LIVE: Mark Knopfler @ the Palace Theatre, 10/11/15

October 14th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Additional photographs by Kathy Conway

Dire Straits made a stop at Rensselaer’s now long-defunct Hulla-Baloo back on February 28, 1979 on their first U.S. tour in support of their self-titled debut album. And an awful lot has happened since then…

The band became one of the world’s most successful bands with 1985’s Brothers in Arms (which became the first compact disc to sell a million copies). They broke up in 1988, re-formed in 1991 and then broke up once again in 1995.

Yes, Dire Straits was a band, but it was always obvious that Mark Knopfler carried way more of the creative load than all the other members. He was an ace narrative songwriter, a vocalist with an admitted limited range who nonetheless always managed to suck you right into the song and simply one of the most distinctive, instantly recognizable guitarists of the rock era.

And, as he proved at the Palace Theatre last weekend, he’s still all of those things. He is not, however, a very dynamic performer on stage. But needless to say, that didn’t matter much to the sold-out crowd.

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LIVE: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience @ the Palace Theatre, 5/19/15

May 28th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Jason Bonham

Jason Bonham

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

WHO: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
WHERE: The Palace Theatre, Albany
WHEN: Tuesday, May 19

Jason Bonham: drums
Tony Catania: guitar
James Dylan: vocals
Alex Howland: keyboards/guitar
Dorian Heartsong: bass

Tribute bands are all the rage these days, and Led Zep tribute bands are at the top of the heap. Already this year we’ve seen Get the Led Out (the Palace Theatre, 2/6/15) and Hammer of the Gods (The Egg, 3/7/15) roll into Nippertown concert venues, and there are more on the way, of course, including Zepperella at Mountain Jam (6/5/15), Led Zeppelin 2 at SPAC (8/1/15) and Zoso at Troy’s Rockin’ On the River concert series (8/12/15).

So what makes Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience stand out from the pack?

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LIVE: Sufjan Stevens @ the Palace Theatre, 4/15/15

April 20th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Greg Haymes

When a singer-songwriter performs an entire album’s worth of musical meditations on death and loss, well, you expect the concert to be something of a downer. And alt-pop iconoclast Sufjan Stevens’ recent performance at Albany’s Palace Theatre certainly was no rock & roll dance party, as he played all of the songs from his brand new album, Carrie and Lowell, penned following the death of his estranged mother.

“What is that that song you sing for the dead?” he sang during “Death with Dignity,” the opening song of the show, following the wordless, largely instrumental intro, “Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou).” But there was no one single answer. In fact, songs for the dead filled the first half of the concert, as Stevens and his backing quartet of multi-instrumentalists examined grief and mourning in all its many facets. The intensely personal songs plumbed the depths of emotional turmoil from guilt to despair to anger, and yet ultimately the concert was a glorious, deeply spiritual affirmation of life and faith.

He dealt frankly and nakedly with death, and yet discovered an underlying hope. It was, in one word, majestic.

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LIVE: Experience Hendrix @ the Palace Theatre, 3/28/14

March 31st, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review by Fred Rudofsky

It was the best of concerts and the worst of concerts. Yes, I’m celebrating and exploiting the genius of Charles Dickens in my lead, but that is far less egregious than what too often took place during a sold-out Friday night concert at Albany’s Palace Theatre that paid tribute to the genius of Jimi Hendrix. Call it a paradoxical experience.

NOTE: I make these observations as a fervent admirer of Hendrix’s music and the inspiration he derived from a variety sources such as the blues, soul, folk and Native American culture. I have always viewed him as complete musician, not a wild, hedonistic guitarist like so many still do.

