Among the network of musicians in Albany, there are select venues that are known to be “off the beaten path” but still provide the listener with the intimate experience many are searching for from live music. Since the unfortunate closure of Valentine’s in 2014, the need for these spaces has increased, leading to house venues popping up across the area to cater to fans. With no particular venue picking up where Valentine’s left off, the mission of getting a PA and inviting your friends over for a show got the ball started for house venues such as the Chateau. One of these artists, Girl Blue, was recently profiled by NYS Music, and we present the premiere of Girl Blue’s Chateau Shows performance.
The Chateau was born in 2014 with the first show in 2015, and since then, roughly 15 shows a year, or 1-2 a month are held at the house. Dan Maddalone says of Chateau, “It’s not a money maker, just something for fun and a sign of the healthy and continually growing music scene, both above and underground, in Albany.”
Albany native turned international performer Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) and beloved DIY stalwart Lomelda have both performed at Chateau, making it a utility space for musicians on their way up. More established acts like Spoon, White Denim, and White Reaper have also performed in the space due to Maddalones previous involvement with the radio station WEQX.
Thanks to venues like The Chateau, bands can build an audience in Albany and branch out to other towns without traditional airplay and booking. “House shows are an incubator for a small part of the scene, for a talented group of people who do a lot of great art and create amazing things.” As the industry has broken down, artists have found a new way to prosper and The Chateau is but one small part of an international movement. But make no mistake, Maddalone says, “This has always been happening in Albany and abroad, and will continue to happen forever. We are but one tiny part of a long running DIY methodology.”
Chateau is one of many house venues in Albany. Normally, house venues last between six months to two years, depending on who manages them. Traditionally, it is college students who take on the practice and either move on or pass the house onto another group when their tenure is up. Chateau has such a long legacy due to it being owned and operated by the same persons year after year.
These venues are all several steps above house parties due to the focus being put on the music. The setting typically involves a house kit, PA system, with some lights and decoration in the ‘venue’ part of the house, which is often an attic or basement. In non-venue parts of the house lie comfortable living quarters for bands to rest before moving on to other shows. Between bands, guests are typically welcome to wander about the house sipping whatever they brought with them, and chatting with friends.
The atmosphere of the Chateau and other house venues offer a different musical experience than what you typically find at a club or bar. Performances at clubs can foster a passive and inattentive crowd, but at house venues, the focus is intently upon the performer with a small audience of 30-80 people gathered to see something new, special, and intimate.
All around Albany, a music scene continues to thrive in venues of all sizes and styles. The Capital Region has produced nationally touring bands already because of venues like The Chateau, Valentine’s, and The Hollow. Supporting artists from the ground up ensures a healthy breeding ground for future musicians down the road. House venues like The Chateau may be the place to catch your new favorite band.
Girl Blue video was produced at The Chateau by Chris and Brian Leary of Chrome Glass Productions along with Dan Maddalone. Girl Blue audio was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Troy Pohl with engineering assistance from Judybelle Camangyan.