Posts Tagged ‘Club Helsinki’

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

Friday, April 10th, 2015

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.

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

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
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

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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

Monday, December 15th, 2014
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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Ho-Ho-Ho… It’s Holidelic @ Helsinki

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Holidelic (photo: Mikiodo)

Holidelic (photo: Mikiodo)

Once again, the annual holiday-funk spectacular Holidelic – the brainchild of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, actor and dancer Everett Bradley (aka Papadelic; aka the Miracle on 134th Street; aka the Ghetto-Fabulous Father of Fa La La Funk) – will usher in the holiday season at Club Helsinki in Hudson at 9pm on Friday and Saturday (November 28 & 29). Part dance party, part funk concert, part comedy show, the Xmas-rated, Yuletide-themed extravaganza features original holiday songs as well as loose, funk-infused adaptations of Tchaikovsky, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Little Drummer Boy” and the like. Tickets are $20 & $25 in advance; $25 & $30 at the door.

With this year’s new edition of the show, “Holidelic: Sugar Daddy,” Bradley and his sprawling, 12-piece outfit put a fresh spin on holiday cheer, through lively holiday party tunes, outrageous costumes and a theatrical stage show worthy of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. It won’t be a “Silent Night” when Holidelic reinvigorates the season, prompting concert-goers to shake their holiday booties to Sly Stone-style funk ‘n’ roll. Ho-ho-ho…

So who is Everett Bradley? Well, he was the first American to perform with and direct the British percussion stage sensation “Stomp.” He was the co-writer, co-arranger, Theatre World Award-winner and star of the hit musical, “Swing,” which won a Tony Award and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Broadway Cast Recording. He was recently a cast member of the hit Broadway show “After Midnight.” He has toured and recorded with such A-list artists as Bobby McFerrin, Jon Bon Jovi and David Bowie. He’s the musical director and bandleader for “The Meredith Vieira Show,” the NBC-TV daytime talk show.

And – oh yeah – you may have seen him earlier this year playing a sold-out concert at the Times Union Center – as percussionist-vocalist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Brent Barrett to Delight Broadway Fans @ Club Helsinki on Sunday [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, November 7th, 2014
Brent Barrett, Helsinki on Broadway

Brent Barrett, Helsinki on Broadway

Brent Barrett will be back at Club Helsinki in Hudson for one night only on Sunday (November 9) at 7pm, as part of the continuing Helsinki on Broadway series.

Club Helsinki’s American Songbook series – produced in association with Showstoppers, New York – will once again present one of Broadway’s most handsome and talented leading men, Brent Barrett, making his second appearance, after a sold-out performance two years ago on the same stage.

For this special appearance, Brent will be singing exclusively the songs from the iconic songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. His show Life Is celebrates the music and lyrics from the gentlemen who brought you “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” “The Kiss of The Spider Woman,” “Woman of the Year,” “Fosse,” “Zorba” and so many more Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals. Not to mention the song that defines the arguably greatest city in the world, “New York, New York” – made immensely famous by both Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: Buffalo Stack @ Club Helsinki, 9/19/14

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Buffalo Stack

Review and photographs by Eric Gleason

One of the things I love is finding new music in my own backyard, so when I read that a group that draws comparisons to both Jack White and the Band was performing at Club Helsinki in Hudson — and that Connor Kennedy was in the band — I knew what I was doing on Friday night. Kennedy seems to be the guitarist with the golden touch and has managed to be at the very center of all the good roots-rock music coming from the Hudson Valley.

The band was Buffalo Stack, and they were celebrating the release of their eponymous debut CD. And before the band got through the chorus of their first song, “Maryanne,” I was hooked. The laid-back chord progression was supported perfectly by Jeremy Baum’s classic B-3 sounds and Brandon Morrison’s huge bass, leaving plenty of room to showcase bandleader Andy Stack’s capable vocals. Adding just enough of his guitar to keep the song going and enough of Kennedy’s piano to make the song sparkle a little extra would provide the formula for the rest of the night.

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