LIVE: Lyle Lovett & His Acoustic Group @ The Egg, 11/5/14

November 26th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review by Richard Brody

Lyle Lovett & His Acoustic Group returned to The Egg’s Hart Theatre earlier this month for what seems to be an annual visit. With no new music to promote, Lyle dug into his nearly 30-year songbook and treated us to more than two hours of great songs and stories backed by his all-star band – with fiddler extraordinaire Stuart Duncan in tow. Not one to get fenced in by a single genre, you can hear country, bluegrass, folk, blues, gospel, Texas swing, and with master cellist and long-time band member John Hagen, hints of classical music in the performances of Lovett’s songs.

Lovett and band, all nattily attired in dark suits, showed their wares beginning with the second song, and first full band song, of the evening “Here I Am.” The unaccompanied verses spoken in a halting deadpan tone with the full band coming in on the chorus tells the tale of that guy who sits down beside someone at the diner and won’t leave the person alone. On the one hand anyone would want to get away from this intruder, but on the other you just might want to stick around to hear what comes out of his mouth next. It’s pure Lyle: dark humor bordering on spooky, unexpected lyrical lines, and an off-beat performance that makes perfect sense.

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A FEW MINUTES WITH… Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band

November 26th, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg

Story and interview by Don Wilcock

The front man in a rock band always gets the attention, but in the case of the Rolling Stones, the Everly Brothers, Aerosmith and the J. Geils Band, it’s the collaboration of two songwriting band members that makes it jell. Maintaining such collaborations over several decades has been problematic for each. That the J. Geils Band is playing together at all in 2014 is a miracle. That they haven’t produced a new song together in more than 30 years is not surprising. And that the namesake founding member Jay Geils isn’t even in the band that opens for Bob Seger on Tuesday night (December 2) at the Times Union Center just adds to the confusion.

Peter Wolf, however, takes it all in stride. “The Dave Clark Five or Paul Revere & the Raiders, I don’t know. There are so many bands that have that. The Allman Brothers were named after two brothers, Duane and Gregg. Then there was only one Allman. There weren’t two. But they didn’t change their name. They just kept going.”

It has caused Wolf some problems over the years, however. “I think the name J. Geils is very confusing to people,” he told me in 2011, “ because still today I walk down the street, and people come up to me, ‘J., how ya doin,’ man?’ And so that causes great confusion. When Bill Graham first saw the band, he came running into the dressing room, put his arms around me and said, ‘J., you were great,’ after we had played the Fillmore. And I said, ‘I’m not J.’ ‘Well, who the hell are ya?’ I said, ‘I’m Peter Wolf.’ He said, ‘Well, why is it called the J. Geils Band?’ And that’s a story in itself we need not go into now.”

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Hump Day Unusual Moment

November 26th, 2014, 11:00 am by Greg

Four guys…
Two cellos…
One piano…
And some mighty impressive camera work…

The Piano Guys – who bring their holiday tour to the Palace Theatre in Albany on Monday, December 8 – mash up the Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching” with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Wanna see more? WMHT-TV airs “The Piano Guys: Live at Red Butte Garden” at 7:30pm on Thursday (November 27).

So Who Were the Mystery Country Stars at Proctors Last Night?

November 26th, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg

Secret Star Jam

Proctors in Schenectady played host to its fourth WGNA-FM Secret Star Acoustic Jam last night (Tuesday, November 25), and it featured three country music stars. WGNA’s website explained it like this: “The stars are introduced one by one, each taking a moment to interact with the crowd, then performing one of their many hit songs. Once all three stars are on stage, they each take a turn performing their hits and interacting with you, the audience, in a very unique setting.”

The hitch? The folks at WGNA wouldn’t say just who it was who would be stepping into the spotlight, and ticket-buyers wouldn’t find out who they were, either, until they hit the stage.

As it turned out, the three country stars were Kristian Bush (of Sugarland), RaeLynn and Chase Rice – not a bad line-up for an $29 ticket price.

GO HERE for a complete round-up of the country stars who played the previous three Secret Star Acoustic Jams…

11/26/14: Today’s Tips: Wednesday

November 26th, 2014, 8:00 am by Greg

We’ll be updating today’s listings with any postponements or cancellations as they are announced throughout the day…

MUSIC: Dave Davies @ the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield. The Kinks’ guitar hero and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer cranks up those Kinks classics as well as his too often overlooked solo work, including selections from his latest album, Rippin’ Up Time. 7:30pm. $30, $50 & $70. UPDATE: Due to snow emergency, this show has been postponed. New date TBA.

MUSIC: Hamell On Trial @ the Low Beat, Albany. Armed with his battered acoustic guitar, the ex-Nippertonian one-man rock band/jokester/storyteller fires up his righteous anger, sly humor and clever wordsmithmanship. This how to kick off yer big holiday weekend… 8pm.

