Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga Springs’

LIVE: The Quiet Music Festival @ Skidmore College’s Tang Museum, 10/23/14

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Rosary Beard

Rosary Beard

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Portland, Oregon has been hosting the annual Quiet Music Festival since 2011, but last month the fest had its East Coast premiere at Skidmore College’s Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs with an evening-long performance by a roster of talent that stretched from Gang Gang Dance vocalist Lizzi Bougatsos to Greenwich’s monologuist David Greenberger and A Strong Dog to Sun Foot (led by Quiet Music Fest founder Chris Johanson).

Other performers throughout the evening included poet Trinie Dalton, Brian Mumford’s avant-folk project Dragging an Ox Through Water, the acoustic guitar instrumental duo Rosary Beard (featuring Matthew Loicacono and Hunter Sagehorn) and others.

It was a very varied evening of performances, and they weren’t all about the low-key and low-volume.

One attendee described the night as “a snooze fest.” But organizer Chris Johanson didn’t take offensive at the remark. In fact, as he explained, the Quiet Music Fest is “the only festival where sleeping is encouraged.”

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Live: Marty Wendell @ Caffe Lena, 10/26/14

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Marty Wendell

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

2014 marks 50 years of music for Nippertown singer-songwriter Marty Wendell, and he’s made his mark in a wide variety of musical genres from folk to rockabilly, from country to gospel. And among the many memorable moments along the way, he’s toured with Johnny Cash and recorded at Memphis’ famed Sun Studios.

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Saturday Is Skylander Day @ Saratoga’s Comic Depot

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Skylanders Day

Skylanders – popular video game series developed by Nippertown’s own Vicarious Visions – jumps off the computer screen and onto the comic book pages with the publication of the inaugural Skylanders comic book.

And Comic Depot in Saratoga Springs is hosting a special release party for the comic on Saturday (October 18). Join the writers Ron Marz and David Rodriguez, as well as Vicarious Visions concept artists Jeff Bellio, Arzu Fallahi and Dave Phillips for the in-store celebration from 12noon-4pm.

You can pick up an exclusive Comic Depot variant cover for Skylanders #1. The store will be featuring an all-day sale, as well as raffles for exclusive Skylanders merch. And the artists will be drawing original Skylander sketches on sale for $25 with all proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.

Explore the Fab Four’s NYC Sites on Foot

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Carnegie Hall…
The Plaza Hotel…
The Dakota Apartments…
The Ed Sullivan Theater…
Strawberry Fields in Central Park…

Experience first-hand some of the most significant New York City sites in the musical history of the Fab Four on Saturday, October 18 on Rick Bedrosian’s Beatles New York City Walking Tour. A chartered bus will depart from Yankee Trails in Rensselaer at 7am and return at approximately 7:30pm.

In NYC, Rick Bedrosian (guitarist with the Beatles tribute band Hey Jude… The Tribute) and his busload of Beatles fans will meet up with renowned Beatles authority and tour guide Susan Ratisher Ryan for a two-and-a-half-hour of Manhattan Beatlemania locations.

Then you’ll be driven to the Flatiron District where you’ll be free to explore and dine at Mario Batali’s Eataly, a 50,000-square-foot, indoor, Italian market and restaurant complex, as well as Union Square Park which is located just five blocks south.

The cost of the tour is $130 per person, which includes transportation, travel guides and the Beatles Walking Tour.

NOTE: And if you want to get into the musical mood, you can catch Hey Jude… The Tribute in concert at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Saturday (October 11). Tickets are $13 in advance; $15 at the door.

LIVE: Eric Harland’s Voyager @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Center, 9/26/14

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Walter Smith III and Eric Harland

Walter Smith III and Eric Harland

Review and photographs by J Hunter

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the half-house that greeted uber-drummer Eric Harland as he led his band Voyager out onto the vast stage at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center. Just in terms of jazz alone, it was a busy Friday night; George Garzone was headlining the second show in the at A Place For Jazz series, while the Chronicles were throwing a fifth anniversary party at the Albany Barn. But I was surprised, if not a little outraged – but then I decided to take the selfish viewpoint: “More mind-bending music for me!”

