LIVE: Grace Potter @ the Palace Theatre, 10/29/15

November 3rd, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review by Don Wilcock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Grace Potter, the prodigal daughter, returned home last Thursday (October 29) to play the Palace Theater in Albany. Originally from Waitsfield, Vermont, she left home more than a decade ago and signed with Hollywood Records releasing five albums in 10 years. Midnight, her most recent release, is her first solo CD without her band, the Nocturnals. In her Albany concert, she gave a shout out to Albany and Troy, acknowledging early gigs here. The elephant in the room, however, was the question of whether she’d be embraced by a fan base she’s left in the lurch, at least on her new solo album.

Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Sam Cooke, the Moody Blues, and Miley Cyrus have all made drastic right or left turns in their sound that alienated their core constituency. Dylan pissed off the traditional folkies when he plugged in, Sam Cooke when he went secular, the Moody Blues when they went from blues to orchestral, and Miley Cyrus when she grew out as opposed to
up and dissed her Disney image. Grace Potter, like Miley Cyrus, has a Disney connection. Her label, Hollywood Records, releases all Disney-related product, and she sang solo on the soundtrack to Disney’s 50th animated feature, “Tangled.”

Potter’s appeal until Midnight has been her ability to bring a Joan Jett-level of rock energy to a band as thick with heavy rock texture as a bowl of New England clam chowder. Drop dead beautiful with her long blonde hair, she played up her sensuality like Madonna without resorting to a bag of tricks, and the band supplied a solid underpinning to offer a hard rock authenticity equaling that of the now long-in-the-tooth band Heart.

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Palace Theatre Adds a New Comedy Show

August 20th, 2015, 11:00 am by Greg
Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle

Last week, the Palace Theatre in Albany announced that superstar comedian Dave Chappelle would be making a tour stop there on Sunday, October 4. Tickets for the 7pm show went on sale earlier this week, and sales were so strong that that Palace decided to add a second show that same evening at 9:30pm.

Tickets for the 9:30pm show are currently on sale, priced at $58. There is a four-ticket purchasing limit.

LIVE: Halestorm @ the Palace Theatre, 5/5/15

May 22nd, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg

Lzzy Hale of Halestorm

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

As you may recall, Halestorm was one of the bands that got the ax when Albany’s Washington Avenue Armory put a ban on all upcoming concerts after the melee at the Migos show back in March.

Fortunately, the promoters were able to re-locate the show to the Palace Theatre, and Lzzy Hale got a chance to strut her stuff with the boys after all.

but it was the Pretty Reckless – led by singer/actress Taylor Momsen – who made the most of the night. Yes, little “Jenny Humphrey” has gone from “Gossip Girl” to Gothy Girl, and while co-star Blake Lively got Ryan Reynolds, Momsen got one helluva band.

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Palace Theatre Announces New Concert

December 2nd, 2014, 11:00 am by Greg

We initially announced the show a month ago, but now Albany’s Palace Theatre has confirmed that blue-collar comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White will be stepping into the Palace spotlight.

Priced at $46.75 & $56.75, tickets go on sale to Palace members on Wednesday (December 3) and go on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday (December 5).

LIVE: Gov’t Mule @ the Palace Theatre, 11/14/14

November 26th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Warren Haynes

Warren Haynes

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Two decades is a long time for a band to be on the back burner as a “side project.”

But with the recent retirement of the Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule has finally risen to the top of guitarslinger Warren Haynes’ musical to-do list. And judging by the band’s sprawling two-and-half-hour-plus show at Albany’s Palace Theatre earlier this month the Mule is still kickin’ with the best of ’em.

The band – drummer Matt Abts, bassist Jorgen Carlsson and keyboardist-guitarist Danny Louis – laid down a rock-solid foundation, but it was Haynes who made the songs soar, whether it was a reggae-tinged cover of Al Green’s “I’m a Ram” or the soul-scorching encore of “Bring On the Music.”

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LIVE: Ian Anderson @ the Palace Theatre, 11/2/14

November 13th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

At Albany’s Palace Theatre, the first hour or so of the concert was an audio-visual event with some theatrical props embellishing the songs, past and present. Most of the songs featured were from Ian Anderson’s new album, Homo Erraticus, but the set closed out with a couple of seasoned nuggets from the rich Jethro Tull catalog, for example, a brilliant, full-length rendition of “Thick as a Brick.”

The second set did away with the stage props and presented the classic Tull music front and center. Anderson was full of vim and vinegar jumping around all over the stage with his flute. The second vocalist, Ryan O’Donnell, shared vocal duties with Anderson, sounding a lot like him in tone and inflections, but while O’Donnell added his vocals to some well-known numbers from the Jethro Tull cannon, Anderson feverishly played his flute behind him at those times only to bring down the flute from his lips and sing at decisive moments of the song-at-hand’s structure.

There was no doubt who the lead vocalist was – it was Ian Anderson, who at 67, was laying down the Jethro Tull sound song-for-song in all the group’s glory.

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LIVE: Primus @ The Palace Theatre, 10/24/14

October 30th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Sara


Review by B. Patrik
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Primus playing the entire soundtrack to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” sounds like a match made in heaven.

And for the most part, it was at Albany’s Palace Theatre last Friday (October 24). Before a sold-out crowd of excitable diehards, the band’s original line-up tore through every song from the 1971 Roald Dahl adaptation, which doubles as their reunion album released Tuesday, “Primus and the Chocolate Factory With the Fungi Ensemble.”

What makes the pairing work is the film’s and band’s shared penchant for weird. “Willy Wonka,” which stars Gene Wilder in the title role, is a tonally faithful (though not scene-for-scene) translation of Dahl’s whimsical-yet-dark children’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in which five children visit a magical chocolate factory and each but poverty-stricken main character Charlie Bucket befalls a grave “accident” related to his or her vice. It’s a colorful, near-psychedelic film, especially the second half when the action in the factory starts, but when the basic plot is laid out, it almost sounds like a horror movie. Moments in the film are downright terrifying to a seven-year-old (the tunnel scene, in particular, comes to mind).

Primus, formed by bassist and lead howler Les Claypool in 1984 and solidifying around guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander in 1989, spent the ’90s mixing rubbery yet sinister funk and hard rock riffs, monster bass lines and Claypool’s oft-hilarious, faux-Southern accented rants. It’s a sound that is truly all the band’s own, and one that lends itself well to the creepier and more psychedelic moments of the Wonka story, especially Wilder’s big solo from the film “Pure Imagination,” and the aforementioned “Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride.” Live, assisted by Wonka costumes, video screens, a mushroom-festooned set and the Fungi Ensemble – percussionist Mike Dillon and cellist Sam Bass – the band upped the trippy quotient of Dahl’s story, creating a musical and visual carnival onstage.

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Ian Anderson, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

October 30th, 2014, 11:00 am by Greg
Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

“The first album? Well, it wouldn’t have been an album that I bought on my own. It would have been an album that I clubbed together with two other guys to buy, and I think it was a compilation album of black American blues artists.

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