Photographs and note by Andy Gregory
Overnight a new, modern art piece was installed at the plaza level of the Corning Tower at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. We hope Mr. Page can attend the opening reception… if there will be one.
A tip o’ the hat to Andy Gregory…
In Nippertown, life is a highway, as that’s about the only way to get to the many festivals, concerts and other events. To get where we’re going, we become players of wheeled instruments of mobility, controlling tempo, cadence and key by a foot on the “whoa, WHOA” pedal or by a twist of the wrist, as we follow the ribbons of road like a lead sheet.
On a weather-perfect Sunday, all roads led to the Village of Scotia, where prized two- and four-wheeled instruments were put on display along Mohawk Avenue by their players in a symphony of color and sound, part of the village’s 13th annual Cruisin’ On the Avenue Father’s Day Car Show.
A tip o’ the hat to Andy Gregory…
The marquee indicated “Neko Case: SOLD OUT,” but inside the famed theatre it was obvious that one of the best singer-songwriters of our era had stayed true to her ideals, playing a rescheduled (because of a blizzard) concert of 21 songs, including a trio of new songs which foreshadowed that her next album promises to be something extraordinary.
On a summer-like night, taking the stage after some fine tunes on the house system by Solomon Burke and Dolly Parton, Neko Case and her talented band ripped into “Things that Scare Me” from 2002′s classic “Blacklisted,” Jon Rauhouse’s manic banjo in particular driving the tale of “blackbirds frying on a wire” and a young girl’s recollection of being “haunted by American dreams.” The animal motif informed the next songs, too. Playing a four-string tenor acoustic, Case and company waltzed into 2006′s “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”‘s uplifting “Maybe Sparrow,” and marched into the teeming-with-life meditation of “Fever” and dark-humored “People Gotta Lotta Nerve” from 2009′s “Middle Cyclone” with gusto. The standing room only crowd roared with approval.
Photograph by Andy Gregory
Congrats go out to 20-year-old singer-songwriter Olivia Quillio, who took first place and walked off with $4,000 in prizes at Friday night’s Garage to Glory competition in front of a sold-out crowd at the College of Saint Rose.
Andy Gregory explains his photograph: “This shot was taken of Garage to Glory II winner Olivia Quillio of Troy,
during her encore performance after being announced as the winner. Yeah, there’s no shoes in this shot. Well, you can see a bit of one, off to the right. They appeared to be Minnetonka-style fringed suede boots in a milk chocolate brown, with some bead decoration. But I’m no shoe expert.”
Last Thursday night at Northern Lights in Clifton Park, Peter Murphy did not perform to a vast sea of black-clad, morbid individuals nodding their heads of dyed-black hair, pasty faces with black-lined eyes riveted upon the charismatic vocalist widely honored as the “Godfather of Goth”. True, there were a few in what could be characterized as “gothic fashion.” With thirty years having passed since he fronted pioneering goth-rock band Bauhaus, Murphy drew not a legion of followers but an enthusiastic, modest-sized crowd of fans familiar with his band and solo work.
Entering the hazy, low-lit stage dressed all in black, Murphy warmed his unique baritone to the moody drone of Bauhaus’ “Zikir”, which segued into the Middle Eastern-tinged rocker “Low Room” from his “Holy Smoke” solo album. Three new songs followed – the Iggy Pop-styled “Velocity Bird,” heavy riff rocker “Peace to Each”
and the snappy pop-rock of “Memory Go” – all slated to appear on Murphy’s upcoming album “Ninth.”
The weekend following New Year’s is when we traditionally take down the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations save for a few non-holiday space brighteners. While doing these chores, there’s time to reflect on the past year’s good and bad, happy and sad, and the few “wtf” moments that invariably popped up. But with the new year beginning on a Saturday, there wasn’t much time to do all that stuff before the first full work week of 2011 began, let alone try to quantify in a numbered list of what was good and bad, happy and sad, and the few “wtf” moments.
After much wailing and weeping, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and airing of grievances and so forth, I came to a conclusion: Top 10 lists are so 2009.
But I do have a favorite favorite. Travelling outside of Nippertown proper, a multi-day stay in North Adams to attend the inaugural Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA curated by Wilco was by far my favorite thing of 2010. The experience hit all the senses, and in the time since that long August weekend, the spirit of the festival remains. In coming years, there will be a half million people that will say they were there for the first one.
Here’s a compendium of my other favorites from 2010. Your experiences and thoughts may vary. I hope they do.