LIVE: “Boogie for Bob” @ The Linda, 9/28/14

September 30th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson

You could feel the love at The Linda. The musical community from near and far saluted Albany’s own Bob Girouard with an afternoon of roadhouse blues and rockabilly in which the half dozen bands he’s played in over the years (Hair of the Dog, Aged in the Hills, Ernie Williams Tribute Band, Bluz House Rockers, Diva & the Dirty Boys and Urban Gumbo) definitely made roar happen – and which finally exploded into a one-time reunion and farewell blast to his original ’70s-era band Forest. (These guys – forget about it!)

The bash was also a benefit for research into Parkinson’s disease, which Bob’s been battling since 2003. In between acts, the lights dimmed to screen scenes from “About a Band,” the documentary I did that traces the reunion of Urban Gumbo, his current project. Bob’s dynamic and arresting vocal performances (in particular his duet with Lisa Gordon) brought standing ovations. Cueing up scenes from a DVD in the projection booth at the Linda is slightly touchy, I mean, who knew that going to full screen would automatically start the file playing? I wouldn’t, obviously. But hey, live and learn…


LIVE: Steve Shook @ Caffe Lena, 12/6/13

December 23rd, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson
Photograph by Joe Deuel

If the name Steve Shook evokes some kind of half-buried memory, but you just can’t quite place it, relax – you’ve got a lot on your mind! But see if this rings any bells… In the ’70s, he was part of Travis Shook & the Club Wow, who regularly opened for comedian George Carlin.

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LIVE: “Once Upon a Dream Starring the Rascals” @ the Palace Theatre, 11/24/13

November 25th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson

The disembodied voice that came booming over the loudspeakers before the show was right up my alley. It encouraged me to, in fact, leave my cellphone ON, take out my camera, and in short, “Do whatever the fuck you want!” So I started to bootleg the show, and the results are here:

But I got bored after about the first seven minutes and twenty six seconds. I might not be the reporter to watch a reunion of pudgy, pot-bellied guys pretending to be the Rascals – even if they ARE the Rascals! There’s something inalterably pathetic about it. Extra-special for a group “formerly known as” the Young Rascals, eh? Scions of youth culture grown all haggard and bloated.

In pauses between the band performing onstage, a “television documentary” narrative with interviews explained the whole Rascals career and phenomenon, and then “artsy” photo and abstract color collages accompanied the songs they played. Nothing but young people, slim and slender dancers, in the vintage ’60s clips. By the end, a dozen people were up and swaying, and the half-full house (not half-empty!) was roaring in solidarity and joyous affirmation, a sea of white hair and balding heads.

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In the Studio: Urban Gumbo

November 21st, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg

Story and video by Joel Patterson

When is a recording session not a recording session? When it’s much, much more. You know what I mean. When it’s an actual, verifiable musical event taking place within the walls.

Earlier this month at Brunswick Recording in Troy, under the spectacular engineering leadership of Mike Hickey, it happened again. The gorgeous facility hosted the reunion/comeback sessions for the upcoming Urban Gumbo release, timed to be ready for (cross those fingers!) their big, splashy debut at Pauly’s Hotel in Albany on Friday, December 20.

Did I say splashy? Hey, you at the bar, could you be a little more careful, how about?

LIVE: Troy Night Out @ Various Locations Around Troy, 10/25/13

November 1st, 2013, 11:02 am by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson

Plenty of lavishly costumed superheroes and princesses this month, but the really scary ones are the artists! And the strange preoccupations they settle on… well, the guy whirling the fireballs around was dangerous if you weren’t careful…

This month, Sam Altekruz is ready to dismantle his art installation of 650 hanging garlic cloves; Ben Atlman describes his Arts Center show concerning the complexity of identity; Claire Sherwood discusses her latest creations celebrating and exploring nature and industrial production; we view a recreated black light dorm room ceiling from 1970; we learn about the soothing and invigorating Troy Healing Arts; Robilee McIntyre shows her elaborate, symbolically outfitted sculptures; Patrick Sherwood tells us why evocative landscapes capture his imagination; Amy Halloran composes poetry on the spot; we judge a pumpkin contest at the Botanic Garden; and listen to the transporting, wild and dreamy sounds of the Keith Pray Soul Jazz Revival – and wonder, “Where’s Keith?”

LIVE: Urban Gumbo @ River Street Pub, 10/21/13

October 29th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson

Is Lisa Gordon going to be Troy’s answer to Katy Perry? Well… what’s the question? Does she have the same fetching hairdo, the same bright, eager sparkle, the same vague sense of some kind of a Wonder Woman? I guess so… but these are skin deep.

What Lisa can do so much better is really sing, really howl with authority. Sometimes it’s a cheerful, happy howl, sometimes it’s anguishing. With her, you always feel like she’s taking you to the wild places, where strong emotions run riot. So far, the whole collaboration that’s going under the name Urban Gumbo makes a spectacular backdrop for her brilliant, biting songwriting and confessional caterwauls.

But I know your real question: will a damnably fickle public respond? See in her fireworks the credentials of a diva fit for pop royalty? How am I supposed to know??? I tell you what, though… I for one am going to stay tuned.

LIVE: Willie “Loco” Alexander & the Fish Eye Brothers @ Valentine’s, 10/12/13

October 18th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg

Story and video by Joel Patterson
Photographs by Rich Borden

Tribal, jungle rhythms. That’s all punk was – that’s all any music is, anyway – something to motivate you to dance and/or writhe. Any era’s “underground” music will always be about taboos being wrenched out of their sockets and sacred cows keeling over. It’s when this music speaks to the core of what a generation believes, when it provides a framework to understand the world and our place in it, well then mister, you’ve got real, true pop culture.

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LIVE: David Greenberger @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 10/12/13

October 18th, 2013, 1:30 pm by Greg

Story and video by Joel Patterson
Photograph by Rich Borden

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