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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Final Stretch

Here's some sights and sounds from Saratoga on Saturday night, the first of two nights of the Final Stretch Music Festival; eight bands did their thing in various nooks and crannies around downtown. In the past, the music wrapped up by 9:30 or so, but it was moved back to 7 to 11 this year, making it a bit more festive than in the past. It's quickly become a staple of the final weekend, and thus far, it hasn't yet been diluted by excess expansion, like at some certain other annual event in town. However, though I do think that five weeks at the races would do, I'm no longer in favor of Labor Day coming back downstate. In fact, it's become perhaps my favorite weekend of the meet, and the Final Stretch festival is part of the reason.

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These guys were kinda cute - the Two Bits String Band, playing in front of the Eddie Bauer on Broadway. The guy playing his tie is what did it for me.


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Happy Balky and The Good Livin', in the parking lot of the Ben and Jerry's down on Putnam Street. The singer - the one with the really nice voice - is Brittny Kissinger. She was billed as a former star of the Broadway stage. I was naturally skeptical about that, but, in fact, she played Annie in 1997 and even appeared on Saturday Night Live.


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And this homegrown duo, Phantogram, was definitely the buzz band of the night, with a large group hanging around even between sets. In fact, I see that Phantogram is doing a couple of shows here in the city this week. Not for free though, and I don't think that the Mercury Lounge will have quite the same ambiance as the driveway of the Adirondack Trust Company under a full moon in Saratoga Springs. Not even close.

- Well, I guess that's really it for this summer music season; and this year, I saw, absolutely free, and in no particular order - David Byrne, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Ian Hunter, these jazz dudes (and a dudette playing the part of Miles Davis), Dan Friel, Mountains, Scanner, Joni Mitchell John Kelly, Here We Go Magic, Bachelorette, The xx, Blank Dogs, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra (with Vernon Reid and Bernie Worrell), The Luminescent Orchestrii, Ribbons, Q-Tip, Fucked Up, The New York City Philharmonic, The Walkmen, School of Seven Bells, the legendary Mission of Burma, and the indefatigable Dinosaur Jr., on tour for the foreseeable future, and coming to a town (or country) near you. (And, not for free, The Pretenders, Cat Power, Juliette Lewis, Joe Morris, Hercules and Love Affair, future stars Screaming Females, and Dinosaur Jr., again.)

1 Comment:

jk said...

My freebie for the summer was John Schofield in Madison Sq Park. Great stuff. The park has free Wednesday night concerts in july and August. Keep an eye out for next year.