BEST OF 2016: Ed Conway’s Top However Many Shows
Story and photographs by Ed Conway
We traveled far and wide, as usual, to hear great music, including Vegas and Nashville. I’ve only included shows within driving distance of Greater Nippertown. Here are my top shows of 2016 in no particular order:
The Hi-Risers @ Sticky Lips, Rochester: December 31-January 1. Since they played after 12midnight last New Year’s Eve, they squeaked into the 2016 list.
Woody Pines @ B-Side Ballroom, Oneonta: We have actually seen them several times this year, both in Oneonta and Nashville, and they were worth it.
Dust Bowl Faeries @ Club Helsinki, Hudson: March 6. CD release concert. Wonderful ethereal group.
Bloodshot Bill: Bill came to town a few times at the Fuze Box, the Ale House and his latest show at the Low Beat and we were there each time, plus we saw him at the New England Shake-Up.
The Fab Faux @ The Egg, Albany: April 30. Jimmy Vivino and friends did Revolver plus a slew of other Beatles’ songs.
McKinley James @ Albany Ale and Oyster (formerly the Beer Belly) and the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy: The eldest son of Jason Smay (JD McPherson’s drummer) has become a fantastic guitar player, and he’s only 15.
Dale Watson & the Reverend Horton Heat @ Highline Ballroom, NYC: July 19. Dale and the Rev each played solo, sans bands, and finished up as a duet for a very intimate show of music and stories.
Weird Al Yankovic @ Proctors, Schenectady: September 17. Never a disappointing show.
The Fleshtones @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy: October 15. The longtime rockers, including drummer and Troy native Bill Milhiser, put on one hell of a high-energy show.
Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F#%* He Wants @ The Egg, Albany; October 25. Due to infighting among members of his own family over the Zappa name, he could no longer call it Zappa plays Zappa, but it was a great night honoring the music of Frank Zappa (good thing that’s what the F&#K he wanted to play).
Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys @ the Abilene Bar & Lounge, Rochester: November 4. Big Sandy’s songwriting and singing are in a class by themselves, and the band he has surrounded himself with are equal to the task of bringing these songs the style and respect they deserve.
Rocky Velvet @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy: November 26. The original members – Jaybird, Jeff, Ian and Graham – got together to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Hopefully they’ll celebrate more often.
Bill Kirchen @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy: December 2. This is always a great time, especially when joined by longtime friend and former bandmate John Tichy. I can never get enough of “Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas.”
HONORABLE MENTION (only because it was a series of three shows, rather than one): Lost Radio Rounders’ Third Friday Charity Concert Series at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland, where they brought in guest musicians from the area to perform gospel songs as a fund raiser for various charities. I can’t wait for next year to see who they bring in.
OK, they were pretty much in the order we saw them, and several of these we saw more than once all over the country. And no, we weren’t stalkers…
MORE BEST OF 2016 LISTS
American Songwriter’s Top 10 Songs
J Hunter’s Top Jazz Albums (Part Deux)
Newsweek’s Top 11 Documentary Films
Don Wilcock’s Top 10 Blues Albums
The Chicago Tribune’s Top Four Poetry Books
Pitchfork’s Top 25 Music Videos
Stanley A. Johnson’s Top 10 Favorite Musical Places
Time Magazine’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books
TV Guide’s Top Television Shows
J Hunter’s Top Jazz Albums (Part 1)
Esquire’s Top 25 Movies (So Far)