The evening got off to a somewhat rocky start with “Let’s Get Started,” a brand new original tune sung by Machan Taylor that the band had never played before. While the song was solid, the playing was too tentative.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the band to kick into gear. Of course, that’s no surprise when the musicians are of the caliber of organist Pete Levin, bassist Graham Maby and drummer Gary Burke.
Popmeister Marshall Crenshaw rolled into the Van Dyck in Schenectady last Saturday as a singing troubadour accompanying himself on electric and acoustic guitar, and not as the front-man of a electrified band rattling the chandeliers.
From his first musical break years ago playing John Lennon in the stage production of “Beatlemania” to his film role as Buddy Holly in the Ritchie Valens’ bio-pic “La Bamba” to his first national hit “Someday, Someway,” songwriter and performer Crenshaw has been an original voice that is always changing and evolving within the world of rock ‘n’ roll.
With considerable lyrical warmth and a sense of intimacy (often the domain of coffeehouse folk-music types), Crenshaw delivered emotional and honest songs about himself, life and the human condition – with a few humorous twists and turns thrown in along the way. Much of the material that made up his two solo shows at the Van Dyck was drawn from his newest 429 Records release, “Jaggedland,” a personal term regarding Crenshaw’s occasional state of mind.
“I can’t remember the first album that I bought with my own money, but I remember buying some singles in the ’60s. I remember going to the store to buy a little bunch of 45s, and one of them was ‘The Great Airplane Strike’ by Paul Revere & the Raiders. ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys was another one of them, but I don’t remember the rest.
I also remember hearing a song on the radio called ‘Tin Soldier’ by the Small Faces. And as soon as that song was over, I got up and walked out the door and went and bought that record.
Those were some of the first records that I ever bought. Now I have about 5,000 records, but I don’t have any of those first ones that I bought, which is odd. Don’t know what happened to them.
One album that I bought when I was in high school that I still play all the time is ‘Bo Diddley’s 16 All-Time Greatest Hits.’ I kinda like that record more and more as time goes on.”
In support of his new album, “Jaggedland” on the 429 Records label, Marshall Crenshaw will be at the Van Dyck in Schenectady for two solo shows (7 & 9:30pm) on Saturday (November 7).
UP AGAINST THE WALL…: Under the direction of choreographer Amelia Rudolph, the members of the anti-gravity dance company Bandaloop turn the exterior walls of MASS MoCA into their daring vertical stage for performances at 3 & 5pm today through Sunday, August 23.
Bryan Heggie: Googly Eyes # 2
Don’t forget, if you’re in North Adams, about the DownStreetArt Initiative — take a quick (or extended) spin through downtown North Adams and see some world class art. We’ll have a more in-depth look next week, but this is the last week to see Bryan Heggie as the featured artist at Avalon Seafood Gallery.
Casperland is looking for 8-bit/chiptune musicians to perform at their gallery space at Troy Night Out next Friday, although they may have found someone by now. You can contact them through their website.
KIDZAPALOOZA: If the kids are driving you crazy as the summer begins to wind down, there’s a wealth of great children’s entertainment to keep them occupied on Sunday, August 23. Uncle Rock and the Playthings team up with Paul Green’s School of Rock All-Stars for Kidstock, a free show at 1pm Sunday at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount. It’s a benefit for Snuffy’s Food Pantry Program, so bring along a pet food donation, please.)
At 3pm, children’s music faves Terri Roben and Andy “The Music Man” Morse team up with some surprise special guests to perform the music of kids’ music fave Paul Strausman at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. Strausman died suddenly in December, and the kids’ show is a benefit for his own children.
And then you can wrap up your Hudson Valley-trotting day at 7pm Sunday with a stop at the Central Park Music Haven in Schenectady, where the summer concert series wraps up with a free performance by Ruth “Miss Music Mobile” Pelham, and her pals, Ramblin Jug Stompers.
An entry from last year's contest (photo by Nancy S. Donskoj)
IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE: Sometime about 1pm on Sunday, August 23, the wheels will get rollin’ for the 15th annual Artists Soapbox Derby, “speeding” down Broadway in Kingston towards Rondout Creek. Last year, there were 42 “cars” entered in the derby, and they were cheered on by more than 8,000 art-car enthusiasts. This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. But not necessarily faster, because, you see, it’s not really a race – entries are not judged on speed, but rather on creativity and engineering. But there’s more than $2,000 in cash prizes, so roll on…
ON THE FRINGE: This is definitely the odd-ball billing of the week. The Woodstock Fringe Festival is presenting the second of three “Evenings of Music, Humor and Wisdom” at the Byrdcliffe Theatre in Woodstock on Sunday. Joe Raiola, a favorite with Fringe audiences for his critically acclaimed one-main show “Almost Obscene,” will serve as host of an entertaining and provocative evening that features pop-rocker Marshall Crenshaw (who recently released another new nugget-filled album, “Jaggedland” on the 429 Records label), comedian Denny Dillon (a “Saturday Night Live” alum) and Stephan Rechtschaffer (co-founder of the Omega Institute). No word yet on whether they plan to end the evening with a jam on “Louie, Louie”…