MUSIC: The Late Shift @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. Guitarslinger Mike Davies (no relation to Dave Davies) and the boys rattle the shingles on North Pearl Street. With the Ashbury. 9pm. $10.

MUSIC: O.A.R. @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. The Rockville LP tour lands in Nippertown for a big Thanksgiving Eve show. With Andy Grammer. 8pm. $29.75, $34.75, $39.75 & $49.75.

MUSIC: The Bremners @ Carney’s Tavern, Ballston Spa. Rob Skane & Co. bring the Mersybeat and more… 7pm. FREE.

MUSIC: Chris Webby @ Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park. With Jitta On the Track, AMJ and Quale Jak. 8pm. $20. UPDATE: Due to weather concerns, this show has been postponed to Saturday, December 13.

MUSIC: Holly & Evan @ the Olde English Pub & Pantry, Albany. 8pm.

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LIVE: NYS Presenters Network Music Showcase @ The Egg, 10/28/14

November 25th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Villalobos Brothers

The Villalobos Brothers

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Timothy Reidy

The New York State Presenters Network held its annual conference in Albany last month, and in conjunction with the various workshops and panel discussions, the conference also hosted a showcase concert at The Egg that was free and open to the public.

The concert highlighted a wide variety of New York State musical talent from children’s singer-songwriter Dan Zanes to Latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill and his quartet, from Mexican music group the Villalobos Brothers to the cutting edge classical ensemble Sybarite5 and jazz saxman Michael Blake.

All in all, it was a delightfully diverse mix of jazz, folk and contemporary classical and Latin music…

More of Andrzej Pilarczyk’s photographs of this concert at Albany Jazz
More of Timothy Reidy’s photographs of this concert at Autobus Pour 3 Garcons

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LIVE: Hiromi: The Trio Project @ The Egg, 11/14/14

November 25th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review by J Hunter

Normally, I choose concerts the way I bet on horses at Saratoga: I go on track record, and what I’d heard from Hiromi did not fill me with enthusiasm for her recent appearance at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre. The Japanese pianist’s recordings were beautiful, to be sure, but too classical, too technical. Well, you know how some people place a bet solely on what they heard from “some guy with a hot tip”? That’s what I was doing here, because earlier this year, Greg Haymes had told me in no uncertain terms that I HAD to see Hiromi in concert! When Greg Haymes enthuses, I listen… and BOY, I’m glad I did.

Sound shields covered the end of Hiromi’s grand piano, presumably so the vibrations from bassist Anthony Jackson’s singular bass sound. As it turned out, the shields may have been there to protect Jackson (who played the entire concert sitting next to the piano) from Hiromi’s jet exhaust. That concept wasn’t even hinted, though, as Hiromi bounced onstage, looking for all the world like a typical teenager – big friendly smile with accompanying wave, fun frizzed-up hairdo held in place by a black band with a white fake flower, white sleeveless top, black tights, black-and-white striped sneakers. No WAY this sweet little girl could hurt us, right?

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Ho-Ho-Ho… It’s Holidelic @ Helsinki

November 25th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
Holidelic (photo: Mikiodo)

Holidelic (photo: Mikiodo)

Once again, the annual holiday-funk spectacular Holidelic – the brainchild of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, actor and dancer Everett Bradley (aka Papadelic; aka the Miracle on 134th Street; aka the Ghetto-Fabulous Father of Fa La La Funk) – will usher in the holiday season at Club Helsinki in Hudson at 9pm on Friday and Saturday (November 28 & 29). Part dance party, part funk concert, part comedy show, the Xmas-rated, Yuletide-themed extravaganza features original holiday songs as well as loose, funk-infused adaptations of Tchaikovsky, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Little Drummer Boy” and the like. Tickets are $20 & $25 in advance; $25 & $30 at the door.

With this year’s new edition of the show, “Holidelic: Sugar Daddy,” Bradley and his sprawling, 12-piece outfit put a fresh spin on holiday cheer, through lively holiday party tunes, outrageous costumes and a theatrical stage show worthy of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. It won’t be a “Silent Night” when Holidelic reinvigorates the season, prompting concert-goers to shake their holiday booties to Sly Stone-style funk ‘n’ roll. Ho-ho-ho…

So who is Everett Bradley? Well, he was the first American to perform with and direct the British percussion stage sensation “Stomp.” He was the co-writer, co-arranger, Theatre World Award-winner and star of the hit musical, “Swing,” which won a Tony Award and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Broadway Cast Recording. He was recently a cast member of the hit Broadway show “After Midnight.” He has toured and recorded with such A-list artists as Bobby McFerrin, Jon Bon Jovi and David Bowie. He’s the musical director and bandleader for “The Meredith Vieira Show,” the NBC-TV daytime talk show.

And – oh yeah – you may have seen him earlier this year playing a sold-out concert at the Times Union Center – as percussionist-vocalist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

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