Posts Tagged ‘The Egg’

LIVE: Mike Gordon @ The Egg, 6/19/15

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

gordon1

Review and photographs by Bryan Lasky

Mike Gordon might be the name that gets people into the seats, but the band is what keeps people in those seats at shows. His latest band – featuring Scott Murawski on guitar; John Kimock on drums; Robert Walter on keys; and Craig Myers on percussion – have gelled together beautifully in the short time they have been playing together on this early summer tour.

Gordon is, of course, well known from Phish, but his solo outfit is where he gets to show off his writing chops, as well as his considerable ability to front a band. He does this not by being the main focus point, but rather by sitting back and allowing himself to be engulfed within the band.

Not only was the music great, but the visuals in The Egg’s Hart Theatre were tremendous. Using light projectors to display various images along the walls of the venue, it often felt as though the crowd was transported inside a dream for more than three hours, while the band tore through songs and jams. The Egg has never looked so amazing during a show. Particularly nice surprises during the evening were the covers that the band rolled out during each set, including Fiona Apple’s “Sleep to Dream” and Beck’s “Black Tambourine,” both played as though the band had written them themselves, rather than some of the best songwriters of the past 20 years.

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LIVE: Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion @ The Egg, 6/16/15

Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker

Review by Brett Williams
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Once, in days of yore, Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker was the tall, gaunt, fire–maned maniac who provided the rhythmic backbone to Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in Cream. His style, brewed of equal parts feverish aggression and jazz–oriented precision, earned him a reputation as a drummer that has only ever been exceeded, arguably, by his reputation for drug use on a Keith Richards kind of scale, and for his legendarily nuclear blow-ups with band-mate Jack Bruce.

That was Ginger Baker then.

Ginger Baker now is a haggard, bespectacled septuagenarian. His distinctive red hair is a (mostly) tame shock of white. He has a degenerative spinal condition. He has COPD from a decade’s long, unrepentant smoking habit. He admits to being exhausted and in pain after every performance. My companion for the show, a drummer and ER nurse, spent most of the second set alternately admiring Ginger’s flam technique, and reviewing CPR in his head, just in case Mr. Baker was stricken mid-song (and it seemed a close-run thing whenever he stood up).

Yet two things about Ginger Baker remain undiminished. First – although it was never really on display Tuesday night – he remains, by nearly all accounts, a grumpy, grumpy man (he did tell us to shut up once, for applauding too much). Second – and this is the important one – he can still drum.

God, can he drum.

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LIVE: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit @ The Egg, 5/22/15

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Memorial Day is more than just an extra day off from work or an afternoon to fire up the grill and welcome summer…

Kicking off the big Memorial Day weekend at The Egg’s Hart Theatre, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell honored those who have served in our armed forces with a terrific triptych of tunes early on in his two-hour show. With his solid but unobtrusive four-piece backing band, the 400 Unit, slamming into arena-rock assault mode, Isbell launched into the delicate balance of honor and hostility in “Decoration Day” from his days with the Drive By Truckers, digging in and turning up the heat with a fiery slide guitar solo. “Tour of Duty” showcased the country twang aspect of the band, while “Dress Blues” was a personal and anguished remembrance of a young soldier and father-to-be, who didn’t live to see his 22nd birthday. “There’s red, white and blue in the rafters/And there’s silent old men from the Corps/What did they say when they shipped you away/To fight somebody’s Hollywood war?”

Perhaps Isbell plays those songs every night when he’s out on tour, but they echoed and ached with a deeper resonance on this night.

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LIVE: Ed Kowalczyk @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, 4/25/15

Thursday, May 21st, 2015
Ed Kowalczyk

Ed Kowalczyk

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Last year, Ed Kowlaczyk – the former frontman for ’90s alt-rockers Live – rolled into The Egg in Albany as part of his I Alone Tour, a stripped down show accompanied only by guitarist Zak Loy. Sonically, it was a far cry from Live’s glory days as booming arena-rockers. But Kowlaczyk’s passion as a vocalist and unbridled intensity as a performer threw plenty of heat, lifting the show to Live-like levels, while bringing an increased sense of dynamics to the music.

Obviously, Kowalczyk is enjoying the more minimalist approach, and last month he returned to The Egg with Loy in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Live’s sophomore album, Throwing Copper. The album was Live’s big breakthrough, and this time around, Kowalczyk and Loy played the album in its entirety, as well as churning through various other Live gems and nuggets from Kowalczyk’s solo career. And the results were the same – a little band, but a big, big sound.

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LIVE: The Wailin’ Jennys @ The Egg, 4/30/15

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
The Wailin’ Jennys

The Wailin’ Jennys

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

With a clever band name like the Wailin’ Jennys, you might assume that you’d be in for a rowdy gaggle of gals with guitars pumping out ornery, twangified cow-punk tunes, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Jennys have been “wailin’” for more than a dozen years now, and when they finally made their long-overdue Albany debut at The Egg’s Hart Theatre recently, they delivered an evening of sublime, subtle, harmony-laden songs that leaned heavily toward the countrified folk end of the musical spectrum.

But it really didn’t matter where the songs came from. The focus was squarely on the intricate intertwining of the three glorious voices of Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse. All three are exquisite songwriters, and the bulk of their 75-minute concert featured their original songs – highlighted by Moody’s gospel gem “Glory Bound,” the jazzy swing of Masse’s “Cherry Blossom Love” and Mehta’s haunting ballad “Arlington.”

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LIVE: David Bromberg & Larry Campbell @ The Egg, 4/19/15

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Just a coupla guys sittin’ around playin’ whatever they feel like playin’ on their guitars…

But when those guys just happen to be David Bromberg and Larry Campbell, well, you can bet that there were plenty of fretboard fireworks goin’ on even during a relaxed front-porch setting like the recent one at The Egg in Albany.

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LIVE: Gregory Alan Isakov @ The Egg, 4/10/15

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Gregory Alan Isakov

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Colorado-based singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov brought his band into The Egg in Albany recently for his Nippertown concert debut. With songs that told the story of miles, landscapes and the search for a sense of place, Isakov focused primarily on selections from his most recent album, The Weatherman. Americana favorite Jolie Holland opened the concert.

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LIVE: Joan Armatrading @ The Egg, 4/12/15

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Early in her knockout performance at The Egg Sunday night Joan Armatrading mentioned that this was the 125th date on what’s billed as her “last major worldwide tour.” She joked about being weary and promised to try something new: a very short set. Then Armatrading proceeded to take a rapt audience through what was essentially a guided tour (complete with slideshow) of her marvelous 43-year career, betraying absolutely no hint of road fatigue.

For this tour Armatrading performed solo but with a couple of technical enhancements. A mid-sized video screen hung center-stage, and while she sang “City Girl” from her 1972 debut, stock footage of highways and skyscrapers were projected, later overlaid with new-agey washes of colors and patterns. To my mind the videos were neither compelling nor distracting, but if you ask a contemporary audience to put away their damn cellphones it’s probably wise to provide a substitute pacifier of some sort. The other enhancement was musical: on a few songs, Armatrading deployed pre-recorded backing tapes of synth chords. While the tapes helped highlight Armatrading’s harmonic sophistication, like the videos they weren’t really needed.

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