Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga Springs’

LIVE: Dom Flemons @ Caffe Lena, 8/15/14

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Don Flemons

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Joseph Deuel

Is there anything that the multi-talented Dom Flemons can’t do? And do well…

He’s been going it alone since parting ways with the Grammy Award-winning black string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops last year, and if you were worried about his ability to captivate a crowd without Rhiannon Giddens and the rest of his former CCD bandmates, worry no more. Earlier this month, Flemons made his Caffe Lena debut in support of his new solo album, Prospect Hill, proving beyond a doubt that he was thoroughly capable of wowing a full house on his own.

Flemons is the complete package as a performer – a stellar musician on at least a half dozen instruments (guitar, four- and six-string banjos, harmonica, bones and a pan flute-related instrument called the quills); a thoroughly engaging, charismatic all-around entertainer; and a straight-A student of the music, who offered insight and educational background on a wide variety of the songs (and the songwriters) that filled his songbag.

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LIVE: Luke Bryan @ SPAC, 8/17/14

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan

Remember the days not too long ago when the Saratoga Performing Arts Center simply couldn’t figure out how to sell tickets to country music concerts? Well, things have changed… and of course, so too has country music.

Luke Bryan, the reigning country music superstar, was back in the spotlight again last Sunday evening, after selling out approximately 25,000 tickets at SPAC last summer on his Dirt Road Diaries Tour 2013.

No surprise, the Luke-ster sold out SPAC once again with his That’s My Kind of Night Tour, featuring support acts Cole Swindell and Lee Brice.

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LIVE: Liz Longley / Barnaby Bright @ Caffe Lena, 8/13/14

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Liz Longley

Liz Longley

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Sarah Craig – who for nearly two decades has served as the general manager Saratoga Springs’ Caffe Lena, the most marvelous coffeehouse on the planet – must have had divine inspiration to book two of the most fantastic singer-songwriter acts in one fabulous evening last week.

The headliner, Liz Longley, was lovely to the ear and to the eye. Though young in years, she presented a seasoned and mature command of dynamics using her voice and guitar prowess. Whether playing a Van Morrison number(which dovetailed into Gershwin’s “Summertime”) or any of the songs from her heartfelt bag of originals, she beguiled the crowd, presenting an exemplary, hour-plus set of captivating music.

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LIVE: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet @ Universal Preservation Hall, 8/1/14

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (photo by Corey Aldrich)

Review by J Hunter
Photograph by Corey Aldrich

I have an ironclad rule: NEVER go into downtown Saratoga Springs when the Flat Track is open. However, ironclad rules are made to be sold for scrap and melted down – particularly when I’m offered the chance to check out both the Brubeck Brothers Quartet and one of the most striking concert spaces the Spa City has ever seen.

A Victorian Gothic church built in 1871, Universal Preservation Hall has been under various stages of rehab since the start of this century. The main hall needs to be seen to be believed: We’re talking a real cathedral ceiling, with flying buttresses that will take your breath away and a huge slab of gorgeous exposed brick where the church organ used to be. There’s plenty more work to do (HVAC still needs to be installed – something that became patently obvious as the evening went on), but given the commitment and energy of the board members and volunteers I met on this evening, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to get done.

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LIVE: Rascal Flatts @ SPAC, 8/3/14

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
Rascal Flats

Rascal Flatts

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was a country-pop triple-header at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last Sunday night. Headlining the big bash was Rascal Flatts, and lead vocalist Gary LeVox led the band through a hit-filled hour and a half in the Saratoga spotlight.

Grammy Award-winning pop singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow has shifted to the country end of the music spectrum without changing her sound at all. Her hour-long set featured such hits as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun” and “Every Day Is a Winding Road.”

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LIVE: Dana & Susan Robinson @ the Tang Museum, 8/1/14

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Robinson1

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

This Vermont-based couple was fun, funny and intimate, performing in front of a full-house gathered outdoors on the roof – no joke – of Skidmore College’s Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs for the latest concert in the 14th annual UpBeat On the Roof Summer Series.

Dana & Susan Robinson played some old-time mountain music, but focused primarily on their harmony-laden original songs based on events from their daily lives, their road travels or even inspired by watching the Discovery Channel in various hotel rooms from here to Ireland. One of the highlights of their stellar performance was “Farmer’s Market” (from their latest album, American Hornpipe) in which they survey the market’s offerings alphabetically.

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LIVE: The Moody Blues @ SPAC, 8/4/14

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues

Review by Don Wilcock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Of all the rock legends from the ’60s still performing, the Moody Blues are the best at stopping time. Justin Hayward’s lyrics are inspired by the romantic British poetry of Byron, Keats and Shelley blended with classical music buoyed by Hayward’s perfectly executed rock guitar that, if anything, has more edge than it did back in 1967. It’s a sumptuous and lush sound that made the band the most blatantly British of a cadre of rockers, the rest of whom were selling American roots music back to the colonies half a century ago.

At Monday night’s Saratoga Performing Arts Center performance, drummer Graeme Edge announced that the band had just celebrated their 50th anniversary the night before. They ended their first set with one of their newest songs, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” a mid-’80s hit. They built their second hour-long set around ever more familiar waves of hits that included “Isn’t Life Strange” from Seventh Sojourn; their first American hit from Days of Future Passed, “Tuesday Afternoon;” “Higher and Higher” with Edge on vocal from To Our Children’s Children’s Children; “Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” from Seventh Sojourn; and they encored with “Ride My See Saw” from In Search of a Lost Chord. Most songs prompted repeated standing ovations from a crowd of all ages, and they closed with their signature song “Nights in White Satin” from the 1967 breakout album Days of Future Passed.

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LIVE: Rockstar Mayhem Festival @ SPAC, 7/23/2014

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Korn

Korn

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

With three stages ringing around the outside of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s amphitheater – each presenting a Grade-A selection of heavy metal heroes – it was difficult to determine where the craziest bout of head-banging was about to break out during the early afternoon hours.

Later that evening when the action shifted to the amphitheater, the annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (also known as Q-Ruption) cranking up the volume and shifting into high gear.

Cannibal Corpse closed out the afternoon at the Coldcock Whiskey Stage with their brand of roaring, indescribable metal, while across the lawn at the Sumerian Records Stage, Ice-T – yes, he of “Law & Order SVU” – fronted the veteran rap-meets-metal aggregation Body Count (who made their SPAC debut during the 1991 Lollapalooza tour) as they launched into their controversial hit, “Cop Killer.” Like he said, “I hate cops, though I play one on TV…”

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