Keegan Ales on a Thursday night is somewhat of a Kingston tradition at this point for anyone who has lived here awhile. The hospitality, good company and (perhaps most importantly) pre-weekend beer specials really tip the odds that you’ll have a splendid time. I had heard local rockabilly star Lara Hope was booking musical acts lately on Thursday nights and so stopped in and was treated to a strong set by country troublemaker punks Red Neckromancer. The band’s songwriting has gotten more and more sophisticated — it warms my heart to see a band that cites Bad Religion and Johnny Paycheck as influences manage to effortlessly combine their interests into such a coherent and enjoyable live show. It’s about not being afraid to be yourself and you’re your different sides flourish under the same tent.
Speaking of inclusion, Woodstock this past weekend hosted what amounted to the real celebration of 50 years since the historic 1969 festival as numerous local acts celebrated a free concert at Colony. Acts like Ras T Asheber Posse, Peggy Atwood, The Beautiful Bastards, Norm Wennet and many more were booked to showcase a wide range of what makes our thriving regional musical heritage special. I was scheduled to perform but was very under the weather so was unable.
It’s easy to lose heart when we can see the commercial interests dominating so much of culture these days but events like this can remind us that when we come together with good in our hearts and put the love of people first, everyone can feel welcome and uplifted by the larger cause. That isn’t to say bands these days shouldn’t deserve to make any money ever — by all means find your audience, and I hope they support you. I just think that too often the emphasis is placed on narcissism over the love.
The night they put Old Dixie on a stage
Speaking of justifying shitty things, major thumbs down to The Chance for booking the Confederate flag-humpers Confederate Railroad. I love that venue but they also booked As I Lay Dying recently, who have a singer that literally hired a hit man to try to kill his own wife. Not a good look.
I saw a lot of knuckleheads mad on Facebook at the Ulster County Fair for replacing the band with the much more sanitary Felice Brothers — including a local Poughkeepsie cop who you’d think would have the brains to not be on social media defending the right to fly a racist flag by defending the band being booked as “a choice.” How about the choice of marginalized people to not have to see racist and treasonous public marketing of a hate symbol that represents slavery and lynching? All of you who think it’s only about Southern heritage need to follow activist Bree Newsome on Twitter and get your moronic wires uncrossed. Stop punching down at the expense of others who have suffered enough.
Believe it or not in 2019, you can be a rebel without being an asshole.
On a brighter string of notes, The Kingston Artists Collective has been doing some great things lately. The somewhat humble space on 63 Broadway has been low-key getting some really sophisticated bookings and has also been holding it down for improvisational music pretty strongly of late. They are really worth a follow on Instagram for anyone who craves exciting and left-of-center folk, jazz and multi-genre acts. I was upset to find out I missed a performance a week ago by Chelsea Bridge, the avant garde multi-instrumentalist and field recordings enthusiast from Chicago.
Jessica Ackerley will bring songs from her Martin Bisi-mixed new album A New Kind of Water to the venue on Tuesday, Aug. 27. I am not sure if she will be performing as a quartet with Sarah Manning, Mat Muntx and Stephen Boegehold like on the record, but her delicate guitar phrasing is inspired, contemplative and profound. Anyone remotely interested in free jazz should race out to this event, which runs from 8 p.m. to around midnight (according to Facebook). Mat Maneri and Alvaro Domene open the proceedings with viola.
Big get for BSP
Congrats to BSP on the coveted booking of Deerhunter, one of the biggest bands in indie rock. The group will be here in approximately a month, arriving on my sister’s birthday, Sunday, Sept. 15. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door for the back room theater event, sure to be one of the more memorable concerts in Kingston in recent memory and certainly already highly anticipated. Don’t sleep on this if you want to attend (part of the reason I am plugging it so far in advance). While perhaps not so hard to procure as seats for the recently reunited Mr. Bungle, this is nonetheless gonna be a hot ticket.
Until next week, RIP Peter Fonda. He was hip about time, but sometimes you just gotta go.