LIVE: Great Guitars @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 4/19/14

May 7th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Great Guitars

The Great Guitars

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Let’s face it, this spring has been a busy, busy season for guitar fans around Nippertown. Guitar greats have been everywhere – from Pat Metheny at Proctors to the all-star Hendrix tribute concert at the Palace Theatre, from Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Egg to the Julian Lage/Chris Eldridge duo at Saratoga Arts.

The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall got in on the six-string action last month, too, hosting the current incarnation of the Great Guitars tour, led by Martin Taylor – yes, that’s pretty much the quintessential name for a guitarist, eh?

In addition to Taylor, the concert featured Frank Vignola, Vinnie Raniolo and Peppino D’Agustino, all armed with acoustic guitars and sporting some mighty serious six-string mastery throughout the evening. Not only did they perform as a sparkling guitar quartet, but they also broke it down into various trio, duo and solo performances during the show. And there was plenty of humor laced throughout the night, too, especially when Vignola and Raniolo teamed up as a twosome.

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LIVE: New Year’s Eve Comedy Show @ the Pearl Street Pub, 12/31/13

January 10th, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Frank Vignola

Frank Vignola

Review and photographs by Jason Spiro

Everyone, well, most everyone has something that they’d consider the breath of life: a hobby, avocation or leisure activity that provides literal or virtual sustenance. Foodies have their new restaurants. Aesthetes have jazz, classical and dance. But I need the comedy. I crave it. Until recently I’d absented myself from any live stand-up comedy experiences. I’m finding, lately, that I’m getting pulled back in, that I’ve got the bug.

It’s a little surprising and very heartening to know that there’s a dedicated group of comics who book local shows in smaller rooms, who bring talent from Western Mass, the mid-Hudson Valley and, more to the point, New York City or even Boston. When a New York comic of note is coming to town, I certainly make note. When two or more NYC comedians and a bevy regional talent is advertised, I have to make a point to attend. If it’s downtown and I don’t have to worry about drink minimums, that’s a huge bonus.

It was a kind of DIY comedy show, but in an environment styled after “big room” comedy. The dinner crowd looked well fed, sated and ready for more when the show began. Emcee and Schenectady resident Russell Davignon delivered his jokes, introduced the acts and provided a firm hand (yes, apparently even pros need “the light” to know their set is over) to keep the show tightly paced.

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