Sharpen Your Ax
It’s a big weekend for local music festivals, with Rest Fest and the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival giving audiences options on either side of the Hudson. Both events feature a mixture of national and regional talent, but Jazz Fest adds a little extra flavor of schadenfreude by making those local bands fight for their spot. After all, who doesn’t love a battle of the bands?
For the third year running, the Downtown Albany JazzFest Competition will pit nine of the area’s best jazz acts against one another in a battle for the favor of audiences and judges. The winner will open Saturday’s Jazz Fest at Jennings Landing. Each band will hold court at a different Pearl Street watering hole tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 6) from 5 to 9 PM. Audiences are encouraged to wander from stage to stage, casting their vote for their favorite. Admission is free and a free trolley will also run to help facilitate the bar hopping. You’ll need to collect five stamps from different venues for your ballot to count, and the popular vote will weigh as heavily as the judges vote. The winner will be announced by midnight and then perform at 1 PM the following day.
The lineup is as follows: Blue ‘n Green at the Pearl Street Pub, the Chronicles at Legends on Pearl, Doctor Magnum at the Capital American Eatery and Lounge, Mambo Dragon Jazz Ensemble at Franklin’s Tower, Melonious Thunk at McGeary’s Irish Pub, Michael Benedict Jazz Vibes at the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, MLS Trio at 74 State, RB Jazz at Blue 82, and Shiri Zorn at the Olde English Pub.
Rockin’ the Suburbs
Photos circulated on the Internet this week of a 10-year cast reunion from the Jack Black comedy School of Rock. Feel old yet? While the movie alone didn’t start the trend, rock-oriented music schools and camps have sprung up all over the country in the last decade or so, giving pint-sized guitar slingers institutional instruction in this anti-institutional art form. Meet the new boss . . .
It’s actually a pretty cool trend and will save you a lot of YouTube ogling if you’re hell-bent on learning to tap Van Halen’s “Eruption.” It’s also becoming big business. On Sept. 14, School of Rock Albany will open a franchise location of the national chain at 592 New Loudon Road in Latham. (Cue Ben Folds’ “Rockin’ the Suburbs.”) Helmed by local musician David Bodie, the school will offer lessons on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals as well as weekly jam sessions “inspiring the world to rock on stage and in life.” The grand-opening event will feature tours, workshops, discounted lessons and a performance by the band Tenafly.
Good Folk, Good Read
Last month, B.A. Nilsson told you about Live at Caffe Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013, a three-CD tribute set that just came out, celebrating the folk legacy of the Saratoga Springs venue. In October, powerHouse books will be releasing something like the ink-and-paper equivalent. Caffe Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse is the first authoritative compilation of photos, stories, interviews and memorabilia covering the venue’s history all the way back to the early performances of Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Pete Seeger. The 53-year-old venue is considered the “oldest continuously running coffee house in the United States,” so the book’s 288 pages should hold plenty of stories that even the saltiest old folkie hasn’t yet heard.
This Saturday (Sept. 8), a host of local bands who once called Saratoga Winners home will reunite at Michael’s Banquet Hall (1019 New Loudon Road, Latham) to help benefit two pet-saving nonprofits. The Saratoga Winners Reunion and Rock & Roll Rescue 2 will feature Blacksmith, Blasé Debris, British Steel, M-16, Poor Dead Molly, Second Heat and Max Thrust. A portion of the $25 cover charge will benefit spay/neuter services at Adirondack Save-a-Stray and Noah’s Kingdom Humane Society. Call 785-8524 for more info.