Sipping raspberry Polar seltzer as the wind blusters a chill through the veins of the city outside the window of my apartment, I wonder what tidings the New Year will bring. From President Dumb Shit declaring himself a “very stable genius” to the much better news that my favorite hard rock band, Maryland’s mighty and verbose heavy blues rockers Clutch, are recording their next album to the Golden Globes featuring a fiery #MeToo inspired speech from potential presidential candidate Oprah, it seems like anything could happen between now and 2019.
On the home front, or might I say the North Front (Street), we’re celebrating the present of local punk and alternative rock, adventurous levels of partying and the thrilling nostalgia of 16 years of pouring suds and blasting jukebox anthems. Local favorite rock ’n’ roll watering hole Snapper Magee’s is planning its 16th anniversary party. This Saturday, Jan. 13 is the date and regular patrons and longtime fans of the bar will be hitting the town hard for a free-admission four-band concert. Entertainment from apocabilly rockers Pitchfork Militia, scuzz street punks Phantom Sleeze, melodic rockers Frances Dean and the heart-on-sleeve punk anthems of Kyle Trocolla & The Strangers will ensure that you will leave the event either drunk, deaf or both. Regardless of your state afterwards (and please drink and drive responsibly), you will be thoroughly rocked around the clock.
Snapper’s seems destined to weather many trends and local sea changes. They do what they do and do it well, for a new group of patrons mixed with a revolving cast of devoted characters from years past, ensuring longevity for various generations who are eternally rediscovering or discovering for the first time the joys of cheap, cold beer and the music of Social Distortion.
Pitchfork Militia’s the perfect headliner for this event. While bands with ties to local punk label Altercation Records (including Kyle Trocolla’s various acts) have perhaps played Snapper’s a little bit more over the years, Pitchfork are perhaps the area’s longest running flagship band of never-say-die country-fried punks with the biggest universal level of local respect. Since the early ’90s, singer and guitarist Peter Head has pulled in a wide age ranging array of fans with his trio’s spunky and off-the-rails live shows, a captivating, addictive and hysterical blend of social satire and sarcastic skewering of sacred cows that must be seen and heard to be believed. You haven’t fully experienced the heights of local rock ’n’ roll unless you have heard Peter Head’s telecaster scream.
If you are looking for something quieter but nonetheless spirited to do this upcoming weekend, Woodstock Poetry Society is sponsoring a poetry event as part of the Woodstock “Second Saturdays” Art Events. The event is just a 20-minute drive or so up scenic Route 28 to 375 into Woodstock, a nice jaunt this time of year. Even when the sky is white and overcast, the trees stretching up towards the mountains and yawning sky are quite poetic in and of themselves.
Poets Philip Pardi and Sparrow will be featured at the poetry reading, along with an open mic for the public. The Woodstock Poetry Society gathers at one of the longest running local bookstores around, the Golden Notebook (Upstairs) at 29 Tinker St. on Saturday, January 13 at 2 p.m. The readings will be hosted by Woodstock-area writer Phillip X Levine and features free admission. Although this is technically an afternoon rather than an “after dark” event, it comes recommended. Just make sure you head to Station Bar & Curio afterwards for a beer and some good cheer the same night so I am not accused of stretching the theme of this column beyond mortal limits. I mean, I have written about and done everything from covering puppet shows to interviewing Doyle from The Misfits for Kingston After Dark already over the years, so we probably are cool anyway. (Editor’s note: Probably …)
Meanwhile, back in Kingston
I am trying to not get way too prematurely excited about the legendary David Byrne playing Ulster Performing Arts Center in early March, so let me direct your attention to a Jan. 19 art event instead. Green Palette, Kingston’s coolest creative palette workshop space, is hosting a punk rock and activist art workshop series. The space hopes to create amazing art pieces to place in the community on Friday nights. A few spots remain available for next Friday’s free community workshop, located at 107a Greenkill Ave., starting off with a pot luck-style meal at 6 p.m. BYOB, but coffee and tea are provided.
I love seeing such a variety of events celebrating various facets of local creative culture as we have featured this week. It is enthusiasm and determination that will make our city remain liveable and progressive. We are expanding our horizons yet remain tightly interconnected and that just plain rules.
Until next week, I am going to leave you with a thoughtful Jan. 7 tweet from psych folk singer Globelamp, who recently recorded her third album entitled Romantic Cancer in our area. “You are an artist even if no one ever sees your art work.” Remember that whatever level of fame your achieve, the most important aspect of your work is often the simple integrity behind being brave enough to make art in the first place. Whether seen or heard by a few people or millions, the first step towards connecting begins with lifting up the brush, pen or microphone. We are often distracted by the outside world but sometimes forget that the lifeblood behind our finest moments is almost always closer to home.