O big-name bands, where art thou?

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady is coming to Albany in March, but Howard says it will probably be their last visit to the Capital Region.

A couple of weeks ago Paul asked why more well-known bands don't make stops in the Capital Region -- and we've been thinking about it ever since.

So we phoned a friend: Howard Glassman, he's been booking bands for venues such as Valentine's, Bogie's and The Linda for the last twenty years.

His expert opinion?

On the music scene in the Capital Region

"You know, it's the internal struggle you have with yourself over 20 someodd years. It sucks -- it's great. No, it sucks, no, it's great. I mean I've had these conversations over and over ... there's no solution to make everybody happy."

On why we don't get more big name bands

"It's not the fault of anyone around here that people aren't coming. I was in talks with the agent for Bonnie Prince Billy and I remembered he played Valentines three or four years ago for a $500 guarantee. So I put the offer in for The Linda for a $500 guarantee and he emails me back. He's getting $2,500 to $10k depending on the town or the night. Maybe i missed something along the way -- I didn't realize Will Oldham was worth that much."

"You know, I go back and forth. We're not a major market, we're a secondary market, but we do get a lot of main market stuff. Neko Case came to The Egg but the turnout was less than stellar ... just eyeballing the crowd it looked like about 400 or so. Jeff Tweedy and Wilco and The Hold Steady.

You treat the bands well early on and they repay you as best they can. I've been booking The Figs The Figgs for years now and they've been fairly loyal. As far as i'm concerned pound for pound best band this area has ever produced so i think the quality here is on par with anybody."

On the crowds ( or lack thereof):

"People have different priorities. Music is a priority in my life so i think "why doesn't everybody like music. How do you get people out to hear good music? If I knew that answer my assistant would be talking to you right now."

On local bands:

"We've got great local bands. I'm exposed to them every day. There's some awesome bands here -- Severe Severe, Sgt. Dunbar, Scientific Maps, Jim Gaudet -- what a treasure he is. Some people just want to complain. I don't know what to tell ya.

It's there for the taking and for $5 you can't beat that. In New York City the covers are double that for a local band and the sets are shorter. You get a lot of bang for your buck in this town."


The Hold Steady will actually be back to the area this summer, but opening for DMB. Oh, and THS member Franz Nicolay is playing with Jennifer O'Connor and local folks knotworking at Valentines Friday.

I think a lot of people don't realize that some of the bands that come here are just on the fringe of getting big, so if you check them out, you can later tell your friends "oh yeah, well I saw them way back when...."

It doesn't help that the two biggest concert promoters in the country divide the region, and have a hard time sharing their venues with each other.

I wish I understood why the crowds can be so lackluster here, I enjoy the local music scene and I also enjoy following it. I won't be able to make it to every show, but I get out there as much as I can.

Lets face the ugly fact that the Albany music scene is just plan bad. Thank you smalbany

I've always been happy with the bands that have come to Albany... maybe it's just the type of music I listen to.

Revolution Hall has always had a good lineup. It was a lot better a few years ago before it changed management, but it's still decent. Red Square has good bar bands too. And The Palace brings in some good "mid level" bands. Northern Lights and in the past, Saratoga Winners, too.

There's a wide range of good music venues in the area:

Small rooms: Red Square, Valentine's
Mid level: Northern Lights, Revolution Hall
Bigger: The Palace, The Egg
Big: Times Union Center and SPAC

I wish the White Stripes or Raconteurs would come to the area, though.

He didn't ask nor did you answer the real question here: What's a big name band?

Justice and MGMT were slated to play a show -- a free show -- in Altamont last year, along with a handful of other lesser known acts and some local talent. jeah, unfortunately MGMT pulled out, which sucked in a huge way. Those are some big names, if you look at sales and show turnout. But I can easily find you dozens of people -- people who are "into music" -- who will tell you they've either never heard of them or aren't really familiar.

Howard mentioned some more acts, like Neko Case and Jeff Tweedy, that a lot of people won't necessarily recognize. In some circles, even The Hold Steady will just get you blank stares and a shotglass full of drool.

