Monday, June 22, 2009

National band enters the Saranac Thursdays

Hey all you lads and lasses, I've just received word about one Saranac Thursday you will not want to miss.

In a super surprising and exciting announcement, the brewery has added nationally touring Celtic rock band Enter the Haggis to its Saranac Thursdays lineup. (I realize I'm extra enthusiastic today ... it's Monday, and I'm over-caffeinated).

The band - popular among Great American Irish Festival goers - will perform from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 23. Admission is five bucks. And that comes with a ticket for your first beer. Seriously.

If you're silly enough to miss these guys Thursday, you'll have two more chances to see them at the Great American Irish Festival Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25.

Check these guys out at

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grab some grub with your beats

OK, so I know if you're reading this blog, you like music. And ya know what goes with music? Food. Of course. (Maybe that's the Utica in me talking, but they're the two things I think Utica does best - food and music. Don't you agree?)

Speaking of food (and here comes the shameless solicit), have you heard about Fusion's Grub Grab?

Ahhh, well, it's our way of putting you to work and finding out about all the local eats we can't get to. Grub Grab asks you (our reader) to visit a local restaurant, review a dish and then have us reimburse you up to $10 for whatever you grub on. Sound like your thing? Then, mangia (that's Italian for eat) and follow these rules:

1. Be incognito. Don't announce you're reviewing. We want a totally unbiased review.
2. Take a picture of your dish. Take a picture of you.
3. Tell us what you think about what you grubbed by following this format:
The people: (Give your name, age and city of residence)
The place: (Give name of restaurant, address, hours, phone number)
The dish: (Give name and description of dish)
The cost: (List all items and total with tax)
Pros: (What was great about the d├ęcor, food, service, etc.?)
Cons: (What weren't you too keen on?)
Final word: (Overall take on the food, atmosphere and service)
4. Send your review to us - exactly in that format with your pics - to
5. Be honest and fair. If it makes you wanna puke, say so. If it's so good you need your fat pants, tell us.

Oh, one more thing, we have to pre-approve your submission before reimbursement or publication.

Now, go eat ... and tell me about it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Get up, get down

I want to give you all a heads up about an August event headed to the Uptown District of Utica.

But first, an aside: By Uptown District I'm referring to the area around the Uptown Theatre. In recent years, the area has seen some revitalization with Cafe Domenico at the helm. Across the street, those of Heidelberg fame recently opened, The Balkan, a restaurant for casual dining. In the past few months, they've added to that project, opening a higher end restaurant/bar The Hadley, directly connected to The Balkan. The Hadley features a pianist or jazz music every Friday and Saturday, with a bar menu and sit-down dinner menu. I'm also told to expect the Domenicos to open The Green Onion Pub sometime in July on the other side of the Uptown Theatre.

Why bring this up in a music blog? Simple: More venues equals more opportunities and more places for local musicians to perform.

Local musician Mike Galime had that thought in mind when he began putting together Uptown Getdown to take place Aug. 15. The event will fill the three theaters in the historic building from 2 to 10 p.m. with music, independent film and art.

It's a celebration of Utica's art and an opportunity to give the Uptown District a boost, said Galime, a long time supporter of local music with his band The Band Charlie. He hopes the event will be another welcome addition in the newly developing Uptown District and encourage others to make their mark in that area as well.

Visit the site for specifics.

Pictured above: An archive photo of the Uptown Theatre marquee, 2014 Genesee St.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shoot! A Utica proposal?!

Utica just got another 15 minutes of fame.

Word is that country-rock star Shooter Jennings proposed to his girlfriend and baby's mama Drea De Matteo at his Thursday performance at the Stanley Theatre. You might remember Drea as Adriana from "The Sopranos."

Apparently, the two have been hooking up for a while - since 2001. They've even reproduced. Daughter Alabama is 18 months old.

Shooter (ya gotta love that name) even gave a shout-out to Utica on his Twitter: "Asked Drea to marry me on stage tonight. I'm a lucky man. I'll never forget Utica, Ny."

If any of you were lucky enough to see the proposal, post a comment. I'd love to hear the details.

Pictured above: The future Mr. and Mrs. Shooter Jennings.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

There's No Doubt, this band rocks

I just got off the phone with guitarist Tom Dumont of No Doubt to talk to him about the band's new tour, which will land them at the Turning Stone June 22.

So, I'm not a huge No Doubt fan. I don't hate the band; I just never got into them. But this dude was so nice, I might be a fan for life now.

He was super down to earth and asked about the weather. It made him so human. (You'd be surprised how many celebrities I've interviewed who aren't one bit human.)

He talked about his two boys, ages 1 and 3, just like I can envision my Dad would have talked about my brother and I at that age. He talked about how important it was to have his kids on tour with him, and how the tour has changed since their last tour in 2004. Kids will do that, he said.

He also talked about the music industry and how it's changed. He talked about what's next for the band and what to expect from their next album. He even talked a little about Gwen.

But ... you'll have to read more about all that in Fusion Thursday, June 18! 'Til then, check out No Doubt's Web site at

Give hip-hop a chance

Since I began reporting on local music about two years ago, there has been a lingering question, locally, whether or not there is a hip-hop scene in the Utica-area.

I see many local guys - and a few ladies - trying to make something out of their love for rap and hip-hop in the area only to face obstacles. Some of the complaints I've heard from these artists is they're often stereotyped as troublemakers, and therefore, clubs rarely offer them a place to perform.

