This week I’m going to write about regionalism, as well as the importance of cross-pollination. Just like Ulster County needs tourism for dollars, music scenes do best when there is an exchange of traffic and ideas with performers and concertgoers from other regions. I spoke with a handful of local and national rockers about their interests this time of year and some of the cool things they have going on.
I’m more sleep-deprived than usual as I write this, just as Father’s Day winds to a close. I worked at our local Kingston Farmers’ Market and a bright and early Sunday market in Schenectady plus a late Friday shift at a local bar and attended a Saturday night concert in Albany. The rock club Bogie’s used to host great shows before becoming a college bar for years. It has thankfully reverted back to a venue, hosting some of the best shows around. On Saturday night, I saw Toronto “witch rockers” Blood Ceremony play a set of flute-tinged, Jethro Tull-inspired retro-devil rock with hypnotic female vocals, drove home and slept just two hours before driving an hour back to Schenectady! Thankfully I got some Holy Basil tincture from the folks at Field Apothecary & Herb Farm to take the edge off. The Germantown business has amazing hand harvested herbal remedies and you can check them out at fieldapothecary.com.
I have been a fan of Patti Rothberg since meeting her years ago at a WDST event. The New York-based songstress writes self-aware, catchy albums that have always been great and meaningful. She’s perhaps best known for her 1996 alt-rock breakout LP Between The 1 And The 9.
“Summertime in Upstate New York I love hikes, cold springs, waterfalls and gallivanting around Woodstock to get some more patchouli incense,” says Patti. “I love visiting my friends from the band Big Sister (note: also Patti’s backup band in the new group Rothstars). My all time favorite thing about any peaceful area such as Kingston is it’s dark enough to see the stars. I’ve been on a creative streak. I just finished a book I’ve been writing for two years called Extra Awesome. I have two new Patti Rothberg albums (Black Widow and Ulterior Motives), plus lots of side projects and custom paintings.”
Mike Cashen, owner of Pugsly’s Barber Shop in Kingston, plays in local punk band Fort Street.
“I love living Uptown in the Summer,” Cashen says. “Quick access to countryside rail trail shit to ride my bike or a quick walk for food or a beer or anything the complete opposite of the rail trail! Great roads just outside of town for motorcycle rides! Cool local venues! Kingston can rule. Summer usually makes me break out my older punk rock records. Rancid. Face to Face. Fast, good time music!”
My pick for best summer soundtrack is the self-titled debut from Palms (on Ipecac Records). The L.A.-based band features Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno singing atop dreamy, atmospheric epics performed by ex-members of acclaimed post-metal heroes Isis. Isis toured with everyone from Tool to Cave In but the new band is more chilled out.
“I feel like summer is sort of a celebration,” says drummer Aaron Harris. “Everything’s back and alive. There’s a vibe of relaxation. Everyone looks forward to rejuvenation, spending time with family and enjoying life. You’ve got to recharge for when you head into fall. Here in Los Angeles it’s not really much of a winter, but on the East Coast I would get to a point wondering if it would ever end! Summer comes along and you are so happy to be alive!”
Garden State cross-pollination
Many are lamenting the announced closing of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J. The famed venue over the decades has seen sets from R.E.M. to Nirvana and will be missed. Our own BSP Lounge is hosting “It Came From New Jersey Part II” this Saturday, June 22 at 8 p.m. The show is 18 and over and $12.
“There’s a lot of the Maxwell’s scene from the ’80s up here in the Hudson Valley, both people who attended those shows as well as members of the bands themselves,” says event organizer Mike Amari. “After bringing Richard Barone of The Bongos up for a solo gig last year, his bassist Rob Norris really loved the vibe at BSP and said it reminded him of their Maxwell’s days. He put together a show with his band East Of Venus, Yung Wu, and Wild Carnation (all bands that feature prominent members of The Feelies and various Maxwell bands) and I decided to dub it ‘It Came From NJ’ After the show was such a success, we decided to try to do it again! This time we are featuring Glenn Mercers Band, which is led by Glenn, lead guitarist and songwriter for The Feelies, as well as their bassist Brenda, Speed The Plough, which features members of Yung Wu, and kids of some of the original Maxwell’s scene bands now in their in their 20s, and Thousand Pities, which combines the songwriting talents of The Vestrymen frontman Matthew Davis and N.J.-famous band Winter Hours front man Michael Carlucci,” said Amari.
“What made the scene great was that it revolved around a tight-knit group of friends who taught each other how to play their various instruments,” Amari adds. “They turned a dive-y restaurant into what Rolling Stone ranked as one of the top five venues in the country, by using the back room there as a place to experiment. The neighborhood has turned into a strip of fist-pumping night clubs and in July, Maxwell’s will close. Many of the people playing It Came from NJ: Part II will be performing on that final night.”
Until next time, don’t give up the fight. One love.