LIVE: The Wood Brothers @ Club Helsinki, 8/15/14

August 21st, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers

Review and photographs by Richard Brody

The sold-out, standing-room-only Club Helsinki crowd came expecting a great show. The Wood Brothers did not disappoint. They opened with “Sing About It” from their current album The Muse. The strolling bass line laid down by Chris Wood that began the song was quickly followed by the light touch of Oliver Wood’s acoustic guitar, and then Jano Rix’s melodica, and when the last instrumental note vanished into the night, the first vocal line was sung a cappella: “If you get too worried, what you ought to do is sing,” the second half of which was sung in three part gospel-like harmony. We were barely a minute into the show, and the band had displayed their ability to seamlessly integrate several musical styles that captured their essence.

Good songwriters need inspiration and the title track of The Muse is an homage to Oliver’s wife, who provides the space and support for the tunes to get created. But it was the birth of his child that helped him complete the song with the lines:

“And if I was thinkin’ I’d be thinkin’ thank God whoever you are
For the muse and the miracle right here in my arms.”

Yet the music was not all nice and tender. The band turned up the heat on a number of songs, most notably “Honey Jar,” a funk-influenced tune that began with some dizzyingly fast bass and drums that carried the song until it slid into a slower tempo blues bridge that transitioned back into the fast stuff and remained there until its crescendo finish. And then there was arguably the crowd’s favorite “Who the Devil” that began slowly with Chris’ bowed bass leading and building to a rocking instrumental break that provided numerous improvisational sparks led by Oliver’s electric guitar that was overtaken by Rix’s percussion and Chris’ thumping bass, and then slowly brought back to the song’s opening tempo by Chris’ bowed bass.

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LIVE: Luke Bryan @ SPAC, 8/17/14

August 21st, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan

Remember the days not too long ago when the Saratoga Performing Arts Center simply couldn’t figure out how to sell tickets to country music concerts? Well, things have changed… and of course, so too has country music.

Luke Bryan, the reigning country music superstar, was back in the spotlight again last Sunday evening, after selling out approximately 25,000 tickets at SPAC last summer on his Dirt Road Diaries Tour 2013.

No surprise, the Luke-ster sold out SPAC once again with his That’s My Kind of Night Tour, featuring support acts Cole Swindell and Lee Brice.

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AUGUST 21: On This Day in Nippertown Music History

August 21st, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Jo Dee Messina

Jo Dee Messina @ Glens Falls Civic Center, 8/21/10

Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It’s Throwback Thursday, so we’re looking back through the years for another installment of our weekly feature: On This Day in Nippertown Music History…

Perhaps the most significant event occured two decades ago. Yes, it was 20 years ago today that the Eagles rolled into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on their Hell Freezes Over tour, charging $110 for the top tickets, marking the first time that a Local 518 pop-rock concert broke into the realm of triple-digit ticket prices…

2013: Bela Fleck played with the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC
2010: Jo Dee Messina played at the Glens Falls Civic Center with John Michael Montgomery, Jack Ingram and Bucky Covington
2008: Joe Diffie played at Vapor Nightclub
2005: Fifty Cent played at SPAC
2003: Marcia Ball played at the Guilderland Performing Arts Center
2002: Kenny Chesney played at the Pepsi Arena with Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Phil Vassar
2000: Lyle Lovett played at Tanglewood
1999: Chuck Mangione headlined the WHRL Albany Jazz Festival at the Corning Preserve
1998: Raif and Michael Eck played at the Loft
1994: The Eagles played at SPAC
1993: Kris Kross played at the Starlite Music Theatre with Pharcyde
1992: Rosemary Clooney played at SPAC with Michael Feinstein
1991: The Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers played at the Knickerbocker Arena
1990: Paul Anka played at the Starlite Music Theatre
1989: Peter, Paul & Mary played at SPAC
1987: Tom Jones played at the Colonie Coliseum

Workshop: Festival of Opera @ the Unicorn Theatre, Aug 23-31 [Berkshire on Stage]

August 21st, 2014, 1:30 pm by Sara

Workshop Festival of Opera at the Unicorn Theatre

The Berkshire Theatre Group is planning a week-long Festival of Opera at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Performances begin Saturday (August 23) and run through Sunday, August 31.

Presented in workshop form, some of opera’s rising stars will be featured in staged presentation of La Traviata, A Lover’s Tale and songs from the Romantics in The Paris Salon.

