Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Johnson’

LIVE: James Taylor @ SPAC, 7/19/14

Monday, July 21st, 2014

James Taylor's All Stars

Photographs by Stanley Johnson

Since the Berkshires’ own James Taylor sells out a handful of dates at Tanglewood every July, Local 518 fans tend to take him for granted. It’s hard to believe that his previous tour stop at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center was more than a decade ago.

But Taylor is remarkably reliable in concert. And on Saturday night (July 19) he brought along his nine-piece All-Star Band, featuring Blues Brothers’ saxman Lou Marini, drum master Steve Gadd and noted session guitarist Michael Landau, among others.

Relaxed and comfortable in the spotlight, Taylor told stories about the Beatles (his debut album was released on their Apple Records) and crooned his way through two hour-plus sets of singer-songwriter classics from the ’70s, and a few new selections, too.

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LIVE: Eileen Ivers @ Proctors, 7/13/14

Friday, July 18th, 2014
Eileen Ivers

Eileen Ivers

Photographs by Stanley Johnson and Rudy Lu

Fab Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers has been a longtime favorite with Nippertown audiences, having played at such concert venues as the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and The Egg. So it was no surprise that a large crowd came out to see her play a free show, despite the fact that rain forced the concert to move from Central Park’s Music Haven to indoors at Proctors’ Main Stage.

While Ivers and her crack band – percussionist Tommy McDonnell, accordionist Buddy Connolly, guitarist Greg Anderson and bassist Lindsey Horner – certainly are rooted in Irish music, they also know how to hybridize with a deft touch (the Afro-Celtic mash-up “Paddy in Zululand”) and stretch out far beyond the Celtic music genre altogether, like their encore of the Allman Brothers Band’s “People Can You Feel It (Love Is In the Air).”

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LIVE: Lord Huron @ Alive at Five, 7/10/14

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Lord Huron (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Lord Huron (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Photos by Stanley Johnson and Andrzej Pilarczyk
Video by Timothy Reidy

Originally a solo project for singer-songwriter Ben Schneider, the Los Angeles-based indie folk band Lord Huron has grown into a full ensemble, and the band made quite an impression last week in their Nippertown debut at Jennings Landing in Albany. Headlining the latest installment of the free Alive at Five concert series, Lord Huron is touring in support of their debut album, Lonesome Dreams, and they’ve landed such choice gigs as South by Southwest, Outside Lands and Lollapalooza.

Opening the show was Saratoga singer-songwriter MaryLeigh Roohan, who came armed with an all-star batch of backing musicians for her set in support of her latest album, Skin and Bone.

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LIVE: Mokoomba @ Music Haven at Central Park, 6/29/14

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Mokoomba

Mokoomba

Photographs by Stanley Johnson

With Mona Golub at the helm, the slogan for the Music Haven Concert Series is, “Traveling the world one concert at a time,” and the series kicked off its 25th anniversary season last month in Africa.

Not just any African band, either. Mokoomba hails from the isolated town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and their appearance in Schenectady’s Central Park was their first ever concert on American soil. And what a concert it was. led by vocalist Mathias Muzaza, Mokoomba was all-around terrific: great dancers, great singers and great players.

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LIVE: Yes @ The Egg, 7/6/14

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Steve Howe

Steve Howe

Review by Bokonon
Photographs by Stanley Johnson

So, at the Yes show at The Egg on Sunday, I was discussing with an old friend the fact that I have been progging out of late. I have no embarrassment or fear of this, and it’s been pretty deep. Lots of Can, not like that’s a surprise, the Krautrock tip is always cool. But perhaps a touch of Magma, made-up language and all. Certainly some Henry Cow, a fair dose of Soft Machine and David Thomas’ solo work, which, really, is never too far from the heart. And Beefheart. Is Beefheart prog?

But back to Yes. Yes is the acceptable face of prog, side by side with Genesis, which try as I might, I could just never sink my teeth into, despite protestations from ardent worshippers. Jon Anderson sang a tune with King Crimson, sure, but Yes could never marshall that kind of power. When Bruford jumped ship he knew that something like Red would crush Anderson’s head.

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LIVE: George Thorogood & the Destroyers @ ESP Convention Hall, 6/25/14

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

George Thorogood

Photographs by Stanley Johnson

George Thorogood certainly does know how to bludgeon the blues. Subtle, he ain’t.

But then again, the fans that packed into the Empire State Plaza Convention Hall last week for the final installment of the free Capital Concert Series weren’t looking for subtlety. It was a party, a beer-soaked, two-fisted drinking party, and 64-year-old Thorogood and his band the Destroyers provided the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am soundtrack from the opening volley of “Born to Be Bad” to the expected show-closing romp through “Bad to the Bone.”

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LIVE: Easy Star All-Stars @ Alive at Five, 6/19/14

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Easy Star All-Stars (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Easy Star All-Stars (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk and Stanley Johnson

With Jamaican reggae-crossover star Shaggy opening for Bootsy Collins last Wednesday at the Empire State Plaza, reggae fever was already pretty high in Nippertown, but the temperatures ran up off the chart the next day when the Easy Star All-Stars and John Brown’s Body brought the reggae riddims to Jennings Landing in Albany’s Corning Preserve for the latest installment of the free Alive at Five concert Series.

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LIVE: Marty Wendell @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 6/20/14

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Sean and Marty Wendell

Sean and Marty Wendell

Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson

Last week at WAMC-FM’s The Linda in Albany, Rockabilly Hall of Fame recording artist Marty Wendell celebrated 50 years of making music, surrounded by family and friends.

The concert began with a solo set by Jefferson Thomas, originally a member of Marty’s band during the ’80s and now the producer of Wendell’s new work-in-progress. Thomas played a song about his late father for his mother who was in the audience, as well as other original songs including “Are We Growing Up Or Growing Old” and “She Don’t Like It When It Rains.” A fine guitarist, Thomas also delivered several covers such as “Get Back” and “Ode To Billy Joe.”

Thomas then introduced Marty Wendell and his band, which included, Marty’s son Sean on guitar and daughter Hilary on vocals. Guest artist Kelly Bird added backing vocals, as well as solo turn on “Walking After Midnight” and a duet with Marty on “My Blue Heaven.”

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