NYC’s Leroy Justice has got the goods – indie cred, Americana roots, soulful musicianship and plenty of bold bluesy swagger. That much was clear from their area shows last year at The Egg (opening for Big Head Todd & the Monsters) and moe.down.
Review by Erin Harkes
Photographs by Timothy Reidy
Anyone who says there’s nothing to do in Albany doesn’t listen to WEQX-FM.
This great radio station presents some amazing (and often free!) shows – pairing up Local 518 greats with touring indie rock bands. The results are usually epic, and Sunday night’s free show was no exception.
The Australian four-piece indie-pop band San Cisco performed at Albany’s Bayou Cafe to a packed crowd of reveling hipsters. The band opened with “Golden Revolver,’ which set the ebullient tone for the evening. The second song was led by Scarlett Stevens’ pulsing bass drum as though she were leading a parade. “Lyall” had a punk/surf beat which brilliantly contrasted with the almost reggae feel of the following song “Hunter” before bringing it back to pop with the slower and catchy “Beach.” “Reckless” was sweet and ethereal. I couldn’t help falling in love with the line, “I wouldn’t mind loving that girl.”
Mike Philip – formerly of Jillian’s – took over downtown Albany’s Bayou Cafe back in December, but now he’s decided to change the name to the Hollow Bar + Kitchen.
Ironically, Shane Spillenger – also formerly of Jillian’s in Albany – has just signed a lease to open a new Bayou Cafe at 2638 Route 9 in Malta, just north of Northway Exit 12. Spillenger is hoping to open the new Bayou Cafe by June.
And just for the record, Ralph Spillenger – yes, formerly of Jillian’s – is still at the helm of the original Bayou Cafe in Glenville.
Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
More of Rudy Lu’s photographs at Albany Jazz
(Monkfish Music Group
Okay, let’s say you’ve never heard the Chronicles play. You’ve never been to one of their club shows, and you missed their opening set at this year’s Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival. Their debut release The Chronicles is an outstanding taste platter of what this exciting sextet is all about, which is serving up the richest musical gumbo in Greater Nippertown. The band’s base is jazz, but from there it goes in so many different directions – the souped-up funk of saxman Jeff Nania’s “Purple Diesel”; the in-your face blues of trombonist/leader Bryan Brundige’s “Triumph”; and the so-cool soul of Jason Panucci’s “Suburban Grind” and Phillipe Chow & Kendra Jones’ “Rain Drops.” (Jones adds bright vocals and evocative piano to the date, as well.)
It’s all linked by skin-tight arrangements, sterling production values, and a dedication to be unlike anything else on the scene. You even see that in the dynamic layout of the CD booklet. The overall look evokes ’60s and ’70s Blue Note albums; a more recent example would be the last two releases by the monster all-star band the Cookers. But the band photos on The Chronicles tell a different story, putting out a vibe that comes closer to what we see from hip-hop groups or jam bands. There’s also an undeniable vibrancy that comes from the smiles on both the inside and outside of the booklet. The message is, “This is gonna be fun!” And you know what? It is!
But here’s the thing: A taste platter only gets your mouth excited about what you might experience if you ordered the full meal. Therefore it follows that once you’ve had your taste of The Chronicles, you’re going to want to see the band in their prime element – on stage, playing live. While they did themselves proud during their too-short Albany Riverfront set, that relatively small space was actually too big for the band. To really make the connection with the Chronicles, what’s required is a small club with a big dance floor and a nice long bar at the back. Happily, the Bayou Café has all these things, and the combination of band and venue worked like a charm.
It ain’t nuthin’ but a party at the Bayou on a Friday night, and since this was a celebration as well as a commercial event, it required a party band to get it all started. Nyack’s own Mr. Breakdown filled the bill there, mixing their own originals with rocked-out takes on music by a bevy of ’70s soul bands. The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” gave way to a hopping medley of tunes by Tower of Power. Over by the merch table (where The Chronicles was being sold on disc and USB stick), Brundige happily sang along as Mr. Breakdown nailed the chorus to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star.” It makes sense Brundige would dig EWF, since they (and the other bands Mr. Breakdown championed) all had the kind of laser-focused horn charts the Chronicles dish out on every chorus.
Review and photographs by Brian Tromans
The Chronicles released their long-awaited, self-titled, debut studio album last Friday (December 14) at the Bayou Café in Albany. Combining jazz, hip-hop, funk, soul and gospel, the Chronicles have been a staple on the Capital Region since their founding in 2009 by upstate horn heavyweights Bryan Brundige and Jeff Nania.
They have appeared at many regional music festivals including the Riverfront Jazz Festival, Albany Tulip Festival, Bella Terra, African American Heritage Day, the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and the BeatShot Music Festival.
The Dependents will be rockin’ the Bayou Cafe in Albany tonight (Friday, October 12), as part of “Rock Chick Fix.” The evening will also feature Ten Year Vamp, the Emeralds of July and Chelsea Cavanaugh (who will be filming a live music video for her single “Superstar”). Showtime is 7pm, and admission is $10.