I have some unfortunate news Civ Mixers. We are in the home stretch of summer here, which means we only have one more month of abundant free live music in the Capital Region.
You never know what you lost until it becomes a cherished memory, or as Rutger Hauer would say: “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.”
On that note, we are headed into what, in my humble opinion, are the two best months for weather in the Capital Region. So I bring you, without further ado, my picks for the shows that are going to rock you and get your booty shaking in the warm summer sun!
Albany’s Alive at 5 only has one more show with Marco Benevento bringing his dance rock vibes to Jennings Landing TONIGHT. Marco is a multi-instrumentalist who has been playing shows in the area with different groups for over 20 years. He will be supported by a full band; you can expect to hear everything from acid jazz to David Bowie covers.
Don’t miss the last show of Albany Alive at 5’s 30th season, it’s going to Rock!
Also in the “last show of the season” category, Troy’s Rockin’ on the River will have a final (scheduled) hurrah on Aug. 7 with Kiss the Sky, “The World’s Greatest Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.” I bet this show will also be Fire!
We might, however, get lucky and be treated to one extra show in Troy, as Balun, the Puerto Rican Caribbean quartet, was rained out on July 17th. A makeup date is TBD, so stay tuned for that.
Freedom park in Scotia knows there are three full months of summer and its August schedule is packed. Perennial country local favorite Skeeter Creek will compete with Kiss the Sky, as both bands are playing on Aug. 7, while a Grateful Dead cover band, Dead Ahead, plays Aug. 10.
My sights are set on Aug. 17th when Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra will have Scotia on its feet doing its best salsa in the summer heat.
Check out Freedom Park Summer Concert Series online, the park has free live music every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday for the entire month of August!
Just over the Mohawk at the all new Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater by Rivers Casino there are three more shows – Aug. 3, 10th and 17th.
First, John Waite of the 80’s bands Babys and Band English will bring a wide repertoire of tunes that range from soul, country, blues and Celtic with some storytelling mixed in. On Aug. 10, Dad rock prevails again with The Georgia Satellites bringing their 1986 hit “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” among others.
If you haven’t been to the Mohawk Harbor yet, it is a city planner’s dream of wide-open spaces, restaurants and shops, attractive housing, and a developing vibrancy that I hope continues to thrive, in Schenectady. If live music isn’t your thing, the Mohawk Harbor is hosting a Wine tasting River Walk on Aug. 17th from 1-4 p.m. for $20 advance pricing or $25 at the door.
That cost of admission gets you a glass of Proseco and five tastings from more than 15 area wineries and other local vendors. You can top off the day by sticking around for the Lords of 52nd St., who can best be described as a super group of former bandmates of the great Billy Joel – including bassist Doug Stegmeyer and famed saxophonist Liberty Devitto. They play many of their former band leaders top hits.
Also, if you need a little restoration after all that music and drinking, the last Thursday of every month at Mohawk Harbor features outdoor yoga (played through headphones) from 6-7:30 p.m.
Balston Spa Concerts in the Park – Wiswall Park to be specific – has some great acts for August lined up each Thursday. Power vocalist Sirsy’s last local show of the summer is Aug. 8th from 6-8 p.m., and then local Irishband phenoms, the McKrells, will play on the 15th.
Internationally touring Rockabilly band the Lustre Kings will get your toes a tapping on the 22nd, and then closing out the month on the 29th is an extremely talented indie folk-pop duo, The Sea The Sea, hailing from upstate New York. This show will be in support of their new album released last summer, “From the Light.”
Wiswall Park is about five miles off Exit 12, and all of these bands are worth getting out of town for!
The real heavy hitters of free concerts will take place back in Albany – on Aug. 7th and 14th at the Empire Plaza. The annual New York State Food Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the 7th. As always, this event brings in a top brand act with Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot.
Setzer is an iconic guitarist, writer and vocalist and was a three-time Grammy award winner. Then Aug. 14 brings the highlight of the entire summer when Salt-N-Pepa, one of the first-ever all female rap crews, will delight the Albany plaza with their hit songs “Push It,” “Shake Your Thang,” “Shoop,” “Let’s talk about Sex,” and “Whatta Man!”
This show will defy expectations and remind you of what pioneers these women were 30 years ago when they brought their version of fun, funky and feminine hip-hop to the mainstream.
Hope to see you there!