Capital Region Bands Make Noise in Oneonta

This weekend, the Capital Region and Oneonta music scenes collided with thunder. Indie-rock bands Side-B, Grape Juice! and The Grand Mals ventured west from their hometowns in the Capital District to perform at Oneonta’s The Dog House, and the result was exhilarating.

The Grand Mals (Photo by Caroline Shaver)

Local openers Wits End kicked things off. Their setlist consisted entirely of well-known covers that immediately got the youthful crowd dancing and singing along. Renditions of Green Day’s “Basket Case” and Modest Mouse’s “Float On” were included, as was an interpretation of the Drake and Josh theme song that went over especially well. This energetic performance was Wits End’s first, and it exhibited a promising glimpse of what is in store for the newly formed group.

Then, the Capital Region acts took over. The Grand Mals responded to the local openers with a dynamic performance that consisted entirely of original music. The Albany-based quintet weaved in and out of odd time signatures to deliver proggy riffage that wowed the crowd. Fresh off the tour for their newly-released debut album, they performed several of its tracks; This included the closer, “Gluten Free,” which served as the perfect finale. Although the band had never performed in Oneonta before, they completely won the audience over by the conclusion of their set.

Side-B (Photo by Caroline Shaver)

Side-B kept the energy high, returning to the Oneonta music scene with an explosive set ripe with new, unreleased original music. Also based in Albany, this group has traveled to Oneonta several times before. This immediately became apparent, as the audience began singing along to the unreleased tracks with just as much enthusiasm as fan favorites “Low Budget Romance” and “The Mountain Song.” 

The night was capped by a lively set from Saratoga, NY’s Grape Juice! The trio unleashed a barrage of catchy tunes, including throwbacks to the band’s debut EP with performances of “Strawberry Pie” and “Outer Spvce.” They put every ounce of energy that they had into the set; During the set closer, “Tunnel Vision,” Drummer Mike Smith played with such ferocity that he bent the beater of his kick drum, rendering it unusable. The crowd chanted for more, but the band had to deny these requests as a result. Although they left the venue longing for more, everyone walked away satisfied with what they had witnessed.

Grape Juice! (Photo by Caroline Shaver)

Wits End, Side-B, The Grand Mals, and Grape Juice! each delivered incredible performances for the people of Oneonta. Brought together by the Dog House, the outcome was a night that showcased both the immense talent that spews from the Capital Region and the excitement that is brewing in the Oneonta music scene.

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