Category Archives: Events

Looking Back

As the semester draws to a close, we look back at what made this year special.

Starting off the year with a daunting challenge, WCDB took its first-ever stab at helping plan the 35th annual Larkfest celebration, accompanied by Lark Street BID. WCDB’S choice headliner Lower Dens rocked the Madison Avenue stage, while local smaller-name acts dominated our own Trinity Lot stage. The 8 hour festival featured live music, vendors, and art for all. The Times Union estimated that nearly 80,000 guests were in attendance this year, the highest recorded numbers so far.

LarkFest2016Schedule

Some exciting news from one of our own made us proud this last month. Alumni DJ and Jazz Host Bill McCann celebrated his 32nd year with us this April, fittingly during Jazz Appreciation Month. His story was featured on Time Warner Cable Spectrum News, and can be viewed in the link below. His contributions to the station are innumerable, and we’re flattered to have him with us. You can hear his show Saturday mornings 8am-12pm, featuring a soothing mix of both classic and new mainstream jazz. (Bill McCann)

Earlier in April, we celebrated our 39th anniversary as a station with a commemorative show at The Low Beat (for traditions sake). Openers included Hospital Corners, Another Michael, and The Parlor, followed by headliner Palehound. A great turn out and awesome show has us all itching for next year’s 40th anniversary show, which is bound to pack out the house with fans and alumni DJs alike.

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Headliner Palehound, via @SuperVintageParty

As many of us head home for the summer and others head out to start the next stage of their lives, we look back fondly on the past year. We also look ahead, excited for what’s to come next semester and beyond. Stay tuned for more updates on music news, album reviews, and input from our fellow DJs.

Upcoming shows in the capital district!

Believe it or not, there are some great shows coming up in the capital district. A few high-profile acts felt like they should come to Albany for some reason. Whatever that reason may be, we are reaping the benefits as music lovers.

St. Vincent at Upstate Concert Hall

Saturday March 7

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Annie Clark of St. Vincent recently won the Best Alternative Album Grammy for her excellent 2014 effort, St. Vincent. Tickets are still available for her show at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park.

http://upstateconcerthall.com/calendar/st-vincent/

Taking Back Sunday and The Menzingers at Upstate Concert Hall

Sunday March 15

For fans of pop punk singalongs, both of these bands will not disappoint. Thankfully, the show is on a Sunday, which by now I would assume has been taken back.

http://upstateconcerthall.com/calendar/taking-back-sunday/

Sufjan Stevens at the Palace Theater

Wednesday April 15

With beautiful orchestral pop arrangements, and poignant, expressive songwriting, Sufjan Stevens is finally coming out with his first official non-Christmas album since 2010’s The Age of Adz. You can see him in April at what is arguably the nicest venue in Albany.

http://palacealbany.com/EventsandTickets/EventTickets/event.aspx?eid=e4cf1112-0927-4937-9d18-3cd0c5120691

WCDB PRESENTS:
CROCODILES AND SKI LODGE
AT VALENTINE’S MUSIC HALL, MONDAY NOVEMBER 18TH
IMG_4949 
On Monday, November 18th 2013 at 7 pm, Valentine’s Music Hall  will host Californian indie noise-pop band Crocodiles and the up-and-coming Ski Lodge for WCDB’s fall show. Opening will be Albany based Slowshine and Party Boat from Saratoga Springs.
Crocodiles’ fourth and latest LP, Crimes of Passion, is full of sentimental lyrics accompanied by fuzzy reverb and plenty of guitars.  Produced by Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonnettes, this Crocodiles LP has kept to the sound they’re well known for, described by CMJ as “… Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground swirl with a cocky come-ons and inspired sadness.”
“Tracks like ‘She Splits Me Up’ hit that mark just about on the bullseye, managing to convey emotion through shimmering guitar tones and a swift drum beat.” – Consequence of Sound
“Despite Crocodiles’ unabashed lyrical rawness, ‘Crimes of Passion’ is absolutely artistic, though, and at times they are beautifully poetic.” – DIY 
Big Heart, the first album from Brooklyn-based Ski Lodge, was produced by Lewis Pesacov, the producer of Best Coast’s debut, and contains the same instantly catchy, summer poppy hits. 2013 has seen Ski Lodge gaining lots of buzz, with KCRW naming them an ‘Artist You Should Know’ and Paste Magazine loving their CMJ set. 
“…anyone with a predilection for catchy guitar pop songs that make you want to dance and cry at the same time might find that spinning through Big Heart is a quite satisfying experience” – All Music 
Party Boat has continued to be a favorite local band of WCDB, opening countless shows on an energetic and upbeat surf pop/rock note. These Saratoga Springs natives will be debuting songs from what is sure to be a great new release. Comprised of UAlbany students, Slowshine is a brand new post-punk/emo band including WCDB’s very own general manager, Noah Bondy.
Tickets are $11 in advance, $13 day of show and are already on sale via Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/495348

