Posts Tagged ‘albany


Zappa plays Zappa – Tonight!

Well, tonight is the night your HiFi reviewers have been salivating for over the past few months, Zappa Plays Zappa will visit our fair city of Albany, NY to play at the oddest looking venue on Earth, The Egg. 

The show has been sold out for over a month and I guess would make it the hottest ticket in town, especially since this concert will feature the album Apostrophe in its entirety (no easy feat I’m sure).

I’m personally curious how well Dweezil will cover St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast and Father O’blivion; so far he has done a rather impressive job of surrounding himself with very capable young musicians in past shows.  Since this tour focuses on celebrating the “would-have-been 70th birthday” of his father I’m also curious to see who Dweezil may have show up for a special cameo’s.  Napoleon Murphy Brock has accompanied him on past tours, but I’m not sure if guys likes of George Duke, Vinny Colaiuta, and Steve Vai will randomly appear on this tour; certainly would be very cool if they do.

Luckily there are no bad seats in The Egg due to it’s unique design, also the acoustics are top rate, so I’m sure that this will be a show to remember.  Check back tomorrow morning for a full review of the show.


The Allman Brothers “whip” fans wallets

On Veterans Day I had the day off from work, so I decided to grab a cup of coffee, a newspaper, and scratch ticket from my local convenient store.  This is a guilty pleasure I do not have the luxury of having these days with a 3-year old running around the house and the chaotic life of a half-rehabbed house.

As I looked through the paper I came across the event listings for my city and one that struck me right away was that the legendary group The Allman Brothers would be playing next week; cool I thought!  As I read further (with all the anticipation and intent on getting a ticket) I noticed that ticket prices range from $50 – $150!!!!????  Granted The Allman Brothers have not stepped foot in the venue (The Palace) since 1973, I still think these ticket prices are out of control and truly not very realistic for a depressed economy.  Not to mention that the band has not released a top ten hit in years, so at this point they are a novelty band full of greatest hits at best.

The show is being marketed as a “benefit concert”, so at first it made sense why the tickets are priced what they are; as usual a portion of the proceeds will go to the specific cause that the band or performer are supporting.  I’m very cool with benefit concernts and I appreciate how artists can use their fame to support a charity, but this is where things get cheezy and lame with this particular “benefit” concert…the cause is for The Allman Brothers museum!! What? 

Their musuem is called “The Big House”, it is a grand styled tudor mansion in Georgia where the band lived all together during the 1970’s during the real height of their career.  Apparently they all lived together writing songs there and raising their kids, smoking doobies and perhaps the occasional riskier recreational drug use.  According to their website it has become a “Mecca” for The Allman Brothers fan, big deal I say.

Why should I care about supporting their museum via an inflated ticket price? These guys are millionaires (or at least they should be).  However, I’m sure that woman, drugs, and booze gobbled up much of Gregg Allman’s funds.  The poor guy is dealing with recovery for a liver transplant; but I’m sure it was not from a tragic disease, but more a life of excess that is the trademark lifestyle of the Rock and Roll star.  Regardless, I think they are asking fans to help their cause is pretty goofy.  To ask fans to support keeping their old house alive and well while millions of Americans are dealing with foreclosure seems rather ironic.  But, most people facing foreclosure would not be spending $50 to see The Allman Brothers right now either.

I would honestly pay the ticket prices if it was a benefit for perhaps, say,  juvenile diabeties, pediatric AIDS, or even random backwoods animal shelter in Georgia.  But The Allman Brothers museum?  I think not, instead I think I’ll simply hanker down in my house with a cup of coffee and put on my $9.99 Allman Brother Greatest Hits album.

The band plays tonight at The Palace at 7:00; the show is not sold out as of this morning and if you are eager to fork over your hard earned dollars you can click here to get tickets.


