Photographs by Stanley Johnson
The Hellions of Troy rolled to a smashing 351 to 160 victory over the Jersey Shore Roller Girls All Stars at Rollarama in Schenectady on Saturday, November 9, wrapping up the season with a big win. Congrats, gals…
Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
“I like old songs… the older, the better,” Catherine Russell informed the full-to-the-back First Unitarian Society Whisperdome in Schenectady, her voice deep and firm. Then she asked us, “What was 60 years ago?” When someone in the crowd came up with 1953, she immediately said, “That’s too soon!” Later in the evening, she told us as an aside, “Vinyl! That’s even better!”
None of this should have been a surprise to us, considering Russell started her first set with Ethel Waters’ “Shake That Thing” and followed her chronological statement with Hoagy Carmichael’s “Ev’ntide.” Russell’s stage attire was as Old School as it gets: Hair done up tight and to a fare-thee-well, black spangly top, black skirt, black hose, black high heels – a far cry from the cornrows and shoulder ‘tats displayed on the CD booklet for her last disc Strictly Romancin’, or the Occupy Wall Street headband she wore for her 2010 release Inside This Heart of Mine. If the trend continues, she’ll be in all-urban cammo for her upcoming disc Bringin’ It Back. The title comes from a Wynonie Harris tune she did in the second set, which was every bit as fun as the first. The song did come from the ’50s, but Russell wasn’t holding that against it.
NAME: Julien Labro
BAND AFFILIATION: Hot Club of Detroit
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Speak Like a Child (Herbie Hancock)
“My parents were very into music. The whole family was musical, really. So I remember playing my mother’s big heavy 78 records of Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and Perry Como.
Then I graduated to 45s and listened to the Four Lads, the Aces and lot of R&B, that were called race records back then.
But as far as albums go, I think that one of the first 12-inch records that I ever bought was by the Platters. I love that album cover, and to this day, I can still see it – the way they were posed in that photograph.
That was one of the first albums I bought, and I learned all of the vocal parts on that record. So besides the lead vocals, I also sang all of the background parts along with my sister.
And then I bought records by the Everly Brothers, the Del Vikings and thing like that.
You know, I think I still have those albums up in the attic of my mother’s house.”
Lou Christie – whose hits include “Lightning Strikes,” “Rhapsody in the Rain,” “The Gypsy Cried” and “Two Faces Have I” – performs at the Golden Oldies Spectacular at Proctors in Schenectady at 7pm on Saturday (October 26). The line-up also includes Kenny Vance & the Planetones, Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, Sonny Turner (former lead singer of the Platters), Nicole Ortiz and the Oldies Show (with special guest Trish Anderson). Tickets are $36.75, $44.75 & $51.75.
“My parents bought me a little kids’ record player when I was two or three years old, and my mother remembers me standing there playing record after record after record. I couldn’t stop playing the records. I just wanted to play records.
But honestly, I can’t really remember the first one that I bought.”
Singer-songwriter Susan Werner and her band will step into the spotlight at the Eighth Step at Proctors in Schenectady at 7pm on Sunday (October 20). She’ll be showcasing songs from her new album, “Hayseed,” which celebrates the language, livelihood, characters and concerns of American farmers. Tickets are $26 in advance; $28 at the door; $35 Gold Circle.
Review by Bokonon
Rory Block wasn’t born with the blues, but she was raised with it. An unbelievable pantheon of greats strolled through the door of her father’s Greenwich Village sandal shop, and the young Aurora sat down at their feet, to learn, as cliché would have it, from the masters.
Did she meet Robert Johnson? No. But she did shake hands with Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi Fred McDowell and the wraith-like Skip James.
At the Van Dyck, Block turned that protean knowledge into a hellfire of blues. Maybe the real heart of Block’s sound is the way her socket wrench slide clicks against the frets. She’s not taking it easy.
The drone of an open tuning is an ancient moan that crosses many cultures. In Block’s world, it summons the Delta. Not the crossroads, butthe real sharecropper sound of bright, intelligent people forced to work with their backs. She may not fit the visual — still beautiful at 63, her long flowing hair touched with grey — but she channels the sound.
Review by Greg Haymes
Like all good fairy tales, “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” begins with “Once upon a time,” and it ends with “They all lived happily ever after.”
In between, plenty happens that the Brothers Grimm, Tchaikovsky and even Walt Disney never saw coming.
Now, I don’t know bupkis about dance, and I’m certainly not about to pretend that I do, so if you’re looking for a more dance-centric evaluation of the production that runs through Sunday at Proctors in Schenectady, I suggest that you look elsewhere. (Scroll to the bottom of this review for second opinions.)
As an evening of theater, however, “Sleeping Beauty” will definitely not put you to sleep. British director-choreographer-writer Matthew Bourne had a bold, brash vision for this fairy tale, and his 24-member New Adventures dance company breathe eye-popping life into it onstage. This is a ballet for people who think that they don’t like ballet. It’s a stunning visual feast – especially the sumptuous sets and costume designs of Lez Brotherston. Just sit back, and let it all wash over you.
Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
When it comes to jazz, I fully admit that I am an extremist: I mean, one of my current fave-rave groups is an avant-soul-Dixieland quartet called Mostly Other People Do the Killing. And yet, unlike the tea-sipping lunatics currently chained to the gates of our government, I believe this genre has ample room for every kind of derivation. This is why A Place For Jazz’s first concert could be electrifying while its second offering – featuring the Jeff Hamilton Trio – never went beyond pleasant (at least for me)… and BOTH shows delighted a nearly-full house at the Whisperdome, with each group taking a standing ovation home with them.
Like the aforementioned Joe Magnarelli/Jerry Weldon blowout, the Hamilton Trio gig could also have been called “a gathering of friends,” except the meeting place for these friends was quite different. “I see some familiar faces from the Jazz Cruise,” Hamilton told the crowd after the former sideman for Ray Brown and Oscar Peterson finished his first number. Hamilton added wryly, “But I almost didn’t recognize you because we’re not weaving!” One hopes that comment was related to the ship’s stability instead of any visits to the punch bowl the audience members might have taken.