We saw it in the other posting, and it's hard to deny: the truth is, if a band hasn't had at least three or four hit singles on the radio, most people aren't going to be willing to check it out. $5 is super cheap and anyone should be willing to lay that down to check out a three or four act night at Valentine's regardless of who's playing. Even if the music sucks it's a fun night for under $20 including gas and beer. But you could throw free shows and people still won't show up. I go back to the Justice show at Altamont, which turned a couple hundred people out to a free show for an act that can sell thousands of tickets.

It should be no mystery that we have a hard time getting "big names" here when nobody is spending the money, unless you're a drugged capuchin monkey trying to read stock quotes.

As for local music. Look, get into local music. There's a really easy way to do it that's totally free. Go to the Albany Public Library main branch, right on Washington ave next to the Armory. Walk in, and take a quick left toward the movies. To your left you'll racks of CDs. On the first rack, the top shelf is all local artists. You can take five at a time, for free, and you get to keep them for a week! How cool is that. Then you'll know whether or not you want to catch the next We Are Jeneric show.

James: Who are you referring to? I know of two major promoters of shows that I like to see: Step Up and Gurthrie Bell. I have worked with both in the past and they seem to be fine at sharing venues.

Also, if you are into the jam-band scene at all, then we have it pretty good. Heck even if you never go anywhere but Revolution Hall in Troy, on the calendar soon are names like G. Love, Gene Ween (Ween), Pete Francis (Dispatch) North Mississippi Allstars (!), Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, and Ozomatli.

Add the occasional Bruce, Stones, Dylan, and Big country names at the Knick, and the usually decent SPAC lineup, I don't see the need to complain.

The only lack I do see is new alternative EQX type bands, especially surprising considering the success of that radio station.

@MattW; I disagree. There is a veritable treasure-trove of great bands here just waiting to be heard.

@Matt, good assessment, but I can't bring myself to stop hating Northern Lights. Maybe it's the location; a strip mall in Clifton Park? Really?

@B, right on.

@B: yeah, I'm still surprised the free Altamont show was not that packed. On the other hand, the city of Albany is doing a great job during the summer, you can't deny that: concerts and play on Mondays in Washington Park, concerts on the Plaza on Wednesdays, Alive at 5 on Thursdays, a few concerts on Saturdays, and I'm probably forgetting some events. And of course, Lark Fest at the end. This is all free, and they are very well attended, if not over-crowded.

wait...howard has an assistant?!?!?!?

"I go back to the Justice show at Altamont, which turned a couple hundred people out to a free show for an act that can sell thousands of tickets."

I was there too, mainly to see Lotus... I also was surprised at how few people were there. It was originally moved from Saratoga because they were afraid it would draw too many people for the venue, but if Altamont were any indication, the venue easily could have accommodated it.

I agree with Brock, if you're into the jamband scene, Albany's definitely a big spot for bands to stop. The New Deal pretty much sold out Rev Hall last week. moe. pretty much always fills up the Palace. Same with the Disco Biscuits.

And word is that Phish will be @ SPAC this summer, and there's a rumor they'll be doing Halloween at the Times Union Center. (Though I believe the dates are just reserved, nothing is definite) Plus the Dead are at the TUC in April.

But there are certain types of bands that avoid the area for some reason... The White Stripes, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, etc.

albany is too close to other major markets... boston, nyc, motreal

@Summer: I'm ok with the location, once I'm inside I don't care where it is! Plus with it being in a strip mall you never have to worry about finding a place to park, haha...

It does get BRUTALLY hot in there though. I saw Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Streetlight Manifesto there a while back, and it was disgusting in there. I stood towards the back, away from the moshing teens, and I was grossed out by the guys that would come out of the crowd dripping wet.

As a member of the music industry for over 12 years in NYC who recently left the apple for the apple orchards, I feel your pain. As a label manager we struggled to get our music to the true people of the country that live in smaller cities of the nation. As an upstater by birth I struggled through high school waiting for the bigger names to come to the Syracuse area, which I recognize has the same issue.

The solution it seems is not a simple one, seeing it from both sides. Touring is not cheap. With the cost of gas, food, gear etc., breaking even is not the easiest thing if your show is not part of a greater tour.

What Albany has in it's favor is it's proximity to NYC and Boston. In many cases bands roll through from Chicago or Toronto on the way to Boston or NYC or likewise in reverse. Albany is right in between.

