The rain fell while a cool wind chilled the air, but this didn’t stop the masses from coming out to Putnam Den to support live music. The line was out the door while fans got wet, but the excitement of seeing Max Creek surely made the rain only a slight inconvenience. Inside the fans dried off and the mingling between all the Creek Freaks began. There was talk of the StrangeCreek Campout, hope of what songs they would play, how many times they have seen them and when they started seeing ‘The Creek’. It was a real family atmosphere, one that has transcended time, and will continue for years to come.
Opening the evening were local favorites High Peaks Band, who on Thursday were playing as The High Peaks Trio. These guys have been playing Saratoga bars for a while and opening for many larger bands, so it is only a matter of time before these guys will be taking the main stage and having bigger name acts open for them. They mix it up every time they play and always have fun while doing so. Closing the set with the Phishy number “Within Reason,” got the Creek Freaks ready for a night of timeless entertainment.
The Creek barrage wouldn’t start quite yet, however, as Black Mountain Symphony from Albany, brought their unique sound to The Putnam Den. People who were pacing around waiting for the headliners were drawn to the stage as this bombardment of sound thrown at them. Led by the fast-paced violin playing of Annie Campo, the other sounds complemented not only the violin, but the other instruments, making the sound as one. It was truly amazing and left a positive feeling on stage as Creek was getting ready to take the stage.
For a band who has been around for over 40 years, one may think that a group may not be able to put on a show as they have in the past. Max Creek does not fall into that category. Having always been a band that mixed original with covers, they continued this pattern on Thursday night. Opening with the scratchy, distinguished vocals of Scott Murawski, singing the Creek standard “In Harmony”, a mayhem of movement started throughout the packed house and smiles for all. This was the Creek from old and the hundreds in attendance knew this. Bassist John Rider took lead vocals on “Gypsy Blue,” another original out of the Creek catalog, leaving long times fans of the band in great spirits! Marc Mercier, longtime keyboardist, on the Dylan classic “Tangled up in Blue” was a great treat for fans who were not familiar with many of the originals and helped them feel the groove and sing along.
The band continuously switched vocals during songs, mixing it up, showing there was no single leader of the group; this has helped their longevity and their continued growth. Murawski’s solos though were the pinpoint of most songs and were what the crowd was waiting for, as his slow build up to a tremendous peak simply blew minds as fans jumped up when he hit the note. As Mercier and Rider left the stage, Murawski stayed on and played cowbell with drummer Bill Carbone and percussionist Jamemurrell Stanley. Not long after did Murawski leave the stage and let the percussion section do their thing. These two really rocked it playing beats from all different genres of percussion. This was a special treat as these two are the newest members of the group, but now one would know the way they so smoothly added their vibe to Max Creek. With playing like this in front of a packed house and being happy to do so, Max Creek will be around for as long as they choose to be.
This summer, Max Creek will return to the area with Camp Creek at Indian Lookout Country Club, most recently the site of Camp Bisco. After a few year hiatus, Camp Creek comes home and will surely make waves throughout the music scene. Although no bands but the headliner has been announced yet, it is sure to be a great time. A limited number of pre-sale tickets are on sale for $80 dollars for the festival taking place from August 21-23. For more info click here.