New York Comic Con – A General Feedback

A lot of apologies for the lateness of this post, I’ve done a pretty poor job of checking my email lately and I missed a link to a fantastic Comic Con Review done by WCDB Alum Herbert Shaw. We got him a pass for the convention and he came back with a full report of what went down!

Oh, so many lines!

Lines to enter the building. Lines to pick up your badge. Lines to tap your badge on the entrance tablet. Lines to get into the expo center. Lines to meet your favorite artist or celebrity for an autograph. Lines to sit for a panel. Lines to demo that new video game. Lines to buy your memorabilia.

It must be New York Comic Con weekend, formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. A time when stores and restaurants have special deals and offers, hotel rates are a little higher, and events like Tough Mudder and the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge Race descend upon the tri-state region.

However, for a special limited group of people who all bought or otherwise obtained their tickets well in advance of the sold out expo at the Jacob K. Javits Center, this was the weekend they had been waiting for all year. Artists, authors, publishers, and illustrators came to promote their current, future, and past projects as well as those of the companies with and for whom they have worked. Exhibitors and vendors paid an exorbitant fee to get floor space to sell their products, market their brands, and expand their reach whether they be printing companies, movie companies, toy retailers, technology firms, cosmetics, or food and beverage enterprises. With members of the press free to roam and explore our own interests and those of our outlets.

And at the heart of it all, the fans. Men, women, and children who eagerly anticipate this weekend bonanza of fun-filled activities and money-grubbing impulse buys. Some came to see the latest and greatest in technology, like the Bionic Man recently featured on NBC’s Today Show. Some came for their first shot at the new games hitting stores this winter, like Wii U’s Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, or the recently released Pokemon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS. Some came to meet their heroes, like Sylvester Stallone who offered a picture and autograph session at a mere $445 a pop, tax-free of course, or like me came to admire the people who gave them nightmares as children (covered in my next article which includes a panel on Chucky’s 25th anniversary).

As fandom does take many forms, a vast majority of fans attended while cosplaying as their favorite comic, TV, movie, anime, or video game character. No matter if they were showing off for other fellow enthusiasts or showing off for their 15 minutes in front of the news cameras to be forgotten just as quickly, most NYCC attendees were completely in their element.

The overall experience of this year’s New York Comic Con, and mind you I have been to eight including this year, was much more relaxed than previous years. The general organization of the event by ReedPOP Expo was incredibly more efficient compared to recent years that have included multiple fights, threats, and even an evacuation.

New York’s finest (that’s metro jargon for NYPD aka the cops) were on hand and seemed to be enjoying themselves, too. I happened to be giving out homemade blue rock candy dressed as Walter White, and three boys in blue were more than happy to pose for a staged “busted” picture for the “#heisenherb at Comic Con” album soon to be featured on my Facebook.