The hard solution is convincing a national agent of the value of a 500 person show in a market the most agent know or care nothing about.

The maybe harder solution is forming a North East Promotion Coalition, to create a circuit of venues that one could set up regional tours for bands that would appreciate 250 - 500 person shows. This could include New Paltz, Kingston, Hudson, Great Barrington, Northampton, spots in VT, Albany, Troy, Syracuse, Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester Buffalo, and the handful of SUNY's in between. This could be done with a simple email list or network website in which band could announce availability and promoters could ney or yea their vote to add their city to the tour. Once a tour is set the band would be forced to see the obvious value in taking it on and everyone wins.

The mistake is to sit and wait for the bands, labels or agents to come to their senses on their own.

But I guarantee that once this network came together and word caught wind - bands would be coming to us instead of us pleading for them.

my 2¢ for what it's worth

from one promoter to another

Check out Down In The Valley Events on Facebook to post your shows and get the word out.


"The White Stripes, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, etc."

Unfortunately, these bands can make a lot more money elsewhere...

Which is why I ended up paying $24 to see that Bonnie Prince Billy show that Howe wasn't able to secure for Albany in Northampton, MA at the Iron Horse. I personally think that show could have happened here and gotten within range of the target money, but that's just me.

List of well-attended shows that I went to last year in the Capital Region -> The Punch Brothers @ the Egg, Dinosaur Jr. @ Rev Hall, The Avett Brothers @ Rev Hall, Andrew Bird @ the Egg, Aimee Mann @ Washington Park, a few of those Troy Night Out things @ Rev Hall, etc..

Didn't David Byrne sell out the Egg also?

I mean, I don't really know what the formula is, but I don't things are AS bleak as are painted in the comments or the post here. There are certainly people in this area, shows to attend and bands that tour through here... one just needs to be on top of where and when things are happening (one source -- AOA!!) and support them.


For crissake its The Figgs, with two g's.

Albany music scene is consumer-driven, and anyone who wants to participate can find high quality bands to go see. Its as stupid to miss a good show because it is in the suburbs (Northern Lights) as it is to be afraid to go to one in the city. Should be interesting to see how that place does under the new ownership.


I look forward to seeing what the new ownership does with that place. I can't remember the last time I went to that place, and although StepUp shows don't usually catch my eye, I certainly believe Ted is capable and able to put on shows that appeal to a wide variety of people.

Speaking of Ted shows, I forgot -- CAKE was VERY well attended @ the Palace.

I would be interested to know what kind of big name bands people in Albany want to see. My fear in general is that for the most part, what I want to see coming through more often has nothing to do with what other people want to see.

Personally though I think Howard has got valentines on an upswing, Delta Spirit would have been an awesome show (you should have seen the Brooklyn Vegan comments for the NYC show a few days later) and was canceled by no fault of Howard's. While I am not that excited for Jen O'Connor (personally I like We are Jeneric's Jen O'Connor better) Franz Nicolay is awesome, not to mention knotworking. Plus in the next couple of months he has The Hold Steady, The Felice Brothers and Willy Mason.

As for the local music scene and persistent complaint that nobody comes out to shows, I would just say that the local scene has to want it. The more we have organized over at b3nson and figured out how to send out press releases, and flyer for things and told all our friend about our shows the better things get. To other members of the local music scene, I can't stress enough how important these non musical aspects of playing shows are.

I don't know if anyone was at the Barons in the Attic CD release but I have never seen valentines downstairs that packed and there hasn't been an empty b3nson show since early 2008 (knock on wood). And we are hoping to break new b3nson attendance records for the Sgt Dunbar/ Margan and the Red Lions show on March 13th.

Also for some good old internet flaming. @Mattw, Just move out of town already and stop complaining.

Lastly I want to thank Howard for being such an awesome support to local music in Albany through all its ups and downs over the years which for the most part I have no idea about.

Bonnie Prince Billy is easily worth $2500. Have you listened to him lately?!

