Nellie McKay Does Billy Tipton @ Club Helsinki [Berkshire on Stage]

January 20th, 2017, 11:00 am by Sara
Nellie McKay as “A Girl Named Bill.” (photo by Bob Boilen)

Nellie McKay as “A Girl Named Bill” (photo by Bob Boilen)

Cabaret-rock singer-songwriter Nellie McKay brings her uniquely eccentric blend of pop, rock, jazz and hip-hop to Club Helsinki in Hudson at 8pm on Sunday (January 22). This time out, McKay will be featuring songs from her musical biography, “A Girl Named Bill: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton,” a mid-20th century jazz musician and bandleader who lived his adult life as a man, although he was assigned female at birth. “A Girl Named Bill” was named one of the Best Concerts of 2014 by The New York Times.

The multi-talented Nellie McKay made her smash debut a decade ago with her groundbreaking double-CD, Get Away from Me, showcasing her eclectic musical reach and her dazzling lyrical wit (which extended to the album’s title, a subtle play on the breakthrough album by a somewhat similarly inclined pop-folk jazz singer named Norah Jones).

McKay has released six full-length albums, including Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day and My Weekly Reader, featuring music of the 1960s, produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ALSO READ:
LIVE: Nellie McKay @ the Van Dyck, 4/4/15 (Second Show)
LIVE: Nellie McKay @ the Van Dyck, 4/4/15 (First Show)
LIVE: Madeleine Peyroux/Nellie McKay @ The Egg, 10/2/11

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Queer Music Before World War II: Sarah Kilborne @ Club Helsinki [Berkshire on Stage]

January 22nd, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara

At 8pm tonight (Friday, January 22), modern cabaret performer and Hudson Valley resident Sarah Kilborne will perform The Lavender Blues: A Showcase of Queer Music Before World War II at Club Helsinki in Hudson. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Hudson Pride Foundation Scholarship Fund.

Kilborne’s Lavender Blues has been praised as “a fantastic way to tell history” and “the best kept secret that needs to be public.” The Lavender Blues is a showcase of pre-war queer music. It is music history. It is queer history. It is women’s history. It is entertainment. It is life.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Linda Lavin Returns to Club Helsinki on Sunday [Berkshire on Stage]

August 7th, 2015, 10:00 am by Sara
Linda Lavin with her musicians.

Linda Lavin with her musicians

Her last appearance in our area was SRO, and now Club Helsinki in Hudson is welcoming back for a third time two-time Tony Award and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin backed up by her five-piece band and musical director/pianist, the famed Billy Stritch.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

James Lecesne Brings “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” to Club Helsinki on Sunday [Berkshire on Stage]

April 10th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Sara

James Lecesne’s “Leonard Pelkey” is a masterpiece of storytelling

James Lecesne’s “Leonard Pelkey” is a masterpiece of storytelling


By Larry Murray

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is a one man show written and performed by James Lecesne. It has received rave reviews in New York City, so I was delighted to learn that it has been booked into Club Helsinki in Hudson for one night only on Sunday (April 12) at 8pm. Tickets are $40 reserved; $25 for limited bar seating. To secure tickets call 518.828.4800.

A show about the brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy should not, logically speaking, leave you beaming with joy. And yet that’s the paradoxical effect of “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” a superlative solo show at Dixon Place written and performed by James Lecesne, himself a pretty darn dazzling beacon of theatrical talent. When he disappeared, Leonard was wearing a pair of rainbow-colored platform sneakers that he’d made himself by gluing half a dozen flip-flops to the bottom of Converse high-tops.” – Charles Isherwood, New York Times

It was some 40 years ago that a multi-talented Emerson College student James Lecesne and I worked together, he filling the role as stage manager for Boston’s Pocket Mime Theatre at the Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street. We would spend a lot of time talking about life in general and theatre in particular. Who knew then that he would one day create and star in this wonderful and challenging play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, which ran last month at Dixon Place in Manhattan’s lower east side. I was the fundraiser and publicist for the little mime company with a candy box stage and no dressing rooms, an early force (along with the Boston Repertory Theatre and Cambridge Ensemble) that helped start the explosive growth of theater in Boston in recent decades. Back then, mime was no easy sell, and things have not changed much in the interim. Mime still gets very little respect and is a sure-fire laugh on tv shows like “Saturday Night Live.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Club Helsinki, 1/16/15

February 10th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Review and photographs by Fred Rudofsky
Additional photographs by Timothy Reidy

A chilly mid-January night in Hudson did not have a ghost of a chance of preventing a full house from throwing it down with Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds at Club Helsinki.

