A friend recently referred to Albany as the “super deep-tiered jam band capital of the Northeast.” As mediocre as that sounds, we actually do alright. Thursday, April 12 was a “Tier 3 Night” at the Hollow Bar and Kitchen, but good luck convincing those there to see The Magic Beans that it was anything short of incredible.
Saratoga’s rising star, Let’s Be Leonard, opened up the evening with an ultra energetic “Spit It Out.” While the members of this band may be young, their sound is mature and smart. Even their vocal jam included nicely blended harmonies. Connor Dunn’s saxophone skills only added to the fun. Although the volume may have been a bit too high for some, it was refreshing to see a band with this much potential. It won’t be surprising to see these guys on the festival circuit for years to come.
Around 10:30, the crowd began to swell as locals arrived to see Boulder, Colorado’s The Magic Beans. Despite their current Rocky Mountain hometown, Albanians claim a small piece of the Beans as their own. Bassist Chris Duffy, formerly of Dirty Paris, is originally from the Capital City and fans are always delighted to bring him home.
Like a hurricane gaining strength over water, The Magic Beans’ jams tend to rise in energy and explode with each powerful crescendo. Just when you thin they’re finally ready to set everyone back down on Earth with something light and breezy, they burst back into a fast paced yet funky jam to fuel the groove of the crowd.
With thick bass lines, heavy synthesized keys and occasional hip hop beats, their transitions are still crisp and seemingly effortless. Scott Hachey’s facial expressions as he flexes his guitar prowess indicate the thrill for both the band and the audience.
Nearing the end of the night, the Hollow was pulsing with some pretty impressive lights. A powerful “Luck” could have closed the evening, but the Beans decided to throw in some Talking Heads “Girlfriend is Better,” with their latest “Casino Cabaret” for fun.
After picking my jaw up off the floor, I’ve came to the conclusion we were witnessing the steady rise of what is now a lower tiered jam band. This show was better than the last and light years beyond what we saw a few years ago. Although not someone I’d compare them to in style, I have not been this excited for a band since discovering Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. I fully expect to see this band become a household name in the jam community and they will always have a home here in Albany.