I love the discussion happening here today. Rev Hall, Guthrie Bell, Step-up, and SLP Concerts work daily to bring the music you want to the cap dist. I feel we get some amazing shows annualy, but the sad fact is, on some of the major names mentioned above, it's a major risk/gamble for the club or promoter. A promoter stands to earn 15% of the cost of the production, thats if everything goes thier way, if it heads south due to another event, weather, baseball games, etc.. You can lose huge!! So, would it be great to bring The Black Keys, Raconteurs,Thievery Corporation, The National..etc... but it's such a gamble in this market, we have to make educated decisions as to what we risk our $$ on.

I have been toying with the idea of club membership...so we could bank on a certain # of tickets sold to each show. I mean people subscribe to all sorts of monthly, quarterly services, why not one that sends you tickets to approx 10 shows per month, my opinion that would be better than The Office, or Dancing with the stars...but I don't have to work at 7a.m. either...lol


We just have to work at promoting the shows and getting greater attendace guaranteed for each show, that way we can risk bringing in diefferent and more expensive acts.

Bookmark our page!! www.revhall.com

Thanks for all of your support!

"I would be interested to know what kind of big name bands people in Albany want to see. My fear in general is that for the most part, what I want to see coming through more often has nothing to do with what other people want to see."

That's very true... I haven't heard of any of those bands you listed, haha, and I'm sure some of the bands I listed above you've never heard of (or wouldn't attend) either.

One show that's coming up to watch out for: Keller Williams next month at the Egg. It's been a while since I've seen him, but he used to put on a great show. Plus his new stage setup is amazing!


the music scene is what drew me to albany!!

all my favorite bands play here at least once a year.

**at least** once a week, there is a concert somewhere that I am interested in seeing.

i go to revoultion hall, red square, valentines, and even sometimes the egg and the palace.

i suppose this has a lot to do with your taste in music. i personally LOVE the albany music scene.


I've been thinking of getting at you guys at Rev Hall, regarding a night with Eclectic Method.

I'm trying to arrange a mini tour to make it worth their while coming up. Troy should be on that list.

Check them out
hit me if you have any interest.

and the remix that got all the buzz on Colbert Report

Jared... do WHATEVER you can to get Brothers Past back in the area!

i second the thank you to mr. glassman posted by alex (appearing at valentine's with margan and the red lions on march 13). i appreciate how getting people to leave their homes/computers to see live music is a tough task, speaking as a local artist/slugabed.

Since moving to Albany in mid-April I've been to 3 shows at Revolution Hall and one at The Egg. Granted, they weren't "big" named acts, but still great music. Downside was that they were mostly poorly attended, I think, decreasing the chance they would come back.

I don't know what you guys are talking about. Tom Jones is going to be at the Palace and it simply doesn't get any bigger than that.

One way or another, its awesome to see that whatever people seem to think the state of the Albany music scene is, the ridiculously long comment chain seems to be evidence that people around here care.

Also thanks to AOA for starting/facilitating the conversation and congrats to them (I think) for the large mention they get in this weeks Mland cover story.

Yeah, if you think there's nothing to do here, you should try living in Utica for a few years. Been there, done that - not even Syracuse can keep up with our scene.

We have some of the best local musicians for a city our size and I'm happy to be living in Albany with so much to do. Hell, if I wasn't, I'd just leave.

@Lola: Surprisingly, I've actually driven TO Utica for concerts THREE times! haha

moe. @ the Saranac brewery last summer, and Al & The Transamericans and Before Cowboys at the Electric Company.

"...the local scene has to want it" hit the nail right on the head, Alex.

Lola's got it. And in no way am I biased here. No really, it's not like I know her or anything. Her? Did I say her? I mean, I don't know how she/he/it. But yeah, the point is (ignore all that), for a city the size of Albany, we're pretty blessed. Touched by the hand (or noodly appendage) of the deity of your choice. There are phases, and right now is the jam band/hardcore phase. If you like other stuff, go out and support it, and it'll grow like weeds, because we're a fertile people (this does not reflect on Planned Parenthood business at all). If you don't like what Albany has to offer, move, really. Good luck finding a similar market with better housing prices. Hoowah!

@ B: The "free" Altamont (Justice) show came with a stipulation; you had to be twenty-one because they were making their money on alcoholic drinks. This is a neat model, but I think it would have been more effective if they either didn't sell booze or booked the even in a location that was more centrally located.