But all in all, the convention was fun without being overwhelming. Early years of NYCC left some feelings of doubt whether there could have been more to do, whereas recently the reverse was felt; not having enough time to do everything. But this year felt like a perfect balance of both worlds. There was not a whole lot to do that couldn’t be repeated over the course of four days, but that also means that there wasn’t too much to take in at the same time. The expo hall experience was terrific. Artist Alley performed its purpose to a T. And the general response was a positive and invigorating one. Along with many other fans, I happily look forward to New York Comic Con 2014!

original article here: http://theshawreport.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/new-york-comic-con-a-general-feedback/

Show Review: Arcade Fire in Brooklyn

Arcade Fire is set to release their fourth studio album Reflektor on October 28, and they’ve taken an interesting approach to advertising themselves. What they’ve essentially done is abandon the Arcade Fire name temporarily so they could be re-labeled as The Reflektors, a band whose rise to fame was assured once fans realized it was the same band. One really nice part about this strategy is that The Reflektors didn’t start by playing in gigantic venues, their first gigs were intimate and often unannounced events where they would usually play nearly entirely new material. It was a rare chance to see such a widely successful band in a small club and it gained them a lot of notoriety from music publications. When Arcade Fire announced last week that they would be playing two gigs in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday, I decided to pre-order their album so that I could get myself into the pre-sale. The shows were at a seldom used venue and only had one requirement: formal attire or costume required. I was extremely excited about the possibility of the show as their previous gigs seemed like the coolest concerts I had ever heard of, but some of my expectations were misled while others were exceeded.

For starters, the ticket situation was handled in a completely fair and understandable way, but it could have been done better. Nearly 80% of the tickets that were sold were sold in the pre-sale so that scalpers couldn’t dictate the price to much, a good idea which was probably suggested by James Murphy after the fiasco of trying to sell tickets to his final show in Madison Square Garden, but it had the fallback of making the affair almost entirely white middle aged couples who wanted to attend in their formal wear. It wasn’t a dancing crowd for sure, and this could have been easily fixed by opening up an allotment of tickets to CMJ badges, or the college radio kids that helped them rise to fame. They would have gotten students to camp out at the venue in their costumes and bring energy to the front of the crowd,but  instead they filled the room with statues holding iPhones.

One thing that was noticed once the line began to move was that this wasn’t an intimate venue, but rather one gigantic room (similar to an Armory show for Albany perspective). New York was the Reflektors first big gig and where they wanted to take the city by storm with thousands of people present for the show. The ratio of formal attire wearers to costume was about 3.5:1 with many choosing to wear masks and some being clever and showing up in group costumes (unfortunately I can’t recall any of the more clever ones). The show had no opener but had what I suspect was a James Murphy DJ set occurring before hand as it was awesomely curated and Murphy himself came out from behind the main curtain to introduce the crowd to tonight’s band, The Reflektors. Three members came out wearing the large heads that we’ve seen in the SNL video and music video for “Reflektor”, and these three played some jarbled noise for two minutes before setting their instruments down and running off the stage.

At this point I should state that within this gigantic room, I was pushed nearly entirely to the side wall with a not-so-great view of the stage but the intention of working my way to the middle once the music started. The large headed musicians ran off the stage in our general direction and went behind the curtain wall on the side of the venue, leaving audience members confused about what was currently happening as everybody began to turn their attention away from the stage. It’s at this point that all of a sudden, the side wall’s curtain was lifted to reveal a second stage, where Arcade Fire was standing and immediately began playing the album opener “Reflektor”. This was an event that nearly blew my mind as I went from being stuck in a pretty poor position to being about eight rows back and only slightly off center in a single moment. They apologized to the fans who were close to the other stage, who chose to watch the performance from the fake stage and seemed to have a great time there. Frontman Win Butler insinuated that the band would find a way to make it worth their while and I believe the band went over there afterwards in order to sign autographs to make up for it.

