Retro music land

the monkees

The Monkees are still walking down your street, but they aren't nearly as spry. The Monkees -- canceled! "Due to internal group issues and conflicts."

By Danielle Furfaro

This morning, the Palace Theater announced the lineup of its upcoming Hippiefest, which will feature Dave Mason, Rick Derringer, a guy from Grand Funk Railroad and a guy from the Rascals. While I'm always happy to hear of any concerts coming though our area, I've been noticing lately that the Capital Region seems to have turned into nostalgia central for past-their-prime rock acts.

A quick scan of the Palace website reveals that other upcoming shows include Jackson Browne, the Monkees, Stone Temple Pilots and Primus. They might all qualify as nostalgia for different demographics, but when 95 percent of the crowd is hoping to hear hits that were on the radio (or in Primus' case, bubbling through the underground) in the 20th century, we are clearly ensconced in nostalgia territory. It's the same at the Saratoga Performing Acts Center. There are a smattering of contemporary acts on the lineup, but the majority of this summer's pop music schedule is blasts-from-the-past like Stevie Nicks, Barry Manilow and Journey. Meanwhile, The Egg has Roger McGuinn, Peter Wolf and members of the Doors.

Today, most modern bands stick to smaller stages like Valentine's or Northern Lights and when they get big enough to take the larger stages, they bypass the Capital Region altogether.

It's a far cry from the 80's and 90's, when the Capital Region was a regular touring stop for fresh national acts. I remember seeing Primus when they first came to the Capital Region on their Sailing the Seas of Cheese tour in 1991, supporting Public Enemy and Anthrax. Of course, that was the inaugural year of Lollapolooza, which brought a huge lineup of fresh bands, including Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails and Rollins Band.

What do you think has changed since then? Are you happy with the concert offerings around here? Is there an act you wish would come by the Capital Region but never does?


You are correct -- the concert calendar the past couple of years has been lacking.

I would love for the Black Keys to stop here -- they are from Ohio for the love of Pete! But, sadly, a lot of bands do the "Boston/NYC/Buffalo" circuit and bypass us.

Rochester gets its fair share of good metal/hardcore shows, but that drive doesn't have the appeal it once had when I was a young, spry concert-goer.

Oh God...the Invasion of the Walking Dead

I'm glad the bands of today are steering clear. I'll take the monkees, STP, members of the doors and grandfunk railroad over the crap thats popular.

The Airborne Toxic Event just played at Northern Lights; M. Ward plays at Mass MoCA on friday.

I think the answer is greater support from us (music fans) and greater exposure in our local media outlets. If people say to themselves "I'll see them next time" or "I'll pass, there's a cover" and don't show up to support great acts then they won't be back. Blogs like AOA, Nippertown are a great start but I think the answer is having medium-sized and larger media outlets devoting some or more coverage of the music scene.

For example- last week at the Ruck the Steepwater Band (from Chicago) played. I found out via the Ruck's Facebook, but it didn't make any other outlet I frequent and unfortunately no media or reviews went up after the show. Super 400, a great local rock group, gets some local coverage but really could use more.

(atleast we have YouTube-

Ike, looks like M. Ward had to cancel his Mass MOCA show, unfortunately - the TU mistakenly posted that he was playing The Linda Norris Auditorium the day after (he isn't) - I would have been all over that - saw him open for My Morning Jacket at Northern Lights (back in 2004, i believe it was) - it seems that and Valentines are the only place to see more non-Dinosaur bands, again unfortunately.

I did not know about the steepwater band, and I was at the ruck that night. Publicity is easy and tough at the same time.

The Monkees show has also been canceled due to, and I love this: internal group issues and conflicts. "Hey Dolenz, did you take my Metamucil...get your own damn Metamucil...!"

"I'm glad the bands of today are steering clear. I'll take the monkees, STP, members of the doors and grandfunk railroad over the crap thats popular."


(hey, love this website, by the way)

The closing of Revolution Hall in Troy was a major blow. The person/people responsible for booking at that place seem to have had an understanding of the current rock music scene (admittedly very White/hipster/hippie, etc). But, Hell, I saw "The Fiery Furnaces" there, and many other great acts played there from time to time. If that venue could re-open (with the same people involved) the flavor of the area's live indie rock scene would improve considerably.

Northern Lights: Wonderfully eclectic booking, but the place has the worst acoustics of almost any club that I have ever patronized. That includes crappy dive bar basements. Those folks need a new venue with better acoustics, because they seem to make an effort to bring in good acts. I have passed on many bands playing at Northern Lights, because it is an absolutely horrible venue.

Then again, maybe it's "these kids today", I dunno. Maybe there really is too much THC in the weed today. Or maybe today's middle class college students are just more boring than ever. I remember seeing Fugazi in the student union of SUNY Binghamton in 1993. The room was packed. What ROCK should be. This is when Fugazi had gone "mainstream", practically at the height of their powers.

I know that people always look back at their youthful years with nostalgia, but today's youth culture (thus, the underground music scene) seems lacking. Though I would rather have been around in 1966, 1971, or 1976, 1989-93 was okay by comparison to today's white-hot white kid bands (Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc.).

There is a lot of awesome music out there right now, but the music fan needs to wade through a lot of derivative crap. My point is that things seem pretty dull on the surface. However, with all of these colleges and universities in the Capital District, I would have expected a slightly more interesting indie/undiscovered rock music scene. In a way, I feel that it is the "responsibility" of the younger set to create the demand for venues that might bring more obscure acts to the region.

I do not know what the 2011 equivalent of Fugazi might be (Sun Araw? Sun O)))?, but I see no reason why such hypothetical bands shouldn't pass through Albany once every three years.

"These kids today"...too much of that Guitar Hero...too much Facebook...hah.

Do they even know what Rock is anymore...

It's all about commerce isn't it? Being wedged between New Yor City/Boston/Montreal as we are, you think we would be a natural touring stop for any national act. But I'm guessing the numbers are speaking for themselves. Booking agents, record labels, and concert promoters want to put on shows they know will sell. Perhaps the Capital District has proven itself so unadventurous in ticket-buying habits that these business people know nostalgia sells, and cutting-edge does not always. We can get a group like Coldplay or Kings of Leon to play SPAC now that we know they are in high demand. Groups like that have saturated the market. But what we're talking about here is basically "cool", "hip" or "modern" groups that aren't entirely underground but not quite mainstream yet. Basically, we're made because the Arcade Fire haven't played here yet! But where would they play? Too big for the Palace. Probably wouldn't fill SPAC and definitely not the TU Center.

Don't forget about Red Square! I'm there at least twice a month to see great bands. Just recently saw Marco Benevento Trio, Floodwood (with a special guest appearance from Keller Williams!), BioDiesel, and plenty of other incredible bands over the years. The most I've ever payed for a show there was only $15, with shows usually only costing $10... plus the $3 PBR tall boys are always a treat! It is a huge shame that Rev Hall is closed and that most bands have to resort to either avoiding Albany altogether, or have to play in the terrrriblleee Northern Lights. I think more people should come to the Armory, or even possibly the Troy Music Hall. The Palace is a nice gem too. I've just always been a huge fan of general admission standing/dancing rooms as opposed to seats. But check out places like Red Square and Jillians, they've definitely added some great acts to their lineup this fall/winter! Happy Dancing!

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