@Rup: Yeah, you have a point there. I think Alive at Five does so smashingly well because of:

a) location, location, location (even the rain spot doesn't totally blow)
b) it's free
c) anyone can go, and if you want to drink they have that nifty wristband system.

If the free Altamont concerts conformed to only (c), they would probably be much more successful. The Scottish Games, Country Fest and Irish Fest use that system and seem to do really well, and they're not even free.

If you like metal we get plenty of awesome smaller bands, but Pantera in 1996 was one of the last big name metal bands to play the area.

Funny. No mention of Metroland and how utterly sucky and irrelevant they are.

I remember when I first moved here four years ago, and found out Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was playing Valentine's. If not for the ad in Metroland, I wouldn't have known. Not even a listing in Metroland, let alone a mention. So here's a band that had a big first album, making waves, and the stoner-dudes at Metroland are too busy making fun of heavy metal bands at Northern Lights than to get out and cover the local music scene a couple blocks in their offices.

This story of Metroland not relevant arts events has played and replayed itself over and over again.

The people at Metroland are not doing their job. Thank God for AOA and other places that hopefully will pick up the slack.

This really became more about little venues than "big names" -- but still, the question is why more people don't go out to hear more music. For someone who works and has kids, going out on a weeknight isn't an option when the bands you're there to hear don't go on until 10 or 11 or later. Walking back to my car through iffy neighborhoods after midnight lost its appeal a long time ago. Also, since I'm not 20 anymore, I prefer to go somewhere where I won't have beer spilled on me.

Wow. Iffy neighborhoods? That's the problem? Really?

There's small-niche bands and then there's uber-names these days. Nothing in between. (There's a lot of reasons for this: the record business tanking, radio sucking, niche marketization of everything.) The "big name" band in the original post is The Hold Steady.

So let's talk about these kind of niche bands--college radio bands, alternative, adult alternative, whatever you want to call them. A record by that kind of band sells in the hundreds of thousands, tops. The kind of venues this kind of band plays these days across the country is a place like Valentine's, The Egg, Northern Lights, maybe SPAC in the summer on a big bill.

Which brings us back to Metroland. And how they suck. For whatever reason, they do not cover Albany's immediate mid-sized venue scene in any way that would be considered competent. Instead, they cover Northampton's scene, perhaps because they recognize the names there more; they cover the big sheds so they can make fun of Genesis at the TU Center. Or they cover Grand Funk Railroad at Live at Five so they can make fun of them to make them feel smarter. And they get the publicity photos mailed to them.

Why? Because it would be harder work. It would take reporters who really care about music to cover and celebrate bands that come to Albany. You don't rely on a Times Union to do that, although they do a better job than most big papers. You rely on an indie press. And Metroland, at least the time I have been here, have dropped the ball, time and time again, to even list--list!--events that take place here.

There's enough college kids alone to attend these concerts, but they don't ever get to know about the concerts. We have to rely on egroup lists the tiena and private emails to know what's going on. It's unconscionable. Small-sized cities deserve better.

@Daniel: I hate to call foul on your rant, but I think you're a bit off the mark -- with just a brief cursory glimpse of the last few issues of Metroland (online), I'm seeing almost exclusively local events in the "Noteworthy" section -- this week for example has one Northampton mention (only in the "also noted" section), last week two WMass mentions, week before none, week of Feb 5 none... it goes on... Seems to be the lead plugs are ALWAYS local.

While I can't say it's a perfect paper, their coverage is generally decent and to these eyes, has improved in the past two years or so.

So they missed CYHSY... perhaps they were telegraphing that the band's flash-in-the-pan was only going to be brief and unexciting, like it ended up being. :)


One thing that sticks in my recent memory as being a great triumph for the area is the Deer Tick show that occurred on Monday (!), February 16th at the Madison Grille in Albany. (Which was covered in Metroland "Bars & Clubs" feature with a color picture the Thursday before.) This show was held at a venue that isn't normally a venue (or previously so, perhaps they are attempting more in the future) and was absolutely PACKED TO THE GILLS (OK it's a small room, but still). I am no number guy, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was 100+ over the course of the night, each paying $10 to get in to see a band that has had little "mainstream press" and is currently being toured around the as an opener for Jason Isbell (former Drive-By Trucker). We're not reaching $25 / head for Bonnie "Prince" Billy on a Monday or Radiohead at the Knickerbocker Arena evidence, but it's this kind of risk and determination from promoters that will make our area more ripe for better shows in the future.