In terms of the actual music, all of the Reflektor tracks sound amazing with the highlight being “Here Comes the Night Time”. They played two older songs which were referred to as ‘Arcade Fire covers’ in “Sprawl II” and “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” and on the last song of the night Win jumped into the crowd and seemingly disappeared as he never returned to the stage until the set had ended to inform the crowd that there would be no encore, but a disco set where he wanted everybody to stay and dance. All in all it was an awesome show to be a part of and probably the coolest event I’ve ever gone to, I was only disappointed by how gigantic of an event it was and how un-energetic the crowd seemed to be. I’d still highly suggest trying to see them on their upcoming world tour though for sure, bring a costume if you go and dance!

CMJ 2013: A Preview

It’s the most glorious week of the year. CMJ is finally here! Most CMJ-newbies and even some seasoned veterans will find the abundance of shows, unofficial parties, day-showcases, RSVP-only parties, and things to do during CMJ week a bit overwhelming. As a WCDB alumni (key word: alumni) I have the added challenge this year of doing it all without a badge, that wonderful golden ticket that lets you in to (almost) any show during the week. However, over the years I’ve found that most of the smaller shows are free, some of the medium sized shows are free w/rsvp, and a lot of the cool stuff to go to aren’t in traditional music venues or are even shows at all. The only shows that definitely require a CMJ badge to enter are the big ones: shows at Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Terminal 5, and Webster Hall. And who wants to go to those? Because really, CMJ isn’t about seeing Savages play at Terminal 5 (capacity: 3,000) during CMJ 2013, it’s about seeing their first live shows in the U.S. before their debut album came out, at Glasslands (capacity: 275) and Public Assembly (capacity: 400) during CMJ 2012.

Every year I try to find a nice balance between bands I love and bands I’ve never heard of before. It’s my own opinion that the quality of the festival and number of bands that I’m excited to see decreases slightly every year, but I’m trying to stay optimistic. Here are the showcases I’m most excited about, some “bands to watch”, and other things I’m looking forward to during CMJ next week. See you there?

Bands to Watch

the bold CMJ dates below are free, even if you don’t have a badge!

Joanna Gruesome

SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD. Seriously, look past the name. Their debut album Weird Sister came out September 2013 on Slumberland Records (swoon) and it’s surely one of my favorites of 2013. It’s amazing. I’m in love. Go see them.
~ RIYL: Riot Grrrl, noisepop, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart


Where to catch them:
Tuesday 10/15 @ Ran Tea House (Force Field PR showcase) 12:10am | $5 without badge
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Kanine Records/SESAC party) – 3:30pm
Wednesday 10/16 @ Pianos (Old Flame Party) 7:45pm
Thursday 10/17 @ Cakeshop (Capeshok Presents) midnight
Friday 10/18 @ Shea Stadium (Portals Music) 9:00pm
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) 11:15pm | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge
Saturday 10/19 @ The Rock Shop (Lost Colony party)
Saturday 10/19 @ Death By Audio (Agency Group showcase)

Perfect Pussy

debut cassette demo I HAVE LOST ALL DESIRE FOR FEELING is incredible.

thumbs down for no free shows:
Wednesday 10/16 @ The Flat (SHOT! Presents) | $8 or free w/CMJ badge
Friday 10/18 @ 285 Kent (Pitchfork showcase) | unofficial show, $10 with or without badge

Drowners

~s/t debut album comes January 2014 via Frenchkiss Records

playing:
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos showroom (Frenchkiss Records showcase)
Saturday 10/19 @ Pianos showroom (Bowery Presents CMJ show)

the band in Heaven

dreampop shoegaze from West Palm Beach, FL
debut album Caught in a Summer Swell out September 2013 on Decades Records

thumbs down for no free shows:
Thursday 10/17 @ Parkside Lounge (S/T Management)
Thursday 10/17 @ Pianos (Frenchkiss Records / Label Group)
Friday 10/18 @ (Decades & Timberwolf Showcase)
Continue reading CMJ 2013: A Preview

WCDB DJ EVENTS! July and Beyond

JULY 6th: 5th ANNUAL BEAT SHOT FESTIVAL Hip-Hop festival showcasing regional and independent artists at Red Square, Albany. Starts at Noon. DJ LO FI LOBO (Saturdays, Midnight-2AM)  and DJ Tha5ftAZZAZZIN (Thursdays, Midnight-2AM) will be performing!