Iron and Wine 2010-11 Tour Dates

 Iron and Wine’s website currently updated its tour page for the remainder of 2010 and beginning of 2011.  Clearly Sam Beam and the band are far more comfortable playing in warmer weather than venturing up Northern East Coast, specifically HiFi’s Centrals home city of Albany (c’mon Iron and Wine, play at The Egg!!!!)

The mid-West and South will have the pleasure of seeing Iron and Wine so get your tickets as quick as you can, often these shows sell out quickly.  I did notice that there is a gap between the end of November for US dates and then February when he begins a European tour; so perhaps there is a chance the band will buy a hat, scarf, and some mittens in the meantime and grace us with their presence.

I’ve never seen Iron and Wine since they rarely tour New England area; at least I don’t know if the band has ever played the Albany area.  Looking at past tour dates since 2008 they have jumped over Albany and played in Buffalo or NYC; clearly the capital city is not worthy enough I guess.

It appears to happen quite frequently that good acts often jump over Albany and I’m not quite sure why that is; clearly not a lack of music lovers or venues.

Thought you might want to know the band is on tour this month and playing “select” cities, let’s hope one is yours!

To see the tour listing for 2010-2011 click here!


Zappa Plays Zappa @ The Egg 12/16/10

Upon taking my first sip of coffee an intern here at HiFi Central burst into my office with a tattered and ripped newspaper clipping claiming the impossible is possible, yes Dweezil Zappa will grace our fair city once again, but this time at the very cozy and intimate setting of The Egg. 

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time I have praised the The Egg for it’s charm and warmth as a venue, and also trounced it’s smarmy underhanded practices at lame ticket sales.  The venue has been around since the late 1970’s and has provided a stage for the more intellectual of the arts and for artists looking for a cozier venue than the classic restored vaudville theaters or the open air ampi-theaters.  For those who enter the gates of the city of Albany, The Egg looks like a giant concrete flying saucer and often gets the initial question “what the hell is that thing”?; but once you have experienced the environment that The Egg provides, you look forward to the next show since it is often very up close and personal with and for both the artist and the spectator.

Fellow HiFi contributor EricStraus and I saw Al DiMeola last January at this venue; the show was magnificent (although shorter than we expected) we felt as if Al DiMeola had invited just his closest friends in for a taste of his catalog; the feeling free, relaxed, and very cozy.

Now Dweezil will grace us with his presence on December 16th and I could not be happier.  I missed his last concert at The Palace (a 1900’s restored vaudeville theater where The Stones played in the 1960’s and Dylan frequently played in the 1970’s), but was unable to attend.  A friend of mine saw Zappa at the Mahaiwe Center For The Performing Arts (Great Barrington, MA) in October and said the show was superb!  So, finally I will get my chance to witness the son-of-Zappa continue his fathers legacy for my own eyes.  A cool thing is that 5 days after this show (December 21st) would have been Frank’s 70th birthday; so it will be a fitting time to see  his legacy that night.  Apparently much of the concert will be focused on playing songs off of 1974’s album “Apostrophe”.

Tickets are a bit steep at $32.50 but considering this is a special show in honor of Zappa’s 70th birthday I think they will be well worth the price.

If you would like to get tickets to this show, click here.  I’m sure they will sell out quickly.

Update as of 11/16/2010 – Zappa Plays Zappa is SOLD OUT!   We got our tickets…hope you got yours!

Dweezil last played The Egg in 2008.

A 12/17 review of this show can be found by clicking the HIFI banner above and scrolling or clicking December 2010 in the Archives on the right hand side of this blog


Southern Culture on the Skids – On tour now!

I saw these guys a couple of years ago in a now defunct local dive (Revolution Hall – Troy, NY) and really enjoyed the show.  Southern Culture On The Skids (or SCOTS for short) is basically rockabilly meets country meets  B-52’s meets something entirely unique unto itself.