To me, this show was significant because it was put on by folks who are not your usual Albany promoters/show presenters. Proof that anything IS possible for worthy artists, put on by folks who care about word-of-mouth promotion mixed with traditional promotion tactics.

Let's keep some positive, constructive comments coming!

@ Matthew Think you're being a wee bit disingenuous here. True, Metroland did your own old band, Kamikaze Hearts, totally right -- y'all were on the cover at least once, they listed your band every time you played a bar mitzvah in Cohoes.

This isn't always the case; more often it's not. The arts/music listings for Metroland, in the four years I've been here, haven't even approached being comprehensive.

I'm not even talking about coverage--I am talking about listings, which is a cherry-picked assemblage of events, the result of a selection process that regularly neglects the local scene, all in favor of fanning out to a coverage area well beyond their own circulation/readership.

Emails I received from a Metroland editor, when I asked them why they have consistently failed to *even list* events I have run, cited the paper's "wide distribution area," in a region where, for example, "people regularly drive to Northampton to see shows."

Question: Does anyone regularly make that two-hour drive to Northampton for shows? Can you pick up a Metroland there? Conversely, do the arts papers there cover Albany's art/music scene?

Other coverage areas--again, direct from the Metroland editor's mouth--include Great Barrington, North Adams and Williamstown, Woodstock, Cooperstown.

Covering Great Barrington and Woodstock and Cooperstown is nice--and again, when was the last time you picked up a Metroland in Great Barrington?--but when you neglect to cover indie rock concerts at, say, RPI, people more and more are depending on places like tiena list to get their local gig news. (Which I heartily recommend; join up at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tiena/.)

The rationale for listing and not listing events--again, we're talking listings here, not a "preview slot," we're talking name, date, and address--is like no other indie paper I've ever worked with, in all my years of putting on shows. A Facebook friend cites the time Metroland failed to even list Don Byron's Ivey Divey trio's gig at the Linda. Why? Because, an editor said, they had listed the gig at The Egg! Un-fricking believable.

Being on the receiving end of Metroland's selectively comprehensive coverage must be nice. But for the rest of us, it really sucks and we have to fend for ourselves.

And hey--I'm keeping positive. I've got my Hold Steady tickets. As for that flash-in-the-pan Clap Your Hand Say Yeah: They will be on the Jimmy Fallon Show next Wednesday, and just played BAM. I would love to be as brief and unexciting when my band plays.


Fair enough... you obviously have specific, valid bones to pick. My comment comes only from my own experience and observation, and as you pointed out, I've received (more than) my fair share of coverage.

(You really should have been at that bar mitzvah in Cohoes... it was EPIC!!!!!)

To be honest, I stopped reading the listings a long time ago - perhaps because I've been trained to look elsewhere on my own over the years. You're right -- a casual reader should be able to check the back of any arts/alt/indie publication and find a list of _everything_ that's happening. I was unaware that there were holes.

It's probably a rare handful of Capital Region people who do make it out to Northampton, maybe more folks to Great Barrington, I have no statistics. You make a good point in that Northampton does not seem to have "Albany-Envy" as much as Albany has "Northampton-Envy". I'd bet it's more like "Albany Who?" to the WMassers.

As for the CYHSY jab, I can't and never have dug the tunes. They were an interesting phenomenon as in how having a former Atlantic Records publicist / PR person be their manager from behind the scenes can help them launch and feign the first ever "music blogger national success story". I still can't dig the tunes, but, glad they didn't break up... wouldn't want to ruin the story.

Also, glad you got your Hold Steady tickets since they sold out already... go Albany!

I love the conversation going on here. I do think that it helps North Hampton to have had an EXCELLENT radio station playing the cool artists for many many years. Certainly, the larger areas - whether they have a cool radio station or not, are beneficiaries of large populations.

Albany hasn't the smallest population base, and it certainly has not only a very cool Local 518 music scene, but it also has a great community filled with amazing music listeners.

