Going backstage to hang out with a band is always interesting. You are never quite sure what you are going to get. With Big D and the Kids Table it was a bunch of guys on couches and chairs around a table of fried chicken and Jameson Irish Whiskey. That part was actually pretty normal. What was strange was the conversation involving a viral video of Sonseed’s “Jesus is a Friend of Mine.” Between watching the video on the iPad that was being passed around, to plans on redoing it as a ska or punk number, or finding a remake that another band did to mock the original. Now the mystery of what happens back in the green room is gone forever.
On the stage was completely different from a laid back, tongue in cheek conversation about a cheesy song. What happened on stage was energetic, chasmatic, enthusiantic, and down-right fantastic. The doors opened to the Putnam Den at 8pm and by 9pm the first of two opening bands, Sugar Eater, was met by over 100 fans. Sugar Eater is a Saratoga-based punk trio that have been playing together for 10 years. They sounded great and to see an opening band surrounded by dozens of dancing, frantic lunatics by the stage as early as 9pm was an encouraging sign of what was ahead. The most refreshing thing about Sugar Eater is that they have no sub-genre. They are PUNK. Simple, kick ass, grind it out, explosive, PUNK. They will unfortunately be losing their bassist to the west coast, but I am hoping that they come back later this year with the same attitude and sound. It will be a show that should not be missed.
Next up was Rhodeachusetts-based Brunt of It, to say they were a traditional ska band would do them a great disservice. Brunt of It could have been the headliner of any show in the capital region Saturday night and the cover charge would have been justified. They are a big sounding ska band with an in-your-face punk attitude. When the promoter thought of the line-up of how to get from Sugar Eater to Big D – Brunt of It was the perfect connecting piece. Brunt of It’s vocals were what every band wants but few have – fast, furious and concise. The horns section was outrageous and the bass and drums did not give you the choice -if you had a pulse you were dancing. As to the dozens of people at the stage for Sugar Eater, add a couple more dozen lunatics to the bunch to imagine the dance floor at the Den.
Big D and the Kids Table have been around for 17 years playing live nearly 200 times a year and supporting bands such as as Less Than Jake, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Dropkick Murphys, Mustard Plug, Rancid, Reel Big Fish, and Anti-Flag. They had a headlining national tour in 2007. They know their way around a stage and Saturday night at the Putnam Den was absolutely no different. David McWane’s Boston bad boy charm combined with Ryan O’Connor’s deadly sax invaded Saratoga Springs. While I was suspected the ska/punk feel that Big D has been known for overly the past decade and a half I was not entirely disappointed to find it replaced with a new twist to Dub Step. The kids in the audience stomped and strutted and twirled with delight at the never-ending barrage of upbeat tempo with enough brass to tie the songs together. The show had seemingly everything. There was even a break in the middle of the long set for a young concert goer to ask his girlfriend to marry him. According to the band this is the third time that someone proposed at the Big D show.
For the first weekend of the year, Putnam Den started out with a bang. Would there have been more people there when Skidmore was in session? Or a little more after the New Year recovery? We will never know. We do know that live music is alive and well in Saratoga Springs and can be found every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No matter what your taste, keep an eye out for upcoming shows on the NYS Music site.