LIVE: Amadou & Mariam @ the Music Haven, 7/16/17

July 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg
Amadou & Mariam

Amadou & Mariam

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

By the time that Amadou & Mariam churned up the groove for “C’est Chaud” (“It’s Hot”), things were indeed heating up at the Music Haven in Schenectady’s Central Park last Sunday evening. And we’re not just talking about the super summer temperatures, either.

It was only the third song of their 90-minute performance but the open area between the stage and the seats was already jam-packed and dancing space was at a premium. But that’s pretty much a guarantee whenever the Malian Afro-pop pioneers wend their way through their catalog of irresistible rhythms and contagious good vibes.

The blind husband-and-wife duo were backed by a crack five-piece band – drums, bass, percussion, keyboards and backing vocalist/dancer – who kept the groove percolating all night long, which was pretty much the whole point. Amadou and Mariam sang and spoke in French, so there was something of a language barrier. And melodically there wasn’t a whole lot of variation, the majority of the 15 songs were constructed with just two and three basic chords.

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LIVE: NEQ @ McGeary’s Pub, 7/8/17

July 20th, 2017, 2:30 pm by Greg


Photographs by Tom Lindsay

The weather forecast was kinda iffy, but as it turned out, the skies cleared up in time for the newly expanded line-up of Nelson Esposito Quintana (aka, NEQ) to set up outside in Albany’s Clinton Square for a free performance in front of McGeary’s Pub.

In addition to the core members – guitarist Todd Nelson, bassist Kyle Esposito and drummer Manuel Quintana – the wildly eclectic instrumental band featured new recruits Carlos Valdez on a mindboggling array of percussion and Mike Kelley on keyboards.

UPCOMING: NEQ will take the stage at Riverside Park in Coxsackie for a free concert at 6pm on Sunday (July 23).

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Holler Sessions” @ Ancram Opera House [Berkshire on Stage]

July 20th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
Frank Boyd, the solo performer and writer of “The Holler Sessions.”

Frank Boyd, the solo performer and writer of “The Holler Sessions.”

Review by Barbara Waldinger

Frank Boyd, the solo performer and writer of The Holler Sessions, now playing at the Ancram Opera House, so expertly weaves the improvisational aspects of his DJ’s obsession, jazz, with this live radio show that it’s hard to tell what is scripted and what is ad-libbed. Ultimately, this partly improvisational piece is a metaphor for the nature of jazz. The work was created in collaboration with the TEAM, a Brooklyn-based ensemble whose Artistic Director, Rachel Chavkin (serving as one of two Consulting Directors on this project), was nominated for a Tony award for her production of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, now running on Broadway.

Boyd plays Ray, a Kansas City DJ, with such contagious exuberance and passion for the music he loves, that he forces even the uninitiated to listen to and appreciate the artistry of the celebrated jazz performers he worships, among whom are Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Louis Armstrong. Ray apparently lives in the tiny studio where he works, sleeping underneath the table from which he broadcasts, drinking coffee (from what appears to be a working coffeemaker) and whiskey, and storing a few food items among the papers, boxes, books and file cabinets in this incredibly cluttered room.

His performance ranges from extreme physicality — stretching as he awakens, dancing, conducting imaginary performers, kicking, pelvic thrusting, miming drum solos – to stillness, as he stops the music and the movement to allow himself and the audience some dead air time. It’s hard to believe that Boyd, a theater actor, has not spent his life as a DJ.

At several points in the performance, Ray asks his listeners to call him so they can answer the questions he poses in his jazz trivia contest, whose winners will supposedly receive gift certificates to local barbecue restaurants. The listeners are played by… the audience. On each seat is a phone number and a request: “Please silence your phone, but LEAVE IT ON. You will have a chance to use it.” It takes a while and much exhortation from Ray – including allowing two guesses to a true-false question – for the audience to realize that they are being asked to use their cell phones to call in. But eventually they do, leading to general hilarity and ad-libbing.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

JULY 20: On This Date in Local 518 Concert History

July 20th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg
Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 7/20/13

Compiled by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Jessica Ayotte

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 July 20 concerts through the years…

2016: The Felice Brothers, The Parlor @ Rockin’ on the River, Troy
2015: Wolf Eyes, Private Parts, Century Plants @ the Low Beat, Albany
2014: Bruno Mars, Aloe Blacc @ Times Union Center, Albany
2013: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival featuring Rob Zombie, Amon Amarth, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch, Machinehead, Job for a Cowboy, Butcher Babies, Battlecross, Huntress, Children of Bodom, Emmure, Born of Osiris, Attika 7, Motionless in White, Thrown into Exile, Scorpion Child, City in the Sea, more @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs
2012: David Malachowski & the Woodstock All-Stars @ Riverfront Park, Athens
2011: Lil Wayne, Keri Hilson, Rick Ross @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sarratoga Springs
2010: Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys, Kathleen Edwards @ the Calvin Theatre, Northampton
2009: Jeff Daniels @ the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
2008: Three Doors Down, Staind, Hinder @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs
2007: Jonny Lang, Alternate Routes @ The Egg, Albany
2006: John Hiatt, North Mississippi All-Stars @ Alive at Five, Albany
2005: The Lovin Spoonful, the Happenings @ Empire State Plaza, Albany
2004: Kekele @ Revolution Hall, Troy
2003: Patty Griffin, Rosanne Raneri @ Music Haven, Schenectady
2002: Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival featuring Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen, the Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, the Hazel Dickens Band, more @ Rothvoss Farm, Ancramdale
2000: Allan Holdsworth @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady
1999: Bob Dylan, Paul Simon @ the Pepsi Arena, Albany

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Mettawee River Theatre Company Announces Summer Tour [Berkshire on Stage]

July 20th, 2017, 11:00 am by Sara
(photo: Sasha Arutyunova)

(photo: Sasha Arutyunova)

The Mettawee River Theatre Company has announced summer touring dates for its 42nd upstate season featuring its production of Before the Sun and Moon. Performances will take place at outdoor venues in upstate New York and nearby Vermont and Massachusetts, and are scheduled from tonight (Thursday, July 20) through Saturday, August 5 (see below).

Before the Sun and Moon is drawn from an ancient Korean folktale, a magical story in which a young husband and wife discover the power of love and devotion through unexpected challenges and wild adventures. As always in a Mettawee production, the show will incorporate masks, puppets and other visual elements.

The company of actors includes Mettawee veterans Andrew Butler, Tanya Dougherty, Rob McFadyen, Jan-Peter Pedross and newcomer Claire Moodey. Assistant director Jon Riddleberger will join the cast as puppeteer. The production is directed and designed by Ralph Lee, with costumes by Casey Compton. Kristine Haruna Lee is the playwright.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ArtBeat: What To See

July 20th, 2017, 10:00 am by Sara


The Curator as Artist @ Spencertown Academy Gallery

The Curator as Artist @ Spencertown Academy Gallery

The Curator as Artist @ Spencertown Academy Gallery, Spencertown. Drawings, paintings, photographs and mixed media collages by Academy gallery curators Norma Cohen, Leslie Gabosh, Barbara Lax Kranz, Lynn Rothenberg and Barbara Willner. Opening reception: Saturday, July 22, 4-6pm. (Through August 13)

The Tattooed Ladies Along the Mohawk Trail @ Brill Gallery

The Tattooed Ladies Along the Mohawk Trail @ Brill Gallery

The Tattooed Ladies Along the Mohawk Trail @ Brill Gallery, North Adams. Photographs by Dave Foss, Grier Horner, Joanna Klain, Jim Peters, nadine Robbins and Ralph Brill. Opening reception: Saturday, July 22, 6-8pm. (Through October 31)

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FREE FEST: Hats Off Music Festival in Saratoga This Weekend

July 20th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg
Erin Harkes

Erin Harkes

Photograph by Tim Reidy

Yes, the race track opens in Saratoga Springs on Friday, and as is the tradition here in the Spa City, the annual Hats Off Music Festival takes over downtown with a variety of free outdoor music on the track’s opening weekend. Performances run from 7-11pm on Friday & Saturday (July 21 & 22).

Unfortunately, the free street fest has been in downsizing mode recently, and this year is no exception. Back in 2011, the fest featured 10 bands at nine different venues around downtown. By 2015 to schedule had shrunk to eight bands at six venues. This year, the fest is down to just five bands – only four on Saturday… But it’s free so I guess we shouldn’t be complaining.

Anyway, here’s a round-up of who’s playing where at the 2017 Hats Off Music Festival:

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7/20/17: Today’s Top Tips: Thursday

July 20th, 2017, 7:03 am by Greg

MUSIC: The Ladles @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Hailing from Boston, The Ladles have three-part female harmony perfected – but their sound is more than that. They are an amalgamation of their respective histories and influences, blending swing, old-time, neo-soul and contemporary choral music into a sound all their own. With singer-songwriter Alice Howe. 7pm. $18.
BUT WAIT… It’s all part of WEXT-FM’s 10th Anniversary Concert Crawl, and we’re giving away a pair of FREE tickets to the show. Just leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address. The contest closes at 12:30pm today, and winner will be selected at random and notified this afternoon. Good luck!

MUSIC: Ziggy Marley @ The Egg, Albany. Yes, he’s the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, but he’s carved out a mighty impressive career on his own, earning eight Grammy Awards and an Emmy. 8pm. $46 & $56.

MUSIC: Lindsay Ell @ Corning Preserve’s Jennings Landing, Albany. The Alive at Five concert series continues with Country Night. With Anthony Fallacaro. 5pm. FREE.

DANCE: Che Malambo @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. The powerhouse all-male Argentinian dance company makes their SPAC debut, performing the traditional South American Malambo, dynamic blend of precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song. 8pm.

MUSIC: The Motet @ Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. The Colorado band blends funk, rock, Afrobeat and jazz into a glorious swirl of sound. 8pm. $25-$50.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Creative Freelancers @ Albany Center Gallery, Albany. The panel discussion about the creative community featuring filmmaker Joe Piazzo, author/illustrator Ira Marcks, graphic designer/brand developer Corey Aldrich, multimedia producer/marketer Jamel Mosely and fashion writer Alyssa Hardy. 7pm. FREE.

OPERA: “Xerxes” @ Glimmerglass Opera, Cooperstown. Countertenor John Holiday returns in the title role of one of the most brilliant scores in the Baroque repertory. History’s fierce Persian conqueror turns his attention to domestic affairs in a plot in which romantic attraction threatens to obliterate fraternal loyalty. 7:30pm. Through Friday, August 18.

MUSIC: Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra @ Skidmore College’s Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs. The UpBeat on the Roof concert series takes on a Latin salsa spin. 7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

THEATER: “Copenhagen” @ Bridge Street Theatre, Catskill. The Rhinebeck Theatre Society presents a staged reading of Michael Frayne’s riveting drama in which three dead people discuss atomic physics. Really. 7:30pm. $15; $10 for students age 21 and under. Through Sunday.

MUSIC: The Lustre Kings @ Wiswall Park, Ballston Spa. 6pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

COMEDY: Chicks Are Funny @ the Funny Bone, Guilderland. An evening of female comedians, hosted by Erin Harkes. 7:30pm. $7.

READING: Russell Banks @ Skidmore College’s Davis Auditorium, Saratoga Springs. The NYS Summer Writers Institute’s reading series continues… With Chase Twichell. 8pm. FREE.

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