BEST OF 2015: Ed Conway’s Top 10 Concerts

Nick Lowe
Nick Lowe @ Club Helsinki, 10/7/15

Story and photographs by Ed Conway

The 10 most memorable shows for me in 2015, in no particular order:

The Holly & Evan Band with Bryan Thomas @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, January 25. While I generally don’t tout my son’s band when I do reviews or lists (although I enjoy them very much), I am including this because it was an opportunity to see Bryan Thomas in a venue of such musical history.

The Levin Brothers @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady, March 20. Touring behind their new album, Tony and Pete Levin made a stop along with Erik Lawrence and Jeff “Siege” Siegel. While I am not a jazz aficionado, I found both their album and show quite approachable and enjoyed it very much.

Dale Watson & His Lone Stars @ The Hangar, Troy, January 28. Watson made two tour stops in Nippertown this past year (also at The Linda in Albany on July 13), but the show at The Hangar captured the honky tonk atmosphere perfectly.

Ohana at the Lake @ the Tiki Motor Inn, Lake George, June 25-28. This annual music fest at the oh-so-retro Tiki Motor Inn included some great surf music, but the pre-party featured an appearance by the Neanderthals and the following day the Outta Sites and Los Straitjackets fired up their sets outside next to the pool. What can be better?

Nick Lowe @ Club Helsinki, Hudson, October 7. With or without Los Straitjackets, Lowe is a wonderful performer. This stop was shortly before continuing his Quality Holiday Revue Live tour on the south and west coast.

Mavis Staples with Joan Osborne @ Proctors, Schenectady, November 6. A true legend in a legendary performance hall. What’s not to love?

Bill Kirchen @ The Hangar, Troy, December 20. Always on the top of my list is Kirchen’s Honky Tonk Christmas show.

Commander Cody & His Modern Day Airmen with the Lustre Kings and Billy Eli @ the Hangar, Troy, April 19. Another performer I try not to miss when they’re in the area.

Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano, Kasim Sulton and Buck Dharma (photo by Ed Conway)
Blue Oyster Cult: Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano, Kasim Sulton and Buck Dharma @ Alive at Five, 8/6/15

Blue Oyster Cult with Blotto @ Jennings Landing, Albany, August 6. The highlight of the Alive at Five summer series, for me, was Blot & Blue Redux. Don’t just take my word for it – it was also the largest crowd.

The Fleshtones @ River Street Pub, Troy, March 8. A week removed from an emergency appendectomy, I hobbled in to see America’s Garage Band. As an added bonus, an appearance by the Lawn Sausages got the crowd going.

The Unexplainable Billy Eli & His Amazing Spooklights @ the Ale House, Troy. Billy made a return trip to the Ale House in the fall. While the music was great, the fact that it was the last time I saw Dick Quinn will make this most memorable.

To paraphrase the wisdom of Nigel Tufnel, this list goes to eleven. You’re writing along and you get to ten, where are you going to go? Nowhere. Exactly. It needed that extra push over the cliff…

Stanley Johnson’s Favorite Things
J Hunter’s Top 25 Jazz Recordings, Part I
Tim Livingston’s Coolest Rock Event/Album That You Probably Never Heard About
Albert Brooks’ Top 5 Vocal Albums
J Hunter’s Top 25 Jazz Recordings, Part II
Rudy Lu’s Top 10 Favorite Concerts
Tim Livingston’s Coolest Rock Event That You Probably Never Heard About, No. 2
J Hunter’s 10 Best Concerts… And More
Gene Sennes’ Fave Recordings

  1. Ed says

    And of course what would a best of list be without leaving someone out. I should have made it an even dozen as Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys was another fantastic show at Club Helsinki.

  2. Greg says

    Ain’t that always the way? Thanks for the add-on…

  3. Rudy says

    Excellent, Ed. Who knew the Fleshtones were the post-op procedure that you required? Priceless!

  4. wanda callagy says

    A big thanks to the best of 2015 by Ed and Rudy and Tim, listing just a few for the fine highlights of your musical year. It is fun to read all the reviews and such as it is hard to be many places at one time. Thanks to the editors who cover a variety of art and entertainment in the region. The greatest of photos, the honest and candid reviews.
    Lots of hours of work, talent and love shows. On to more in 2016! Wanda

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