On Sunday, I saw my favorite band, Yes, at the Egg. The songs got deep into my chest and the event seemed more like a trip to the pharmacy than a show. They did a top-notch set of the album Close to the Edge, with closing track “Siberian Khatru” starting an excellent backward rendition, with “And You and I” comforting the soul. The rest of the set was too much greatness; mind-numbing excellence ensued. They did not play their new songs with much gusto, but the set from the album Fragile was superb.
Earlier in May, my Troy Night Out brought me north to the Sanctuary for Independent Media for some enchanting Malian music. Oumar Konate was a little different than most bands I see (and hear—with no English lyrics), but a lot of fun. The trio mixed up the percussion and got in a little dancing that was more even pronounced in the second set. Sirsy followed for me at Brown’s, and the duo kept the pop flowing in the packed confines of the bar area.
I went to 33 Hawley Street the next day, in Northampton, Mass., where Home Body spilled their guts out with great props all over the building. The group take some simple concepts and make them into must-see entertainment. They got a supporting crowd moving all night. Shira and Megafauna were good choices for openers at this show.
Mirk continue to be a tough act to follow, as they had their most consistent set at the Empire State Plaza. Sister Sparrow were soulful and playful too. Headliner Living Colour showed fine technique but did not seem to put together a tight all-around show that day.
Art on Lark was more about art and less about music this year, offering only one stage. Nice talent abounded all over the street. Further down Lark Street at the Armory, they had a big show that day with Immortal Technique rhyming his way through a show that was full of hope and promise. Stellar Young played their best performance to date on that stage. The short but awe-inspiring set foretold great things from these five. The Ameros played well after them, although “The Red Light” song was missing.
Fitz and the Tantrums’ set at Alive at Five, while packed, did not bring excitement and only the final song felt right.
51 3rd Street opened back up to a visually inspiring triple bill of Home Body, Moon Magick, and Eternal Crimes. Home Body had a super final number, Eternal Crimes were gritty, and Moon Magick merged their sonic landscape with their background vision. I found out the next day that the Way Back Gallery had a opening that day for a French duo whose paintings bore a slight resemblance to playing cards. The next day, one of the works was on display in a chalk drawing for the River Street Festival along with other fine chalkings on display.
I could not comprehend what Shaggy was doing at the Empire State Plaza, but Bootsy Collins took me for a ride on his rocket ship and took the funk to new heights. It was a literal blast, with the space-themed outfits. The show crept on until I realized I was having too good of a good time.
One Sunday night had a plethora of bands playing all over, and I had to flip a coin to decide who to see. The coin chose Titanics and Snowmine. Titanics were the first band I have seen play on the Low Beat floor, and they provided a good segue into Snowmine, who put together good composition skills and a pop sensability. Next door at Pauly’s Hotel, it was the Albany return of Florist. See Through Dresses showed off their grungy side and Hand Habits had the venue’s upper stage area packed during a trio set.
George Thorogood was bad to the bone and stole countless girlfriends during his crowd-pleasing set at the Empire State Plaza. Although bluesy, his band came off more rockabilly, and George constantly pandered to the crowd, who drank it all up. Fifth on the Floor came first at the plaza’s convention center and were more country than the Alive at Five country-night show that month.
Dwele was a bit smoother in chasing the ladies the next night at the riverfront, and gave smooth-jazz fans all they could handle. Mirk were still on their run of June shows and put together an opening set that made you forget about the summer heat. A pop-up show appeared on the last Saturday in June with Boak and the Moaks at River Street Beat Shop. All-acoustic and in your face, these were remnants of Chandler Travis Philharmonic. It showed that you don’t need a PA to have a good time.