Posts Tagged ‘The Egg’

LIVE: Shuggie Otis @ The Egg, 7/26/15

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Shuggie Otis’ biography raises an intriguing question: how could a musician who achieved so much at such a young age end up being essentially blacklisted from the record industry for 39 years? Otis’ brief but occasionally dazzling performance at The Egg’s Lewis A. Swyer Theatre provided some clues but no definitive answers.

Born on November 30, 1953, Johnny Alexander Veliotes Jr. first strummed a guitar at age two and within ten years was backing his father at club gigs, donning dark glasses and a moustache to avoid being booted by club owners eager to keep their liquor licenses. Dad Johnny Otis was a fixture on the West Coast R&B circuit, as a bandleader, disc jockey and impresario. The senior Otis is himself a fascinating figure, a Greek who said he was “black by persuasion.”

Shuggie (a derivative of sugar coined by his black/Filipino mother) was all of 15 when Al Kooper recruited him to play on Kooper’s second super session record, filling the shoes of Steven Stills and Mike Bloomfield. Frank Zappa invited Otis to play bass on “Peaches en Regalia” from 1969’s classic Hot Rats LP. This quickly led to a contract with CBS/Epic and a strong debut album in 1970, Here Comes Shuggie Otis. Guitar Player magazine quoted B.B. King calling Shuggie his “favorite new guitarist.” Soon Otis was playing with luminaries such as Richard Berry, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Etta James, Louis Jordan and Eddie Vinson.

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LIVE: The Wiyos @ The Egg at the Empire State Plaza, 7/1/15

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

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Photographs by Tim Reidy

Led by Michael Farkas – who can conjure some powerhouse polyrhythms from his frottoir adorned with an array of noise-making devices from hotel desk bells to pots ‘n’ pans – the Wiyos nestled under The Egg on Albany’s Empire State Plaza for a free lunchtime concert earlier this month.

The Made in the Shade of The Egg concert series continues at 12noon on Wednesday (July 22) with a free concert by the up-and-coming San Francisco-based progressive bluegrass band Front Country, direct from their featured appearance at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill.

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LIVE: David Crosby @ The Egg, 6/30/15

Friday, July 10th, 2015

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Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

No Stills…
No Nash…
No Young…
Crosby goes it alone.

After a half century of standing on stage shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most talented musicians of the rock era – both in the Byrds and in Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young) – it took a certain amount of courage to take the spotlight all alone with just an acoustic guitar, as David Crosby did at the sold-out The Egg’s Hart Theatre on a recent Tuesday night.

But over the years, Crosby has endured drug and alcohol abuse, Hepatitis C, Type 2 Diabetes, a liver transplant, numerous arrests and a nine-month stint in a Texas state prison. He’s nothing if not a survivor, and he managed just fine by himself at The Egg. And though it seems nearly impossible considering what he’s put his body through, his voice sounds nearly as good as it did 40 or 50 years ago – warm and vital, sometimes keening, always inviting. At 73, he’s still quite capable of hitting the high notes, although his vocals did waver a bit at times.

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

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

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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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