Posts Tagged ‘Schenectady’

Song o’ the Week: The Stray Birds’ “Best Medicine”

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Saturday (April 18) is Record Store Day, and we couldn’t think of a better song to help us celebrate than the Stray Birds’ “Best Medicine,” the title track of their latest album on Yep Roc Records.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania folk/Americana trio of multi-instrumentalists and vocalists – Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven and Charlie Muench – was inspired to write the song by a visit to The Re-Collector on Jay Street in Schenectady, one of Nippertown’s classic record stores. So when it came time for the trio to make a video for the song, where did they go? That’s right, back to The Re-Collector where they turned the shop’s proprietor, Kurt Hellijas, into a music video star.

“You never know the gold you can find out there / ‘Til you put the needle down and do some digging in the air … if the body is a temple, the soul is a bell/ And that’s why music is the best medicine I sell.”

NOTE: The Stray Birds are headed back to Nippertown for a concert at The Egg’s Hart Theatre in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 30, when they’ll be sharing the stage with the Wailin’ Jennys. Tickets are currently on sale, priced at $36.25 & $46.25.

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LIVE: Nellie McKay @ the Van Dyck, 4/4/15 (Second Show)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

It is difficult to pigeonhole the music of Nellie McKay, who entertained – and I truly mean entertained – a close-to-sold-out audience in the second of her two shows at the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Saturday night.

Accompanied by bass player Alexi David and drummer Kenneth Salters, McKay mesmerized the audience with the most eclectic set of music I have yet to hear. Somehow, she weaved standards from the ’30s along with her originals and covers of songs from the ’60s British Invasion that perhaps us baby boomers consider standards. Her spirited delivery made it all make sense.

Her set list featured standards such as:

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LIVE: The Levin Brothers @ the Van Dyck, 3/20/15

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
The Levin Brothers

The Levin Brothers

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

The Levin Brothers are no strangers if you are an avid reader of album liner notes and tour brochures. Both of them have been very active first-call studio and touring band musicians since the ’70s.

Although probably best known as the bassist and Chapman Stickman for prog rock pioneers King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin has a vast discography that includes recording with everyone from John Lennon to Karen Carpenter, from David Bowie to Tom Waits, from Alice Cooper to the Bulgarian Women’s Choir.

Older brother Peter Levin’s resume is just as deep and diverse, stretching from Judy Collins to Bryan Ferry, from Salt ‘N Pepa to Miles Davis, from Annie Lennox to Gov’t Mule. He joined his brother on tour with Paul Simon in the ’80s and was originally a French horn player with the Gil Evans Orchestra before switching to keyboards.

In support of their long-overdue debut collaborative album, they are now touring as the Levin Brothers in jazz-based project inspired by the music that inspired them during their youth to pursue careers in music – the cool jazz of Oscar Pettiford and Julius Watkins. And that’s what recently brought them up to the Van Dyck in Schenectady from their Woodstock area homes.

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A FEW MINUTES WITH… Ethan Russell

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Mick Jagger Onstage @ Altamont

Mick Jagger Onstage @ Altamont © Ethan Russell

By Don Wilcock

Rock photographer Ethan Russell is on a one-man crusade to prove that the ’60s were the first time in American history when the dream inspired our reality rather than the other way around. His photographs of John Lennon & Yoko Ono, the Rolling Stones and the Who are a peek behind the curtain into an intimate reality that gets lost in the revisionist history that Dion once told me has become “a cartoon.” Russell sees that cartoon as TV footage that has become embedded in our brains with the themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Russell’s “Best Seat in the House” show at Proctors’ GE Theatre in Schenectady on Saturday (March 28) promises to show 380 pictures of the most iconic rock stars of the 1960s complete with back stories. His photos offer a reality that exploded in a cultural shift away from the black and white box that was TV at the time into a colorful embrace that brought the pop musicians of the day closer to their fans and turned the rock stars away from being actors parroting other people’s songs into complicit compatriots in a modern revolution.

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Before the Fire: Living On Jay Street

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
A bicycle race in front of 100-106 Jay Street

A bicycle race in front of 100-106 Jay Street, circa 1990

Story and photographs by Stanley A. Johnson

Demolition on the buildings at 100-104 Jay Street in Schenectady continues this week following the fire earlier this month which killed at least four, injured several more and left dozens looking for new homes.

I did not know Harry Simpson, Robert Thomas, Berenices Suarez nor Jermaine Allen, who all died in the blaze. I did recognize James & Kristie Lynch, who lived at 100 Jay Street. They were volunteer security at almost every Alive at 5 concert for the last decade. James is always the first to tell you to get down if you attempt to get upon someone’s shoulders to see better.

The couple has had a particularly hard time settling down in the past year, winding up on Jay Street after being forced out of one of the two Colonie motels that are also currently being demolished, those for code violations.

Those two tall Jay Street buildings across from Schenectady City Hall have been home to hundreds, perhaps thousands of short and long-term residents over the years. The Gleason Building, 104 on the left, had an elaborate front full of faces and scrollwork.

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Proctors Announces 2015-2016 Broadway Series

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
The cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

The cast of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

The Best Musical of 2014 will kick off Proctors’ upcoming Key Private Bank Broadway Series, as well as its national tour, in September. And two blockbuster musicals – “The Lion King” and “The Book of Mormon” – are returning for encore runs on the Schenectady stage.

Before a full house at Proctors’ Broadway Bash on Monday evening (March 23), it was announced that “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” 2014′s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, will launch the new season, followed by “Motown the Musical,” “Matilda the Musical,” “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” a month-long run of “The Lion King” and “Once.” In addition, the non-subscription shows, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” and “The Book of Mormon,” were also announced.

Broadway Series subscription passes are currently on sale.

Here are the details of the eight newly announced shows headed to Proctors:

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LIVE: Robbie Dupree & the Woodstock Allstars @ the Van Dyck, 2/20/15

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Robbie Dupree

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

On a cold winter’s night singer-songwriter Robbie Dupree rolled into town to take the stage at the Van Dyck with his Woodstock Allstars. Dupree is best remembered for his two Top 10 singles, “Steal Away” and “Hot Rod Hearts,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1980. He had lesser hits in following years with “Brooklyn Girls” and, for those older World Wrestling Federation fans, “Girls in Cars.”

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LIVE: The Holly & Evan Band @ Cafe NOLA, 2/13/15

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Holly & Evan Band

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

It was Friday the 13th. It was the eve of Valentine’s Day. But most importantly, when the Holly & Evan Band cranked up their batch o’ blues at Cafe NOLA in Schenectady earlier this month, it was the kick off the big Mardi Gras weekend. And fresh from recent big bashes like First Night Saratoga and the Capital Area Indie Fest, singer-guitarist Holly Taormina, bassist Evan Conway and drummer Rob Morris certainly do know how to throw down a party.

You can catch the Holly & Evan Band at 9pm tonight at Sharp Shooters Billiards in Amsterdam, where they’re sharing the stage with pop-rock duo Sirsy. Admission is $5.

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