Love Over Hate
Organized by guitarist Matt McWatters and promoter Greg Bell with help from drummer Jim Felter, last weekend’s (Jan.4-5) Rock for Recovery benefit show for the victims of the Newtown school shooting was a two-day throwdown featuring tons of local talent including Conehead Buddha, Timbre Coup and Sean Rowe, who was able to find time from his now-international schedule to give back.
The concerts at Valentine’s raised almost $4,200 through ticket sales, raffles and a silent auction. Bell said this benefit was different from others he’s worked on in that all of the proceeds will be donated to two organizations. “There were no ‘administative’ costs that you so often hear about when dealing with benefits,” said Bell. All the bands agreed to play for free, and even their guests paid the cover charge.
The two organizations selected to benefit from the concert were Newtown Youth and Family Services (NYFS) and Everribbon.com. NYFS will take a portion of the money to help pay for long-term expenses like scholarships in the name of those who died in the shooting, while Everribbon.com (a kind of Kickstarter for charitable causes) will help to take care of immediate costs like funeral expenses.
Dave Geoghegan (also known as Dr. Jah of local reggae veterans the Love Prophets) had lots of positive things to say. “When I heard about this tragedy, the first thing I thought was, ‘What can I do?’” He gave props to the enormous crowd that came out to show their support and acknowledged that just being there, participating in the raffles, and paying the door were enough to make a difference. He closed by declaring, “Love will defeat hate!”
It was great to see the sheer variety of musicians who cared enough to come out and provide their services for free, and it was also a great way to expose fans with different sensibilities to some new music. If you were unable to attend the concert but would still like to contribute to the ongoing relief efforts in Newtown, you can go to Everribbon.com and donate directly to the Newtown memorial fund.
It’s Benefit Season
Tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 11), Valentine’s will again play host to a night of music for a worthy cause. This time, though, the theme will be less somber. The Riley Community Music Center of Albany is an organization that strives to “provide individuals of all ages, regardless of race, class, culture, gender, orientation and religion, an opportunity to creatively explore all avenues of music.” The group offers vocal and instrument instruction, songwriting and creative writing workshops, instrument rentals, field trips related to music, low-cost concert experiences, scholarships and mentoring. Slated to perform are Exovox, Suffer Die and River Train. Show starts at 8 PM downstairs (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). Call 432-6572 for more info.
Welcome to the Space Age
It’s been a spell since we got a new record from B3nson Family flagship act Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. However, it looks like we’re in for a bumper crop in 2013. Next Friday (Jan. 18), the band will release a new EP, The Space Age, at Valentine’s. It will be the first of—count ‘em—12 new EPs, released one-per-month for the rest of the year, complete with limited-edition artwork.
“Crammed in between supporting our fellow B3nson Family, the constant work of throwing Rest Fest, numerous shows throughout the region, and the general insanity that is everyday life, we have been writing, practicing, rewriting and recording,” they announced this week. “This project represents a conglomeration of our music evolution and endeavors, and spans the entire decade of Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned.” Every record will have its own theme and is scheduled to come out on the third Friday of every month in limited physical copies, later made available for digital download on the band’s site: sgtdunbar.com.
It’s to Metroland’s great demerit that we haven’t directed proper attention to the Nouveau Jazz Beat ongoing at Circus Café (392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs) since 2008. Twice a month (the second and fourth Saturday), the venue becomes one of the region’s best breeding grounds for new sounds, an experimental workshop for electronic composers and jazz improvisors.
The original purpose of the project, organized by James Gascoyne (Rodeo Barons, formerly of Railbird) and electronic musician Tony Shortway, “was to explore different ways live musicians could play with electronic music or a DJ,” says Gascoyne, who remains central to the group, while Shortway has moved on. Gascoyne and “turntablist/drummer/electronic-instrument ninja” Nick Kopp use MIDI sequencers and an MPC to “come up with pieces simple enough for people to improvise to, melodic and catchy enough to be interesting, and unfinished enough that the 3-4 musicians improvising would have musical space to play in,” Gascoyne explains in an e-mail.
Local musicians of all backgrounds have cycled through the group, including Joe Barna, Dave Payette, Adam Siegel, George Muscatello, Chris Kyle, Matthew Loiacono, Josh Carter and Shane Sanchez, but the most regular group, dubbed Le Rubb, includes Chris Carey, Sam Zucchini, Jeanine Ouderkirk and Jeff Nania—a who’s-who of jazz, indie rock, hip-hop and jamband talent. The next installation of the series will be this Saturday (Jan. 12) from 10 PM to 2 AM. Admission is free. Check out lerubb.bandcamp.com for a sampler.