LIVE: Ed Sheeran @ the Times Union Center, 5/13/15

May 15th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was the fastest sell-out in the 25-year history of Albany’s downtown arena. And when British popster Ed Sheeran stepped out on the stage of the Times Union Center on Wednesday evening (May 13), the roar of the predominately young female fans who snapped up the tickets told the whole story.

Opening with “I’m a Mess,” the ginger-haired 24-year-old singer-songwriter performed with confidence and a casual, audience-friendly attitude as he melded his pop style with a decided hip-hop edge. And he did it all by himself – no band, no pre-recorded backing tracks and other than a wall of video screens, no stage set of any kind. It was just a guy, his guitar and his looping station.

And as it turned out, that was all that he needed. It takes a special kind of solo performer to captivate a sold-out crowd in a hockey rink, but Sheeran did just that, playing his hits (including his brand new single, “Photograph”) as well as album tracks, along the way dropping in bits ‘n’ pieces of cover tunes that ranged from Bill Withers to Iggy Azalea, from Stevie Wonder to 50 Cent.

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LIVE: The MASS MoCA Music Festival, 8/15/09

August 17th, 2009, 10:48 am by Greg

Elvis Perkins in Dearland (photo by Martin Benjamin)

Elvis Perkins in Dearland (photo by Martin Benjamin)

The fact that MASS MoCA decided to host its first pop music festival on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock was sheer coincidence. Things at the North Adams museum were downright civilized. No mud; plenty of sunshine and good food available – beverages, too, including a selection of decent beers – for just $5.

And the music?

You can go here to read my review in the Times Union.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland made the most of playing a museum. For their final selection of the afternoon, keyboardist Wyndham Boylan-Garnett left his station of vintage pump organ and harmonium, grabbed his trombone and hopped off the stage into the crowd. The crowd began running around in a circle, flapping their arms up and down like wings. With a marching band bass drum strapped over his shoulders, drummer Nick Kinsey announced, “This is contemporary art, people. Just so ya know.”

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