LIVE: The Figgs @ the Low Beat, 4/4/14

Mike Gent regales the crowd
Mike Gent regales the crowd

Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

Although Howard Glassman’s new music club the Low Beat quietly opened back in February, he celebrated his new Central Avenue joint in grand style on Friday, April 4 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan during the day. At night, the Figgs — whose “Sucking in Stereo” poster features prominently behind the club’s newly refurbished bar — christened the place with a nearly three-hour set that contained elements both old and new, like the Low Beat itself.

There were new songs from an upcoming album that the band was in the midst of recording at Seth Powell’s Soundcheck Republic studio in East Greenbush. And one of the oldest songs of the night was a rare live version of “Apple Brown Betty,” a jazzy, funky instrumental by bassist Pete Donnelly that appeared on the long out-of-print Put Me Up cassette-only release by the pre-Figgs band the Sonic Undertones.

The 2001 out-of-print Figgs EP Badger is soon to get a re-release on vinyl and digital with previously unheard bonus tracks, and songs from that well-loved album got an airing, including the opening “To Throw Us” and “Riding on You.” Mike Gent sang a glorious cover of INXS’ “This Time,” and drummer Pete Hayes cracked up the crowd with an extended version of “Pete Hayes Time,” wherein he left his kit to sing Hayes-penned songs like “Je T’Adore” (the jokey-French soundtrack to a recent Lexus commercial), “She Had Iraq & Iran” (yes, it’s about what you think it’s about when you sound out the title) and the resurrected “Let’s Go Back to Chelsea.”

In honor of the man of the evening, the Figgs wrapped things up in the early hours of Saturday morning with a tune by Young Fresh Fellows (the band whose 1992 album It’s Low Beat Time inspired the name of the club) and topped it off by giving the final request to Mr. Glassman himself, who chose the seminal early Figgs tune, “Ginger.”

Century Plants (with Pete Donnelly sitting in) opened with raucous psychedelic-space jams after British musician Nick Mitchell (from the scheduled opener Chalaque) was delayed in England by a pilot’s strike. Drummer Phil Donnelly (Pete’s brother) and bassist Eric Hardiman (from the improvisational musical collective Burnt Hills) had been slated to join Chalaque for a Northeast tour, starting with the Low Beat show. Instead, they assembled the Century Plants crew to open for the Figgs in Mitchell’s absence, and joined him on the road for the Chalaque tour when he finally made it into the country several days later.

To Throw Us 
Gimmie Some Neck 
Riding On You 
Just The Facts 
There’s Always Something 
Smoking A Lot 
If I Lose My Heart 
I’m Coming Over Later 
Hold On (John Lennon)
The Lovely Miss Jean 
Brain Be Gone 
This Time (INXS)
Johnny Thunder (Kinks)
Animal Farm (Kinks)
Said Enough 
Wait on Your Shoulders 
She Had Iraq & Iran 
Let’s Go Back To Chelsea 
Je T’Adore 
Come On Tonight 
Wiser Goldfish 
Do Me Like You Said You Would 
She Can’t Say No Either 
Down At Le Sounde 
Apple Brown Betty 
Yet To Be Made 
Got Caught Up 
Supreme Fashion 
Simon Simone 
Inside the Disco 
The Great Unwashed 
This One’s for the Ladies (Young Fresh Fellows)

Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly and Pete Hayes
Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly and Pete Hayes
Pete Donnelly
Pete Donnelly
Keyboardist Ted Collins sat in for the show
Keyboardist Ted Collins sat in for the show
Pete Hayes time!
Pete Hayes Time!

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