Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Quick Note

There is a lot going on musically in Albany these days. Actually, there probably has been for a while, but I worked a lot of stupid jobs and was kind of missing out on it. Mercifully, I don't work for any stupid jobs anymore, so I can go see lots of people play lots of instruments and it's a good time.

About two weeks ago, I went to a free show at the Muddy Cup. Some of the bands that played are well known and good so I won't waste space going into it here. However, one band definitely worth mentioning that I hadn't seen before that night is The Luxury Flats from Hudson, NY. They have a mellow-ish indie rock feel and they sounded great live. I really liked the vocals a lot, this band is very listenable. Also, some of them had the sweetest facial hair I have seen in a while (but that really has nothing to do with anything).

On St. Patricks day, I went to see Dunbar play with a band called Barons In The Attic at the Moon and River cafe in Schenectady. Barons In The Attic have been playing together for maybe three months now and for being together for such a small amount of time they sound more put together than you would think. They're still working out the kinks that all new bands have to deal with which just comes with time and experience. This band has a folky sound and would definitely love any support so check them out.

To wrap things up, there are a lot of really good shows coming up, which I will conveniently line up for you in a list-like format:

Sgt Dunbar is playing with Beware The Other Head Of Science at Kings Tavern in Saratoga on March 29th. I can't go, but people who can may want to consider it.

On April 3rd at 8 pm a bunch of newer bands will be playing a showat CDFI; these include littlefoot, The Majestic Moose Club, Blood, The Hoborchestra, and Ryan Starks. Suggested donation is three dollars.

Then the night after (April 4th) you can go see the Scientific Maps play at Valentines with The Red Lions (sweet!) and ladystein. I'm not sure how much that costs but I would assume it costs something. Either way, you should go.

April 11th is another show at CDFI that will have a whole lot of bands playing at it. One of these bands includes Jeneric, who have just finished working on a new album called In the Parlor with The Moon (which has really great album art).

Before I end this blog, I would like to thank Josh for telling me that band was called Perkaisie. Thanks Josh!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm going to remember February 15th for a long time

So, why am I going to remember February 15th? Two reasons: 1) I rode my bicycle into a moving vehicle (don't worry, the injuries were negligible) and 2) I saw Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea" covered in it's entirety with an exuberance that I like to think Jeff Magnum would have approved of.

Ok, so the reason I hit a moving car on my bike was a mix of being cut off, riding much too fast in slush, and the brakes not working properly. After hitting the car and exchanging a mixture of "wow I'm really surprised but ok!" gestures with the people in the vehicle, I hopped back on my bike and rode to Valentines. There was no way I was going to miss this.

Unfortunately, I missed both Littlefoot and Stacey Gets Drunk, but arrived in time for the third band of the night, who's name, I am sorry to say, escapes me. I heard it said several times during the set but I just never really HEARD it. (If you know what I mean.) I did manage to catch that they are from PA somewhere. I think I want to say Lancaster? I am probably making this up. If anyone still reads this blog, my most sincere apologies. Feel free to let me know the correct information. Mysterious name and mysterious origins aside, this band was really good. They were very tight and put together, there was definitely some nice harmonization. Whoever they were, I liked it.

After their set, everyone eagerly waited the few minutes it took Dunbar to get set up. After a few opening questions, comments, and thankyous, Alex Muro informed the audience that the band (and a few guests) would be playing the album straight through, no stopping. With that, Dunbar promplty started playing The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1, and as everyone in the venue sang so loud you could barely hear the vocalist, you just knew the entire set would be an experience you wouldn't forget for a long, long time. Every song was solid, Muro sang with his usual energy and enthusiasm that worked perfectly for the songs he was the lead in, I thought this especially true for Holland, 1945. Oh Comely was covered by Aaron Smith from Scientific Maps and it was really well done. People would join in at some parts or mangle the lyrics, but Smith managed to get through some of the distractions (some people thought he was done once or twice) and cover the song beautifully. His inflections were pretty much right on with Magnum's. All the other members of Sgt Dunbar added significantly to the performance (I could name them all here, but at this point, most people reading this know who they are and furthermore, know they are an essential, talented part of Dunbar) ; their brass section has always been great and this time I think they were in excellent form. What is so awesome about Dunbar is the numerous amounts of instruments every member can play and you could tell everyone cared a lot about making these songs sound as good as they did.

The other good part of the show was definitely the audience. Everyone there obviously knew and loved the lyrics to "In Aeroplane Over The Sea" as well as Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned did. I still run into people who (nearly a week and half later) tell me how awesome they thought that show was. One girl told me how she had the album but it broke and she had forgotten to get a new one until she went to the show that Friday. The next day, she and her boyfriend went to pretty much every media store in the Albany area until they finally found the last copy of the record somewhere in Colonie. Others simply remembered how much they love In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, listened to it again, and gained a new perspective or appreciation for it. To me that album will always be timeless, every time I listen to it I forget that its been ten years since it came out. The lyrics still feel as fresh, stirring, and meaningful as the day I first listened to them.

I think that's what that night at Valentines was all about.


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