Yes, there are still more than a few folks who are somewhat confused by the recent Clifton Park nightclub name change from Northern Lights to the Upstate Concert Hall.
And the Upstate Concert Hall isn’t helping matters any with the announcement that tix for their shows are now on sale at Northern Lights. Northern Lights Smoke Shop on Fuller Road in Albany, that is.
“Old habits are hard to kick, I guess we’ll always be attached by the hip with the name Northern Lights,” says Ted Etoll, owner of Step Up Presents and marketing director/talent buyer of Upstate Concert Hall.
The Upstate Concert Hall recently dropped Deja Vu on Wolf Road in Albany as a ticket outlet in favor of Northern Lights Smoke Shop, where advance tix are now available with no service charge.
“We feel the new outlet will better serve our customers,” says Etoll. “We are always looking to reduce ticket service charges for our customers and to have this opportunity to serve our ticket buying public is one I hope everyone appreciates.”
We can’t think of a more generic, less imaginative name…
But then again, just how much does the name of the place really matter?
“Concert Hall” might be a bit too grandiose a description for a strip-mall bar, but, I mean, nobody actually walks into Valentine’s Music Hall expecting it to be anything like the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, do they?
Truth be told, every once in a while, we still slip up and refer to Northern Lights as Park West. Or Tiger’s Pub.
And oh, by the way, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that McGeary’s Pub will be changing its name to the McGeary’s Performing Arts Center.
UPDATE (3pm, 5/18/12): Here’s an official statement from Ted Etoll of Step Up Presents and the Club Marketing Director of the newly dubbed Upstate Concert Hall:
“We feel a name change and new branding is essential to chart a fresh course. The club has been totally rebuilt and revitalized. With 100% control, we all felt a re-branding was necessary to show the Capital Region that this venue and its management have undertaken every step to change the image of the club physically and professionally. Upstate Concert Hall will continue to book the biggest touring shows in the country. If anyone was disappointed in their concert experience prior to the new management, please come on out and see the changes that have been done. There is no one that cannot notice this is a new club with a new energy.”
UPDATE: (4:30pm, 5/18/12): According to today’s press release from Ted Etoll, recent improvements to the former Northern Lights include:
* Beautiful full service state of the art dressing and production rooms for touring bands
* Redesigned sound system and state of the art digital sound boards
* New air conditioning
* Renovated men’s and ladies’ facilities
* Male and female bathroom attendants
* Young professional and courteous staff, all college music industry graduates
* Full line of craft draft beers
* Immaculate and impeccably maintained facility
* Wide screen TVs throughout the club for sports viewing or watching the bands
* Professionally trained and certified security
“Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged in New York.’ To be honest, being a younger sibling and always craving approval from my brother and his friends, I knew Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged in New York’ was one he had wanted, and therefore, I could leverage some hang-out time in exchange for a couple of spins. I ended up falling in love with this record in the process, but my brother ended up buying the album within a few weeks, and my young masterminded plan was foiled.”
Tim Oxford slips behind the drums to power Canadian rockers Arkells in concert tonight, opening for the Maine at Northern Lights in Clifton Park. Lydia is also on the bill. Showtime is 7pm, and tix are $18.
The Shockwave Festival is a new touring metal festival making its debut on the scene this summer. The fest will be on the road for just over a month, touring the U.S. and Canada during July and August.
And one of the tour stops will be right here in Nippertown.
The Shockwave Festival is slated to pull into Northern Lights in Clifton Park on Friday, July 20. The headbanging is slated to get underway shortly after the doors open at 1pm. Scheduled to go on sale to the general public at 10am on Monday (May 7), tix are priced at $25 in advance; $28 at the door.
Here’s the lineup for this summer’s inaugural run:
A fireplace with fake red glowing embers, Persian rugs, vases of pink flowers and lit stained-glass art were all part of the stage set for Philadelphia indie-rockers Dr. Dog, who recreated a homey living room, of sorts, onstage at Northern Lights.
But if you looked close, there was even more kitsch than you’d find in your average ‘70s ranch: a rubber alligator atop the fireplace, a fuzzy stuffed-animal lion-head perched on a pole, and walls decorated with handwritten band posters, including one for recent Dr. Dog touring mates Purling Hiss.
Kevin Costner is a man of many passions. Most of his fans know him from his movies in which two of his main passions have shown through: baseball and the Wild West. A smaller fan base knows that Costner has another passion every bit as old (from his childhood) as the others – music. His love for music culminated in Kevin Costner & Modern West (KC&MW), a band he started at the urging of his wife half a decade ago.
Last Friday night, the band made their second visit to Northern Lights in Clifton Park, a venue which Costner obviously enjoyed. The smoky air (machine-made, not from what dangles out of people’s mouths) mixed with the right lighting and surrounded by fans standing and drinking beer is the atmosphere what he looks for.
Costner came out and soaked in the adoration like the movie star he is, acknowledging the fact that that was probably the reason most of the people were there. He thanked the near-capacity, closer-to-his-age crowd for buying tickets to his movies for all those years. Then for the next 90 minutes, he exhibited his second “career.”
The seven-hour ride up from his last gig in Maryland didn’t seem to sap any energy from him or his band – especially the very energetic fiddler Bobby Yang. Backed by four guitarists – two of which doubled on keyboard and banjo – as well as a bassist, Yang and a drummer, KC&MW played their version of country-rock.
Just before the Lemonheads appeared onstage at Northern Lights to play their much-loved 1992 album “It’s a Shame About Ray” in entirety, a fan opined skeptically, “This could be very good, or it could be an unmitigated disaster.”
Really, it ended up being neither. Or both. Depending on whom you asked.
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