When I say “mind-bending,” I’m not just plumbing my thesaurus for something sensational-sounding. Whether it’s with SFJAZZ Collective or James Farm, Harland’s compositions have always had an element of the spiritual to them, but Voyager bumps that zeitgeist up a few levels. “We like to start with our mantra,” Harland intoned, grinning, playing his kit with one drumstick as the band eased into “Relax,” the opening number from the band’s second release Vipassana (pronounced “Vih-PAH-sin-nuh”). Other bands may claim their music can take you to another place, but as Harland told us before introducing his partners, once Voyager kicks into gear, “we actually voyage!” And when the group transitioned from “Relax” into the big waltzing pulse of “Raghavan,” that’s when our voyage really began.

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LIVE: G. Love / John Hammond @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center, 9/7/14

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
G. Love

G. Love

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Lena Spencer first opened the doors to Caffe Lena more than a half century ago, and thanks to Sarah Craig – who’s been the director and guiding light of the little-coffeehouse-that-could for the past 20 years – two generations of Caffe favorites came together on the stage of Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center earlier this month in a blues-soaked benefit for the enduring Saratoga folk music haven. It was a night of Blues Hall of Famer John Hammond and his ’90s hit-making acolyte G. Love.

Hammond made his debut at Lena’s way back in 1962, but at the Zankel, only his silver hair that gave away his status as a 71-year-old blues veteran. Looking fit and trim and still sounding like a howling hurricane, Hammond opened the show with a crackling, foot-stomping, hour-long set that served as something of a career retrospective as he sat alone on a center-stage stool with his guitar and harmonica, rumbling through a dozen tasty tunes that dipped deep into the songbags of the blues greats that influenced him – from Lightning Slim to Buddy Guy, from Howlin’ Wolf to Blind Willie McTell, from Bobby Bland to Sleepy John Estes.

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LIVE: Steely Dan @ SPAC, 8/31/14

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

SteelyDan2

Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Steely Dan dubbed their latest tour – which came to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 31 after travelling across North America for much of the summer – the “Jamalot Ever After Tour.” No real subtlety there – assuming that by “Jamalot” they meant their big band of wizard-proficient musicians and vocalists would stretch way out on jazzified, solo-filled versions of their songs, which were culled primarily from the group’s ‘70s studio recording heyday.

But “jam” also implies an element of spontaneity and, no, this was a carefully scripted affair, based on a fairly predictable formula and set list honed over the group’s last several tours – heavy on the (admittedly brilliant) tunes from the multi-platinum Aja (“Black Cow,” “Aja,” “Josie,” “Peg”) and FM staples like “Hey Nineteen,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “My Old School” and “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.”

Steely Dan masterminds Donald Fagen (keyboards and vocals) and Walter Becker (guitar) now embrace touring in a way they never did in their more studio-focused early days, but given their reputation as control freaks in love with extreme precision and technical proficiency, it’s no real surprise that they would approach their live show the way they do now – with a highly polished band of pros who showcase their jazz-pop prowess by taking solos throughout the night, lit under a rotating spotlight.

Concert-goers were still making their way to their seats as the 11-piece backing band – minus Fagen and Becker – opened with the Latin-flavored instrumental cover of Ray Bryant’s “Cubano Chant.” Then the two somewhat curmudgeonly looking lead guys arrived – Fagen taking his hunched seat behind the keyboard for “Black Cow” and “Aja,” the latter song featuring a Fagen keytar solo, a sax solo by Walt Weiskopf and a drum solo by Keith Carlock.

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LIVE: Diane Cluck @ Caffe Lena, 9/14/14

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
 Diane Cluck

Diane Cluck

Review and photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Soft spoken and, in a way shy, Diane Cluck is the kind of performer that makes her audience lean into the song to hear the words… because they want to. Not because of lack of amplification, but because it’s an intimate thing. Her lovely, woven tapestry of story-telling through song – like her vivid tune about Monte Carlo – makes the listeners follow the story as if they were a part of it.

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