Fall Concert Preview
The fall music calendar is an embarrassment of riches, and I suspect that it will get even better, as more shows are announced. Here are the concerts that caught my eye:
Restoration Festival at St. Joseph’s Church Sept. 7-9 — I went to this last year, and it was a lot of fun, even though all of the national acts canceled due to Hurricane Irene. This year’s schedule is bigger and more ambitious, with a mix of top-notch local bands, such as the reunited Kamikaze Hearts and The Parlor, who gave my favorite performance at last year’s Rest Fest, and intriguing national acts, such as Mount Eerie and Sharon Van Etten.
Sean Rowe and Railbird at Valentine’s on Sept. 8 — I’m not really sure how this happened, but Troy native Sean Rowe’s return to the Capital Region conflicts with one of the must-see concert events of the year, and it is unlikely I am going to tear myself away from Rest Fest to go watch him. I saw Rowe perform with Railbird a couple years ago, and they were quite good. And Rowe’s new album, “The Salesman and the Shark,” is getting positive reviews.
Anais Mitchell at Caffe Lena on Sept. 11 — I’ve only heard one song by Mitchell, but it was so good I would consider driving up to Saratoga to catch her live.
Michael Gordon: Rushes at EMPAC on Sept. 15 — Michael Gordon, founder of the avant-garde classical ensemble Bang on a Can, will premiere a new work for seven bassoons at this show. Which sounds awesome. Perhaps there’s a reason for the bassoon’s relatively low profile, but I’m eager to see this slightly obscure instrument showcased by a world-class composer.
LarkFEST on Lark Street in downtown Albany on Sept. 15 — I haven’t been to LarkFest in years. I stopped going when I still lived on Lark Street — I usually went away for the day, with the expectation that when I returned, there wouldn’t be a bunch of strangers hanging out on my stoop drinking beer and huge crowds outside my window. This year’s LarkFEST intrigues me, mainly because Jukebox the Ghost is playing, as well as World Party. Also, the local band the Lucky Jukebox Brigade is really, really good, and very much worth checking out.
Pearl Palooza in downtown Albany on Sept. 22 — Again, I tend to avoid street festivals of this nature. However, I am a big fan of Saratoga Springs-based electronic band Phantogram, and they are playing at Pearl Palooza, which makes me about 10 times more likely to go. Matt & Kim are also playing, and although I am not a huge fan of them, I’ve been told they put on a very good live show.
Eric Johnson at The Egg on Sept. 22 — Back in high school, I was a huge fan of guitarist Eric Johnson’s album “Ah Via Musicom” album, and the song “Cliffs of Dover” in particular. I still like this album, though a lot of it has a slightly cheesy early ’90s vibe, and I would be interested in seeing Johnson — one of the best guitarists in the world — do his thing during his stop in Albany.
Grimes at Basilica Hudson on Sept. 25 — I’ve listened to Grimes a little bit online, and I’ve been pretty impressed. She creates dark and dreamy electronic music, with a strong hip-hop and pop influence, and I suspect that she’ll be really good in concert, especially at Basilica Hudson, a spacious industrial art space.
The North Mississippi Allstars at Upstate Concert Hall on Sept. 29 — This Southern blues/rock band puts on a great live show.
Public Image Ltd. at Upstate Concert Hall on Oct. 12 — I mentioned this concert to a friend, and he immediately began ranting about what a joke Johnny Rotten has become. Which I suppose is true, but come on! He’s Johnny Rotten! He played with the Sex Pistols! And he’s coming to Clifton Park! I don’t know, I can only muster up so much cynicism about this.
Mike Watt & the Missingmen at Valentines on Oct. 18 — Speaking of legends, Mike Watt is coming! His post-punk band, the Minutemen, isn’t nearly as well known as the Sex Pistols, but they probably should be — the album “Double Nickels on the Dime” is a masterpiece. I’ve seen him twice, and he puts on a high-energy, raucous, noisy show.
Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Palace Theatre on Nov. 1 — This could be the show of the fall. A New Orleans native, Dr. John creates a funky stew of gospel, blues, jazz and gospel; he’s been around forever, and his new album, “Locked Down,” is terrific. The gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama formed 70 years ago, at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Ala., and should complement Dr. John quite nicely.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Helsinki Hudson on Nov. 2 — Here’s a band I regret not seeing in college, when it would have been easier and cheaper, and the band would have been better, because they were in their prime. I’m intrigued enough by the very idea of this show that I can definitely see traveling to Hudson to catch the alternative blues/punk/garage rock band — I feel like they will blow the doors off the place.
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