Posts Tagged ‘Martin Benjamin’

LIVE: Bob Dylan & His Band @ Tanglewood, 7/2/16

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Dylan-Tanglewood-7_2_2016-nipper

Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

What a gorgeous evening it was at Tanglewood. Perfect breeze, perfect temp, perfect humidity and crystal clear out. The crowd was mostly boomer with some 30-40 somethings sprinkled in. Mavis Staples opened with a spirited set backed by her integrated band of three white guys and two black back-up singers. The musicians were a tight unit, playing softly when called upon and incredibly rocking when justified. Guitarist Rick Holmstrom was a standout, full of the energy of youth backing the energetic 76-year-old singer.

Mavis hit her stride beautifully on the third song, Talking Heads’ “Spirited People.” At the end of this song Mavis chatted about Bob. “We’re happy to be here with our good friend Bob Dylan. That Bob, he’s something, you know. I love listening to him, but I really love watching him. He’s got this move [to his step], he’s so cool.”

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LIVE: Blotto @ the Low Beat, 8/5/15

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
(photo by Martin Benjamin)

(photo by Martin Benjamin)

Photographs by Martin Benjamin, Timothy Reidy

Blotto – those merry pranksters of ’80s pop culture – slipped into the Low Beat in Albany last week, whipping through a run-through of such vintage gems as “My Baby’s the Star of a Driver’s Ed Movie,” “Goodbye, Mr. Bond” and even “Metal Head” in preparation for their big Alive at Five concert with Blue Oyster Cult the following evening.

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Saratoga Shots

Friday, August 7th, 2015
The field leaves the starting gate for the first race of the 2015 season, 7/24/2015

The field leaves the starting gate for the first race of the 2015 season, 7/24/2015

Photographs by Martin Benjamin

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RIP: Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Robin Williams, RPI Fieldhouse, Troy, NY, 1986. Photograph by Martin Benjamin

By Greg Haymes
Photograph by Martin Benjamin

Comedic genius and Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams died on Monday (August 11).

I only saw Williams live in action once. It was late at night back on April 22, 1986 at On The Shelf in Albany. He had just wrapped up his big headlining gig at the RPI Field House, where his opening act was the eclectic vocalist Bobby McFerrin.

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LIVE: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band @ the Times Union Center, 5/13/14

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
(photo by Martin Benjamin)

(photo by Martin Benjamin)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Martin Benjamin

Additional photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

“Are you ready to be transformed, Albany?,” Bruce Springsteen shouted in full preacher mode. He had just led his sprawling, 16-piece E Street Band through a rousing rendition of the party-in-the-face-of-despair anthem “Mary’s Place,” an hour into his nearly three-hour concert at the Times Union Center on Tuesday night.

It wasn’t a rhetorical question…

Of course, by then most of the fans at the sold-out concert had already experienced a transformative moment or two. Maybe it was when he simply shouted, “Guitar!,” in the middle of the opening INXS cover “Don’t Change,” and Nils Lofgren and Tom Morello both stepped forward to join Springsteen as a choreographed, front-line guitar army. Maybe it was at the end of “No Surrender” when Springsteen turned his back on the audience and raised his guitar up high over his head, shaking a ferocious blast of feedback from it. Maybe it was “Badlands,” the first full-blown, Church of Rock & Roll sing-along of the night. Of course, it wasn’t the last…

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LIVE: The Hold Steady @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, 4/11/14

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Steve Selvidge, Craig Finn and Galen Polivka

The Hold Steady: Steve Selvidge, Craig Finn and Galen Polivka

Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

The Hold Steady’s appearance on stage last Friday night at the Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany was prefaced by playing Lou Reed singing “we’re going to have a real good time together” over the sound system. Then singer/bandleader Craig Finn came to the mic and told the crowd the same thing to start the show. It WAS going to be a real good time together for about the 300 or so fans [in the club proper and along the periphery] that came out to hear them. Finn and band surged into their new album Teeth Dreams’ opening track, “I Hope This Song Doesn’t Frighten You.” Finn alternately pleaded, cheer-leaded and silently mouthed words over again that he had just sung – off mic to the fans up front – imposing an irony by questioning what the hell those words just meant alternating with silently mouthing some of the words over again to reinforce them, like using a fluorescent highlighter to make you pay attention to them.

Craig Finn is smiling a lot these days, during and between songs, and he should be. He said in a Providence Phoenix interview that this current line-up and their charisma is about as good as it gets. They WERE about as good as it gets Friday night at the Hollow. THS served up a good dose of half the stuff from their new album, along with an abundance of other fan favorites about little hood rat friends, a hurricane named Jesse, rock and roll problems and staying positive. They played 24 songs in all.

Three songs into it, he told the crowd of his Saratoga Race Track experience some years ago, where he won a drinking match with his sister by downing 29 beers. He is still gloating a bit about it, he admitted. He continued with a story about a woman calling on the phone while he was at the track, telling him to play a horse for her. With that the band lunged into “Chips Ahoy.” “She put $900 on the fifth horse in the sixth race, I think his name was Chips Ahoy” was sung while Finn and audience hand-signaled various numbers to each other as they came up, with the audience also singing along with the “wo-ah-oh-ee-ah- oh-ee-oh” background vocals. A Hold Steady show is a collaborative experience with the audience, and everyone involved comes out ahead for it.

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LIVE: The Felice Brothers @ Club Helsinki, 3/17/14

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Felice Brothers

Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

The Felice Brothers delivered a spirited and ramshackle performance on St. Patrick’s Night at Club Helsinki in Hudson. Starting with a set list of 32 songs at their feet, they delivered a dozen of them before diverting from the list and calling an audible. Sadly, a dozen songs into it, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was skipped on the set list. Perhaps the room was getting too rowdy for a selection that quiet and sensitive, so they barreled ahead with faster rollicking material, which was more appropriate for this holiday drinking Monday night crowd. While playing lots of familiar stuff, there was an Irish tint to some offerings as well. And they did deliver some surprises.

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LIVE: John Fogerty @ the Times Union Center, 11/10/13

Friday, November 15th, 2013
(photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

(photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk and Martin Benjamin

There was a hefty amount of nostalgia running through John Fogerty’s marathon concert at the Times Union Center on Sunday night. Before the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman came on stage for the two-hour-plus show, a backdrop screen displayed a montage of video clips and photographs from the ‘60s and ‘70s: flyers from sold-out CCR gigs and old interviews with Fogerty wearing various shades of flannel plaid and a mop of brown hair.

He hasn’t changed much since then: same hair, same flannel.

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