Get an earful

The Falcon in Marlboro. (photo by James Rice)

The Falcon in Marlboro. (photo by James Rice)

In the opinion of this writer, this moment is in some respects the best time ever in the history of the mid-Hudson Valley music scene, Dylan be damned: more original acts than ever and of greater variety; more local involvement than ever from the many music professionals who live in these hills, and perhaps most importantly, more committed venues of all shapes, sizes and aesthetics.

Venues come and go. In fact, they “go” so easily and often at such cost that one wonders what would make anyone want to get involved in the first place. Must be the love of live music and the temporary, for-tonight-only families that shows engender.

Our big theaters continue to challenge, serve and surprise; our restaurants and cafés privilege music as something more than a digestive aid. Mid-sized national-circuit clubs – which always rely on local talent as well – have staked their claim in several of our cities: Kingston, Hudson, Marlboro and Beacon soon. And as all manner of cramped-quarters, public and ad-hoc performance spaces prove, all it takes to make a space a venue is imagination – and an audience. That’s where you come in. Here is your by-no-means comprehensive map of the terrain.


Oasis Café

58 Main Street, New Paltz

Oasis is New Paltz’s hot spot for nightly music. The molten, cavelike club features the full spectrum of rock, dance, funk, reggae and various groove musics, generally, but with plenty of college bands and weird stuff as well. Music is a chronic thing here. It starts late and goes late. Call (845) 255-2400 or visit

Unison Arts Center

68 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz

In its bright and airy multi-purpose performance and gallery space just outside of New Paltz, Unison has hosted years and years’ worth of adventurous programming: classical music, dance, cabaret, jazz, family acts and world music virtuosi, to name a few. Recent features include the Sunday Salon series, a program that combines performances with chats. For more information, call (845) 255-1559 or visit

Orient Ultra Lounge

319 Main Street, Poughkeepsie

Located directly above Bull and Buddha, the Orient Ultra Lounge is a swanky, Asian-themed club with high-end lighting design, multiple bars and “chill rooms” and an urban velvet vibe that is, quite frankly, kind of odd in these parts, but welcome. While Orient features club music and theme nights, primarily, WDST has hosted notable shows here by national rock acts such as Rhett Miller of the Old ‘97s. For more information, call (845) 337-4848 or visit the venue’s flashy website,