THE DOZEN: May’s Must-See Concerts
By Greg Haymes
You could call it Best Bets, Prime Picks, Top Tips or whatever. We call it The Dozen, whereby we offer a monthly round-up of 12 (or so) of the shows around Greater Nippertown that have got us jazzed the most. Only one entry per venue. Of course, your results may vary, so please feel free to comment below and let us know what you think we missed or overlooked.
Here’s The Dozen for the merry month of May:
THURSDAY (MAY 5): Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy. Call it ritual groove music. Call it jazz-funk minimalism. Call it utterly hypnotic. Just don’t miss it, as the Swiss band is playing only three U.S. concerts, and this is one of ’em. 8pm. $18; $13 students & seniors. GO HERE to win a pair of FREE tickets to this concert…
SATURDAY (MAY 7): The English Beat @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany. The band that famously fused ska with pop, soul, reggae and punk rock in the ’80s, is back led by founding member and consummate showman Dave Wakeling on guitar and lead vocals. 8pm. $34.
SATURDAY (MAY 7): Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom! @ MASS MoCA’s Club B10, North Adams. “A drummer of fierce clarity and bold imagination” (London Guardian) returns with her smoking hot band — featuring Jenny Scheinman, Myra Melford, Todd Sickafoose, Ben Goldberg and Kirk Knuffke — for a night of propulsive rhythm and melody. 8pm. $16 in advance; $22 in advance; $28 preferred; $10 students.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11: The Alejandro Escovedo Trio @ the Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes. The legendary roots rocker and No Depression Artist of the Decade returns to Greater Nippertown, this time with Brian Standefer on cello and Sean Giddings on keys. With Lucette. 8pm. $25 in advance; $30 at the door.
THURSDAY, MAY 12: Sam Baker @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. Another sublime Austin singer-songwriter. You may not know his name, but his latest album, Say Grace, is a knock-out. Accompanied by Red House recording artist Carrie Elkin. 8pm. $18 in advance; $22 at the door.
FRIDAY, MAY 13: John Gorka and Cheryl Wheeler @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady. A dynamic double-bill featuring two top veteran singer-songwriters on the contemporary folk scene, both with a keen eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. 7:30pm. $28; $40 Gold Circle.
SATURDAY, MAY 14: Rory Block @ the Valatie Community Theatre, Valatie. Chatham’s own internationally acclaimed Queen of the Acoustic Blues. She was a surprise guest with Bonnie Rait at the Palace last month, now hear her on her own. 8pm. $20 in advance; $25 at the door.
THURSDAY, MAY 19: The Milk Carton Kids @ the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. The indie-folk duo conjures up comparisons to such terrific twosomes as Simon & Garfunkel, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings and the Everly Brothers. With Margaret Glaspry. 7:30pm. $29 & $34.
FRIDAY, MAY 20: Lonesome Val @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy. The frontwoman for Fear of Strangers, one of the ’80s most popular Local 518 bands, Lonesome Val Haynes returns to the spotlight for a rare performance with the Toddfellows Society (led by FoS guitarist Todd Nelson) and special guests Kyle Esposito, Julia Nichols and Kevin Maul. 7pm. $12.
FRIDAY, MAY 20: Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys @ The Linda, Albany. It’s the CD release party for the Americana/bluegrass/folk band’s new album – their fifth – with special guest fiddler Sara Milonovich. 8pm. $15. ALSO: They’ll be playing in Washington Park for the Albany Tulip Festival at 1:30pm on Saturday (May 8). FREE.
SATURDAY, MAY 21: Caffe Lena’s Anniversary Concert @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs. This year’s annual celebratory concert features Motown-bluegrass outfit Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys; traditional southern mountain balladeers Anna & Elizabeth; one-man-band sensation the Suitcase Junket; and Troy’s own booming troubadour Sean Rowe. 7pm. $30 & $50; $15 students.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25: Florist @ BSP Lounge, Kingston. Greater Nippertown’s Emily Sprague, Rick Spataro and Jonnie Baker moved to NYC, added drummer Felix Walworth to the musical mix and released their sweet debut album, The Birds Outside Sang, earlier this year. With Immaculate Heart and flower housewife. 8pm. $8.
SATURDAY, MAY 28: Lake Street Dive @ Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown. Rachael Price’s voice balances soul with swagger as she and the band kick off the summer in support of their new album Side Pony. With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. 7:30pm. $35 in advance; $40 at the gate.
SUNDAY, MAY 29: The 8th Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration @ the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. Hosted by Happy Traum, it’s an all-star musical celebration for Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday. It’s also a benefit concert for Family of Woodstock’s Crisis Hotline and the John Herald Fund. With Connor Kennedy & Minstrel as the house band with an array of Woodstock musicians. 8:30pm. $25, $45, $65 & $100.