I started off the year downstate at Pianos on Jan. 2 and saw a few bands of local interest, Woof Woof and Florist. It was a nice snowy way to start the year. When I got back, First Friday was full of snow and very quiet in the galleries. Saturday saw some loud local action with Sirsy; they put on a great performance in the packed house of Katie O’Byrnes, singing lots of newer songs, including “Killer,” which told a tale about their road troubles that week.
And the Kids at the BSP Lounge in Kingston gave an awesome performance on Jan. 14. The sound check was dreamy, and, after they got stage-ready, And the Kids were spot on, delivering an album-matching set. The songs were short and focused on newer material. Following were the 15-piece Mother Falcon, who play lots of brass and string instruments. The songs were fun and spirited and a joy to listen to in front of a packed house. Then I got lucky to see the well-traveled Zan Strumfeld at the Moon and River Café the next night. She traded songs with Danny Whitecotton on a quiet night. Just nice songs with one or two guitars. The highlight that evening was singing along with Zan on a chorus during Rebel Darling’s guest appearance.
Triple Threat Friday (my moniker) was three bands in three venues all for free in Troy on Jan. 17. Molly Durnin kept a cover-infused set going at Irish Ale. Sirsy was throwing a crowded birthday party at Brown’s Tap Room. And Mirk was the nightcap. They were all smoking that night. They had very nice first set with vocalist Tara Merritt, and even after she left Mirk kept the party going with strong numbers.
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company had a fine performance at their home venue the Egg on the 18th. I love how the company tries to merge dance with local musicians and artists, and this was certainly the case in January. The premiere performance of Continuum was marked by bright new costumes and a piece choreographed by Willie Marlowe with music by Cornelius Dufallo. Wild Adriatic is still trying to rule Albany and they had a sold-out show at the Hollow that same night. With a newly formed but tight brass section on a few of their songs for the Big Suspicious release party, the North Country rockers kept Albany going all night long and have super covers to go along with their new album. Plus, you never know when Mateo, their drummer, will turn into Animal.
I got back to the Hollow Bar the following week and saw a well-played triple set. Accents played better than I have ever seen them before. Their final song “Sore Eyes” was quite strong. The Lucky Jukebox Brigade were a special treat, getting the crowd moving, all without their keyboards. When they play “Barefoot on Dance Floor” you never know where the trumpets will end up and they even made it to the balcony for a spell. The Black Mountain Symphony finished the crowd off with lots of special guests, and I was too tired by the end of all that.
The last Friday in January was a Troy and Albany Night Out for me. Albany started out with Moon Magick and Fountainsun at Upstate Artists Guild. The noise show featured local band Moon Magick playing a collection of modern sounds set to a projection of bright colors. Fountainsun, featuring Daniel Higgs, took an ancient approach to their sound with drums, flutes and banjo. I finished up the evening, which I thought might be my last night at Valentine’s (that was not to be). Shana Falana had a duo band and background projections that would have been almost perfect at the gallery show earlier but Shana’s singing was a little more poppy. Eternal Crimes were dark and in-your-face, but not as melodic as Severe Severe.
The packed Massry Gallery was full of older photos that appeal to the nostalgic mind on February’s First Friday. So did the Albany Center Gallery’s exhibit appeal to nostalgia of the suburban kind, as old motels and parking lots awaited the viewer with a colorful display of art on such a white February night. Then my second-to-last trip to Valentine’s was on. Bear Grass played some fine older tunes and some really good new ones. I am looking forward to see what newness they can ooze out of their instruments. Though they were rusty, it might have been my favorite Secret Release show. Slowshine finished off Valentine’s final Friday with dancy lighting, but not dancy music. The Parlor and Sgt. Dunbar closed the Valentine’s doors the following night.