Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TOP 10 SHOWS OF 2009

Looking back on year’s 10 favorite local shows 
By Don Wilcock, The Record 
Don Wilcock 

The Record 

Steve Sloan and I were in the casino on a Holland cruise ship off the coast of Mexico having a drink when he said to me, “Do you know how lucky you are living where you do?” 

At first, I thought he’d had one too many, but when he explained to me that the number of quality of acts I get to cover for The Record was unprecedented, I had to step back. Sloan is the editor of BluesWax and FolkWax, two international webpage magazines that cover the best in the field. Sloan travels the world and attends the most exotic festivals and concerts on earth, and he’s praising our area. And, you know something, I get around just enough to know he’s right. 

Here, then, are my personal favorite local shows of this year. 

1] John Morse benefit, December, Tugboat Tavern, Cohoes : Morse won’t let you hang with him without altering your consciousness so I only lasted through seven of the 14 bands playing, but this outpouring by local bands was an incredible display of local rock energy, creativity and love by a community that has roots. Seeing veterans like Johnny Rabb and Buck Mallen and discovering Acoustic Trauma made this my number one event of the year and made me proud of my 33 years of reporting on this scene. 

The Tugboat Tavern - what the locals know 
By: Matt Mac Haffie, the Record09/24/2008
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If you want to know what the locals know, go with a local. My guide for the maiden voyage to the Tugboat Tavern was Cohoes resident and rock photographer, Lisa Rustin. We drove down from "the Hills" section of Cohoes crossed I-787 to easy parking on "the Island." Rustin was met by more locals outside the venue. We were greeted by a polite doorman on the way in.
Once we were inside the bar our first round needs were well taken care of by sweet blond bartender in a sleek black dress. The club boasts being a place "Where you can get a cold drink made by some fun (and did I mention good-looking) bartenders" on its friendly staff. The Tugboat Tavern say that's how they do it and that's how they do it they don't make false claims. 
Oh and yes, my premonition of nautical theme proved true but all in good taste falling far short of a Central Avenue fern bar brand of tacky. Casual attire is the norm, where patrons range in age from mid-twenties to late forties. The place felt neither college hang out nor old man's bar - it's more just a comfortable watering hole.
The music on tap for the evening was the well established Albany band, The Erotics, who for some odd reason were opening for the veteran bar band rock of The John Morse Band, who are a staple at the Tugboat. This seemed an odd pairing like the buddy picture "48 Hours." Where the studio was unsure that Eddie Murphy could carry a picture so they paired him with Nick Nolte. I get the feeling the Tugboat is a bit uncertain about an all-original band like The Erotics' ilk but let's give them a hand for trying it.
Many first time patrons, with a decidedly more glam rock look, began to show up to see the Erotics. Yet despite being new to the Tavern, and eclectic looking, they were quickly made to feel at home. Rustin introduced me to her high school friend Pat McNulty, who plays Bass in the Morse band, followed by an introduction the drummer from Ohms Law, a band that also appears regularly at the Tugboat. 
The nigh went very well, The Erotics made believers of the Cohoes crowd and John Morse enlisted their singer, Mike Trash, to sit in on much of his set.
In addition to the regular artists like Morse and Ohms Law some top notch shows are upcoming, like SubZero, whose singer Rae is not to be missed. The same case could be made for Mike and the Monsters' tavern debut. Local legend Johnny Rabb has even made a December benefit show appearance that is still talked about. 
The Tugboat has a very nice house sound and lighting system. The reason you, as an audience member, should care is the consistent good sound and for the band it proves it's a venue that is committed to live music.
The Tugboat Tavern opened its doors on 2007 and has been open a little over a year. It is owned by Ian Caristi and Kathy Mayer and is located at 159 Bridge St. in a residential setting just off I-787. It's open seven days a week, John Morse host an open mic on Thursday and features live music on Saturday nights. ä 

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