Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Timothy Reidy
It goes without saying that when seven-piece Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds play your town, the energy levels surge so high that even the snow outside starts to melt. On this particular Saturday night, the Hollow Bar + Kitchen was sizzling and filled to capacity. It was nothing but a house party from start to finish – “Albany should always be this much fun!” as one woman in the audience exclaimed to me feverishly after the two-hour set.
The band, a self-described “hard soul collective” led by the immensely talented and beautiful singer Arleigh “Sister Sparrow” Kincheloe, was greeted with a roar from the crowd even before the first notes of long-time favorite “Freight Train.” The second-line rhythms of New Orleans and standout riffs of Phil Rodriguez (trumpet) and Brian Graham (saxophone) galvanized “Millie Mae” and had the patrons cutting a rug.
Several songs from the band’s upcoming album The Weather Below got a strong reception. “Don’t Be Jealous,” a strutting blues led by guitarist Sasha Brown and the deep groove of Dan Boyden (drums) and Josh Myers (bass), had Sister Sparrow testifying and flying around the stage, exhorting the crowd to dance its cares away. A soulful “We Need a Love,” “Sugar” (highlighted by a spontaneous, mid-song Bo Diddley-esque clap-along) and the current single, “Mama Knows,” a deep soul number that featured some poignant Hammond B-3 styled harp playing by Arleigh’s big brother Jackson Kincheloe, kept the crowd rapt. “Borderline” began with a multi-vocal introduction and hit some Sly Stone-worthy hooks; it would make a great second single release sometime this spring. “Prison Cells,” which was featured later in the set, percolated with Caribbean rhythms and inspired Sister Sparrow herself to pick up some sticks and join Boyden behind the kit while Rodriguez dropped some knowledge on the trumpet.
Wisconsin power-popsters Locksley returned to Nippertown last month for a free concert sponsored by WEQX-FM at Vapor in Saratoga Springs. Local 518 favorites the Lucky Jukebox Brigade kicked off the festivities with an impressive opening set. That’s what we call “real good for FREE”…
Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Tim Livingston
It was the third year for “An Evening of Murder Ballads,” Caffe Lena’s fund-raising Halloween tradition, and as Lena’s manager Sarah Craig explained, in years past, the focus was squarely on the traditional folk ballads of murder, killing and revenge.
The Honest Weight Food Co-op hosted its fifth annual Local Harvest Festival at the Lakehouse in Albany’s Washington Park earlier this month. And while the focus of the free fest was a Local Foods Marketplace with more than 50 vendors, the day-long event also presented a harvest of homegrown Local 518 music, too, including performances by Rosary Beard, Olivia Quillio, Banshee Tree and the Lucky Jukebox Brigade.
Local 518 folk-pop band the Midnight Society – helmed by Deidra Knauth (keyboard, vocals) and Jim DeSario (guitar, vocals) – took over Red Square in Albany over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the release of their new 10-tune album, Footprints.
First off at the BSP Lounge in Kingston was the Metropolitan Hot Club, playing a tight set of jazz. The crisp four-piece was the first set of bands that bookended the show. The event encouraged costumes, and most attendees were well dressed and made up part of the fun of the evening. In the middle sections of this escapade was burlesque with three styles – the elegant Martina Markota with a swan/peacock dance, Gigi & Pop with a singing cowboy show and Dr. Lucky with a carousel pony show.
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