LIVE: JD McPherson @ the Hangar on the Hudson, 11/8/17

November 16th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review and photographs by Ed Conway

JD McPherson made a trip to Greater Nippertown soon after another of the band’s frequent appearances on “Conan” in support his latest album Undivided Heart & Soul. It’s hard to categorize McPherson’s music as it touches on several styles. I guess it would be easiest to say he plays guitar-based alt-rock with tinges of blues and rockabilly, but even that doesn’t capture the full picture.

Helping McPherson achieve his sound is a fantastic band, made up of upright bassist/electric bassist Jimmy Sutton, former Los Straitjackets drummer Jason Smay, keyboardist Ray Jacildo (who also made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with Dan Auerbach the following night) and guitarist/saxophone Doug Corcoran.

After wading through the sold out-crowd to stage at the Hangar on the Hudson in Troy, McPherson grabbed his custom TK Smith guitar and hit the opening strains to “Bossy” from his previous release, Let the Good Times Roll. In fact, they hit two more songs from the previous two albums, “Fire Bug” (Signs & Signifiers) and “It Shook Me Up,” before playing three in a row off the new album: “Desperate Love,” “Crying’s Just the Thing That You Do” and “Under the Spell of City Lights.” It was pretty much back and forth between the last two albums for the rest of the set, ending with the title track “Let The Good Times Roll.”

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NOVEMBER 16: On This Date in Local 518 Concert History

November 16th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg
Ronnie Baker Brooks and Big Head Todd

Billy Branch and Big Head Todd @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 11/16/16

Compiled by Greg Haymes
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 November 16 concerts through the years…

2016: Big Head Blues Club featuring Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Mud Morganfield, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Billy Branch, Erica Brown @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
2015: Sketches of Influence @ Lucas Confectionery, Troy
2014: Dialogue @ Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy
2013: Dark Star Orchestra @ Palace Theatre, Albany
2012: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
2011: Space Lounge @ the Albany Public Library Main Branch, Albany
2010: Bob Dylan & His Band @ the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie
2009: Ramblin Jug Stompers @ Tess’ Lark Tavern, Albany
2008: Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy
2007: Palatypus, knotworking @ Red Square, Albany
2006: The Kennedys, Sons of the Never Wrong @ The Linda, Albany
2005: Boy Sets Fire, Fall of Troy @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
2004: Sue Foley @ Revolution Hall, Troy
2003: Andrew W.K. @ Northern Lights, Clifton Park
2002: The Other Ones @ the Pepsi Arena, Albany

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LIVE: King Crimson @ The Egg, 11/8 & 9/17

November 15th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Steven Stock
Photograph by Glenn Kaplowitz

I was restless as King Crimson eased into the second set of their second night at The Egg’s Hart Theatre in Albany last Thursday, listening to the interlocking guitar riffs of “Indiscipline” whilst standing at the back rail of the sold-out venue, then moving to an aisle seat halfway back on the far left during the lavishly orchestrated “Cirkus,” before finally snagging a good vantage point on the far right during “Lizard,” close enough to see a slight smile of satisfaction flit across Robert Fripp’s face as the eight-piece band nimbly negotiated a particularly tricky passage.

I settled down with high expectations, but little did I know that the next seven songs that King Crimson played – an hour, give or take – was going to rank as one of the most glorious experiences I’ve enjoyed in 40 years of concert-going.

Let’s set the scene…

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LIVE: The Security Project @ the Van Dyck, 11/11/17

November 14th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg
Trey Gunn and Happy Rhodes

Trey Gunn and Happy Rhodes

Review by Mark Alexander Hudson
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Stan Johnson

The Security Project is an interesting concept. Consisting of drummer Jerry Marotta, Warr guitarist Trey Gunn, guitarist Michael Cozzi, keyboardist David Jameson and vocalist Happy Rhodes, they are a Peter Gabriel tribute band with a difference.

For starters, their first of two shows at Schenectady’s Van Dyck on Saturday night consisted of Gabriel songs from just his third and fourth solo albums only (1980’s Peter Gabriel and 1982’s Security – hence the name of the band). Also, Marotta was the drummer on most of the tracks on those original albums back in the day.

Those two albums were the ones immediately preceding Gabriel’s commercial breakthrough juggernaut So – you remember “Sledgehammer” and that video, right? They are eclectic, disturbing and brilliant, full of edgy hard rock, mournful mantras, thunderous drums, experiments with world music and electronics and Gabriel’s yearning cathartic vocals.

Unfortunately, for me at least, the actual execution of the Security Project on Saturday failed to convey the drama and intensity inherent in the music. The problem was two-fold. The band, perhaps influenced by the dinner jazz club ambience of the venue, seemed unwilling to cut loose. Their playing, while perfectly adequate, seemed restrained and a little too polite.

