The weekend before Christmas marks the penultimate weekend to see live music, before New Years Eve festivities take the place of usual club shows. December 18-20 was no exception and in the Capital District, we had the benefit of three Upstate New York bands playing three local venues to crowds of revelers looking for that one last fix before the holidays arrive.
Starting with Thursday December 18 show at The Hollow, Ampervene opened the night for Aqueous with complimentary prog rock. Aqueous tore through “What’s the Connection”, leaving the song unfinished for later and segued into “All In”, which contained “Fuego” teases. The debut of “Underlyer” was well received, as was a cover of Hendrix’ “Bold As Love”. The encore was a special treat as Aqueous invited up Joe Davis from Formula 5 to play on a debut cover of “Bertha” by the Grateful Dead, which eventually into the end of “What’s the Connection”. As a bonus, guitarist Mike Gantzer revealed that this show is likely to be a live release in the near future, so stay tuned for a crisp soundboard recording of the night!
review by Adam Pensel
On Friday December 19, Formula 5 made a triumphant return to the stage at Dinosaur BBQ in Troy. The masterfully crafted two set show featured a number of covers layered nicely with some of the band’s most powerful original jam vehicles.
They began the night with a spirited cover of “The Music Never Stopped”, which featured a smooth segue into “Hot Box”, an upbeat and fan favorite track off of their first self titled album. The most impressive tracks of the first set were covers of Derek and the Dominoes’ “Why Does Love Got to be So Sad” and Warren Zevon’s “Night Time in the Switching Yard”. Lead guitarist Joe Davis went on endless runs in the jams of both songs that would have left Zevon and Clapton nodding in approval.
The second set featured a sit-in during John Scofield’s “Hottentot” by Kevin Hendricks on trumpet and former Formula 5 bassist Bill Shattuck right at home on vocals for a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” to close out the evening. The most impressive take away from the evening was the growth this band has shown over the course of this year. On any given night they have the ability to blow you away. Don’t miss your opportunity to see them in 2015 – this is a band on the rise.
In what is an annual tradition, Marco Benevento played a December show at Parish Public House (formerly Red Square) on Saturday December 20, and in turn packed the house with patrons who drank the bar nearly dry until the wee hours of the morning while dancing to the contagious beats from this fantastic trio. Joining Marco was Andy Borger on drums and Dave Dreiwitz on bass, who was particularly on point all night and laid down greater bass grooves than had been heard in past shows – this was a standout performance from him alone. Marco sang more this night than in the past, something you can hear on his latest album Swift, a step in a great direction for Marco. The night was celebrated by all as evidenced by the enthusiastic revelers dancing away in full view of Marco, feeding off his energy and he doing the same.