The band has announced some new tour dates and sadly they are not coming to Albany once again this year.  I find it amazing that so many bands overlook Albany (the capital city of  New York for God’s sake!), then again most people outside of the state think New York City is the capital.  The band Midlake, who’s album I reviewed a few months back, just got back from a tour of Europe and played a few cities in the US.  They only local appearance was 1.5 hours away in Syracuse …and they jumped right over Albany and went to Boston for the next gig, gee thanks!  To be fair, Albany does get its share of good shows but many of the bands that I would like to see often jump right over my beloved city, bummer.

If you are curious about seeing SCOTS on the road now’s the time; check the following dates and git’ yer’ tickets!

10/8       Richmond, VA  —  Plaza Duckpin Bowl
10/9       Washington DC  — 9:30 Club
10/10     Harrisburg, PA  —  The Abbey Bar
10/12     Marietta, OH  —  The Adelphia (At The Gallery)
10/13     Pittsburgh, PA  —  Diesel Club
10/14     Philadelphia, PA  —  World Cafe Live
10/15     Brooklyn, NY  —  The Bell House
10/16     Hoboken, NJ  —  Maxwell’s
10/29     Johnson City, TN  —  Casbah 
10/30     Buford, GA  —  Hell On Wheels Beerfest
10/31     Birmingham, AL  —  Zydeco
11/3       New Orleans, LA  —  One Eyed Jacks
11/4       Mobile, AL  —  Soul Kitchen
11/6       Tampa, FL  —  Skipper’s Smokehouse
11/7       Jacksonville, FL  — Jack Rabbits Live
11/26     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
11/27     Kill Devil Hills, NC  —  Port O’ Call
12/3       Charlotte, NC  —  Visulite Theatre
12/4       Carrboro, NC  —  Cat’s Cradle
12/18    Raleigh, NC  —  The Berkeley Cafe


Sirsy – live review 6/5 (Charlton, NY) A dynamic duo!

This past weekend my wife and I were invited to a neighborhood party in Charlton, NY for a local thing called “Founder’s Day”; basically it’s a local event that’s taken place for 100 or so years and has lost all meaning…but hey, it’s apparently still a good excuse to have a good time and that’s what it’s all about right?

During the beers and burgers in our friends backyard I started hearing music coming from a baseball field behind their house and discovered that live music was part of the celebration, so I went to check it out.  I figured it would be some hack band made up of a bunch of father’s finally showboating their garage band classics and reliving the glory days, but the sound and vocals were way too good to be garage fodder.  After a bit of patience wading through the lawn chair warriors I was able to discover it was a local band named Sirsy; and to be honest I was impressed!  I had heard of Sirsy in passing conversations and noticed they often were playing the popular pubs and music halls in the Albany area, but never had the motivation to actually catch a show. 

Sirsy is comprised of two musicians: Melanie Krahmer (percussion and vocals) and Rich Libutti (guitars and vocals) and the two are a very impressive duo in creating the amount of sound, power, and addictive rhythm necessary to keep a large crowd entertained.  Although their schtick is not original, bands like The Fumes, Flat Duo Jets, The Hasselhoff Experiment and of course, The White Stripes have defined the modern guitar and drum duo, however, Sirsy does an excellent job of defining their own sound in that style and more importantly clearly are having blast playing their music.

Sirsy played a variety of original songs and covers during the event, they played two sets and I think the plan of playing a bit of everything was very smart on their part.  Sirsy’s sound is a culmination of rock, rhythm & blues, and funk.  The crowd was a mix of old and young, and surprisingly they kept everyones attention; for many of us watching and listening we wanted more. Sirsy has an infectious sound live that should carry them far now that they have signed with a label. 

The band has signed with the independent label Funzalo Records and they are celebrating on Friday, June 11th at Revolution Hall (Troy, NY).  Tickets are a mere $5 prior and $10 day of the show.  Do yourself a favor and catch these guys if they come to your town this summer, they are touring and it might be the best live show you’ve seen awhile. 

