BEST OF 2017: Amy Modesti’s Top Events of the Year
Story by Amy Modesti
Photographs by Amy Modesti, Richard Lovrich
TOP ART EXHIBITION
“Makers: 365 NY Capital Region Creatives: Photographs by Richard Lovrich” @ Albany Center Gallery, Albany, June 20-July 21
This exhibition was truly inspirational and a must-see at the start of summer 2017. As a visual artist, photographer and musician/music fan, I found it amazing to see from Lovrich’s photographs of our creative community, how many musicians, artisans and other business entrepreneurs and creatives live within Greater Nippertown and how they made an impact in the community. This exhibition was not only interesting to view, but it was also a great way to be able to network with a who’s who of creative individuals within the community.
Photograph by Amy Modesti
TOP TOURING ACTS
Maroon 5 with R. City and Tinashe @ Times Union Center, Albany, 3/7/17
Another thing crossed off my bucket list; I watched an amazing performance from my favorite band, Maroon 5, in the Capital Region. Maroon 5 certainly had the “Moves like Jagger” as “The Voice” coach and front man Adam Levine and company moved their audience on stage during their re-scheduled Albany concert.
The Charlie Daniels Band with the Kyle Bourgault Band and the Scooter Brown Band @ New York State Food Festival, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/9/17
It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to video shoot and photograph local up-and-coming country act, the Kyle Bourgault Band, as they opened for Nashville-based group, Scooter Brown Band and Bourgault’s country hero, Charlie Daniels, who at 81 years old, is still amazing at singing and playing his fiddle on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” among his other hit songs at the scorching hot NYS Food Festival.
The Fleshtones with Big Frank & the Bargain Bingers and the Va Va Voodoos @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, 11/4/17
Troy native Bill Milhizer (drums/vocals) and his band put on an entertaining and energized performance to a packed house of fans that filled The Hangar for their return to the venue. Standing on chairs while playing guitar, twirling around on stage and engaging fans off stage within their musical moments, the Fleshtones are a group that knows how to grunge rock and roll.
The Eli Young Band with Skeeter Creek @ Tri City Valley Cats Fan Festival at Riverfront Park, Troy, 8/14/17
In support of their new album, Fingerprints, the Eli Young Band took the stage at Riverfront Park to perform a free concert for country music fans and baseball fans alike in celebration of the Tri City Valley Cats Fan Festival.
Garry Tallent @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, 5/9/17
Garry Tallent, bassist and vocalist for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, brought Rensselaer native Eddie Angel and his band down to River Street as they made their Greater Nippertown debut at The Hangar, performing an entertaining mix of rockabilly, country and western music to a packed house. E Street has certainly found a place to stay on River Street. A great way to also celebrate my birthday with a concert!
Rocktopia @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, 3/30/2017
For my first time watching a performance at the Palace Theatre, I found my time watching and photographing the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the members of Rocktopia to be fun and entertaining. It was amazing to watch these performers blend in standard classical music from established composers with classic rock song from top-charting artists such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Journey, among others.
Ana Popovic with Super 400, @ Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, 5/23/17
Although I had missed watching Super 400’s entire set as they had made their stage debut at the prestigious music hall, Serbian-born blues-based guitarist-vocalist Ana Popovic was on fire as she and her band delivered the blues with passion. The blues, as played by Popovic, is still alive and well within Greater Nippertown and beyond.
Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel @ The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, Albany, 6/16/17
Derek & the Dominoes vocalist-pianist Bobby Whitlock and his wife CoCo Carmel made a stop at The Egg this spring, performing to a small, intimate audience. It was interesting to hear Whitlock’s stories about performing with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Delaney & Bonnie, as he performed such songs as “Layla” and “Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad?” among others in this entertaining performance.
Photograph by Amy Modesti
TOP TRIBUTE CONCERTS
Super 400 Plays Hendrix @ Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Troy, 7/8/17
Fans of local power trio Super 400 flooded into the Dino BBQ and outside the grounds as they took in the music that the band performed, in honor of their musical hero, Jimi Hendrix. The passion and dedication that each of the players put into performing Hendrix’s greatest hits “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe” and “Are You Experienced?” among other timeless classics, was present as they electrified the room. It was one of the most outstanding performances that I had seen from the band this year. It left me (and the rest of their fans) amazed and wanting to hear more of Hendrix.
Let It Rock! A Tribute to Chuck Berry @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, 10/20/17
The Father of Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry, left a lasting impression on the Greater Nippertown musicians who paid homage to their rock and roll icon. With stand-out performances by the Tichy Boys, Johnny Rabb, Mark Gamsjager and others, it was great to see these musicians bring Berry’s music and his duck-walk moves to the stage! All hail rock and roll!
