Headlining at The Low Beat on Jan. 11, A World For You aimed to transcend. Taking the stage close to midnight armed with his double neck electric bass/guitar, the artist quietly thanked the room for sticking around and dug into his set as the sickly sweet smell of a smoke machine began to permeate the room, eventually shrouding the soloist entirely. As it cleared, the audience was met with Saratoga Springs’ Brandon James– wrinkling his eyes and mouth as if to absorb the weight and sound of his instrument. It was hard not to notice the channelling of Steve Vai as he grimaced and murmured through each song and transitioning, multicolored lights melted into the smoky haze. It created the perfect backdrop for his ambient looping rhythms and distorted crescendos. The soloist played a number of songs from his most recent release 60 Seconds to Live — letting the 30-second recorded tracks stretch and breath for several minutes at a time.
Señor Sway, an up and coming funk band out of Saratoga Springs, played a smooth and interactive set. The trio has a real intention to make technically and aesthetically pleasing music and clearly have the talent to make it happen. The steady, pleasant surprise in their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time” put the room into a trance. “Just play the whole album!” insisted one audience member. The small collection of the band’s originals, however, are pretty good on their own.
Brand new band Ben and The So Cools were playing their second show together–a trio of guitarists in search of a drummer. The group lended a hint of country-twinged folk music to the mix with all too familiar lyrics of starry nights and reminiscent storytelling.
Rusty Mullet is a grunge dream—all acid-wash jeans, oversized tees and haphazardly dyed hair, like Cobain himself had swished and spat them out. There’s absolutely nothing polished about this band, and therein lies their charm. The drummer–who I later learned was filling in for this tour, learning over a dozen songs in three days–spent a portion of the set playing catch-up. Despite this, the Boston band absolutely rips, leaning on powerful bass lines and a soulful, passionate performance. The trio kicked and howled and–by the end of their set–fell to their knees, expended. Their intoxicating energy made them the highlight of the night.
There were hardly enough audience members to line the bar of The Low Beat for their set, which was a shame. On their first tour, Albany had kicked both legs from underneath them–but they reveled in it.
A World for You, Senor Sway, Ben & The So Cools, Rusty Mullet at The Low Beat, Jan. 11 at 8 PM.