Posts Tagged ‘Schenectady’

LIVE: Persiflage @ Proctors, 4/11/14

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Persiflage

Persiflage

Review and photographs by J Hunter

“This is a curated series,” Matt Steckler told us as his quintet Persiflage arranged itself on the huge Oriental rug in the middle of the GE Theatre’s floor. Steckler ought to know, since the Schenectady High alum isS the curator of Proctors’ “Party Horns NYC” series. To be fair, though, Steckler hasn’t put a foot wrong, because in musical terms, every group he’s convinced to take a drive up the NY Thruway has hit it out of the park. But every time Steckler’s made the trip himself, his gonzo big unit Dead Cat Bounce has accompanied him. It was Steckler’s surprising choice to bring his “other band” to Proctors this year that made me choose this show over watching Chick Corea “paint” Cubist portraits of his audience at Massry Center.

Don’t misunderstand me: When I first saw Dead Cat live (at Party Horns 2012), my jaw dropped like a turkey from a helicopter; their 2011 Cuneiform release Chance Episodes is still my favorite disc from the burgeoning list of Greater Nippertown musicians who’ve left our scene for bigger and better things. What’s more, the times I’ve seen Corea in a non-group setting (solo at Massry in 2012, and in duet with Gary Burton – twice – and Bela Fleck) remain some of my best live-show memories. The deal-breaker was the possibility of seeing a player and composer I deeply respect in a setting I hadn’t experienced before. Ergo, off I went to Proctors. QED.

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A Few Minutes With… Crystal Aikin of Proctors’ Gospel Jubilee

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Interview and story by Don Wilcock
Photograph of Jubilee Mass Choir by Rudy Lu

The switch from being a night nurse in a Tacoma, Washington hospital to touring gospel singer wasn’t as drastic a transition for Crystal Aikin as she might have thought. “Sometimes you realize in order to heal the natural body, you have to heal the soul and the spiritual man,” says the headliner at Friday’s (April 11) third annual Gospel Jubilee at Proctors in Schenectady. “I definitely miss the (nursing) field. It was definitely challenging to leave, but I also knew there was a wonderful future ahead to change lanes and to actually start healing with singing and finding out that music, as well as medicine, is a powerful medium for healing.”

In December, 2008, Aikin won the grand prize in BET’s “Sunday Best” singing competition. She had already recorded with the Washington-based Soul for Trinity Records, the gospel arm of a record label run by Jimi Hendrix’s sister. But this was the African American gospel equivalent to “American Idol.” “It was a great experience where you’re looking at Kirk Franklin standing next to you, and like my life has changed. Oh, my God. I remember (judges) Be Be Winans and the girls Mary Mary. They were saying my full name, and I said, ‘Wow! If they’re saying my name, people in their homes are saying that.’ It was a huge paradigm shift to just be a girl that is local in Tacoma working in the hospital ER to all of a sudden be the mainstream from BET on the stage such as ‘Sunday Best.’ All of a sudden you’re in everybody’s home on television on Thursday and Sunday nights. So it was a paradigm shift, but I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. Something I ultimately had to learn was over, but I’m telling you, my heels were shaking.”

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Proctors Announces Its 2014-2015 Broadway Season of Shows

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “Kinky Boots,” is headed to Proctors in Schenectady as part of the theater complex’s 2014-1015 season.

On Thursday evening (April 3), Proctors revealed its upcoming schedule of musicals and big shows in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 invite-only subscribers, members, group leaders and supporters. The announcements were emceed by Time Warner Cable News’ Karen Tararache.

“Typically we do five shows in a season,” said Proctors CEO Philip Morris. “Last season, we added a sixth show to our Key Private Bank Broadway Series. It was popular with our subscribers, so we’re doing it again; there is no better value in Capital Region entertainment. We’re so pleased to present these amazing shows to the community. There will be magic on our stage this season. Join us!”

Broadway Series subscription renewals are on sale now. New public subscriptions will go on sale on Tuesday, May 6.