It was a Friday night of perpetual wow moments – grooves and solos so sneaky they could untie your shoe laces; and vocals so sultry that heatstroke was imminent. As for the songs, they ranged from deep soul and funk to holla-to-your-mama blues and hip-hop with a dash of reggae and New Orleans second line strut thrown in for good measure.

Based out of Brooklyn, the seven-piece band led by singer extraordinaire Arleigh “Sister Sparrow” Kincheloe hit it and didn’t quit for over two hours. Opening with “Crawdaddies” was a masterstroke, setting a tone that the party would not wait. Phil Rodriguez (trumpet) and Brian Graham (baritone sax) opened the tune, Jackson Kincheloe cranked up the blues harp, and Sister Sparrow was in full got-ya mode, dancing and singing with gusto. The place went nuts. Shifting gears to a slow, bluesy cadence, the band dug into “Don’t Be Jealous (Just Me and the Fellas)”, and the soul testifying had the crowd singing along. Three new songs from the forthcoming album – “Sugar,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “We Need a Love” – brought a dash of disco, some slide guitar-meets-harmonica blues, and Ann Peebles-styled soul testifying respectively.

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LIVE: Lee Fields & the Expressions @ Club Helsinki, 12/31/14

January 21st, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

LeeFields-2

Photographs by FlyerSquad

It’s sooooooouuul time!

Old-school soul, baby. Lee Fields recorded his first single back in 1969, and he’s still got the stuff. Tearing it up with his band, the Expressions, Fields rang in the new year with a howling, sweat-soaked performance at Club Helsinki in Hudson.

If you missed him, well, never fear. The folks at Helsinki promise that they’ll be bringing him back soon…

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LIVE: The Bruce Katz Band @ Club Helsinki, 12/27/14

January 16th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
The Bruce Katz Band

The Bruce Katz Band

Review and photographs by Wanda Callagy

During the past year, I had seen keyboardist Bruce Katz and guitarist Chris Vitarello at one of Club Helsinki’s regular Pro Jams, and after reading that they had been nominated for a prestigious Blues Music Award, I decided to attend their CD release party for their new album, Homecoming. I wanted to see and hear why they will be attending the awards show at Memphis’ Cook Convention Center and why they are part of this 36th annual event which hands out the highest accolades afforded to blues musicians.

Aside from the great attributes of Club Helsinki itself – which promotes a great atmosphere with a varied menu to enjoy the best of lighting and sound – I was very happy I ventured there.

These thoughts come from a music lover who, in all honesty, has always thought of keyboard players (piano and/or organ) as “filler” – part of the backing band for a talented guitarist. I admit it.

Recently, a few musicians have changed my mind, including the Bruce Katz Band. In fact, their music amazed me that December night, and I did not want their second set to end.

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Home Bass 2: Tommy Stinson Headlines Habitat for Humanity Benefit Concert

December 15th, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg
Tommy Stinson

Tommy Stinson @ Club Helsinki, 4/10/12

Photograph by Kirsten Ferguson

Tommy Stinson – founding member of legendary rock band the Replacements and a touring member of stadium-rockers Guns n’ Roses – will headline Home Bass 2: A Little Help for Our Friends, a benefit concert for Columbia County Habitat for Humanity at Club Helsinki in Hudson at 8pm on Saturday, January 3.

Stinson has tapped Happiness (featuring three of the five members of indie-rock group Deer Tick) to back him up for a set that will draw from his solo work, as well the repertoire of his former bands Bash & Pop and Perfect, and other projects.

Stinson is also curating the evening’s entertainment, which will feature performances by Rhett Miller, Elvis Perkins, Jesse Malin, Dust Bowl Faeries, Ruby Stinson and other surprise guests.

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