Parade o’ Shoes: Grace Potter

October 27th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Sara
Grace Potter @ Mountain Jam, 6/5/15 (photo: Stanley Johnson)

Grace Potter @ Mountain Jam, 6/5/15

Photograph by Stanley Johnson

In support of her debut solo album, Midnight, Vermont rocker Grace Potter steps into the spotlight at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Thursday (October 29). Rayland Baxter opens the show at 8pm. Tickets are $35 & $45 in advance; $38 & $48 at the door.


LIVE: Albany Riverfront Jazz Fest @ Corning Preserve Boat Launch, 9/12/15

October 5th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Booker T. Jones

Booker T. Jones

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Ed Conway, Stanley Johnson, Andrzej Pilarczyk

Last year the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival hosted five acts – two local and three national. Last month at the 14th annual fest at the Corning Preserve Boat Launch Parking Lot, the numbers were flipped the other way around. And Those Jazz Purists amongst us complained that neither of the out-of-town acts really played jazz. But headliner Booker T. Jones – whose ’60s band Booker T. & the MGs actually invented the simmering southern soul sound of Stax Records – proved them wrong.

Backed by a solid quartet that included his son Ted Jones on second guitar, Jones and his Hammond B3 organ melded soul and jazz into a sizzling, savory stew, roaring into a 75-minute show with the MGs’ “Pigmy.” More than half of his set was culled from the instrumental hits of that classic band, including the soul-strutting “Hip Hug-Her” (updated with a serious mid-song rap by drummer Darian Gray), the sweeping spaghetti western theme “Hang ‘Em High” (with an all-aces solo by Jones the younger) and “Soul Limbo” (fueled by a cowbell-driven drum solo from Gray). Jones lost a bit of momentum mid-show when he switched to guitar for tributes to Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and Otis Redding, but he recovered with the MGs’ biggest hit, the timeless “Green Onions.” And they saved the best for last – a towering rendition of “Time Is Tight.”

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LIVE: Roosevelt Dime @ Riverlink Park, 8/8/15

August 28th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Stanley Johnson

Following captivating summer performances around the Local 518 at Caffe Lena and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Brooklyn-based Americana-r&B quartet Roosevelt Dime arrived in Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park earlier this month for a free outdoor show that featured hard-driving banjo, fat-back blues guitar and honky-tonk harmonies over a bedrock of funky New Orleans rhythms.

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LIVE: Blue Oyster Cult & Blotto @ Alive at Five, 8/6/15

August 25th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano and Buck Dharma (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano and Buck Dharma (photo by Stanley Johnson)

Photographs by Rudy Lu, Stanley Johnson, Ed Conway, Tim Reidy, Richard Brody

The Blot & Blue Tour, back together again for one night only!

Blotto and Blue Oyster Cult originally teamed up for a tour that took place back in February and March of 1983. They reunited for one of the largest Alive at Five concerts in Albany’s Corning Preserve in August of 1996.

Earlier this month, the two bands shared the stage again, this time at Jennings Landing, wrapping up the 2015 Alive at Five concert season in front of the largest crowd of the summer.

From “Godzilla” to “Goodbye, Mr. Bond,” from “Don’t Fear the Reaper” to “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard,” the evening jam packed with rockin’ riffs, some hearty laughs and too much fun.

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LIVE: The Edgar Winter Band @ Alive at Five, 7/23/15

July 29th, 2015, 3:03 pm by Greg
Edgar Winter

Edgar Winter

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Stanley Johnson

Texas blues-rocker/multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter brought his current band – guitarist Doug Rappoport, bassist Koko Powell and drummer Jason Carpenter – to town for a free Alive at Five concert last week – exactly 12 years after playing a free concert at the Empire State Plaza…

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LIVE: Bernie Williams & His All-Star Band @ SummerNight, 7/10/15

July 20th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams

Photographs by Stanley Johnson

Yeah, in concert in the Electric City, the longtime NY Yankee centerfielder proved that he can handle a guitar nearly as well as he handled a baseball bat back in his heyday. Bernie Williams brought his All-Star Band to Schenectady’s State Street earlier this month as the headliners for the annual free street party, Schenectady County SummerNight. And judging by the fans’ reactions, he knocked it out of the park again…

Joining Williams and his band in the free, evening-long celebration were the Refrigerators, Stockade Kids, the #2 Band, Moriah Formica, Crush and the veteran Charlie Smith Blues Band.

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LIVE: Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez @ Riverlink Park, 7/4/15

July 17th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Stanley Johnson

Following her Caffe Lena gig at the end of May, Christine Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez returned to Greater Nippertown earlier this month for a dual celebration – the Fourth of July and the kick-off of the Riverlink Summer Concert Series in Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park.

The blond, bee-hived queen of blue-eyed rock ‘n’ soul is instantly recognizable from her longtime stint as a vocalist with the “Saturday Night Live” Band, and she’s become a regular visitor to the Local 518 in recent years, firing up her sizzling, soulful sound with bandmates guitarist Cliff Goodwin, bassist Michael Colbath and drummer Larry Donahue.

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Fare Thee Well: Gratefully Remembering the Dead

July 10th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Greg

Remembering the Grateful Dead

Story and photographs by Stanley Johnson

I arrived at the party for Sandy’s birthday last Friday (July 3). Bob, who I seem to run into at every music event I go to in Greater Nippertown, had arranged for a projector and PA system, and the backyard had been transformed into an outdoor theater bordered by a circle of tiki lamps and a firepit. The screen was a sheet tacked to the side of a barn.

We watched the first of the final three performances of the Grateful Dead live from Chicago. It was a pretty good performance, although computer buffering problems did sometimes interrupt the show. We had bug repellant, fireworks and a big moon rising.

Was it a good Grateful Dead concert? You can be the judge of that: the show will be part of a box set which was constantly promoted throughout the night. The band, like previous reunion versions under the names the Other Ones and the Dead, played unique arrangements and extended medleys of Grateful Dead songs, most of which were originally recorded back in the ’60s and ’70s. There may have been later period songs, but I wasn’t always paying close attention. It was a party, and I was taking no notes nor photos.

It seemed appropriate for me to be watching this performance in Alplaus, a place with a connection to Kurt Vonnegut, who had a connection with the Grateful Dead. For a time, the Grateful Dead owned the rights to his novel “Sirens of Titan,” although what they were going to do with them no one seems to remember. Vonnegut, whose drug preferences were cigarettes and occasional alcohol, admitted to once having smoked a joint with the band.

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