Live music at the Drive-in: a new summer tradition?

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It was a beautiful Tuesday night at the Malta Drive-in.  The rains earlier in the day had passed, and a rainbow emerged as a backdrop to the cars filing in for the night.  People were arriving to what has become part of “the new normal” – a drive-in mixed doubleheader of live music and a classic movie.

Side-B at the Malta Drive-in

Taking the stage a little after 7:30 was Side-B, a four-piece rock band out of Colonie that is finding an increasingly high profile on the local music scene.  Playing on an improvised platform behind a tractor (directly in front of the movie screen), they launched into a well-selected setlist clearly targeted at an outdoor crowd looking to lose the Covid cobwebs of the past few months.  The cover songs connected as cover songs should – Frampton, Hendrix, Green Day, The Police, etc.  But the real surprise was how well their originals (largely from The Low Budget Romance EP, released last year) stood up and were received.  “Funky Boi” was a highlight, as was the unreleased “The Mountain Song”, which bodes well for their future.  The crowd was properly responsive, in spite of the unavoidably tough acoustics of playing in front of a flat, hard screen.

Boy, it felt good to hear real live music again.  From there it was time to settle comfortably into the truck and watch Almost Famous (keeping the rock ‘n roll theme going).  It was, by any measure, a great summer night.  I can’t help but wonder if this doesn’t start a new tradition, even after the pandemic passes.  Personally, I’d rather see a band followed by a movie, than a 2 movie double header.  And (in this case), it also raised funds for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.  A win-win-win in my book.

These band/movie drive-in doubleheaders continue throughout the summer, at both the Malta and Jericho drive-ins.  I highly recommend you check one out…they’re a lot of fun.

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