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The Upstate NY Music Scene, According to Wild Adriatic

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by Mateo Vosganian

For our guest post here on PledgeMusic, I decided to write a little blurb about our local music scene. First let me introduce myself, I’m Mateo Vosganian, drummer of the band Wild Adriatic. We’re based in Upstate New York, where the three of us (Travis, Rich, and myself) live about 45 min north of Albany, NY in the Saratoga Springs area.

The music scene in Upstate NY is the best it’s been in my memory. There are a few things I want to touch on that you absolutely need to know about the Albany, NY area music scene.

First, the venues:

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1. The Hollow Bar & Kitchen
Hands down the best 300-400 cap club to play in the Albany market right now. Promoter Shane Spillenger (of Pearl Street Entertainment) is continually bringing new bands in before they blow up and loves to try new things. The stage is great, the bar staff is the nicest, and the owner Mike has always taken great care of us and our crowd. Great draft beer selection and in recent months the food has become quite phenomenal.

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2. Valentine’s
Seemingly the last of a dying breed, Valentines will close its doors soon. This is the club that most people from outside the area have heard of: a stalwart dingy ass rock and roll club with a great vibe. Sad to see it go, but the owner just bought a new space on Central Ave, an old bar that should be easy to convert to a rock and roll haven. TIme will have to tell on this one. See a show at the old New Scotland Ave building before they move. Worth your time.

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3. Upstate Concert Hall
Really the only major club in our area worth seeing bands at. Low ceilings but promoter/owner Ted Etoll brings in a pretty wide array of music and the venue is a little smaller than most bands would play on their headlining tours but this area get’s em. Easiest load in ever made and playing here is like being back at home since the three of us have all been playing shows here since our early teen years.

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4. The Palace Theatre
We had the esteemed pleasure of opening up for Flogging Molly at this 2800-cap theater and I can guarantee that from everyone’s side of things (the audience, the bands, and the staff) that this venue is one of the best large venues to see shows in the 518 area code. I’ve seen everyone from FM to the Avett Brothers here and it’s such a fantastic vibe space that it’s almost impossible NOT to have a good time.

Secondly, the radio stations:

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Hands down the biggest and best alternative station in our area, WEQX has been a major supporter of all the local acts to come out of our area in the past and they continue to facilitate new opportunities for bands to grow and fans to find their new favorite band.

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A public station that curates a great selection of new, old, and on the rise talent. Great place to hear cool interviews with big and small bands, as well as an excellent concert resource. EXT promotes lots of concerts you might not otherwise find out about so they’re a great station to pay attention to.

And lastly, the bands:

1. Phantogram
You already know who they are and if you don’t…. well damn. Saratoga-area natives Phantogram have been ripping it up on the national stage for a couple years and a new album will be out 2014. Get into it.

2. Northern Faces
Some of our best friends in the world, these guys are alternative rock with so much heart and blues and folk influences abound. Just picked up by Equal Vision Records earlier this year, the band spent their summer supporting heavyweights like RX Bandits and Say Anything. Their new full length (out sometime in 2014) will not go unnoticed.

3. Eastbound Jesus
Another great group of friends who have been absolutely tearing up stage throughout the Northeast with their fast picking and crazy dance-able brand of music they’ve taken to calling “Northern Rock.” An amazingly fun live show and awesome attitude towards life and making music, these guys spent some time opening shows for Moe and keeping crowds entertained AFTER Willie Nelson, so you know they’re reliably awesome.

So there’s a small snippet of what our area’s music scene is like. Keep in mind there are hundreds more awesome bands with amazing songs and performances in our area as well as a bunch of clubs and a few more radio stations, so this is by all means not an all inclusive list of what’s worthwhile in Albany. Just a snapshot of my favorite stuff!

Thanks for reading and if you have a second, take a look at my band Wild Adriatic’s PledgeMusic campaign and pre-order the new record Big Suspicious!

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