May 8th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
December 16th, 2010, 4:00 pm by Greg
Review and photographs by Eric Gleason
One of the greatest sounds known to man is the natural reverb of the drums and screaming guitar of a hot blues band careening off the canyon walls deep in a city. That sound returned to Albany’s Pearl Street for the first time in recent memory Friday night as 13 bands participated in the Business Improvement District’s inaugural Blues Music Competition. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, blues around Nippertown was at its peak, and on any given weekend you could easily have a hard time choosing between any number of great local acts, not to mention the regional and national acts that would often roll into town. The scene started to slow down several years ago, but if Friday night’s event is any indication, we are witnessing a resurgence.
Playing for pride and an opportunity to play on a larger stage at Alive at Five this summer, it was clear that each of the contestants came ready to strut their stuff, none more than perennial Schenectady blues man George Boone. Boone has always been a passionate performer and entertaining front man, but he was clearly playing for keeps to a packed crowd at the Pearl St. Pub. The George Boone Blues Band was the obvious top contender, with everyone else playing for second place, and he was rewarded by being voted one of the three winning artists.
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NAME: Ken Briggs
BAND AFFILIATION: Nite Train
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” (I have an older brother who influenced me a lot in my musical tastes early on.)
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Blue Oyster Cult at the Poughkeepsie Civic Center (Summer, 1980 or thereabouts)
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Trumpet. I started off on trumpet because that’s what the school band needed. My parents asked why I wasn’t practicing, and I told ’em I wanted to play bass. Two neighborhood friends wanted to start a band – one played guitar, the other drums. They needed a bass player. And I’ve been playin’ ever since! My parents said that if I was willing to practice, they’d pay for lessons and get me a “real” bass right outta the gate. They hired a kewl bassist from the local “Radar Rangers” band who gave me lessons…and I still have that “first bass” today (an American made Fender precision…still a part of my bass arsenal.)
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Link Wray’s “Jack the Ripper” with Andy Follette and the Bluescasters at Marist College (1983).
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … We called it The Band (not knowing Rick Danko and Levon Helm already claimed that name in nearby Saugerties, NY). The guitarist (Frank Perri) now plays in a Led Zeppelin tribute band, and the drummer (Marco Laboy) now coaches soccer in Dutchess County. What a great band!
Ken Briggs and his bandmates in Nite Train will rumble into the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy at 10pm on Saturday. Admission is free.