Waite, Frampton, Wolf to rock blasts from past
How brightly can stars of the ’70s and ’80s still shine? That’s a timely question as the Palace Theatre this week announced coming shows by Bonnie Raitt and a Queen tribute and as three stars of that era — walking and still rocking blasts from the past — play here this week.
John Waite (the Babys, Bad English) plays the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall tonight. (Click here to read Brian McElhiney’s preview), Peter Frampton plays the Palace on Friday and Peter Wolf plays The Egg on Saturday.
Almost every boomer from the young edge of that record-buying cohort has a vinyl copy of “Frampton Comes Alive” (6 million copies sold, Rolling Stone’s 1976 readers’ pick as Album of the Year) and the J. Geils Band’s (featuring Wolf, lead singer) “Freeze Frame” (their only No. 1 release).
Frampton’s experience with the Herd and Humble Pie primed him for huge success as a solo artist until a car crash sidelined his career. A slow comeback continues today and gathered momentum with the recent instrumental album “Fingerprints” and the new rocker “Thank You Mr. Churchill.” The golden mane and sharp cheekbones are much changed, but the big guitar chops remain. Last year he celebrated the 35th anniversary of “Frampton Comes Alive” with a 69-city tour, and he’ll play the album in its entirety plus additional material on Friday at the Palace (19 Clinton Ave.).
Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $69.50, $59.50 and $39.50. Phone 465-3334 or visit www.palacealbany.com.
Wolf sells out at Egg
Although Frampton sold more albums than Wolf’s J. Geils Band, Wolf and company played bigger and better shows. They headlined at the Palace and at SPAC in their heyday, devastating audiences with their bluesy rock force and Wolf’s high-charisma moves and singing.
The thing is, Wolf still deserves to sell out places that big or bigger — as he has sold out The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday. Wolf still has the moves, the voice and — best of all — a fertile musical imagination for making fine new songs. His 2010 album “Midnight Sensations” is mostly country and features duets with Shelby Lynne (she plays March 30 at The Egg), Neko Case and Merle Haggard. Wolf is the hyper-real, surreal deal in a compact package of wound-up attitude and talent.
He wowed The Egg in May 2010, like this, as I reported here: “There’s more to making great rock ’n’ roll than singing great, moving great and leading a great band in great songs. Wolf did all of that Friday, but what gave the show its astounding punch and lift-off was Wolf’s greatest gift: He gave a fantastic time by having one.” No, I’m not gloating about this sold-out show. I’ll be out of town this weekend and miss the show myself. No, this is to urge you not to miss him next time. FYI: Wolf’s band features former Albany guitarist Duke Levine.
Wolf’s opening act is Roy Sludge, and they’ll slip into town a day early to headline at Pauly’s Hotel (337 Central Ave., Albany) on Friday at 10 p.m. Sludge is an old-school rockabilly singer, accompanied in his longtime duo by former Albany-based bassist Jim Haggerty. On Friday, guitarist Graham Tichy joins the fray. When they opened for Wolf in 2010, here’s what happened: “Haggerty slapped his bass, Sludge strummed his old acoustic and sang, as he said, of ‘truck driving, drinking and love gone bad’ — usually celebrating/lamenting more than one per song. Sludge’s voice boomed basso profundo, as if from inside a bottomless gas tank, and he openly displayed his debt to Tennessee Ernie Ford in ‘16 Tons’ and evoked Dave Dudley and Waylon in almost everything else.”
Big Frank and the Bargain Bingers play early, at 8 p.m. Admission is $7 for both bands, not each. Phone 426-0828 or visit www.paulyshotel.com.
Jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen leads her quartet into The Egg on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The Berklee grad has released four albums as a leader and won many jazz polls and was a standout performer with George Wein’s Newport Allstars at Freihofer’s Jazz Festival last June. I reported here that, “Clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Howard Alden’s duet on ‘Shreveport Stomp’ was a festival highlight, with trumpeter Randy Brecker’s ‘Body and Soul’ not far behind.”
Cohen’s band is pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Daniel Freedman. Tickets are $24. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.
The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St., Troy) hosts the Bluegrass All-Star Jam on Friday at 8 p.m. The lineup is singer Claire Lynch, guitarist Josh Williams, banjoist Sammy Shelor, bassist Missy Raines, fiddler Michael Cleveland, guitarist Kenny Smith and singer Amanda Smith. Tickets are $35 and $25. Phone 273-0038 or visit www.troymusichall.org.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.