LIVE: Joe Jackson @ The Egg, 10/26/15

November 12th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review by Bokonon
Photographs by Tim Mack

The Joe Jackson Time Machine landed at The Egg’s Hart Theatre recently, taking a full house back 30 years for nearly two hours. Jackson’s band sounded freakishly ’80s, especially given the fact that they were backing an artist who has continually looked forward. That’s not a complaint mind you, merely a somewhat stunned observation.

Guitarist Teddy Kumpel, particularly, channeled ‘85 with a guitar rig chock full of effects straight out of the Thompson Twins; and drummer Doug Yowell hit that snare with a big hair ferocity that’s thankfully been left in the past.

But Jackson’s voice and his incredible songs (including Egg entries “You Can’t Get What You Want,” “Another World” and “It’s Different for Girls”) are truly timeless. So, while the early band hits like “Sunday Papers” and the encore of “One More Time” satisfied, so did the newest tracks from his latest album, Fast Forward.

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LIVE: Florida Georgia Line @ SPAC, 8/30/14

September 11th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Florida Georgia Line (photo by Tim Mack)

Photographs by Tim Mack

Florida Georgia Line – the country dude duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard – weren’t the headliners at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s penultimate concert of the summer (that was Jason Aldean), but it sure sounded like they were judging by the volume of the crowd’s response.

The FGL bros are still riding high on the double-platinum success of their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times, and they delivered a high-energy, country-meets-rock-meets-hip-hop, whiskey-swiggin’, keep-the-party-rolling set.

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LIVE: Banooba @ Putnam Den, 6/21/14

June 27th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg


Review and photographs by Tim Mack

They didn’t kick things off and they weren’t the headliner at the Putnam Den. But they were worth a night on the town, just the same.

Sandwiched between a low-key acoustic opener from Eli Hargrave and the bombast of headliners Fishbone was Banooba. The New York City-based rock-funk-reggae-whatever band came out last Saturday night and ripped it up with a smile.

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LIVE: Red Molly @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 5/16/14

May 21st, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review and photographs by Tim Mack

There is no justice.

If you’re the sort of music fan who reads Nippertown, you know this already. Talent, charisma and hard work don’t guarantee success, and plenty of artists lacking in those departments make the big-time through blind luck and clever management (and possibly questionable consumer taste).

Which brings us to Red Molly.

If you caught the Americana/bluegrass trio in their return to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall last Friday night, you probably felt lucky to see such an outsized talent in a comparatively modest venue. Bassist Laurie MacAllister noted it was likely the biggest indoor audience the band had ever played for. And somehow that didn’t seem right. Not that anyone was complaining, because the Hall’s famous acoustics seemed perfectly suited to these three pure voices.

MacAllister, Abbie Gardner (dobro) and Molly Venter (guitar) play music with a good ol’ country feel and a bigger sound than you’d expect from an easy-going trio. (Concert note: It’s always a good sign when the ushers are raving about the sound check while they lead you to your seat.) The first set saw a sampling of material off their 2011 studio release, Light in the Sky, as well as songs from their various solo records and the soon-to-be-released The Red Album, arriving officially next week (though copies arrived in Troy just in time for the show). Every song was a crowd-pleaser, but two covers were stand-outs: Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” and “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” Richard Thompson’s classic motorcycle ballad starring a tragic heroine named… Red Molly.

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LIVE: Neko Case @ The Egg, 5/7/14

May 14th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review and photographs by Tim Mack

As “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!” panelists go, none rock harder than Neko Case.

Along with her critically acclaimed solo work, the Virginia-born singer-songwriter is known for her sharp wit and engaging personality, traits that earned her the rare distinction of being both a guest and panelist on NPR’s weekly news quiz. She’s also been a featured guest on Comedy Central’s “@midnight,” a contestant on an Australian music quiz show called “Spicks and Specks,” and she’s even been a voice on the animated series “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.” But last week when she rolled into The Egg, it was all about music.

Supported by a tight, yet short-handed backing band, Case spun through 22 songs pulled largely from her last two releases, 2009’s Middle Cyclone and 2013’s eccentrically titled The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, both of which were Grammy nominated. But for the packed house of dedicated Neko-philes in the Hart Theatre, whether hits or deep cuts, it was all good to them.

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LIVE: The Rodeo Barons Trio w/ Kevin Maul @ One Caroline Street Bistro, 4/10/14

April 16th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg

Rodeo Barons

Review and photographs by Tim Mack

It turns out what holds true in theater holds true for alt-country: The show must go on.

The Rodeo Barons have endured all manner of interruption during their winter-long residency at Saratoga Springs’ One Caroline Street Bistro: heavy snow, bitter cold, a special Samuel Adams dinner night and now paternity leave. With guitarist Mike O’Donnell and his wife celebrating the birth of their first child, this past Thursday’s show meant a change on the chalk board marquee. For one night only, it would be the Rodeo Barons Trio with special guest Kevin Maul on pedal steel guitar.

And for a venue well suited to jazz music, there’s nothing wrong with a little improvisation.

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LIVE: The Zucchini Brothers @ Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 2/21/14

March 19th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

The Zucchini Brothers

Review and photographs by Tim Mack

Once again during this February school break, the drawbridge at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany brought dozens of kids, parents and grandparents straight to Zucchiniland. The Friday morning show with the Zucchini BrothersJack, Sam and Steve – was exactly what audiences have come to expect from the trio that’s been making kids’ music since the ’90s – a comical mix of harmony, silliness, improv and health advice (“If you eat too much cheese, you’ll get wobbly knees!”).

It’s hard to disappoint when you’ve got songs like “Green Teeth” and “You Are What You Eat,” and those classics were exactly what the crowd was there to hear. It was an enthusiastic group of pre-school and elementary-age fans eager to play along with the Brothers, wherever the music took them. The intermission was as exciting as the first set for a lot of the kids, who got to climb on stage and meet the stars (Sam Zucchini is a particular favorite; apparently he’s the Ricky Nelson of the group).

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LIVE: Sarah Jarosz @ The Egg, 3/7/14 (Take 2)

March 12th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz

Review by Bokonon
Photographs by Tim Mack

Sarah Jarosz recently graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music. Those Beantown digs are close enough to lump her in with the Berklee bluegrass gang, and she certainly shares the politesse of that crowd. Even when they play outside, they sound dainty.

But Jarosz grew up in Wimberley, Texas, and she brings a bit of that Lone Star finesse to the table, at least when it comes to songwriting. And that is her true trump card.

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