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LIVE: Don Byron Quartet @ A Place for Jazz, 11/3/17

November 13th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg
Don Byron

Don Byron

Review by Prof. Teddy Clements, Ret.
Photographs by Albert Brooks

Don Byron writes tunes about cartoon characters: a boppish riff last Friday at A Place for Jazz in Schenectady honored Joe Btfsplk from Lil’ Abner. He even yodeled a Hank Williams weeper. He and his dynamic quartet – Kris Davis, piano; Cameron Brown, bass; Bruce Cox, drums – post-bopped their hyper-skilled way through jazz history, from 1960 to some time tomorrow.

A professor (once at UAlbany, now in Denver) as much as composer and performing artist, Byron had lots to teach but did so playfully. He showed us that squeaking on the clarinet and deep tenor sax whomps are OK if they don’t dent the feel, that Hank Williams was linked to the widely discredited but also OK minstrel tradition and, most of all, that improvising unifies talent at the highest level to tug listeners deep into the sound.

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LIVE: Melvin Seals & JGB @ Cohoes Music Hall, 10/21/17

November 13th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Greg

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Organist Melvin Seals joined the Jerry Garcia Band in 1980, playing with the Grateful Dead guitarist until Garcia’s death in 1995.

Since then, Seals has kept Garcia’s music alive with an ever-evolving line-up of musicians dubbed JGB. The line-up at the band’s recent Cohoes Music Hall gig featured guitarist Zach Nugent, vocalists Shirley Starks and Cheryl Rucker, drummer Pete Lavezzoli, bassist John-Paul McLean and surprise special guest tenor saxman Ron Holloway (who has previously played Greater Nippertown with with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band).

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LIVE: The Carlo Aonzo Trio @ Caffe Lena, 10/22/17

November 10th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Greg

Photograph by Glenn Kaplowitz

There was a time not all that long ago when the mandolin was something of a rarity on Greater Nippertown stages. But now it seems as though we’re in the midst of a major parade of mandolin masters with recent concerts by Sam Bush at The Egg and Frank Wakefield at the Parting Glass, as well as upcoming performances by Joe K. Walsh at Caffe Lena tonight (Friday, November 10) and Matt Flinner at Wolf Hollow Brewing (Wednesday, November 15) and the Cock ‘n Bull (Thursday, November 16).

You may have missed Carlo Aonzo, however. Accompanied by guitarist-vocalist Lorenzo Piccone and bassist Luciano Puppo, he slipped into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs last month with a melting pot of mandolin music from Italian folksongs to bluegrass, from soundtracks to jazz and Brazilian music, from Italian popular song to a review of the classical repertoire.

And opening the show was the duo of Hui Cox and Local 518 mandolinist Alan Epstein, who upped the ante this year with the release of his album Sunset on Meridan Hill as well as the five-song EP, That Lonesome Bluegrass Sound.

Looks like the mandolin is making a major comeback…

LIVE: The Fleshtones @ the Hangar on the Hudson, 11/4/17

November 9th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg

The Fleshtones

Review and photographs by Ed Conway
Additional photographs by Tim Reidy

On a beautiful early November Saturday afternoon, the master garage rockers, The Fleshtones, stopped by the Hangar on the Hudson in Troy for a matinee. As always, they made their grand entrance to guitar and bass strains from the empty stage, thanks to the wireless system that guitarist Keith Streng and bassist Ken Fox use to full effect. If you’ve never seen one of their shows, be ready for a non-stop onslaught of loud, infectious garage rock. Once on stage with drummer Bill Milhizer settled into his office, Count Peter (aka, vocalist Peter Zaremba) lit into “Bigger and Better,” “Going Back to School” and “Feeling Good to Feel” in rapid fire succession.

In fact, this is the way the entire show was, as the band ran from song to song without hesitation. Stopping occasionally for the “Wheel of Talent,” whereby the four members would start spinning while Zaremba would choose either Streng or Fox for lead vocal duties to whip the crowd up.

Although the current line-up of the band has been together for more than 20 years – with Streng and Zaremba being together since the bands beginning in 1976 – there is an almost volcanic energy simmering below the surface that bursts out once they hit the stage. Fox and Streng are in constant motion, running around the stage and out into the audience, while Zaremba has firm control of the stage and takes his own forays into the crowd. Having so much experience, they really know how to build the audience into a wild frenzy so that by the time they get to their signature songs – such as “Teenage Zombie” and “Remember The Ramones,” nearing the end of their set – the crowd is shouting along with the band. Finishing off the main set were “My Kinda Lovin’,” “Alright” and “Ama Como Un Hombre.”

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