LINK to festival announcement

JULY 10th: LADIES NIGHT AT LAUGHS ON LARK!!! All lady comics! Hosted by Ethan Ullman and featuring Jaye McBride, Anna Phillips, Kristin VanSteemburg and more! Elda’s on Lark, Albany. 8:00PM. (DJ Ethan Ullman, Thursdays, 10PM-Midnight) LINK TO FACEBOOK GROUP

JULY 11th: PASTIES, PENCILS & PINTS with Eva Peron Destruction! Burlesque meets figure drawing meets pints at 51 3rd Street, Troy. 8:30PM. (DJ HEAT, Mondays 6-8PM) LINK TO FACEBOOK GROUP

JULY 13th: DELAWARE AVENUE STREET FESTIVAL A mile of food, art, music and garage sales. 9AM-5PM. DJ EVERY DAY (Thursdays, 8-10PM) will be performing 3PM-7PM for KHAN WIRELESS. EVENT LINK

JULY 24th: STORYTIME TIME Hosted by Ethan Ullman, and featuring comedic true stories from the area’s greatest storytellers and comedians. More Bread & Jam in Cohoes, NY. 6:30PM. (DJ Ethan Ullman, Thursdays, 10PM-Midnight) LINK TO FACEBOOK GROUP

JULY 27TH: LIVESTOCK JAM ROCK at the Albany Barn. (DJ JORDAN HILL, Wednesdays, Midnight-2AM)

AUGUST 23RD: C. AMANDA BOUTAHORSE’S CULT CLASSICS PRESENTS MONTY PYTHON Bi-monthly burlesque show featuring local and national acts with a Cult Classic Theme. The Hangar in Troy. Doors at 8, Show starts at 9. (DJ HEAT, Mondays 6-8PM) LINK TO FACEBOOK

WCDB DJ SUMMER EVENTS WOOO!!!!

JUNE 13th, Thursday – ON WCDB 90.9FM, Tune in for an Interview with Why? at 6:30PM

 

JUNE 15th, Saturday – COMEDY SHOW: The World of “Eat Fried Chicken” Stand-Up Comedy show at Urban Book Café, 8:30 PM, with Lady T and WCDB DJ ETHAN ULLMAN https://www.facebook.com/events/160252044148975/ (Thursdays 10PM-Midnight)

 

JUNE 15th, Saturday – Why? with special guest Sarah Jaffe at Valentine’s, Albany, Upstairs, 7PM

 

JUNE 23rd, Sunday – Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned with Apenglow at Valentine’s, Albany, Downstairs, 8PM (WCDB DJ ALEX MURO, Mondays 4-6PM, AND VARIOUS ALUMNI)

 

JUNE 26th, Wednesday – Storytime Time – Comedy show at More Bread and Jam in Cohoes, 6:30PM https://www.facebook.com/events/317071341757356/ (WCDB DJ ETHAN ULLMAN, Thursdays 10PM-Midnight)

 

JULY 6th, Saturday – 5th Annual Beat*Shot Music Festival at Red Square (WCDB DJ LO FI LOBO, Saturdays Midnight-2AM)

 

JULY 11th, Thursday – Pasties, Pencils & Pints – Burlesque meets figure drawing and pints – 51 3rd Street, Troy – 8:30-11:30 PM (WCDB DJ HEAT, Mondays 6-8PM)

Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

The Governor’s Ball music festival is taking place this weekend, and I am super excited for this. The festival boasts a consistent and impressive lineup that features some of the top artists from alternative music, hip-hop and EDM, with ticket holders having to choose between two artists for each time slot. Fortunately I’m familiar with a decent amount of the artists playing at this festival, and in this post I’ll let you know which artist I’m going to try to see during each time slot this weekend and why.

