LIVE: The Catbirds @ the Ale House, 10/25/14

November 20th, 2014, 1:00 pm by Greg
Chandler Travis

Chandler Travis

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

Singer-songwriter-ringmaster Chandler Travis makes his home on Cape Cod, but Nippertown has become his home-away-from-home. Heck, he plays more Local 518 gigs than most local bands do.

On his latest stop, he brought his fab Catbirds to the Ale House in Troy, and as usual they ripped the place up with their unique, oh-so-sweet brand of rock ‘n’ roll. And once again the getting-a-little-less-reclusive Pete LaBonne was sharing the bill, both as the opening act in and joining the Catbirds in some delicious, five-piece musical mayhem.

The Catbirds have flown the Nippertown coop for now, but never fear, it’s never long before Travis returns in one of his many musical merauding incarnations or another. OH WAIT… the Chandler Travis Three-O will be returning to the Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge for a free show at 9pm on Saturday (November 22). See, I told you it wouldn’t be long…

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LIVE: Pete LaBonne @ River Street Beat Shop, 10/5/13

October 7th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Story and video by Joel Patterson

The future belongs to songwriters. Ever look at it that way? A hundred years from now, I predict two things: the songs of Hank Williams will still be around, and so will a few of Pete LaBonne’s.

Despite all the attention Pete gets for his supremely spontaneous and ironic personality – which charges his performances with the scent of maximum subversiveness, almost criminal in its recklessness – his real claim to fame is the words-and-music part. He’s grafted the utterly innocent language of everyday speech onto the eternal, timeless rhythms of the American songbook. A “good” song – a great song! – is often the simplest phrase, hopping over a simple beat, and when a singer is roaring with confidence, swept up in the urgency and joy of it all… well, that’s a beautiful thing.

Plus, Pete’s always twisting things for entertainment value: pointing out absurdities and timeless truths in equal measure. Sometimes, these turn out to be the same things. So, I do think we got something lasting, here, but trying to picture October of 2113… I got to sit down, I’m getting dizzy.

LIVE: Pete LaBonne @ Caffe Lena, 5/11/12

LIVE: Pete LaBonne @ Caffe Lena, 5/11/12

June 4th, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review and video by Joel Patterson

Pete LaBonne is the one truly mythical figure of the Capital District music scene. He makes everyone else look mundane and predictable by comparison. His edgy, wildman act prances along several borderlines – madness, inspiration, revelation, lunacy… With his shock of unkempt hair and perpetually bewildered stare, he looks as though he recently emerged from a cave somewhere, after an extended residency.

But he’d be a simple comic or a buffoon if he didn’t have a solid core of amazingly authentic idealism, a principled outlook spanning the length and breadth of reality that celebrates human foibles as well as the occasional glories. These philosophical underpinnings make him a seer of the highest order. He’s also a dazzling conversationalist, ultra-literate, expressing himself with a keen precision and refinement.

Musically, it’s all simplicity and back-to-basics: punchy, infectious, unforgettable. It’s a wondrous combo – potent blues married to extravagant wittiness. These guys come along once in a lifetime, and maybe not even that often!

The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCartoonist John CaldwellJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Ramblin Jug StompersArtist Charles Haymes