For the first time this year, the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival (more info on page 28) will start its afternoon lineup with one deserving local act. How that act will be determined is the cause for another mini jazz festival in its own right.
Tomorrow (On Friday, Sept. 9), the Downtown Albany Jazz Fest Competition will pit 10 of the area’s best jazz groups against one another to battle for the festival’s opening noon slot the following day. Each act will perform from 6 to 10 PM at a venue on or in the vicinity of Pearl Street, and audience members are encouraged to float from show to show, voting for their favorite.
The breakdown is as follows: Out of the Box will be at McGeary’s Pub; Michelle Caminos Quartet at R Bar; Kelley Birtch at Taste; Arch Stanton Quartet at 74 State; Tim Olsen/Eric Walentowicz Duo at Blue 82; Folding Sky at Franklin’s Tower; the Hot Pants at Bayou Café; the Chronicles at Pearl Street Pub; Joey Thomas Big Band at Jillian’s; the Ryan Sgroi Quartet at Figure 10.
Story of the Hurricane
With much of the region recovering from hurricane Irene—and much of Schoharie County still under water—the news has been full of neighbors doing what they can to help each other out. Count musicians among them. In the past week, many local venues have announced benefit shows to aid the relief effort.
On Friday night (Sept. 9), both floors of Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) will be given over to a lineup of local acts that would probably never share a bill together otherwise. Starting at 7:30 PM, the show features Ashley Pond, the Charlie Watts Riots, Knyghts of Fuzz, the Blisterz, Slaughterhouse Chorus, Hot Cousin, Goldtooth, Holly and Evan, Ben Karis-Nix, Charmboy, the Rob Skane 3, Bear Grass, Tom McWatters, the Realside, My Favorite Fence, John Scarpulla, Mike Hotter and Jesse Calhoun. Tickets are $7 and all proceeds go to the Schoharie County Community Action Program and the Fulmont Community Action Agency.
That same night at the Hudson River Coffee House (227 Quail St., Albany), the Midnight Society, Olivia Quillio, Rebecca Angel and the Subs, Andy Baker and Thom LaFond will play to support the Regional Farm and Food Project, which will help those whose agricultural livelihood was damaged. Tickets are $5 and the music starts at 7 PM.
Then on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 11) at Savannah’s (1 South Pearl St., Albany), the Ill Funk Ensemble, Voodoo Lily, the Chris Dukes Band, the Getdown, the Big Idea and the Hearing Aides will play to support the Red Cross of Northeastern New York. Tickets are $20. Look for similar events at Putnam Den and SwordPaw HQ in the coming weeks.
Someone Will Go as Ben Stiller
With Living Walls: Albany one week away, last minute preparations are being . . . hell, things are as good as under way. Murals are already cropping up around town and benefit events are turning into official parties. Case in point: Friday’s Night at the Museum Costume Dance Party Extravaganza, where organizers have received access to the New York State Museum’s fourth floor Terrace Gallery to throw a historical-figure-themed costume party with music by DJ Ofi and others. Tickets are $15—or $10 if you bring a can of paint to donate to the effort.
A Century of VERY Close Listening
This Saturday (Sept. 10), avant-garde composer John Cage would have been 99 years old. The Arts Center of the Capital Region (265 River St., Troy) and the Albany Sonic Arts Collective are celebrating the occasion in true Cage style by hosting Cage99, a marathon performance of 4’33”, one of the composer’s most celebrated, controversial and, shall we say, subtle works. Naturally, the diverse ensemble of local musicians will be performing the piece 99 consecutive times, starting at 9 AM and running until 6 PM. Tickets are $12. If you would like to participate in the performance, e-mail email@example.com.
Back After a Short Break
A final note regarding the next in a summerlong series of reunion shows put on by The Lazers, a hard rock quartet built around singer Donna Rae who recently reconvened after a couple of decades of retirement. They’ll be at the Fuller Roadhouse (27 Fuller Road, Albany) on Saturday (Sept. 10) at 10 PM. Yeah, they’ll play REO Speedwagon if you’re nice about it.