Posts Tagged ‘Andrzej Pilarczyk’

LIVE: Primus @ The Palace Theatre, 10/24/14

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Primus

Review by B. Patrik
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Primus playing the entire soundtrack to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sounds like a match made in heaven.

And for the most part, it was at Albany’s Palace Theatre last Friday (October 24). Before a sold-out crowd of excitable diehards, the band’s original line-up tore through every song from the 1971 Roald Dahl adaptation, which doubles as their reunion album released Tuesday, “Primus and the Chocolate Factory With the Fungi Ensemble.”

What makes the pairing work is the film’s and band’s shared penchant for weird. “Willy Wonka,” which stars Gene Wilder in the title role, is a tonally faithful (though not scene-for-scene) translation of Dahl’s whimsical-yet-dark children’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in which five children visit a magical chocolate factory and each but poverty-stricken main character Charlie Bucket befalls a grave “accident” related to his or her vice. It’s a colorful, near-psychedelic film, especially the second half when the action in the factory starts, but when the basic plot is laid out, it almost sounds like a horror movie. Moments in the film are downright terrifying to a seven-year-old (the tunnel scene, in particular, comes to mind).

Primus, formed by bassist and lead howler Les Claypool in 1984 and solidifying around guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander in 1989, spent the ’90s mixing rubbery yet sinister funk and hard rock riffs, monster bass lines and Claypool’s oft-hilarious, faux-Southern accented rants. It’s a sound that is truly all the band’s own, and one that lends itself well to the creepier and more psychedelic moments of the Wonka story, especially Wilder’s big solo from the film “Pure Imagination,” and the aforementioned “Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride.” Live, assisted by Wonka costumes, video screens, a mushroom-festooned set and the Fungi Ensemble – percussionist Mike Dillon and cellist Sam Bass – the band upped the trippy quotient of Dahl’s story, creating a musical and visual carnival onstage.

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LIVE: Robin Trower @ The Egg, 10/21/14

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Robin Trower

Robin Trower

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Robin Trower isn’t the “British Jimi Hendrix.” He’s his own man. He derived his distinctive guitar sound on his own. Yes, there were early influences; but who alone without influence has created something, anything, on their very own? Very few, if any.

In the jazz world the credit always goes to Charlie Parker for creating the “modern jazz sound.” However, not many know that Sonny Stitt was mining the same avenues of jazz progressions, chords and music as “Bird” did before the sound became mainstream. When the public caught on – slowly at first – to the be-bop message of Parker and his cohorts, Stitt was left holding the bag and pointing to several recordings of his that had evolved that sound during the same time, if not earlier, then Charlie Parker did. Stitt is now practically forgotten, but Parker’s inventive legacy lives on.

The same goes for Robin Trower…

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LIVE: TriBeCaStan @ The Linda, 10/11/14

Monday, October 20th, 2014

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Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

If you want to set off one of my more epic rants, come at me with that old saw about “Smallbany” (“Oh, there’s NOTHING happening here…”), and then step back a few feet so you can watch me turn into the Tasmanian Devil without getting caught in the shock wave. It doesn’t take a lot of looking around to see the wealth of cultural goodness that’s coming to this area on a regular basis; I just wish more people had looked long enough to see TriBeCaStan was playing The Linda, because this eye-crossing music needs to be experienced.

“It’s great to be in Albania!” TriBeCaStan leader/multi-instrumentalist John Kruth enthused in a Borat-quality accent. Then he added drily, “We thought there might be more people in Albania…” The crowd may have been small, but their fervor for what this mammoth group dished out started big and grew exponentially. And I do mean mammoth, both in size and sound: A septet can put a pretty decent strain on The Linda’s limited stage space, and there were so many instruments and amplifiers stuffed onto that space, emcee Michael Eck had to play his opening solo-acoustic set on the floor in front of the stage. Mind you, most of those instruments were only played by two people – Kruth and his partner-in-madness Jeff Greene – but trust me, they all played a part in what I believe is a completely new genre: BIZARRO World Music!

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LIVE: Brett Dennen @ The Egg, 10/18/14

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Brett Dennon

Brett Dennon

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Pop singer-songwriter Brett Dennen went back to basics for his latest album, Smoke and Mirrors, so it was no surprise that the supporting tour, which made a stop at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre last weekend, was in the same vein – a solo acoustic concert. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, the red-head from northern California sported musical influences ranging from Paul Simon to Tom Petty to Neil Young, and the fans in the theater were enthusiastic, to say the least.

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LIVE: The John Pizzarelli Quartet @ the Massry Center, 9/27/14

Friday, October 17th, 2014

John Pizzarelli Quartet

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jazz-pop singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli knows how to charm an audience, and he did just that last month when he brought his quartet to the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center for the Arts for a concert, as well as a student workshop.

Back by his brother Martin Pizzarelli on stand-up bass along with drummer Kevin Kanner and pianist Konrad Paszkudzki, the fab seven-string guitarist romped through a big batch of American Songbook classics from “How High the Moon” to “Skylark,” from “Satin Doll” to “Route 66.”

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LIVE: Hugh Masekela & Vusi Mahlasela @ The Egg, 10/7/14

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Hugh Masekela blowing the flugelhorn while Vusi Mahla  strums the guitar

Hugh Masekela blowing the flugelhorn while Vusi Mahlasela strums the guitar

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Veteran jazz trumpeter-vocalist Hugh Masekela teamed up with guitarist-vocalist Vusi “The Voice” Mahlasela at The Egg recently for a celebratory concert to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Of course, Masekela played his classic 1968 jazz/R&B hit, “Grazin’ in the Grass,” but if that was your only point of reference you were in for a sublime treat. Mahlaseha utilized his magnificent, versatile voice on solo numbers, as well as in tandem with Masekela and a top-notch band fueled by bassist Bakithi Kumalo, who played on Paul Simon’s landmark album, Graceland.

Many of the songs weren’t sung in English, but no translation was required, as the music rang out loud and clear about freedom, determination and forgiveness.

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LIVE: Marc Broussard @ The Egg, 10/4/14

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Mingo Fishtrap jamming on percussion

Mingo Fishtrap jamming on percussion

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Marc Broussard may have been the headliner, but this was really a super triple-bill at The Egg. Solo opener Andy Suzuki had the audience eating out of his hand with several audience participation numbers from his singer-songwriter grab-bag of tunes. He would have made a splash at a venue like Caffe Lena, but here he was serenading sever hundred people with his strong mix of covers and originals.

Up next Mingo Fishtrap literally floored the audience with their second-line entrance upon the stage and powerhouse delivery thereafter. By the second song they had the audience dancing in their seats and aisles, and they kept them there throughout their all-to-brief 45-minute set. Talk about New Orleans funk, classic rock, Motown soul and whatever else – Mingo Fishtrap had it down in spades and then some.

The question by the second intermission was whether Marc Broussard could follow the explosive aggregation. Well, he could, and he did!

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LIVE: Kip Moore @ the Palace Theatre, 9/26/14

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Kip Moore

Kip Moore

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

With country hitmaker Kip Moore at the top of the bill, the CMT Up in Smoke Tour kicked off with a sold-out concert at NYC’s Best Buy Theatre, and the next day they headed up the Thruway to take over Albany’s Palace Theatre for a night of downtown country music.

It’s Moore’s first major headlining tour, but he played it like a veteran, full of confidence, swagger and enough tunes to fill more than an hour and a half in the spotlight. And the nearly sold-out crowd was with him all the way, as he romped through most of the selections from his debut album, Up All Night, and tossed in a few other gems along the way, including “Heart’s Desire” from his brand new EP Soundcheck and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”

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