Alive at Five 2014 lineup

fitz and the tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums are the headliner for the opening night of this summer's Alive at Five series.


The city of Albany announced the lineup for this summer's Alive at Five lineup. The free concert series at Jennings Landing along the Hudson River in downtown Albany starts June 12.

And without further ado, here's the lineup...

June 12: Fitz & The Tantrums
With: The Features

June 19: Easy Star All-Stars
Reggae night. With: John Brown's Body

June 26: Dwele
R&B night. With: MIRK

July 10: Lord Huron
With: MaryLeigh Roohan

July 17: Eastbound Jesus
Local night. With: Stellar Young, and Hard Soul

July 24: Dustin Lynch
Country night. With Jacob Powell

July 31: Grand Funk Railroad
With Wild Adriatic. (Rain site is the TU Center.)

August 7: Sheila E
With: Conehead Buddha

There is no show July 3 because of the holiday. The rain site, except when noted, is the Corning Preserve Boat Launch.

How does the lineup get picked?

We were curious about how the lineup for Alive at Five gets picked. So we asked Melli Rose, the director of the city of Albany's office of special events. Here's her answer from this morning, at length (we've condensed it just a bit):

It's a very thorough, long, fun, and exhausting process. We accept applications from a lot of local bands as well as national and world-renowned acts. This year I reached out to a lot of different partners -- local media, local radio stations, local promoters, local business owners -- to find out what this region might want to see. And I thought the most eclectic lineup is always ideal. I'm lucky it happened that way.
But it depends on how these acts are routed. Because they're not cheap, just because of the cost of travel. And so we usually have to see how acts are routed in the area, and that's usually why we're able to get certain names. So that's why some years you'll see larger names than others because it's based on availability.
And a free concert series has a little bit different price point because it's not a ticketed event. That's why you'll see different acts different years. But this year we really lucked out with a lot of incredible talent. ...
I would like people to know that even though some of these acts they might not know them, if they come down they'll experience a really good concert this year.
Sometimes people don't understand that we can't book extremely big names down here just because of capacity. We can't have more than 10,000 people -- 10,000 people is pushing it already. So if you booked a band like Sting -- which we can't afford, you know what I mean -- it's just not something that's quite possible. If we had a sponsor come in and say we have $200,000 to book a concert, then I'm sure we'd be all about finding a location for that and making it happen.

Rose said all the the money for acts comes from sponsorship fees. And while she wasn't able to quote us the specific total budget for acts this year, she said the city was able to raise about the same amount of sponsorship money as last year.

Earlier and elsewhere: Albany mayor scraps new stage at Corning Preserve riverfront; money to be spent elsewhere [Biz Review 2014-04-28]

Fitz and The Tantrums photo via Elektra Records


Whaaaa?? Fitz AND Sheila E? This is bananas.

Interesting. Didn't the Mayor say she wanted to hack two weeks off of the schedule? I wonder what changed her mind.

Not a stellar series at all. I looked up the acts on youtube and barely recognized a single "hit". A nice night to get out but certainly not a sing a long series. Year one for the new mayor gets a C+ on my scale for Alive at Five. Hopefully Rockin on the River steps up with a good venue of tribute bands!

@Stevie; there's no accounting for taste. I get what you are saying, but for my tastes, the first show alone makes this the best lineup I've seen in a while. And, I could probably sing along with every one of MaryLeigh's songs...but I'll save everyone the agony.

Different strokes for different folks.

MaryLeigh with Lord Huron sounds good to me.

Stevie, and others who have the same complaints about this every year:
Did you read the explanation given in this article? If the city was to bring in acts that are more popular than these, either 1. too many people would show up, or 2. it wouldn't be free. Beggars can't be choosers

I think it's a pretty good lineup all things considered. Fritz & the Tantrums do a great live show, and Lord Huron is a decent folksy band, with a poor man's Fleet Foxes vibe.

So excited for Fitz and Lord Huron! I'm very impressed and a huge improvement!

This lineup is great and very well rounded. It's about time this city brings in fresh and current music for once.Nice job Melli and co!

To Stevie--you can go get your tribute fix at Rockin' on the River or at any other bar in this town, all year round. But if you're actually open-minded about reggae music, Easy Star All Stars does in fact do covers of classic albums (Darkside of the Moon, Sgt Peppers and Ok Computer). And Fitz and the Tantrums has had a few hits on alternative radio but I can assume you're out of touch with that sort of thing.

grand funk railroad! thank you alive @ 5.

Always a fan of the Alive @ 5, but I'll only be attending 1 show this year, and that's Grand Funk Railroad. Not impressed at all by this line-up, and I guess because Grank Funk is the only act that will use the TU as a rain location, shows what kind of crowd they're expecting.

