LIVE: Southern Culture On The Skids wsg The Split Squad @ The Skyloft 9/21/19
Once upon a time, going to the mall to listen to music meant listening to a school band play on the holiday. Now, however, with the rise of online retail, the malls are looking for anything to help bring in more people. The malls are transforming more and more into a multipurpose entertainment facility. Crossgates is no exception to this trend with Imax theaters, a comedy club, and a concert venue, Skyloft, which opened last spring. In the short time that it’s been open, they have booked some pretty good acts, and this past Friday, the double bill of The Split Squad and Southern Culture on The Skids, was no exception.
Opening up the evening was the garage rock supergroup, The Split Squad. One day, a group of friends got together to record an album when they realized how much fun they had and decided to put a band together and perform during the downtime of their main bands. The line-up consists of bassist/vocalist Michael Giblin (Parallax), guitarists Eddie Munoz (Plimsouls), and Keith Streng (The Fleshtones) and drummer Clem Burke (Blondie). Rounding out the group was the keyboard player for the Boston Red Sox (yes, the baseball team), Josh Kantor. Their brand of hard rock with Streng’s high energy guitar and Burke’s solid, driving drums, and moving quickly between songs hardly gave the good-sized crowd a chance to catch their breath.
After a short break, Southern Culture On The Skids took the stage as the crowd pushed up against the stage barrier. Song after song, singer/guitarist Rick Miller, bassist/singer Mary Huff, and drummer Dave Hartman kept turning up the pressure, slowly building toward the finale with very little talking between songs, continuing the tone set by The Split Squad. With crowd favorites like “House Of Bamboo” and “Nitty Gritty”, Huff proved to be just as vocally captivating as Miller. Toward the end of the evening, SCOTS brought Kantor back up to play keys for the rest of the evening before going into “Freak Flag.” Giving a shout out to Sleazefest, the band went into “Banana Pudding.” Inviting Streng back up to the stage for “Fried Chicken and Gasoline” and “Daddy Was A Preacher But Mama Was A Go-Go Dancer” along with a couple of ladies from the audience to pass out some fried chicken to the audience.
As a place to see shows, Skyloft seems like a good place for shows with a real raised stage and good size for a midsize venue. My only complaint was the lighting made for tough photography, but most people wouldn’t even notice. The show went off mainly without a hitch, although it appeared the sound crew was having a little difficulty with Hartman’s cocktail drum set, but that was shortly remedied and the show moved on. Speaking to Miller last year at the Ohana music festival last year in Lake George, he mentioned he comes up this way every couple of years, but finishing off the night, Huff commented they would love to come back next year. Hopefully, they do.