Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mic Check: Restoration Festival 2011

On Saturday evening, the husband and I went down to Albany for the 2nd annual Restoration Festival at St. Joseph's Church. For the last two years, they have been raising money to try to fix it up and make it a viable performance venue. There were a lot of local bands slated to play, but on Saturday night there were two pretty incredible bands that we kind of love who we were super excited to see.

We got there pretty late in the day, around 5:00. We live just about an hour away, so we were watching the weather situation closely because, you know, impending hurricane and whatnot. We took our time walking around and checking out the local organizations that had set up tables, and we learned about the Albany Barn project, which is pretty amazing. It's a site downtown with space available to artists and performers to rent out to use as studios or rehearsal space, and also as a venue to showcase works. I was also very intrigued by the Albany chapter of Food Not Bombs. They provide free vegan and vegetarian food to anyone who should need it as a form of peaceful protest against war, poverty and environmental issues.

The first band that we heard was Railbird. They're local, and actually, more local to where we are in the north country than to Albany. They were pretty much incredible. Sarah has a voice that is all at once haunting and pretty, soft and strong. We really enjoyed sitting back and listening, with a cold $2 cup of Pabst. YES.

After their set we trolled the merch tables, and I was pretty much like MUST BUY ALL OF THE THINGS. There were just so many cool looking albums from bands I had never heard of, and ones that I knew only a little about. The number of homemade cases and self-produced albums just made me so happy. Also? Everything was set up in old vintage suitcases. And there were twinkle lights. I mean. *SWOON*

Then. Titus Andronicus. Punk rock band from New Jersey. FREAKING INCREDIBLE. In terms of live performances, this was just beyond. We've been really lucky to see so many insanely good bands, and also, we have seen some really shitty performances, but this was another level. AMY KLEIN YOU ARE A GODDESS. I MEAN. One of the most killer guitar players I have ever witnessed. They were just fun and hard and loud and amazing, and I am so glad that I got to experience them live. As you can see, the husband and I had a great vantage point.

After being sufficiently blown away by this, there was another little break, and I made the husband buy me merch. I am a merch whore okay.

Check out these bands:
Scientific Maps
Kitty Little
Bear Grass
Slender Shoulders

Then. The main event. Deer Tick. Oh my god. Right in front of us. I mean. John McCauley Appreciation Life. I just can't. He is a performer of immeasurable charm and charisma. It was just crazy to be standing there and listening to them perform in a tiny church in Albany. Please to enjoy their cover of The Replacements' "Bastards of Young", followed by their new single "Miss K":

They came back for an encore and ended the evening with their rendition of "Goodnight, Irene". PLEASE.

We had a really great night. I was disappointed that we had missed so many of the other acts, but you know. I now have piles of local music to devour and obsess over, and a whole host of other acts that I need to check out. If we lived closer to the city and didn't have kids, I'm sure that we would have braved the weather for Sunday. We are nuts like that. We love music like that.

Thanks for a great time, Rest Fest! We can't wait to see what next year brings!


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