Friday

12:15-12:45: Swear and Shake vs. Pacific Air

Pacific Air is brothers playing indie pop. They’re a relaxing listen and well-traveled as they’ve opened for high profile acts before like Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club. Swear and Shake seems like it’d be a fun show as well but they’re more folky and seemingly conventional, so I’m planning on starting the festival with Pacific Air.

12:45-1:30 Solid Gold vs. Bear Mountain

We got Solid Gold’s 2012 release Eat Your Young at CDB last year and it wasn’t anything special, I’d say it’s alternative rock with a lot of electronic qualities mixed in to it, again more relaxing than danceable. I hadn’t heard of Bear Mountain before this year’s lineup, but their music seems like it would lead to a better live show then what I’ve heard from Solid Gold, Bear Mountain’s sound is more danceable and upbeat electronic so it should be a fun set to attend.

1:30-2:15 St. Lucia vs. Reignwolf

St. Lucia will put on a good electronic pop show, but my interest is in seeing what Reignwolf does during this time slot. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who seems like he’d put on a sick show, check out the video below where “Bicycle” sounds White Stripes-esque with him covering both Jack and Meg’s parts. This guy’s going to be a hit at governor’s ball for sure.

2:15-3:00 Polica vs. The Knocks

Electronic rock/R&B vs. Electronic Pop. I’m not overly excited about Polica, so The Knocks seem like a safer bet for enjoying the set but either way I don’t view this as a decision you can mess up, the options are pretty similar.

3:00-3:45 Dinosaur Jr. vs. Holy Ghost!

I’d be psyched to see Holy Ghost! over either of the past two artists, but in this slot there’s no way I can see them. I’m an alt-rock kid, and Dinosaur Jr. is one of the bands that defined that genre in the 90s, making the fact that they still release awesome albums like last year’s I Bet on Sky even more impressive. I have to go with the classic artist in this spot to get my fill of actual alternative rock.

3:45-4:45 Best Coast vs. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I might regret this and be stuck watching a girl on stage sing to me about how great California is, basically the only premise of 2012 release The Only Place, but I’m going to gamble we get the distorted energetic Crazy For You tracks that would make the set amazing. If you were completely off-put by her last release, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs won’t be a bad consolation prize.

4:45-5:45 Of Monsters and Men vs. Dillon Francis

I saw Of Monsters and Men perform last year in Albany and they put on a good show, but I’m a bit bored of their sound now(and the mini-genre as a whole to be honest). I’m not overly into EDM but my friends who are recommended this artist, so I’m going to go with a new experience here rather than attending a show where I know I’ll be indifferent about the band.

5:45-6:45 Crystal Castles vs. Local Natives

This is another big contrast in sound between the artists, so I’d say it depends on your mood. Crystal Castles will definitely be more upbeat and danceable, and apparently she’s very good live, but I’m probably going to give Local Natives a shot here as I find their music easy to enjoy.

6:45-8:00 Feist vs. Young the Giant

This one is based entirely upon the Broken Social Scene rumor if nothing else. BSS is booked in the city to do a late-night gig on Thursday night, and a rumor is going around that Feist’s label mates might help end the BSS hiatus by doing a collaborative set or maybe even taking the stage for their own set after Feist. If it happens it would be probably the most notable story from the festival.

8:00-9:30 Beach House vs. Erykah Badu & the Cannabinoids

I feel like I’m making a mistake on this one so don’t let me sway you away from Erykah Badu, but I loved Beach House’s 2012 release Bloom and am hopeful that they put on the most relaxing show ever performed for their set. Can’t pick wrong between these artists though as they’ll both put on great shows.

9:30-11:00 Kings of Leon vs. Pretty Lights

Finally the headliners, neither of which I’m overly enthusiastic about unfortunately. I’m going to go with the same mentality I had for Dillon Francis in giving the artist who I know less about the shot here. I enjoy some Kings of Leon songs, but Pretty Lights seems like a more fun way to enjoy the end of the first day to me as I’ve heard good things about their live shows.

Continue reading Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview