Best of NYS Music 2016: Staff and Reader Picks for Best Shows by Region and Best Venue in NYS

NYS Music is celebrating the end of 2016 by posting staff and reader picks on 10 various categories, and today we are highlighting the winners of the Best Show by Region and the Best Venue in New York State.

We polled the staff and asked our readers for their input in eight other categories: Best Albums by NYS Artists, Best Albums Overall, Biggest Musical Loss, Best Live Cover or Tribute Performances, Best NYS Festivals, Best Out-of-State Festivals, Best Music Town, and Bands on the Rise.

Best venue in New York State:

The number one venue, according to our staff pick, is the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC).

SPAC is a focal point for music for areas like upstate New York, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, the Berkshires, and Connecticut. Originally instated in the late 1960’s,  the concert venue has held some of the greatest acts of our age, including an iconic performance by the Doors in 1968, and others such as, Santana, Guns N’ Roses, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, KISS, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Phish, Dire Straits and The Grateful Dead, to name just a few. Dave Matthews Band holds the title of the most sold-out performance at the venue.

This summer, SPAC had a full schedule of not-to-be-missed performances, in celebration of their 50th anniversary summer. NYS Music staff writer, Mike Kohli, wrote a preview to highlight the eventful 2016, that you can read here.

“…highlights of this season include a three-night run from Phish July 1 to 3 and a double bill of Dave Matthews Band July 15 and 16. Dead and Company pay a visit to SPAC June 21 with John Mayer laying down Jerry’s licks, and Mumford and Sons bring their electric brand of folk to a sold-out show on June 15.”

We are looking forward to seeing what summer 2017 at the SPAC will bring!

Our readers picked differently, however, and the winner this year for the Best Venue in NYS was the Brooklyn Bowl. The Brooklyn Bowl was opened in 2009 and has since become one of the more prominent venues in New York State.

Following closely behind it were The Capitol Theatre, SPAC, The Hollow and The Town Ballroom which all tied for second place.

Best Show by Region:

The staff pick for the Best Show by Region was Dead & Co. at the SPAC on June 21.

Pete Mason wrote the following in his review of the evening:

“With Dead and Company having started their fall tour in Albany this past October, Capitaland got the first taste of John Mayer in a Jerry Garcia role, one that brought criticism and concern from those who weren’t familiar with Mayer’s guitar prowess but experts in tabloid fodder. But to those in the know, musicians and real fans alike, convivial awe and heightened expectations were the emotions directed toward Mayer, and when the October show ended with “Touch of Grey,” any musical concerns were laid to rest.

And they were laid to rest over and over, as the tour wrapped around the country, culminating with New Year’s Eve in Inglewood, CA, and now a summer tour that began this month, including a stop at Bonnaroo. Four shows deep and the expectations for the performance at SPAC on June 21 were as high as ever, partially because three members of the original Grateful Dead were back in Saratoga for the first time in more than 20 years, and partially thanks to no repeats in the setlist during the previous four nights.”

To see a full recap and photo gallery by Jim Gilbert, go here.

The readers’ picks for the best show were Twiddle, TAUK, Holly Bowling and Matisyahu at Capitol Theater on May 7.

To read the full review of the event, go here:

“Take the fastest rising jamband in recent years, add in a hot prog-rock band boiling over with talent, a classically trained pianist performing the music of Phish and The Grateful Dead, and a cross-genre reggae singer and you have the fixings for one of the best nights of live music The Capitol Theatre has seen this year, and that’s saying a lot.”

NYS Music had a chance to talk to Ryan Dempsey of Twiddle before the show, see the interview below: