COMEDY: Ryan Hamilton @ Funny Bone at Crossgates Mall, Guilderland. With all the high-wattage comedy competition around town, it’s looking like a tough night to launch a new Nippertown comedy club… 7:30pm. Through Sunday.
ARTS WALK: Downstreet Art @ various locations, North Adams. 6-9pm. FREE.
MUSIC: Jonah Smith @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. At his sweetest, award-winning singer-songwriter and 2014 contestant on “America’s Got Talent” Jonah Smith recalls Paul McCartney; at his grittiest, he reminds listeners of Tom Waits; and at his funkiest and jazziest he recalls fellow Syracuse native Martin Sexton. With Andy Stack, a long-time bandmate of Smith’s and a co-founder of Wye Oak. 8pm.
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
The Beacon Jazz Festival did not end at the Pete & Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park in Beacon. The sounds of jazz continued late into the night at after-parties that at six local nightspots around town.
Quinn’s hosted two bands and a jam session. Sun of Goldfinger – featuring David Torn, Tim Berne and Ches Smith – continued the musical adventure that they embarked on earlier in the afternoon outdoors, this time in a considerably more intimate atmosphere, and again wowing the receptive audience in an extreme version of the science experiment known as a live jazz performance.
Photographs by Timothy Reidy
Q: When does a birthday party turn into a full-fledged music festival?
A: When it’s Bellstock!
Yes, the annual birthday bash for local concert promoter Greg Bell (of Guthrie Bell Productions) has been going on for more than two decades now, and it’s always a mid-summer night’s blast with dozens of Local 518 bands firing up a variety of sounds over the course of a long weekend…
Among the bands captured by intrepid Nippertown contributor Tim Reidy were Eastbound Jesus, School Bus Yellow, the Lucky Jukebox Brigade, Groove Stick, Space Carnival, Yamn…
The Parish Public House in Albany plays host to Soule Monde at 9pm on Friday October 2. The instrumental, organ-driven funk duo features Trey Anastasio Band members Russ Lawton (drums) and Ray Paczkowski (organ), taking soul-jazz back to the deep end. Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door. And straight outta the Big Easy, the Joe Krown Trio – featuring Hammond B3 master Joe Krown, guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington and dynamic drummer Russell Batiste – returns to the Parish Public House at 9pm on Friday, November 13. Tickets are $15.
CANCELLED: Newberry Music Hall in Saratoga Springs has cancelled the concert by Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience that was slated for Friday night (August 28). The band’s free concert in Lake George’s Shepard Park will take place as scheduled at 7:30pm tonight (Wednesday, August 26).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Three new shows were announced by The Egg in Albany, including the return of Beatles tribute band the Fab Faux and Nippertown’s fave family band the Zucchini Brothers.
Summer re-runs? The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock is bringing in a pair of bands who played free shows in Albany this summer. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (who played the Empire State Plaza for the Fourth of July celebration) take the Bearsville stage at 8pm on Wednesday, October 28. Tickets are $45. And the Yonder Mountain String Band (who played Alive at Five last month) lands in Woodstock on Wednesday, November 11. The Henhouse Prowlers open the show at 8pm. Tickets are $30.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Dead & Company – featuring Grateful Dead alum Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti are slated to kick off their debut tour at Albany’s Times Union Center. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (August 30). NOTE: According to the TU Center’s website, ticket will not be available at the TU Center box office on Friday.
Following their recent knock-out performance at Caffe Lena (which featured a tribute to the music of Elliot Smith), the Portland Cello Project returns to Nippertown on Halloween night for a concert at Albany’s Madison Theater. The concert kicks off at 8pm on Saturday, October 31, and tickets are $22 in advance.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: It’s a Christmas tradition… The Trans Siberian Orchestra has announced that it will be returning to Albany’s Times Union Center for two lazer-filled extravaganza shows this upcoming holiday season.
The cast of TruTV’s “Impractical Jokers” featuring the acclaimed comedy troupe the Tenderloins is slated to bring their Where’s Larry? Tour to Proctors’ Main Stage in Schenectady at 7pm on Thursday, November 5. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (August 28).
Wearing suspenders and a purple beret and making daily downtown rounds to share lively chats about politics, music and books, Alan “Captain Fun” McKenney was often called the Unofficial Mayor of Saratoga Springs, NY. He passed away at home in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, August 15, 2015, amidst his legendary collection of albums and books.
McKenney was a life-long lover of music, and over the years he was a founding member of the Wildflowers collective; road manager for such acts as David Bromberg, for Boys of the Lough, Clannad, Martin, Bogan & Armstrong; tour manager for the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program; record producer for Utah Phillips; stage manager and emcee of the Smithsonian’s National Folk Festival, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Kent State Folk Festival.
GO HERE to read the obituary about Al McKenney’s colorful and extraordinary life…
Interview by Don Wilcock
Zydeco is where blues was 55 years ago. In 1960, during the folk boom, blues was considered a subtext or footnote to folk music. Today, the energetic music of the Creole culture of Louisiana called zydeco is lumped together with polkas, Hawaiian music, brass band music from New Orleans and Cajun music by the Grammy Awards into a category called Best Regional Roots Album. The style gets second shrift from Americana media like No Depression, and zydeco bands struggle to get booked at the myriad of blues festivals across the country.
Vocalist and accordion player Terrance Simien and his band the Zydeco Experience are on a crusade to give zydeco music a higher profile. They’ll play a free concert tonight at Shepard Park in Lake George.
Simien is in the eighth generation of one of the earliest Creole families that settled in Mallet, just north of the Lafayette area of St. Landry Parish in Louisiana. “I grew up black,” says Simien, “but I’m part French, African, Spanish, native American and German. I’ve got more European ancestry than I do African ancestry, but I’m part of all my ancestry.”
Zydeco is a gumbo – an African word – of influences resulting from the mix of cultures that settled southern Louisiana in the 18th century. Ruled by the French, the Africans in the area were treated better than their counterparts in the British colonies. The French settlers instituted the Code Noir (Black Code) that freed many of the slaves who bred with Spanish and French colonists. Some went to school in Europe and developed a sophistication for improvising in the music they learned there and brought back home. Simien brings an almost jazz-like application of these myriad of influences into the 21st century with a high degree of excitement.
He was first exposed to zydeco music when his dad took him to dance halls in Mallet in southern Louisiana, and he saw few young people in the crowd. As a teenager he listened to Luke Collins’ one-hour zydeco show on Saturday afternoon radio, taped the broadcasts and taught himself how to play the piano accordion by listening to those tapes. He was determined not to let the style die.
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
The fest will feature special tributes to Puerto Rican salsa greats Hector Lavoe and Frankie Ruiz, as well as a performance by the Local 518′s own Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra.
Here’s the schedule of performances for Albany LatinFest 2015: