LIVE: Mamadou Kelly & Ban Kai Na @ Freedom Square, 7/23/16

July 28th, 2016, 4:00 pm by Greg
Mamadou Kelly & Ban Kai Na (photo: Steve Pierce)

Mamadou Kelly & Ban Kai Na (photo: Steve Pierce)

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Steve Pierce

Malian blues virtuoso Mamadou Kelly and his band, Ban Kai Na, brought their encyclopedic knowledge of Mali’s music and fresh sophistication to the sounds from Niafunke for a free concert at Troy’s Freedom Square last weekend. There was plenty of free food and arts activities throughout the afternoon community celebration, but the stirring music of Kelly & Co. was at the heart of the day.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Kelly was joined by Alpha Ousmane Sankare (calabash, backing vocals), Ibrahim Nabo (backing vocals, hand percussion) and Brehima Cisse (djourkel, njarka), and despite the fact that their performance was interrupted by a couple of storms, the spirits of the band and the appreciative crowd remained high. Due to the weather delays, the free concert went on later into the evening than originally expected, but the twilight glow only seemed to enhance the band’s trance-inducing sound.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Stone Witch” @ Fitzpatrick Main Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

July 28th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
Judd Hirsch and Rupak Ginn in “The Stone Witch" (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Judd Hirsch and Rupak Ginn in “The Stone Witch” (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Review by Macey Levin

A young, struggling author/artist of children’s books is offered the chance to observe his idol, a legendary figure. He sees that he can watch a genius at work and, when the time is right, show him his own book with which he has been struggling for years. Unbeknownst to him, this opportunity is fraught with unknown challenges. This is the premise of Shem Bitterman’s The Stone Witch, currently in its world premiere at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge.

Peter Chandler (Rupak Ginn) has submitted his book to a powerhouse editor, Claire Forlorni (Kristin Griffith), who likes his work but also tells him she needs help to motivate fabled author Simon Grindberg (Judd Hirsch) to finish a project that is now 12 years old. She asks Peter to spend one day a week with Simon. He accepts the task.

Upon arriving at Simon’s isolated country home, he is confronted by the author in his pajamas and robe and who is at once child-like and dour. The older man avoids Peter’s suggestion that they work and instead bounces from nonsensical bantering to fleeting anger to disdain for Peter’s book. Frustrated, Peter tries various ploys to settle Simon down. The day finishes in a detente. Over the next several weeks the young man journeys to the country and then decides to spend his week’s vacation there urging and assisting Simon to finish his book.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

REVIEW: The Capitol Steps @ the Cranwell Spa [Berkshire on Stage]

July 28th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara

Review by Larry Murray and Pearce Rowley

In the real world, our current slash and burn politics are deadly serious with few exceptions. The White House Correspondent’s Dinner is one of those rare occasions when elected officials and the media can laugh at themselves. In the media, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher and Lewis Black regularly elicit laughs, while the other television talking heads send viewers on a search for headache relief.

The Capitol Steps are a musical revue that mines American politics, and have been doing so for more than 35 years. The story goes that it began at a Christmas party in Senator Charles Percy’s office, and like most Congressional activities, they just don’t know when to stop.

Of course there is lots of humor in politics. And for years, the Capitol Steps have been mining it.

2016 may offer the troupe its richest source of material ever. With a billionaire buffoon, a yiddish socialist and an ambitious, anointed former first lady as their primary targets, the stage is set.

With a fearless and talented quintet of refugees from our nation’s capitol, the performers – with nothing more than a few props – turn our current politics on its head. If only the nightly newscast was half as funny. There are several Capitol Steps troupes criss-crossing the country at any given time; in Lenox, the company has settled into a new performing space at the Cranwell Spa. So new in fact, you can still detect the new-car-smell of turps and sawdust.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

LIVE: The Rechorduroys @ Superior Merchandise Co., 5/27/16

July 28th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Timothy Reidy

In conjunction with a recent monthly Troy Night Out arts walk, the Rechorduroys rocked Superior Merchandise Co. in Troy.

Next up on the concert schedule for Superior Merchandise Co.’s patio is indie folkster Ben Trickey and acoustic alt-popster Brandon Schmidt, sharing the bill at 4pm on Sunday, August 7.

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JULY 28: On This Date in Local 518 Concert History

July 28th, 2016, 12:00 pm by Greg
Maria Muldaur with The Campbell Brothers Band

Maria Muldaur with the Campbell Brothers Band @ the Music Haven, Schenectady, 7/28/13

Compiled by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Stanley Johnson

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 28 concerts through the years…

2015: Cayucas, Hibou @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany
2014: Band of Horses, Midlake @ the Calvin Theatre, Northampton
2013: Maria Muldaur, the Campbell Brothers @ the Music Haven at Central Park, Schenectady
2012: Shonen Knife, White Mystery @ Mt. Sabattis Pavilion, Long Lake
2011: Tom Chapin & Friends @ the Guilderland Performing Arts Center at Tawasentha Park, Guilderland
2010: Polish Night with the Rymanowski Brothers Orchestra @ Buhrmaster Barn at the Pruyn House, Latham
2009: Crosby, Stills & Nash @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs
2008: Aimee Mann @ Washington Park Lakehouse, Albany
2007: Axe Iron Suns @ River Street Beat Shop, Troy
2006: The Dixie Chicks @ the Pepsi Arena, Albany
2005: Destiny’s Child, Mario, Amerie, Tyra @ the Pepsi Arena, Albany
2004: Commander Cody @ Siro’s, Saratoga Springs
2003: Diblo Dibala @ Washington Park Lakehouse, Albany
2002: The Wild Magnolias @ Music Haven at Central Park, Schenectady

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ArtBeat: What To See

July 28th, 2016, 11:00 am by Sara



DownStreetArt @ various locations, North Adams. The city-wide celebration features art, music, dance, a night market and after parties. Thursday, July 28, 5-8pm.

Works by Melanie Mowinski @ MCLA Gallery 51

Works by Melanie Mowinski @ MCLA Gallery 51

Wayfinding @ MCLA Gallery 51, North Adams. A solo show by Melanie Mowinski that examines, through installation, letterpress, book arts and collage, the paths to a destination. Opening reception: Thursday, July 28, 5-7pm. (Through August 21)

ReActor @ Art Omi

ReActor @ Art Omi

Three Exhibitions Opening @ Art Omi, Ghent. ReActor, the newest work in an experimental, performative series of “social relationship architecture” by architect-artist team Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley, will be habitable a structure where the two will live in full view of their audience for a five-day performance from July 27-31, 2016. Also on view: selected pieces from Atalaya, a series of improvised furniture works by Chilean architect Nicolás Aracena Müller, constructed from cast-off materials reclaimed from the streets and dumpsters of New York City; and Unpacking the Cube, featuring three architecture firms —Leong Leong, LevenBetts and Steven Holl Architects — expressing the core philosophies of their practices through an exploration of the cubic form. Public viewing: Saturday, July 30, 2-4pm. Reception and Omi Director’s talk: Saturday, July 30, 4-6pm. (Through September 24)

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Why Do Politicians Appropriate Pop Songs Without Permission?

July 28th, 2016, 9:30 am by Greg

Last week, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, the two founding members of the O’Jays, decried the use of one of their signature songs, “Love Train” – the lyrics of which were also altered to “Trump Train” – at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, just a short distance from Canton, Ohio, where the group formed in the late 1950s.

Williams commented, “Our music, and most especially ‘Love Train,’ is about bringing people together, not building walls.” Levert was a bit more adamant in his condemnation, suggesting that Trump “just may be the Antichrist.”

So why do politicians continue to use hit songs at their rallies without the authorization of the artists? And what can the hitmakers do to retaliate? Watch the above video.

GO HERE for more backstory…

7/28/16: Today’s Top Tips: Thursday

July 28th, 2016, 7:31 am by Greg

MUSIC: Alive at Five @ Tricentennial Park, Albany. It’s Country Night with LoCash (led by Preston Brust and Chris Lucas) and Local 518 faves Skeeter Creek. 5pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

MUSIC: Those Darn Accordions @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. The self-described “polka punk” band hails from San Francisco and straddles the fine line between novelty and inspiration with a repertoire that includes squeezebox-fueled covers of rock classics the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” With cabaret-rock performers Ryder Cooley and Heather Fisch. 8pm.

MUSIC: Dog on Fleas @ Barker Park, Troy. A great kids’ music band led by Grammy Award winner Dean Jones. 11am. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…

MUSIC: Factory Radio @ the Low Beat, Albany. With Immune Fiction and Ludica. 8pm.

DANCE: New York City Ballet @ the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. Performing “Jewels” at 2pm and the George Balanchine Black & White program at 8pm.

ARTS WALK: DownStreet Art @ various locations, North Adams. Featuring works of visual art on display in museums, galleries and non-traditional spaces, the openings of four new visual art exhibits, live podcasting, musical and theatrical performances and a night market that features local food and craft vendors. 5-8pm. FREE.

MUSIC: Aurora @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. 20-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter who W Magazine has described as “the mythical love child of Bjork and Grimes.” 9pm. $18.

MUSIC: Jazz On Jay @ Jay Street, Schenectady. The free lunchtime concert series continues with the Brian Patneaude Quintet featuring guitarist George Muscatello, pianist Rob Lindquist, bassist Mike DelPrete and drummer Danny Whelchel in addition to the saxman. 12noon. FREE.

MUSIC: Doobie Decibel System @ Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs. Featuring Jason Crosby (Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi), Roger McNamee (Moonalice), Pete Sears (Moonalice), Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (ALO) and Jay Lane (Ratdog). With Midnight North featuring Grahame Lesh (yes, the son of Phil Lesh). 9:30pm. $15.

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