The Experience Hendrix show was the best concert in the sense that it was uplifting to see local support for the music and memory of one of the greatest musicians the world has known – and the song selections were also far more eclectic than what had been the case six years before when the tour touched down in Albany. Yet it was also felt like the worst given that the celebratory nature of the night felt contrived, even exploitative. I even found myself drawing up a wish list of musicians, not just guitarists, that I thought should have been included on the bill (Joanne Shaw Taylor, Cassandra Wilson, Buddy Miller, Trombone Shorty, Michael Hill, Cindy Blackman Santana, Gary Clark, Jr., Steve Winwood, Hamell on Trial – who saw Hendrix play Syracuse in 1968 – to name a few). At times throughout the nearly 3 1/2 hour event, I thought of one of Hendrix’s most prophetic lyrics: “But as far as I know, they may even try to wrap me up in cellophane and try and sell me…” How can anybody celebrate properly a musician, who casts such a long shadow?

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New Concert at the Palace Theatre

August 1st, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

Although there’s been no official word yet from Albany’s Palace Theatre, rocker Melissa Etheridge will step into the spotlight there on Friday, October 26, according to her website. Etheridge will be touring in support of her upcoming album, “4th Street Feeling,” which is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, September 4.

Details are yet to be announced, but Etheridge’s website indicates that tix are slated to go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 10.

UPDATE (11am, 8/6/12): Tix are priced at $38, $58, $78 & $103. Tix will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday (August 10).

LIVE: Primus @ the Palace Theatre, 9/27/11

October 17th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
Primus @ The Palace Theatre, Albany, 9/27/11

Les Claypool

Usually you can tell a whole lot about a band just by looking at the t-shirts that the concert-goers are wearing to the show. Not so with Primus.

Before actually even setting foot in the Palace Theatre, I spotted fans proudly declaring their cross-the-chest allegiance to such bands as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Cramps, Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead, Devo, the Rev. Horton Heat, AC/DC, Ween, Sirsy, NOFX, Stone Temple Pilots, Motorhead and moe.

Yikes! What kind of band draws a fan base from across that preposterously wide gamut of musical styles?

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LIVE: Jackson Browne @ the Palace Theatre, 10/3/11

October 6th, 2011, 3:30 pm by Greg

Jackson Browne and his wall o’ guitars…

It’s a simple plan.

Jackson Browne gives me all the guitars he doesn’t use.

Mofo had 17 of them onstage at the Palace Theatre on Monday night, and he didn’t use half. And when he played the piano – for much of the show – he covered up the best ones (a pair of Martin 00-17s) so’s we couldn’t see them.

It’s simple, Jackson – contact Nippertown for my address and ship them to me. I’ll cover the UPS. Really.

When he did play them, it was sweet, no doubt. No Lindley, no Goldenberg, no nothin,’ just Browne and six strings and a catalog of archetypal sensitive singer/songwriter stuff designed to make the ladies moist and the men weepy. But when he hits it – “Giving That Heaven Away,” “Call It a Loan,” “Something Fine” – man, it works.

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Win FREE TIX to “The Bridge On the River Kwai” at the Palace Theatre, 4/11/11

April 6th, 2011, 11:00 am by Greg

When you want to see a BIG movie, of course, it’s best to see it on a BIG screen.

Albany’s Palace Theatre has a BIG screen, and when it comes to BIG movies, well, “The Bridge On the River Kwai” is one of the BIGGEST. The film earned rave reviews when it was released back in 1957:

“A magnificent, moving film” – LIFE Magazine

“Brilliant is the word, and no other” – The New York Times

An epic tale of war, will and conscience, the film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Alec Guinness), Best Screenplay (Michael Wilson, Carl Foreman) and Best Music (including the classic whistling tune, “The Colonel Bogey March”).

And at 7pm on Monday, “The Bridge On the River Kwai” will screened at the Palace Theatre. Tix are $5; children 14 and under $3.

BUT WAIT… What’s this? A FREE pair of tickets? That’s right, we’re giving away FREE TIX to a lucky Nippertown reader! To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The winner will be selected at random and notified on Monday morning. Good luck! Congratulations to Bob!

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