Elvis Presley Birthday Bash with the Johnny Rabb Big Band @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, 1/7/17
Although the King of Rock and Roll has passed on, the music of Elvis Presley lived on through the performance by the Johnny Rabb Big Band at The Hangar. Elvis fans were seen dancing along to his timeless hits throughout the entire evening. It was an entertaining performance and a great way to celebrate Presley’s birthday while kick-starting 2017.
Groovin’: Ghostly Legends and Friends @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, 10/28/17
If you ever wondered what it was like to be brought back to the 1960s-’70s, this show is a must-see for you to witness live. For my second time attending and photographing this event, the entire production of Groovin’ was amazing and took me back in time to when such timeless performers as Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Mick Jagger and countless others dominated the scene with their music that has had a lasting impact on their fans and the local performers who bring these songs back to life. This local event was a benefit for the Veteran’s Miracle Center.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: MUST-SEE MUSICAL TRIBUTE ACTS FOR 2018
Soul Serenade @ Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Troy, 11/17/17
The Allman Brothers Band tribute group featuring Jeremy Walz (guitar/vocals), Mike Cassels (bass), Brian Mangini (keys), Josh Bloomfield (drums/vocals) and the Daley Brothers, Frank Daley (guitar) and Joe Daley (drums), with a guest vocal appearance by Tommy Love (vocals/harmonica), performed an outstanding tribute as they payed homage to their heroes, the Allman Brothers, at their debut at the Dino BBQ. Their performance of these timeless hits would have made Gregg Allman and the other founding members of the band proud. With an all-star lineup of the local Nippertown musicians in this group to begin with, this band is a must-see at a local venue near you come 2018.
The British Invasion Experience @ Riverfront Park, Troy, 7/5/17
The Maryland-based tribute band made their Greater Nippertown debut as part of the Rockin’ on the River concert series in Riverfront Park. The band – dressed in Beatles-like suits and ties in their first set – paid homage to the musicians and bands of the British Invasion era – The Beatles, The Kinks, the Rolling Stones and others. If you’re in the mood to listen to classic rock and British invasion songs, just like the local band, Blue Machine, this touring group is a band to check out next year if they come back to Troy.
Kristen Capolino Band @ Rustic Barn Pub, Troy, 12/8/17
Although this doesn’t fall into the musical tribute acts, Shokan guitarist-vocalist Kristen Capolino is an amazing performer to watch out for a future performance in 2018. Capolino performed in Greater Nippertown a few times this year, at the Rockin’ on the River concert series in July as well as the Rustic Barn Pub. Her stage presence, her passion for the guitar and the emotion she conveys performing her original songs and her covers of Garry Moore’s “Still Got the Blues,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” is unreal. Capolino is the real deal when it comes to original music, rock and the blues. Keep an eye out for her return in 2018.
TOP BENEFIT CONCERTS
The Fourth Annual Dustin Mele Memorial Concert @ Revolution Hall, Troy, 3/4/17
This yearly event is not only one of my favorite events to attend every year; it is also one of the best attended musical benefit events of the year. An all-star lineup of local musical acts (Emerald City, Ernie Williams Tribute Band, Off the Record Trio, Closet Classics, etc.) come together to perform on stage in memory of Joe Mele’s son Dustin Mele, who committed suicide. All of the proceeds from this event go towards the American Suicide Prevention and other local organizations.
Food Stock 1 & 2 @ Rustic Barn Pub, Troy, 3/12/17 & 11/5/17
This new benefit event was organized by local musician and visual artist Bob Gamache. As part of this benefit event, local performers and bands (Wood Chuck Wood, Greasy Fingers Band and Soul Sky, among others) donated their time and musical talent. Proceeds from both events benefit the Regional Food Bank. Another must-attend benefit event to attend in 2018.
Dick Quinn Memorial Concert @ the Ale House, Troy, 11/19/17
Since the passing of Greater Nippertown’s ultimate music fan, Richard “Dick” Masters Quinn, two years ago, local musicians, friends and his family have come together to pay homage and play music as a tribute to a man that would travel throughout the Capital Region and beyond to listen to live, local and regional bands for many years. This year’s event, hosted by music fan Charlotte Parker and the Quinn family, raised money for the “Dick Quinn Memorial Fund, which helps pay the medical expenses of local musicians who have fallen ill and need assistance. Dick Quinn left a lasting impression on his family, local musicians, friends and me through his dedication to supporting the local music scene.