Hopefully, it is possible to harness all the positive energy around that and make it possible for Howard to feel comfortable shelling out $2500+ for someone like Will Oldham.

Delta Spirit have promised us that they want to come back. They really (and I mean genuinely) felt horrible that they had to cancel. They've done a lot to make good on some promises since then, and I expect they will make good on that promise to return. The LOVE the town. Loved playing at Rev Hall.

It's a great place. Let's not knock where we live just coz we don't get everything.

Have you seriously looked at the calendars of Rev Hall, The Egg, Valentines, The Linda, Caffe Lena, Red Square, The Palace, Proctors (please forgive me if I forgot your space!)...etc etc. There are tons of top draws showing up here, or in Great Barrington. OMG! Where are ya? Get out there and support the freakin' music, eh?

Rock on!

@Chris Re: "Have you seriously looked at the calendars of Rev Hall, The Egg, Valentines, The Linda, Caffe Lena, Red Square, The Palace, Proctors (please forgive me if I forgot your space!)"

I have, when I have the time. And I have been to gigs at all these places except the Proctors.

But I think my point is that not many people are going to surf the web or whatnot to seek out these listings. In a city this size, there needs to be a central place where these listings are--and the job of a community-based weekly arts paper is to put EVERYTHING in its listings--it is, in fact, the reason why I used to read Metroland, and so many others. (I'm not too excited about syndicated cover stories, and don't think the writers are that good; some of them are just awful, like BA "The soud bu jour is offered daily" Nilsson.)

So, yes, there are great things happening here. I totally agree. So much great stuff happening. It just sucks when the main place people should go to doesn't do the most basic of its jobs.

Daniel, I have checked the sites of the various venues. I do it regularly. I am sure others do as well. Is it ideal? Perhaps not, but it does work. Imagine being in NYC. So many venues; so much music; so little time.

Editorially, I can imagine that Metroland has to promote some and not others. I am sure it is a challenge for them to continue be there for every venue/producer.

For classical, there used to be a relatively inclusive and open calendar of music events, but the person(s) who ran it were unable to maintain it.

The fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of performances each month. Many of those include top performers in every genre.

Cannot find something to do? Look a little harder.

Albany is a tertiary market. Bands won't come here unless they absolutely have to, and even then it's a longshot.

Rather than complaining about the local paper, do something constructive on your own. Tell a friend or two. Hey, you seem to be finding out about shows anyway so what's the big issue?

You could always just leave town. That seems to be what everyone is doing these days.

Hey, I look out for shows and readings and lectures. But I am used to looking, oh, in an arts weekly paper or a single website to do that. That doesn't happen here. I'm not going to leave town just because Metroland sucks. But I am not going to just stop complaining about Metroland because...well, why again? I should just try harder?

I actually do constructive things. I put on readings and lectures around town, both at the college where I teach and for awhile downtown. I hand out flyers. More than I should, frankly, for a man my age.

And here's my axe to grind, an axe that is all too common, I have found, while talking to other artists around town: Metroland doesn't cover what I do, it doesn't cover what's right outside its door. Art shows blocks away, never listed -- not just not reviewed, mind you--never listed. Whole series of indie rock shows at local colleges just missed. Front-page articles taken from the wire instead of covering a local issue written by a local writer who is paid to do what he or she does.

How to explain this impulse to defend a sucky paper? Is this an Albany thing, to just keep your chin up and deal with it?


Here's what I hope: Metroland will go under soon, and maybe something smaller and better will emerge from the ashes, maybe another smaller paper or a website. But that doesn't mean we have to grin and bear it while it happens.

@ MattW - if you think the "smalbany" (yawn) music scene is "just plan bad" you obviously haven't explored beyond the hardcore or folk scenes in the area.

Aficienado and Severe Severe are two amazingly good local acts that few people know anything about. I think people in this area don't really tend to explore outside of their comfort zones, and they end up missing out on some really great things that are right outside their doors.

@DanielNester re: Metroland I completely agree! Long live AOA!

What the hell happened at the John Joseph spoken word at The Linda? About 20 people showed up. Are you kidding?

Where were all the hard core kids? This guy is a legend. It was only $10. Was it not promoted? I couldn't believe it!

What a shame!

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