With the official kick off to summer just weeks, away I’d like to lift a frothy plastic cup of my favorite suds in tribute to my favorite time of year in the Capital Region; free concert season!
And you don’t have to check the temperature to see that this summer is going to be HOT and jam-packed with live performances – from burgeoning local bands to touring national acts, and a whole lot of tribute bands. The area is exploding with outdoor options to see free live music this season, and you could almost see music every day of the week from now until the end of August if you were so inclined.
Live music will be featured locally every Thursday at Albany’s Alive at Five at Jennings Landing, every Wednesday at Troy’s Rockin on the River at Riverfront Park, every Saturday at Harbor Jam at the new amphitheater on the Mohawk at River’s Casino in Schenectady, and scattered days at Freedom Park in Scotia, as well as unannounced acts playing for free some Sundays and Tuesdays at Saratoga’s Congress Park.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Whether you prefer, jazz, hip hop, reggae, or rock, the Capital Region lives for live music. There’s a plethora of original music and cover bands to choose from, and they offer a unique opportunity to get out, grab a meal and enjoy everything our community has to offer.
So, grab your folding chairs and get a fresh-squeezed lemonade or a local brew as I take you through some of my top picks for this year’s free concert season, starting with June!
It’d Albany’s 30th season (!) of Alive at Five this week, June 13 is local indie act Stellar Young in support of rapper Travie McCoy, who was featured on Bruno Mars album Billionaire. (NOTE: Alive at Five started last week, June 6, sorry for the confusion).
And the following week cannot be missed when the legendary “hip-hop’s greatest storyteller” Slick Rick rolls into town with DJ TGIF’s eclectic mix of tracks to open on June 20. (Slick Rick has an interesting New York-related history…check it out here).
Things get amped up even further the following week when Quiet Riot, the iconic 80’s hair metal band, will belt out “Cum on feel the Noize” among other hits with Bad Mothers, a local indie rock band influenced by grunge, folk, dance and rock – and it’s only June!
Rockin’ on the River started last week with country and bluegrass band Skeeter Creek. Thing continue with a similar tone with this week’s June 12 show “Live at the Fillmore,” the definitive original Allman Brothers band Tribute, never a bad time.
Next week on the 19th, a pair of Albany up-and-comers: Geoff Gordon & Hate Club will open in support of indie singer songwriter Sadie Dupuis from Northhampton, MA performs with her band Speedy Ortiz.
The last Wednesday in June brings a show not to be missed when Binghamton’s folk rock quintet Driftwood bring their brand of timeless Americana to the stage with the support of upstate New York’s own folk pop power duo, the Sea the Sea.
Freedom Park in Scotia gets its summer concert season going with six live performances in June, starting on the 19th with the Scotia High School Jazz band and jazz combo. Three days later on June 22, it’s time for local tribute act from Schenectady, 2096, which plays all the hits you want to party to, including Sublime, the Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews and Mumford and Sons.
Not to be missed on Friday, June 28th is Freedom Park’s famed water ski show with fireworks and tunes from local tribute band City Beat, which will be playing loads of rockin’ tunes from now through the 80’s.
Harbor Jam at River’s Casino and Congress Park’s summer series in Saratoga gets started in July, as well as some exciting free shows and events coming to the Empire State Plaza (like the Wallflowers!). S
tay tuned to Civ Mix for more to follow in July, as summer heats up and summer concerts really hit their stride.
I will let you know which ones you cannot miss, and some others you might not have known about. I look forward to seeing you all out on the dance floor this summer. Cheers!