Kingston After Dark: Beacons of life

Robert Kelly. (Photo: Nicole Terpening)

Robert Kelly. (Photo: Nicole Terpening)

Sometimes you meet people who are so into what they’re doing — really using their precious time to cultivate a craft or find their American Dream or who unhesitatingly move to the beat of their own drum — that you can’t help but get pulled into their energy. Guitarist Robert Kelly, a.k.a. “the Van Halen kid,” is a cat like this. At age 18, he can play pretty much any Van Halen song. I’m not joking. It was a real thrill to sing with That Cover Band last week, a group with a core cast, including Kingston lifers Dave Daw (ex-Ivory Rose, Counterfeit Disaster) and Don Valentine (Antidote 8), who are gonna be doing classic rock and ’80s metal hits.

Getting to share the stage of The Chance in Poughkeepsie with this young guitar whippersnapper who my friend #bitchwhip bandmate Elan and I jokingly call Rain Man due to his amazing memory and attention to detail, was a real treat. We opened for ex-Ozzy guitarist Jake E. Lee and it was an incredibly fun night. Thanks to everyone who attended and major props to Robert for his dedication to music and to the kid’s dad for introducing his talented-as-heck son to great bands. I’m serious about the guitar heroics. There are a ton of great bands with lead players who rule right now from Holy Grail to Huntress to Scale the Summit, but Kelly is really in a class of his own as far as raw technical talent. I don’t say that lightly.

Lots of amazing stuff has been going on in our area! Catch 22, the famed ska punk band, are doing a last minute show at The Anchor the day this sees print, so consider this a soft but earnest plug in case you read this in time. Murder by Death destroyed BSP joyously to a raucous and thrilled crowd the other night, proving the venue is far and away luring the top talent in indie rock back to our fertile valley. Did I mention a Slackers and Los Thujones show is coming up at Bearsville? The show is Friday, July 31 with a $20 ticket price — quite fair, considering the band’s impact — and an 8 p.m. start time. I love more intimate Bearsville shows like the time I saw prog-rockers Three and The Dear Hunter at Bearsville or The Pretenders and an epic Mercury Rev show with Sparklehorse (R.I.P., Mark Linkous) years back. So truly good.


‘Now, that’s a weekend’

“It’s great to return to upstate New York which was often an early Slackers road trip destination,” says true showman and congenial funny dude Vic Ruggiero. “Last weekend I remember in the Hudson Valley? I played a party in Phoenicia with a funk band who lived in a church, got carried out of a bar in New Paltz by the band ’cause I fell in drunken love with a bartender, shared a set on the main drag of Woodstock with a guy from Bad Brains and then went swimming with naked hippies the next morning. Now, that’s a weekend … let’s do that again!”

Popular local indie sorta-folk proggers The Warp/The Weft’s indiegogo campaign for an upcoming recording project is in full effect.

“We’re trying to raise funds to create an album that will ultimately be offered to the public, free of charge,” says band member and audio whiz kid David Andersen. “This might seem counterintuitive, except that we are offering, as incentive, some interesting live performances. Audience members can expect a two-set, private performance that is more akin to a gallery opening, than a rock concert. We will be pulling out all of the stops for this one. Refreshments will be served and are included in the cost of admission.”

What prompted the indiegogo campaign for a band that’s doing pretty well?

“We want to put these songs down and, given the current market, we aren’t necessarily concerned about profiting from them at all,” David replies. “Our aim is to release these songs and then immediately begin to build up and hone our live performances, with even more attention paid to the fine details than before.”

Let’s take a second to think of the artists or friends or neighbors in our lives and how all of us have quirks and talents or karmic paths leading us to find our greater sync with the larger universal human chorus. Sometimes there are conflicts. Sometimes everything is kosher and zen and people find ways to coexist. No matter which, music has the power to bring us all together so let’s not let too many of those Warp/Weft downloads go unpaid for.

Kali’s love

Spiritual author Shambavi L. Chopra writes, in my favorite ever Mirabai-purchased book Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess, that ,”Experiencing Kali’s love gave me the power to realise my full potential, which is not merely a worldly accomplishment but an ability to become one with all.”

Music can inspire passion or pain, love or melancholy. It can whip us into a frenzy, serve as elevator music or as the soundtrack to your night spent puking in Uncle Willy’s bathroom. Humans have hiccups along the way and different perspectives or conflicts at times, but perhaps coming from a place of curiosity and zeal for life can help us all continue to follow our passions, co exist, smooth out disputes and rock the house down so some asses can shake properly. Until next time, have a fantastic week and thank you for all the ways you enrich my life, Kingston.

We’ve got a great cast of characters around here and for better or worse, it’s up to us how we all move and flow together. Rock ’n’ roll, all the way. Thank you.