Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga Springs’

FREE FEST: Hats Off to Saratoga @ Downtown Saratoga Springs

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
Saturday, July 25: Hot Club of Saratoga

Saturday (July 25): Hot Club of Saratoga

The Hats Off Music Festival will liven up Broadway and the rest of downtown Saratoga Springs on Friday and Saturday nights (July 24 & 25) to celebrate the opening weekend of the racing season. An array of Local 518 bands – ranging from blues to rock to a cappella – will be performing around town for free from 7-11pm both days.

Here’s a round-up of who’s playing where at the 2015 Hats Off Music Festival:



LIVE: Bryan Thomas @ the Tang Museum, 7/10/15

Friday, July 17th, 2015


Photographs by Rudy Lu

Bryan Thomas – who gets our vote as Nippertown’s finest singer-songwriter – thankfully seems to be getting out of the house a bit more these days. This free concert on the rooftop of Skidmore College’s Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs last week was already his fourth performance of the year, something of a record for the somewhat reclusive songmaster.


LIVE: The John Pizzarelli Quartet @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 6/13/15

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015


Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jazz-pop guitarist-vocalist John Pizzarelli and his band – drummer Kevin Kanner, bassist Martin Pizzarelli and pianist Konrad Paszkudzki – took the stage of the the Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College last month, playing the centerpiece concert for the annual and, at least in this format, final SaratogaArtsFest.

If you missed him, you’ll have another chance next month, when Pizzarelli, his band and his wife Jessica Molasky step into the spotlight at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall in Lenox for a live taping of their syndicated radio show “Radio Deluxe” at 4pm on Sunday, August 23. Ticket prices range from $19-$64.


LIVE: Alan Cumming @ Universal Preservation Hall, 6/18/15

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


Story by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Richard Lovrich

“My name is Alan Cumming, and I’m here to sing you some sappy songs,” said the Scottish-American actor at the start of his cabaret performance at the Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs.

Cumming had just ripped off his grey suit coat, revealing that his black button-down underneath was really a muscle shirt missing sleeves, making some in the audience laugh.

You didn’t quite know what you would get from the raffish performer – known mostly for his Tony Award-winning role as the pan-sexual emcee on Broadway in “Cabaret” and his role as Eli Gold on CBS-TV’s award-winning dramatic series “The Good Wife.” During the course of his 80-minute Saratoga performance – a deft mix of song and storytelling – that unpredictability and range was part of his charm.


SPAC Is the Best…

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

At least according to the readers of USA Today

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs was voted the Best Outdoor Music Venue in the country in a recent online voting poll conducted by USA Today. Surprisingly enough, SPAC beat out the Number Two selection – Red Rocks in Colorado.

Next up on SPAC’s 2015 summer season of performances is the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at 8pm on Wednesday (June 17), followed by Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson at 7pm on Friday (June 19).

And here’s how it all shook out for the Top 10 Best Outdoor Music Venues in USA Today’s month-long balloting:


FEST: WILDWOODstock 2015 @ the Parting Glass on Sunday

Thursday, June 4th, 2015
Jocelyn Arndt

Jocelyn Arndt

The eighth annual WILDWOODstock benefit festival will be taking place at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs on Sunday (June 7). The all-ages fest will feature seven bands performing throughout the day, beginning at 1pm with the Road Home.

The all-day benefit bash is a fundraiser for Wildwood Programs, a non-profit organization in Schenectady that provides comprehensive services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, complex learning disabilities and other developmental disabilities. Tickets are just $5 in advance; $10 at the door; FREE for kids age 12 and under.

Here’s the complete schedule for WILDWOODstock 2015:


LIVE: “Raise the Rafters” @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 5/16/15

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

We should be celebrating Caffe Lena every day, but, of course, we tend to take it for granted because it’s always there. OK, well not exactly “always” – but for 55 years. And for the past 20 of those years, it’s been the guiding hand of manager Sarah Craig that’s has been at the helm, steering the Caffe into the 21st century with a delicate balance of adventure and tradition.

So for “Raise the Rafters” – the dual anniversary concert celebration for Craig and the Caffe – Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs hosted a half-dozen Caffe favorites from the past two decades. There was the jugband vaudeville of the Wiyos, the father-and-son Beaucoup Blue duo, the wry bluegrass of Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, the fab fiddling Sara Milonovich & Greg Anderson, rollicking one-man band the Suitcase Junket and the husband-and-wife team of Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion – each playing a short, 20-minute sampler set.

Yes, it was a delightful sonic smorgasbord that somehow stretched from blues to ballads, from a reggae-tinged polka to a Cajun two-step, and tunes plucked from the songbags of folks from Woody Guthrie to Led Zeppelin.


LIVE: Slaid Cleaves @ Caffe Lena, 5/15/15

Monday, June 1st, 2015
 Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves

Review by Richard Brody

Slaid Cleaves. The name rolls off your tongue and sounds like it must belong to a cowboy, perhaps from one of Louis D’Amour’s western novels. Cleaves might not be a cowboy, but at Caffe Lena, he came pretty darn close to creating the feeling of sitting around a campfire listening to a very talented storyteller spin his yarns, play his guitar and, when it fit, throw in some yodeling.

Cleaves should be a star, and as he wryly noted when he introduced “Broke Down,” “This is the song that took me from total obscurity to relative obscurity.” And like many of Cleaves’ songs, it focused on the hard scrabble lives of workers who are trying to get by while maintaining some sense of dignity despite a few poor decisions.


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