It seemed like a quieter month for me, but here’s some of what I caught this month. The first show was at Valentine’s with Jake Moon, Pony in the Pancake and Laura Murphy. Laura Murphy’s set was like watching a maiden special-weight firsters, but Pony in the Pancake brought out lots of lo-fi for lo-fi fans. I preferred their set’s epic ending as it’s nice to go out on top. Following, Jake Moon, the trio of ladies from Hand Habits, Que Caro and Aficionado, put together a low-key set with top-notch harmony.
Also, back to the area came Sirsy with a special show. They played as a trio with Margo Macero. At Trick Shot, the crowd first got a duo performance from Margo. Sirsy then did two sets, mixing it up with Margo, who sat in for a couple numbers on bass. A well-attended and appreciative home crowd to boot. Brittney Robicauld guested on “Leftover Girl” too, which was fun.
The last Funsgiving at Valentine’s was mixed for me. I really enjoyed sets from Bear Grass (who somehow cannot stop getting better), Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, and Barons in the Attic. It might have been Barons in the Attic’s last performance, and it was a quality one with three guest stars. They are a band who seem mediocre at the start but get very catchy in a guilty pleasure sort of way. At the end of the night, Barons got the crowd that remained going and got some good crowd surfing to boot. Rival Galaxies matched them in terms of off-stage antics, and I would like to see them again. It was a fun, dancey time, but not as inspiring of a set by the Parlor. The Scientific Maps needed a drummer to have matched Aaron Smith’s catchy tunes.
On Nov. 23 there were two great CD-release parties in Albany. I would have loved to have gone to both and would have flipped a coin had one not been more convenient than another. I was awarded a great show at Red Square with Matt Durfee headlining. He mixed it up, playing solo, then with the Rattling Badlies, then with M.R. Pouloupolos and Sarah Clark to make a five-piece. The band numbers really brought out the sound from Matt, and M.R. played a mean electric guitar. The coolest part of the lineup was the return from retirement of Alta Mira, who did not miss much of a beat playing everybody’s favorite Alta Mira classics. Half of Alta Mira played later as the Rattling Badlies. Henry’s Rifle was a nice solo opener mix of banjo and guitar. (MaryLeigh Roohan with Cuddle Magic was the party I missed at the Linda.)
Thanksgiving Eve was another action-packed night. Wild Adriatic, gearing up for their new album, played two sets in front a party crowd at the Hollow Bar. The first was a mix of new tunes and covers, which climaxed with second set of dirty covers. Titanics played first and have hypnotizing tunes, such as “Cars,” with singing that’s as good as their dance trance.
At the Linda, I saw a special treat: Diego Garcia. It was a lot drier (indoors) than the last time he came to the region, but a lot more crowded. A love affair between Diego Garcia and the audience was going on all night. The attentive crowd built up to a dancing climax at the end. His band wowed them with mood-changing songs and a constant presense of Spanish guitar. Costume changes and crowd interactions made this a really fun time. Ashley Sophia had nice tunes, but I wanted a more lively opener for him. “All Eyes on You,” during Diego Garcia’s encore, was a special song that reminded me of part of “Perpetual Change” by Yes. The song showed that the same great musical concept can be done differently for stellar effect.
November’s Troy Night Out was a mostly art affair with a few performances around town. The Martinez Gallery had some pieces by Gary Masline that went well together, and the Center for Photography showcased a painting exhibition that was fine from the Apostle Collection. Way up North in Cohoes, at the Foundry, viewers had to contend with ice from the Polarized Landscapes, which brought together blue, white, and your favorite Talking Heads in a texturized landscape.