Best of 2012: Steve Nover, Part II

January 10th, 2013, 1:00 pm by Greg

Dr. John: “Locked Down”


Story by Steve Nover

I found this to be a terribly weak year. That said, here are my picks for the top albums of 2012:

1. Dr. John – “Locked Down.” With kudos to the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who played guitar, percussion, backing vocals, as well as earning producing & co-writing credits.

2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Psychedelic Pill”

3. Dead Can Dance – “Anastasis”

4. Beach House – “Bloom”

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LIVE: Eric Andersen @ The Linda, 4/13/12

April 18th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg
Joyce Andersen, Eric Andersen and Inge Andersen

Joyce Andersen, Eric Andersen and Inge Andersen

Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Jason Spiro

Eric Andersen has released more than two dozen albums in the course of his 45 year-plus musical career, so it’s almost criminal that he’s not better known or that his show at The Linda in Albany last Friday night wasn’t sold-out.

This singer/songwriter has led a fascinating life. His love of the beat generation writers led him to hitch to Frisco where he was “discovered” by Tom Paxton who convinced him to move to NYC. He became a guiding light in the Village music scene and was signed by Vanguard Records. He starred in Andy Warhol’s “Space” with Edie Sedgwick in ’65; met the Beatles in London and was invited to some recording sessions; was supposedly about to be signed by Brian Epstein at the time of his sudden death. He was onboard 1970 the Canadian cross-country train-traveling Festival Express (the documentary was finally released in 2003) along with Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, the Band, Buddy Guy, Flying Burrito Brothers and others.

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LIVE: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 @ Club Helsinki, 4/7/12

April 12th, 2012, 1:30 pm by Greg

Review by Steve Nover

Ahhh, the joy of sax… and trumpet and a hot band on a chilly night in Hudson; Club Helsinki has atmosphere aplenty, but the anticipation of Fela’s son Seun Kuti had the cognoscenti bringing their own auras to help make this the place to be last Saturday night.

Fela has gotten more mainstream exposure recently thanks to the 2008 off-Broadway production that made it to Broadway a year later, winning three Tony Awards, including best choreography by Bill T. Jones, who also directed. Fela the man died in 1997 at 59, but his charisma was overwhelming. I saw him perform twice, but the first time in Amsterdam, Holland in ’83 was one of the top concerts of my life, along with Bob Marley and… but I digress. That concert featured a 20-piece band with five women dancing and five more singing, mostly made up of his 27 wives. But it was Fela on sax, keyboards and vocals that made the concert a transcendent memory.

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LIVE: “Sixties Spectacular” @ Proctors, 3/24/12

April 2nd, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector

Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

When I go to a concert I don’t often get too philosophical, but the recent “Sixties Spectacular” show at Proctors got me thinking about happiness and how expectations can interfere with enjoyment. The show featured four acts, and I was most excited about Ronnie Spector, whom I had never seen before and for whom I had great expectations, as Dickens would say.

Looking great and surprisingly sexy at 68, Ronnie still has a strong voice, but I was a little disappointed with her stage mannerisms that became redundant; lifting one side of her short jacket flirtatiously many times during a song throughout her set became annoying and distracting. It was still a thrill to hear the Ronnettes’ songs she performed – “Baby, I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain” and “Be My Baby” – though the sound mix could have been better. Ms Spector had the largest band of the night with four horns, two keyboards, two female back-up singers in addition to the basic guitar-bass-and-drums, but she mostly transcended the music the way one can’t take their eyes off a great actor in a play or movie.

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LIVE: Pink Floyd Experience @ the Palace Theatre, 2/16/12

February 23rd, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

Review by Steve Nover

I’ve been a long-time fan of Pink Floyd, but the truth is there are only a few albums by them I love. I saw them twice before Roger Waters left and once after in 1988, and have resisted seeing tributes of them until last October 29, when the Australian Pink Floyd Show rocked the Palace Theatre. That concert and light show was so fine and loving a tribute that I could not help but use it for comparison when the Pink Floyd Experience landed at the Palace on Thurday, February 16.

PFX’s complete first set was my personal favorite album “Wish You Were Here,” and it was unsurprisingly the highlight of the whole night. I don’t wear a watch, but the album/cd clocks in at just over 44 minutes, so I’ll go out on a limb and say that’s how long the opening was.

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LIVE: Stephane Wrembel’s Django a Go Go @ The Egg, 1/26/12

February 1st, 2012, 1:00 pm by Greg
Stephane Wremble

Stephane Wrembel

Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

As a fan of Django Reinhardt and fortunate enough to have twice seen Stephane Grappelli (who was lucky to live til 89 and able to perform almost til the end), I was full of expectations for Stephane Wrembel and band performing at The Egg in Albany last week. Billed as ‘Django A Go Go Festival,’ the show encompassed two sets; first was his five-piece, the second was his band with the addition of 5 guests – two violinists & three guitarists.

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Best of 2011: Steve Nover’s Top 10 CDs

December 20th, 2011, 11:00 am by Greg

Stereolab: Not Music

I feel that this year was a really good year for memorable songs but a weak one for albums. Many of the bands I listed had earlier CDs that I loved, but I didn’t feel as strongly about their follow-ups – especially Chalotte, Florence, St. V. and F.F. – although I do believe they’ll grow on me.

My No. 1 was actually released at the end of 2010, but after leaving Elektra Records and later beaking up, Stereolab have released stuff on smaller labels, and their last was extremely hard to find so I feel justified including it on this year’s list.

Though I try to hear a lot, it’s a losing proposition keeping up with so many releases, and I realize that in a few months my favorites might be quite different, but for now it’s an accurate snapshot:

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LIVE: Troy Victorian Stroll, 12/4/11

December 6th, 2011, 4:30 pm by Greg
Santa looooves the saxaphone (photo by Sebastien Barre)

A relatively warm December day was just the right addition to make the 29th annual Troy Victorian Stroll even more populated than usual. People came to show off their once-a-year vintage costumes or for the music, holiday shopping, art or people watching. And they got it. I was there for a few reasons myself, but mainly for the promise of watching some favorite local bands performing hours before their usual 10pm start time.

I stopped into the HSBC Bank to see Johnny Rabb & the Tichy Boys, and it was a beautiful thing to hear Professor John Tichy singing an old Commander Cody number from his pre-RPI days; his equally talented son Graham with his sweet licks and rockin’ fire; and Mr. Rabb, whose voice and energy belie the 30 years he’s been out there doing his thing. Added to the mix was one of the top drummers for 100 miles, Pete Vumbaco, whose local credits would take too much space to list, and Todd Bradley on bass from the fine Hi-Risers, having just played Friday night at the wonderful Rocky Velvet reunion at the comfortably filled Pauly’s Hotel.

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Holly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsMohawk Hudson Humane Society