LIVE: The Portland Cello Project @ the Madison Theater, 10/31/15

November 23rd, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review by Greg Haymes

If someone officially designated October as Alt-Cello Awareness Month, I didn’t get the memo. But I definitely got the music…

The month started off with goth folk-rock cellist Melora Creager leading her band Rasputina in Troy at the Queen’s Ball, the after-party for the Enchated City steam-punk festival. Two weeks later at Club Helsinki in Hudson, Rasputina held a CD release party for their new album, “Unknown.” The following week, cellist-singer-songwriter Ben Sollee teamed up with the cello-led indie Orchestra Mother Falcon for a dazzling collaborative concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

And on Halloween night, the month of October wrapped up with the biggest cello-bration of them all – the Portland Cello Project in a dizzying concert at Albany’s Madison Theater.

The Oregon-based collective – which can swell to as many as 20 members at their hometown gigs – featured a core touring group of five – count ’em, 5 – cellists at the Madison, which converted one of its movie theaters into a live performance venue a year ago. And if you have an aversion to genre-jumping, well, this wasn’t the place for you.

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LIVE: Nelson Esposito Quintana @ Madison Theater, 5/08/15

May 21st, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Todd Nelson and Manuel Quintana

Todd Nelson and Manuel Quintana

Review and photographs by J Hunter

Before playing “Household Words,” the wistful closing track on Nelson Esposito Quintana’s new disc None of the Above, guitarist Todd Nelson told the audience that bassist Kyle Esposito engineered the recording and drummer Manuel Quintana created the cover design. “I just play guitar,” Nelson added, trying to sound sheepish. If only it were that simple…

The musical creature that Nelson and his cohorts have created has Nelson’s no-nonsense, glass-eating guitar sound right at its base. It was that lack of frills that caught my ear in 2010 when Nelson released Here, a re-invention that would make Spinal Tap jealous: The jazz-meets-rock-and-elopes attack Nelson served up was as far from the Units and Fear Of Strangers as you could get without a working warp drive, despite the reboots of FOS material that sat amongst Nelson’s new compositions. The trio (gigging as TN3) shaped this literally vibrant sound over the last few years until it became a true collaboration, and this necessitated that None bear the name of all participants in the hive mind. Both the disc and the mind – henceforth referred to as NEQ – got a rollout at Albany’s Madison Theater, and the results were most scintillating.

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