There was lots to do this past month, with many member art shows in the galleries and last chances to see Valentine’s Music Hall before the wrecking ball.
MS MR and Titanics at Vapor Nightclub on Dec. 2 was the best dance show of the month. I really have a good time on Mondays at Vapor, and it’s worth the two hours that it takes to get there (by bus). Having a little more light got me in a better vibe for Titanics. The music creeps into your consciousness very gingerly. MS MR put together a well-sung and -played set. I might have been too close to the keyboards but was able to enjoy the movements of the bands on the stage. That night the music was dancy and ethereal. It was on par with last year’s Policia show.
On First Friday I saw another enchanting Members Show at the Albany Center Gallery, which was fantastically curated. It was cool to chat with the best in show winner before he won. The Opalka Gallery had the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company create a series of dances that went with the gallery show. There was an art piece in the gallery with a stairs theme, and the dancers made very fine movements in conjunction with a warehouse ladder. It was a fun show in that fun house.
On Dec. 7, I had a Saratoga County art extravagaza with viewings at the Laffer Gallery and the Art Center of Saratoga Springs, while sonic art was delivered at Upstate Concert Hall with the likes of Phantogram in their natural habitat. The band were built for packed dance floors and crazy light shows, and the four piece got the crowd going all night. The new songs were good, but I ate up their older numbers.
On a snowy Dec. 14 in Troy, I found myself in the Hangar. It is a real Hangar, across the street form the Ale House, and the show was sorta top-flight. The Knyghts of Fuzz were completely in your face with the band members marching through the crowd. The Mysteios played a classic set with tambourine girl providing nice singing and stage antics. The Lawn Sausages are vile, vulgar, and not generally fit for human consumption. They were very fun and had their audience enthralled with their silly outfits, costume changes, and swapping of their bassist for a real boob. Mark Emanation on lead guitar had killer riffs throughout the night.
A really fun time was had on Dec. 18 at Valentine’s. Charmboy got it going all night and even rocked hard through a guitar-string change. Five Alpha Beatdown brought a show for all the ladies, clad in all white and white light. They ended by singing about a special manly present “in a box.” Five Dollar Shakes’ stellar covers were well-received after a good opening set by Doojh.
As a massive Snowflake fan, I was excited to venture to the BSP Lounge in Kingston for the We All Grow Toward the Sea release party. They are one of my top two new bands from this year. First up were Ultram, who gave a very short 15-minute set with Christmas-song innuendos and alto trumpet. Higgins Waterproof Black Magic were next and jammed with sounds that went all over the place. Snowflake might have been sick, but their set was credible. Their epic song about a hunter put me in a dreamlike state, which is all that you’re ever trying to get out of a show: to get your mind into a different state.
Boxing Day at Valentine’s ended with Lincoln Money Shot, a reunited act from the Albany past. Some good noise acts started the set. Better Pills played their best set that I can recall from them. Good stage antics and dreamy guitars made for a show that got the crowded crowd bopping. My last time at Valentine’s on Dec. 29 can be summed up with the lyrics: “When the music’s over, turn out the lights.” Summer People were in the middle of their set when the power went out, but folks were patient and tried to make the best of a bad situation before headliner Titus Andronicus. The lights were out on the whole block, but I will see what kind of energy awaits for the next year.