Neat variety in the lineup as explained.. I just wish things started later so I could make it on time.

I really hate to pile on Stevie and give off a music snob vibe but honestly, if you're happier with tributes or cover bands, it explains why you might have to look up all the names online. There's good new music out there everywhere, you just have to make a little effort to find it. Broaden those horizons, man!*

*purposely cliche

Can't say I recognize any of these bands (well except Grand Funk Railroad, in name anyway)... but anything is better than a lineup of only tribute bands (I'm looking at you, supposedly-trendy Troy ;)

Capacity and budget dictate the performers... soooo why not bring in one or more well-known artist per year, make them ticketed shows, and use proceeds to fund the free series? I've been to plenty of shows in Brooklyn's Prospect Park which do exactly that - the paid shows (partially) fund the free shows (along with sponsors). Thanks to the Corning's unique... uhh.. isolated location, it seems like it would be pretty easy to hold ticketed events there.

In any case, Lord Huron seems cool after streaming a few songs... now to check out the others.

This is the best Alive at 5 lineup that I have seen - and for anyone that is complaining about not knowing the bands, you have plenty of time to do your 'homework'.

Fitz and the Tantrums are playing a lot of the big festivals this year: Hangout fest, Governor's Ball, Bonaroo, Lollapalooza, ACL, to name a few - you don't get more lucky than to see them here for free. Anyone that caught them at UCH in the Fall knows what a great show they put on.

I saw Lord Huron play Newport Folk Fest last year - they are awesome live and Mary Leigh will be a great opener for them.

Sheila E - the Glamorous Life diva - drummer from Prince's band and one of the Escovedos.

Some of the other bands I don't know, like Easy Star All Stars, and Dustin Lynch, because those aren't my 'usual' genres - but I'll look them up and find out about them. Maybe I'll go, maybe not, but one thing I can say with certainty is how great it is to see some 'modern' bands on the schedule.

Yay Albany! How contemporary you've become!

Fitz is great live. The Features are awesome live as well. I've been dying to catch Lord Huron around here too. John's Brown Body is a solid reggae band and Eastbound Jesus is one of the best local bands in some time.

Anyone who complains about this line up should crawl back in their coffin.

That's the worst week ever for the best band of the whole lineup... but I might have to try to go anyway. Anyone got any tips for an Alive at Five rookie? (Good spots to park, or stand, or traffic tips, etc.?)

Oh My! The worst lineup ever!

Well, I guess I am a little trendy.... a few months ago a catchy tune came on the radio that my teenage son was listening to, and he told me it was called The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums. I downloaded it onto my ipod. So cool to hear they are coming to Alive at Five, maybe we'll go, if he doesn't have an exam....sadly it is regents week, and that still is more important.

As Melli Rose points out, ALL the planets must align to have a great, varied lineup, and this year's good. Also pleased to note that one whole event is strictly local bands, and that four of the rest have local openers. For tribute bands, well, #enjoytroy

The wild shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? The competent drumwork of Don Brewer? Oh, man!

When I was 9 years old I got to buy two 45's for my birthday - the first was Grand Funk Railroad's "Some kind of Wonderful" - the second (remember, I was only 9) was Neil Sedaka's "Laughter in the Rain"

The taxpayers of Albany are under no obligation to provide ANY free entertainment of ANY kind to a few. Conversely, with a budget gap of $15 million and counting, maybe things like this should be discontinued until the city is financially sound. These FREE events are very expensive (stage, bands, city workers, promotion,etc). So, if you are getting a show for free, be happy! I've never been to any of them, but I see pictures on the TU and no one in the audience seems to be in need of subsidized tickets. Stop freeloading and complaining, people!

I love that Grand Funk is the bar of excellence for some people. So anything newer than the 70s is crap? Wake up Van Winkle, its the 21st century! Did you send your comment to AOA using a fax machine?

This is a great line-up for free festival shows and I join the rest here who give the City props for trying to get some fresh acts in town. Keep it up.

What an awesome line up! Can't wait!!!

I paid good money to see Fitz and the Tantrums last Fall and now I can see them free. They are great live. But they are so hot right now I am worried about getting a good spot. Should I camp out all day,

I'm quite surprised that so many people have not heard of Fitz and the Tantrums! I was shocked to see that they are playing at this, frankly. They've been all over TV lately, and have had a nice handful of fun songs like "Out of My League", "MoneyGrabber", and "The Walker" that is/was used in a Laughing Cow TV commercial. I've listened to them in several formats and they were always great. I'm no spring chicken, but enjoy their music!

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