Here’s the newly announced schedule for Proctors:

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For Pete’s Sake: More Pete Seeger Tribute Concerts

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

TURN, TURN, TURN!: REMEMBERING PETE SEEGER
The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady
8pm Friday (April 4), $15

The Eighth Step welcomes several long-time musician friends and others whose performing lives were intertwined with Pete Seeger’s. Several of the performers appeared frequently with Pete Seeger including singer-songwriter Dan Einbender (Grammy Award winner for the CD Pete Seeger & the Rivertown Kids), the honey-voiced Hudson Valley quintet Betty & the Baby Boomers (who will be joined by Celtic harpist Lynn Saoirse) and Albany’s own Ruth Pelham (the Queen of the Music Mobile). The evening will also feature short video clips of Pete Seeger and an exhibit of Seeger images by photographer Robert Corwin. Wanda Fischer (host and producer of WAMC-FM’s “Hudson River Sampler”) and Eighth Step director Margie Rosenkranz (former artistic director for Seeger’s Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival festival) will co-host the festivities.

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LIVE: The Chronicles @ the Van Dyck, 3/21/14

Monday, March 31st, 2014
Bryan Brundige, Jeff-Nania and Justin Henricks

Bryan Brundige, Jeff-Nania and Justin Henricks

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

Okay, let’s review what we “know.” We “know” that the Chronicles are the best party band in Greater Nippertown: Doesn’t matter what the critics say or what the Readers’ Poll says (unless, of course, they agree with what we “know”); it’s just a “fact.” The Chronicles’ last album – the hard-hitting vinyl/digital release Spanning the Gap – was produced by Alan Evans, the engine behind Soulive and its horn-intensive offshoot Lettuce. Put the Chronicles in a club like Red Square or the Hollow Bar + Kitchen and real estate on the dance floor disappears in a heartbeat. The funk is delicious, the horns are killer, and the beat is undeniable. That’s a party band, my friend, and don’t you forget it!

So why were the Chronicles playing the upstairs concert space at the Van Dyck? I mean, you can’t dance in front of the stage unless you’re really, really, really skinny! Besides, even though the McDonalds have booked many different types of bands since taking over the place a few years ago, the Van Dyck will be known as a jazz club now and forever, Bird without end, ay-men! Maybe trombonist/leader Bryan Brundige got cabin fever. Maybe he’s as addicted to the Van Dyck’s pulled pork sliders as I am. The reasons don’t matter, and what we “know” DEFINITELY doesn’t matter. The night was tremendous, and so was the band – THAT’S what matters!

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Warren Vaché, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Warren Vaché

Warren Vaché

“What was it? It was Miles Davis’ ‘For Lovers Only’ with the Red Garland Trio. And I bought it primarily because my old man told me that Miles Davis was no good.

So I went out and said, ‘Yes, he is. Listen to this.’ And the argument continues to this day.”

The Howard Alden Jazz All-Star Trio – featuring guitar phenom Howard Alden, trumpeter Warren Vaché | and bassist Jon Burr – slips into the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Saturday (March 22) for shows at 7 & 9:30pm. Tickets are $20 in advance; $24 at the door.

Five Firsts: Tom Holland of the Reverberators

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Tom Holland

Tom Holland

NAME: Tom Holland
BAND AFFILIATION: The Reverberators
INSTRUMENT: Drummer/songwriter

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … the Beach Boys’ All Summer Long.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Ray Charles and the Raelettes with the Ray Charles Orchestra (featuring Billy Preston).

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THEATER: “The Book of Mormon” @ Proctors, 3/12/14

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The Book of Mormon

Review by Greg Haymes

AIDS…
Homophobia…
Jesus Christ…
Genital mutilation…
Racial discrimination…
Sex acts with amphibians…

No, not your typical topics for musical theater gags, but they’re undeniably there in “The Book of Mormon,” currently on stage at Proctors in Schenectady for a virtually sold-out run through Sunday (March 16). Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”) with Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q”), the wild, wonderful, witty production is the hottest ticket in town for a reason. And yes, it lives up to all of its hype.

Plotwise, it’s easy to sum up. It’s basically the tale of two young Mormon men – the straight-laced over-achiever Elder Price (Mark Evans) and his goofy, less-than-competent sidekick Elder Cunningham (Christopher John O’Neill) – who are sent from Utah to a small village in Uganda on a two-year mission to attempt to convert the native villagers to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Needless to say, hijinks ensue.

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