The Putnam Den has been a staple in the Upstate music community for quite some time and is known for bringing acts spanning many genres. This has not changed, in fact, it’s about the only thing that has stayed familiar. The walls have all been painted a dark red, sending a warming vibe throughout the club. The bras that once hung from above the bar are gone. Tables are placed methodically around the soundboard, leaving plenty of room for people to shake their stuff in front of the stage, which is now graced with a red velvet curtain. These changes, along with many made to the outdoor patio (such as ping-pong and baggo), have made The Putnam Den an even more desirable place to have a great time and see live music. Saturday night exemplified this tremendously. With a packed patio and even more patrons inside to see The Seth Yacovone Band, all of the ingredients for a fantastic night were in order.
The Seth Yacovone Band, who hails from Burlington, Vermont with a sound coming from below the Mason-Dixon line, had the crowd hooked right away. “Tonight the Night”, a Neil Young song, was pure blue-blooded American rocking magic, with wailing guitar solos that set the mood for the entire night. Stellar musicianship was shown by the whole band. Steve Hadeka was on the kit while adding some vocals and Alex Budney slapped the bass, making a sound that was untouchable by many three-piece acts. “Botulism” was a high point of the set. Musically it held its own with the rest, but listening to the lyrics, which addressed nasty mayonnaise and other things that spurred the title, was very funny. If you didn’t listen close enough, the song was just another groovy danceable number. Closing the set out with Bob Dylan’s “Isis” was a treat. The band took the slow Dylan tune and sped it up a bit, yet didn’t stray too far from the feel of the original, a talent many bands do not possess.
The second half of music opened with the bass-heavy, fast-paced “Storage Space”, a fantastic way to start the set, attracting people walking the streets of Saratoga to The Putnam Den. This vibe continued as the club became more and more packed of people who were digging the sound coming from the Vermont trio. “Gnashing Golgotha Footstomp Shindig Blues” was intense. Channeling the late Frank Zappa on this tune was completely unexpected as the rest of the night offered nothing similar. The slow start with a funky bass groove and drum beat kept the cool vibe going while Seth sang over it in a different tone than the crowd had grown accustomed to. As the solo emerged, the crowd was in awe. Shredding does not even begin to describe how hard and fast Seth was playing. It was as if he was on another sphere. Slowly bringing it down enough to not lose the groove was just pure brilliance and, without a doubt, the high point of the show. Closing with “What Have I Done Wrong”, a song where the title pretty much sums it up, is about a man wondering what he did wrong and asking his lady with little or no response. Showing the more bluesy side of the band as well as some pure emotion was a great way to end the show. Not a single person was not screaming for an encore; the band gracefully obliged by playing “Little Richard Will Rise Again”, a song that sounds exactly how you’d picture it with a title like that. The band picked a fantastic way to end the show and was tops from the first note to the last.