Sirsy Upcoming June Tour Dates:

6/12 The Snooty Pig (Cornwall, NY)
6/16 Lakeside (New York City, NY)
6/17 The Bitter End (New York City, NY)
6/18 Napper Tandy’s (Raleigh, NC)
6/19 The Chart (Charleston, NC)
6/24 The Village Tavern (Marcellus, NY)
6/25 Old City Hall (Oswego, NY)
6/26 The Irish Times Pub (Saratoga, NY)


Nixon’s Spirit – 3/4/10 @ Valentine’s (Albany, NY)

Well, I’m not one to normally review local gigs but I felt that tonight a band was worthy of one; or at least to a degree. Rarely do I venture out on a week night these days to head to a local dive to watch local talent, often the local talent is well, untalented to be quite honest. However, having played in a band for several years while living in Boston I do appreciate the dreamers on stage putting forth as much effort as they can to possibly be “the next big thing” ; and most will eventually realize that it’s near impossible.

Sadly, in Albany the capital city of New York State, there is only one remaining real place for indie bands and the occasional punk band to play and that would be Valentine’s. Valentine’s has been around since I was in high school in the 80’s; interestingly enough they have remained while others have come and gone. It’s a cozy dive, with very little room to have a real show (perhaps 60 patrons max if they are lucky) and the sound quality is so-so; basically if you don’t have ear plugs you are asking for ringing ears for hours afterwards. The door guy was friendly and the bar maid nice enough, although she seemed far more entranced to finishing her copy of “Twilight” rather than actually smoozing with those of us at the bar.

The band that I went to see is named Nixon’s Spirit, a self proclaimed punk rock band that was offering new music that night for us to hear. Upon entering the bar it was your typical Thursday night gig in the winter, dreadfully empty.  Man did it bring back painful memories of when I use to gig out in Boston and my band would get a third spot in the line up on a tuesday night during a snowstorm.  The result was often a painful turnout and a bar owner (TT The Bears Place specifically) giving me the evil eye and asking the question, “I thought you guys said you could draw people?”; ugh!  To add insult to injury we would never get paid and often find a $50 parking ticket on the U-Haul van we rented that night.

Suprisingly the clubs in Albany are far more understanding and polite; Nixon’s Spirit was supposed to go on at 9:00 but I was informed that the singer would not arrive until 9:30. I was in amazement that the bar was cool about it. In Boston if you are expected to go on at 9:00 it mean’s 9:00 and you have exactly a 45 minute set, no flexibility whatsoever.  So, if you’re singer doesn’t show up…tough shit, play since the clocks ticking! I was shocked that everyone was so layed back about this gig starting later. Granted, you have to keep in mind that at the time there were literally only 5 people in the bar at the time; clearly  noone was getting rowdy for the headliner to go on any time soon.

Nixon’s Spirit did eventually go on and the first few songs were mediocre at best; the singer seemed off and the band still in the mode of warming up. The band became much tighter by the third song (but I could not tell you what the name of the first three were)  yet the lead singer was far more focused on drinking his beer than interacting with those of us in attendance. This was a facet I found odd, for much of the time the singer seemed to want to have his back to the audience and sing his song’s to his band; much of the first part of the gig seemed like we were mererly spectators at a rehearsal space.  Perhaps that’s being punk rock, right?

It was my understanding after talking to the bass player (Chris Cappadozy) that this gig was merely a last minute thing that they were using simply to test new material and see what worked and what did not. I have to admit that as the evening wore on the band got tighter and the song’s became more appealing to listen to; especially songs like 58,000 and 8 and X-Rated Man.  These songs had a very catchy punk rock rhythm and clearly the crowd dug what they were hearing.  The band ended the night with a song called Substance Abuse and it was ok, but not great. 

Nixon’s Spirit has potential, I really do think that if the refined their sound and picked particular songs from their catalog to play at live shows they would gain fans rather quickly.  If you are in the Albany area and have a chance to catch these guys playing, take a chance and check them out.

You can learn more about Nixon’s Spirit by clicking here

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