“This year, for the first time, we’re bringing a little opera back to the Berkshires,” Artistic Director/CEO Kate Maguire explains. “We have a week long workshop featuring A Lover’s Tale, an extraordinary compilation of Dumas’ original story about the Lady of the Camellias, Charles’s Ludlam’s Camille and La Traviata all rolled into one. Also that week, we will present a staged performance of La Traviata and a wonderful compilation of songs from the Romantics featuring the lovely soprano Megan Weston.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

Festival Fever: The Summer Hoot @ the Ashokan Center

August 21st, 2014, 1:00 pm by Greg

It’s time to hoot ‘n’ holler this weekend at the second annual, three-day Summer Hoot at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, hosted by the folk-roots duo of Mike + Ruthy.

The down-home celebration of music, food and community will feature world class music from the great state of New York and beyond, including performances by eclectic, folk-blues icon David Bromberg, renowned filmmaker and musician John Cohen, award-winning next-generation folk balladeers Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer, Woodstock’s own retro-soul diva Simi Stone, veteran swing and jazz collective the Saints of Swing featuring Rene Bailey, Louisiana swamp-pop band the Revelers, American fiddle tune masters Jay Ungar & Molly Mason and many more.

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MASS MoCA Announces Fall Schedule of Concerts & Events

August 21st, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg

Over in North Adams, MASS MoCA’s fall season gets under way in mid-September when the museum devotes an entire weekend to bluegrass and roots music – and continues full throttle until it sends us laughing all the way into the holiday season with a mid-December show of smart comedy. Throughout its roster of anything-but-standard fare, MASS MoCA features musical theater, award-winning dance performances, electro-dance hall music, film forums and more…

New York-based artist Lee Boroson creates a sequence of elements in MASS MoCA’s largest gallery, where visitors will immerse in fog, lava, waterfalls and smokestacks as they move through installations of fabric, glass, and inflatables that consider the landscape as culture as well as wilderness.

The season kicks off with the previously announced FreshGrass, the three-day bluegrass and roots festival on Friday-Sunday, September 19-21 featuring a mind-bending amount of music, with more than 40 bands throughout the weekend, including Emmylou Harris, Railroad Earth, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Sam Bush, the Infamous Stringdusters, the David Grisman Sextet, Cricket Tell the Weather, the Novel Ideas, Ramblin Jug Stompers, the Flying Garbanzos and many, many more. The festival rounds out with instrument- and industry-focused workshops, luthier demonstrations, Berkshire-fresh food and spirits, downtown camping, family programming.

And here’s the schedule of newly announced concerts, films, dance, theater, comedy and other rather unclassifiable events for MASS MoCA’s fall season:

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ArtBeat: What to See

August 21st, 2014, 11:00 am by Sara


Liz Parsons Gets Her Words Out @ LARAC

Liz Parsons Gets Her Words Out @ LARAC

Fragments @ LARAC, Glens Falls. Works by Patricia Sullivan, Anne Stagg, Liz Parsons and Nick Squadere. An exhibition of contemporary artworks that display different techniques and media including painting, jewelry-making, collage and installation, seeking to challenge our perception of our environment or question how social context may influence our daily lives. Opening reception: Friday, August 22, 5-7pm. (Through September 19)

BUMP @ Basilica Hudson

BUMP @ Basilica Hudson

BUMP @ Basilica Hudson, Hudson. An interactive whale exhibit created by brothers Frank DenDanto and Dan DenDanto that includes bones from three different whales, suspended at eye level in Basilica’s Main Hall that are accessible for hands-on touching – not normally an activity allowed at fine art galleries or natural history displays. Once touched, they are set in motion, causing shadows dance around the space. Opening reception and Q&A with the artists: Saturday, August 23, 5-7pm. Closing party ($10): Friday, August 29, 9pm, featuring Black Sea Hotel, Charlie Looker and Patrick Higgins. (Through September 1)

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Real Good for FREE: Berne Summerfest on Saturday

August 21st, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg

The second annual Berne Summerfest takes over the Berne Town Park on Saturday (August 23) with a day full of family activities and entertainment. And it’s all free.

There’s something for everyone from face painting to a car show, from a homer run derby to a puppet show. There will be demonstrations of such crafts as barn quilt making, blacksmithing, spinning and weaving. And there are contests, too – a pie contest (1:30pm), a zucchini competition (3pm) and a beard and mustache contest (4pm).

And, of course, there will be lots of live music, too. Here’s the schedule of entertainment at the Main Stage:

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