“Goodnight Irene” was on the lips of many a Northeastern performer Saturday night, not the least of whom was John McCauley (pictured), whose band Deer Tick closed out Saturday’s lineup at the second annual Restoration Festival in Albany’s St. Joseph’s Church. With participants unperturbed by the promise of heavy weather, the day’s events went off without a hitch under the room’s gorgeous stained glass, as master of ceremonies Aaron Smith introduced a host of local bands including his own Scientific Maps, Alta Mira, the Red Lions, Barons in the Attic and Railbird. The cavernous space filled in as New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus took to the altar and headliner Deer Tick kept everyone rapt enough that few noticed the first falling drops.
A bucket brigade and a rented sump pump came to the rescue Sunday morning after Irene filled the back of St. Joe’s with several inches of water. While the storm was enough to prevent headliners A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Music Tapes from making their scheduled slots, organizers the B3nson Recording Company made the best of a soggy situation, filling the day with local acts who seemed to play even better on account of the adversarial conditions. Slender Shoulders, the Stompin Jug Ramblers and Swamp Baby started things off before what some have called the best We Are Jeneric set of the band’s career. Matthew Carefully filled the stage with a one-time-only performance of his 13-piece Undone Ensemble, before Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned (pictured) fittingly played the event to a close. “Apparently there was some kind of hurricane,” Smith quipped. Inside St. Joseph’s, no one seemed to care.