fans standing around the edges. I had a table up close where gumbo, salad, blackened grouper with rice and sautéed squash and a dessert called “ooey gooey cake” that should be illegal appeared before me. Davell reached down and opened the cover over the piano’s soundboard, letting it rest on his knees; and he patiently re-opened it after a helpful fan dashed to replace it, thinking it had fallen open. He adjusted the mic, and he floated us all down the Mississippi with these songs:

“Somethin’ You Got” (Chris Kenner) upbeat, happy rock

“I’m Walkin’” (Fats Domino & Dave Bartholomew) a smooth rolling Fats classic

“Down to Bourbon Street” (I couldn’t find the provenance of this party number) – like the first two, this was fun and bouncy, ala Fats Domino himself. Afterward, Davell paused and proclaimed, “I’ll drink to that,” then sipped the cocktail placed atop the piano. He did a double-take and exclaimed, “Whoa! This is a sazerac! Who MADE this?! You all ever been to the Monteleone in New Orleans? This is just about as good. Who MADE this!?” Good mood confirmed and bolstered, he pulled back on the tempo with “Everything Must Change” (George Benson) his first slow number; and as fun as Davell is on rockers, stroll-beat numbers, swing-time and New Orleans funk, he’s a devastating ballad singer.

“Please Send Me Someone to Love” (Percy Mayfield) upbeat, and for the first of many times, he cued clap-alongs from the crowd by hitting his thigh with his right hand while his left pushed the pulse of the tune. EVERYBODY clapped and most managed to hit on the one.

“All These Things” (Allen Toussaint) slow love song, on a stroll beat


LIVE: Sly Fox & the Hustlers @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, 1/9/16

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany hosted one of Greater Nippertown’s first CD release parties of the 2016 on Saturday, January 9, when Local 518 faves Sly Fox & the Hustlers threw down a rockin’ celebration in honor of their brand-spankin’ new album, American Gypsy

LIVE: Joe Barna’s Sketches of Influence @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, 1/9/16

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Sketches of Influences

Sketches of Influences

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Kicking off the new year, jazz fans witnessed a live recording of a now seven-piece jazz suite “Suite Lee” composed by Joe Barna and performed by Barna and his band Sketches of Influence at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. Sketches of Influence performed the suite – dedicated to the late jazz pianist Lee Shaw – twice on Saturday, January 9 and twice more on Sunday, January 10. The best take of each composition will be used in the upcoming live recording of the suite.

The band at the Sanctuary was slightly different than the one that debuted the composition at Lucas Confectionery in troy back in November. Nick Hetko, a former student of Lee Shaw, played the piano for the live recording in lieu of Dave Solazzo.


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