It's been cold, snowy, and just all around terrible here in Upstate New York. But despite these conditions, the concerts go on and I've been out to capture them. First up was Super Dark Thursday at River Street Pub with a DJ set by Casual Decay, which spread the weird creepy vibes throughout the venue in the best way possible. Then the debut of Mr. Cancelled, who's sound is a post-punk gritty mixture of goodness. The three piece banged through their set and I cannot wait for more. Last up that night was the four-headed monster known as Gay Twin. Two drums, two basses, and two synths are played by the foursome and they produce some of the most out-there music in the Albany area. When they play it is a psychedelic jazz freak-out session every time. They are going to record soon and I couldn't be happier to have these guys bringing their fury to the studio.
The following evening I caught the live album release party for Ampevene. I've worked with them a bunch and they've continue to perfect their sound and they were firing on all cylinders. The four piece played a lot of the material that is on the album and I suggest you get it asap. Closing that show, which I only stayed for a little bit, were Cousin Earth. These guys are the hippie version of the B-52's, which is not a slight. They were really fun and had a lot of energy, but I just didn't have it in me. From there it was on to River Street Pub again for a double bill of Candy Ambulance and Let's Be Leonard, two bands I have worked a lot with. Candy Ambulance is about to go on a killer tour and this was their Capitol Region send-off. They debuted a few new songs, which I can't wait to hear on record, and were just their usual badass selves. Let's Be Leonard did their thing and had some of the crowd up and dancing. These guys jam, but definitely aren't a jamband. They will be touring this Spring and should have a release later this year to get excited about!
The next week start with the Celebrate Bowie tour that is rolling through The Egg. The show last January on the anniversary of David Bowie's death was moving and a beautiful tribute to my favorite artist. This tour was a smaller version of that band wise, as well as a shorter setlist. The European tour that concluded before this was a longer setlist, but the show was still great. Joe Sumner easily did the best at singing of the evening, with Corey Glover coming right behind him, and even into the audience. Their renditions of some of Bowie's most famous pieces of work were flawless and energetic. Nothing against the other performers, but they were easily the best part of the show along vocally with Earl Slick and Gerry Leonard being the best part musically. Following that I landed at Caffe Lena for Yes Darling, the duo of Hayley Jane and Ryan Montbleau. The show was their album release show and the evening was unbelievable. Hayley and Ryan have a chemistry together that is hilarious and musically glorious all at once. Their banter will leave you in fits if you see them in person, or listen to their record. Both of them have great voices and Ryan's guitar playing is fantastic. They did some choice covers as well as almost their entire album.
What I saw next might go down as one of the most intense shows of the year. I drove down to BSP Kingston and took in two acts that blew me away. Gary War, a guitar drum duo, started the night off with sparks that laid the groundwork for headliner John Maus. The duo played a short set of guitar feed back and loud vocals and the crowd loved it. There are intense musicians, and then there is John Maus. His record from last year, Screen Memories, was absolutely amazing, and the songs in the live setting are even better. He screams, howls, hits himself in the head, kicks over speakers, picks up one of said speakers and almost throws it, reaches out into the audience, and makes some of the wildest faces in rock music today. He is a photographer's dream and a crowd's love affair. The sold out room sang and danced and screamed with John. Some nights bring out that extra something in everyone who is in the room, and I think every night of John Maus's tour must be like that. It was one of those shows where you just keep laughing because it is so good. I live for those nights.