A Benefit Concert for Richard Abbott @ the Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, 10/15/17
This one-day benefit event, hosted by Luke McNamee, was held for local resident and friend of McNamee, Richard Abbott, who is currently in need of a kidney transplant due to his diabetes. All of the money that was raised went towards Abbott’s medical expenses. Bands performing included Diva & the Dirty Boys, Soul Sky with Joe Mele and Joe Lowry, River Junction and Blue Hand Luke. This was a great event to attend for a great cause.
Love For Greg: Get Well Soon Fundraiser for Greg Nash @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, 3/23/17
Hosted by Gary “Sly” Fox of Sly Fox & the Hustlers, local patrons and bands joined forces to raise money for local musician, Greg Nash, who suffered a stroke in March and was in need of assistance. All of the proceeds that were raised from the admission and the auctions that were occurring throughout the evening went towards Greg Nash and his family. This benefit event was a great event to attend and see many local acts perform for a great cause.
TOP FESTIVAL/REUNION EVENTS
Father’s Day ’80s Reunion Bash featuring the Penny Knight Band, the Chaser Band and Classy Trash @ Philly’s Bar & Grill, Latham, 6/18/17
Invited by my friend and Classy Trash vocalist, Tommy Love, I had a chance to ring in Father’s Day by watching the Nippertown music scene from the ’80s, perform a series of originals and cover songs throughout the afternoon. Even daughters from two local musicians even came on stage to perform songs alone or with their musician fathers. It was entertaining and interesting for me to be able to hear these bands that I had never heard perform before I was even born, reunite for a special afternoon of music on Father’s Day. More recently, the Chaser Band reunited again for an encore concert held on 12/15/17 at the River Street Pub in Troy.
MOVE Music Festival featuring C.K. Flach, Jocelyn & Chris Arndt and Sawyer Fredericks @ Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, 4/27/17
This was the first time that I had an opportunity to photograph the MOVE Music Festival. At the Cohoes Music Festival, I was able to listen to live music performed by all local acts, C.K. Flach (solo acoustic set), Jocelyn & Chris Arndt (jam/rock band) and winner of NBC-TV’s “The Voice” and Fultonville native, Sawyer Fredericks and his band. Although I had seen him perform solo at the 2016 Women’s Expo at Siena College, this was the first time that I had seen Fredericks perform with his full band. It was a nice performance from all of the groups all around.
35th Annual Troy Victorian Stroll, Troy 12/3/17
This year’s Troy Victorian Stroll certainly brought me into the Christmas spirit with its various music, art and community events occurring throughout the city. I was able to watch musical performances from the Lustre Kings featuring Sax-O-Claus and Josh the Elf, Tommy Love and Donna Lee at O’Brien’s and Diva & the Dirty Boys at Brown’s, among other street performers.
Acoustic Trauma’s 20th Anniversary Reunion Concert @ Chrome Food and Spirits, Waterford, 4/29/17
I was invited by my friend and band leader Paul Nunzio Macelli to photograph his band’s 20th anniversary celebration held at Chrome. It was great to be able to see how my friend’s band had evolved throughout the years with their sound and various band members. With an electrifying mix of violin and acoustic guitar, Macelli did a great job in entertaining the audience while celebrating the anniversary of the formation of his band in this one-night only event.
6th Annual Fall Festival featuring Matt Mirabile Band @ Perfect Blend Café, Delmar, 10/21/17
This year’s free fall festival featured a fun, entertaining set of music performed by the local blues-rockers the Matt Mirabile Band, featuring Matt Mirabile (guitar), Frank Daley (guitar), Pete Vumbaco (drums/vocals), Mike Lawrence (bass), Ted Hennessy (vocals/harmonica) and Raisinhead guest guitarist and vocalist, Rob Beaulieu. Raisinhead also opened up the festival.
MORE BEST OF 2017 LISTS
TIM LIVINGSTON’S Great Eight Albums
TIM REIDY’S Most Memorable Shows
FRED RUDOFSKY’S Top 35 Favorite Concerts (And Other Observations)
STEVE NOVER’S Top 50 Concerts
RICHARD BRODY’S Top 22 Concerts
MICHAEL ECK’S Top 10 Concerts
RUDY LU’S Top 12 Favorite Concerts
FRED RUDOFSKY’S Favorite 50 Albums
ED CONWAY’S Bakers’ Dozen Best Concerts
J HUNTER’S Best Jazz2K Releases (Part Deux)
DON WILCOCK’S Top 8 Blues Albums (And Year-End Rant)
WES SENECA’S Best Third Member of a Duo, Fourth Member of a Trio, Fifth Member of a Quartet…
STANLEY A. JOHNSON’S Top 12 (Or So) Live Music Performances
J HUNTER’S Best Jazz2K Releases (Part I)