Featured photo by Richard Lovrich.
It was an amazing year for live music in the Capital Region. Despite the fact that we are technically paid to get out and see shows, we aren’t able to see as many as we like. There are shows we missed that we’re kicking ourselves about. So after you take a look at our lists, Tweet your lists to @thealtweekly and we’ll share them.
David Howard King
The Hudson-based festival that mashes together provocative musicians, writers, and visual artists has had many great lineups, but this year the festival felt more vital than ever. Jlin, Serpentwithfeet, Thou, Yellow Eyes, Blanck Mass and Zola Jesus spoke to modern tension through genres as disparate as doom metal, soulful R&B, and experimental electronica. This was easily my favorite musical and artistic experience of the year. I also had a great time interviewing Melissa Auf der Maur and Brendan Stosuy about how they put the festival together. Bryan Ferry, Proctors, March 31
I never thought I’d get a chance to see Bryan Ferry live but when I did it was far better than I had dared to hope it would be. Ferry danced and crooned his way through Roxy Music and solo tunes spanning decades of work. His supporting band was immaculate–with each member of a band getting a chance to shine. “Virginia Plain” brought me tears of joy. Paul Rapp nabbed an exclusive interview with Ferry before the show.
Thou, Cloud Rat, False, Upstate Concert Hall, July 1
Look, I may have had something to do with getting Thou booked for this show. So it is partly my fault that 20 people showed up. But if you ask me it was worth it. Thou are, in my opinion, the most relevant, vital and creative force in metal today. I may have put up one of the members on my mom’s couch after their performance at Basilica Hudson. So yes, I’m biased as hell. I also interviewed said member before their gig July gig.
I went into this show a fan of Zombi and weary of Ghost. I came out with more respect from Zombi for delivering their spare two-man, synth-and drum set before the pageant that was Ghost’s performance. I also came out a fan of Ghost–their giant pop-metal anthems proved not only entertaining and subversive but earworms I couldn’t rid myself of for weeks to come.
Masters of their craft, Gojira used their socially and environmentally conscious metal to deliver the crowd to another place.
Honorable highlight: Babe Fest – The Nicolas Cage
A master feat in itself, this summer show was important for a number of reasons. Celebrating women/femme/non-binary artists and friends, it was the first of its kind and we’re excited for next year’s show to be just as incredible as it was reported to be, if not more. Although unable to make the show, Katie Cusack chatted with show organizer Audrey Goodemote about the importance of putting a spotlight on diverse audiences and took a deep dive into the challenge facing women in the Capital Region music scene this year.
Nervous Dater. Pictures of Vernon taking on Green Day hits. Prince Daddy & The Hyena closing it out with that legendary The Black Parade cover. The cops came to shut it down and stayed for a song or two, headbanging along with the crowd–that’s how good this show was. Eli Enis interviewed Nervous Dater and profiled Prince Daddy & The Hyena.
The sickly sweet croons set to pop-rock riffs brought by The Walters that night were meant to stir the sleepy weeknight crowd. While it certainly put a pep in our step it was no match whatsoever for the shitstorm that rolled through from The Orwell’s utterly maniacal headlining set. Fans–including yours truly–walked out with many mosh-laden bruises and a sense of triumph.
This show was an unexpected highlight. The Ohio duo Lung opened up the night with a set that likened a slap in the face, they’re one of the most unique powerful forces on my radar. Hidden Hospitals played a standard, guitar heavy alt-rock set and the ethereal local collective Hospital Corners brought us back down to earth with their harmonies.
The summer series at the Cooperstown brewery was packed this year, but the closing show wrapped it up with a bang. The unique and diverse lineup was an artpop dream and the Glass Animals put on a flawless performance. They wrapped the audience in their psych pop aura and seemed enamored with the crowd’s energy.