The reason I bring this up at all is I see how hard some of these guys work to get their art out there, and I think they deserve a chance. Saying that, I encourage you to check out the Utica hip-hop scene via MySpace There is a whole page devoted to local hip-hop and rap artists, where you can learn more about them and their music. You'll see how seriously most of them take their art.

I think it's important that we're at least aware of what's happening in music. Whether or not you want to support it is up to you.

Pictured at left is Geno Brown, aka G-Swiss,a local hip-hop artist who has been performing for 10 years -

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday tunes

It's Thursday! So, you know what that means. Thirsty Thursday happy hour. But, that's not it. Saranac Thursdays most definitely have one of the best summer lineups of local music. Here's who's playing all summer long:

Tonight: Crazy Fools (Pictured above, showing some band love)
An area favorite, this bunch of fools - complete with our favorite crazy chick drummer Jessica Voce - perform covers from artists such as Van Morrison, Pink Floyd and Rage Against the Machine.

June 11: Gridley Paige
These locals have been around for more than a decade. In 2000, they signed and then walked out of a deal with Sony, but that hasn't kept them from playing. The band plays originals and rock covers, hailing mostly from the '80s.

June 18: The Thang
A Brooklyn-based band with local roots (guitarist Dave Freedman and bassist Rob Pawlings grew up in New Hartford and vocalist Paul Maddison in Morrisville) who play original funk that surely will make you shake your thang.

June 25: The Bomb
One of the area's most popular rock cover bands, they perform classic rock and heavy metal cover tunes.

July 2: Fulton Chain Gang
These cowboys have been yee-hawin' for more than a decade on the local and regional music scene. Their country rock sound has lassoed them the opportunity to open for country acts, such as Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Lawrence and Toby Keith.

July 9: The Custom Taylor Band
This Syracuse-area band plays Top 40 country hits plus a few originals from band member Chris Taylor. The band recently released "Chris Taylor - Down at the Honky Tonk," recorded at Omni Sound Studios in Nashville.

July 16: Choke Slam
These guys set out to have a good time, costumed or not (some of the members might end up losing their costumes by the end of their set). Despite some members' lack of clothing, these boys never fail to entertain the crowd with hard rock and heavy metal cover tunes.

July 23: To be announced.

July 30: The Morning After
This modern-rock group was formed by some Utica College students and other Utica-area residents about four years ago. The band has been described as being capable of both soft melodic verses and powerful modern rock choruses, with comparisons to U2-style vocals thrown in for good measure.

Aug. 6: Woodenspoon
Now 11 years old, the former duo is currently just a solo - Jason Barady, who frequently plays with other musicians and invites musicians to play with him. He's a little bit bluegrass, jazz and funk.

Aug. 13: Dead Rose
This original rock band hailing from Syracuse seriously rocks. They've got the look and the sound to draw you into their completely incredible rockin' world without you even realizing it.

Aug. 20: Under the Gun
The Syracuse band has been "an item" for 15 years, and has been called one of the biggest draws in the area. These boys rock hard performing hard and classic rock favorites as well as current radio faves.

Aug. 27: Dashboard Nixon
You won't be disappointed by this local party band. They primarily perform popular covers from '80s and early '90s groups such as B-52s, Toto and REO Speedwagon - the songs you thought you'd never hear again, but are glad you did.

Sept: 3: Lynch: A Pre-moe.down Throwdown
This jam/rock/funk band out of Albany will perform its blend the best of jam, rock and funk with tight emceeing providing an eclectic show brimming with musical energy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get your hot stuff listed

I've been getting a lot of e-mails and calls with questions about submitting information for our weekly "Hot Spots" listing in Fusion.

For those of you who don't know, that's a list we run in Fusion of where bands and DJs are playing from Thursday through Wednesday. That list relies solely on submissions, so if you don't send your list, then we can't print it. So, it's up to you!

Now, you just have to do it right:

Any band, DJ or club/bar can submit their information by Monday at 5 p.m. by e-mail only. Send the date, time, venue and band name with your contact information and that information will appear in Thursday's Fusion.

Some of you may remember about a year ago when you could submit information by phone and fax, as well. We no longer allow that, so e-mail, e-mail, e-mail. That address is Right now, there isn't a link from our Web site, but our multimedia team tell me they're working on it.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

K-Rock announces rockin' lineup for K-Rockathon

It's festival season, and that means everyone's announcing lineups. So, here's one more to add to your summer music jaunt - K-Rockathon 14. You have to give props to K-Rock for a sweet lineup that will work for every level of rocker. Here's who'll be rockin' the New York State Fairgrounds Aug. 8:

3 Doors Down, Papa Roach, Chevelle, Street Sweeper Social Club, featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Atreyu, 10 Years, Sick Puppies, Framing Hanley and Since October.

Tickets for $25 will be available starting Saturday, locally at Big Apple Music in New Hartford and Herkimer Wholesale Music in Herkimer.There's a two-ticket limit per person on tickets at this price. Regularly priced tickets are $37. Click on or for information.

moe.down bands announced

Hey all you happy hour heroes, check it out, the first five bands of the 10th annual moe.down were announced. They are:

Matthew Sweet, Sam Bush, The New Mastersounds, Ominous Seapods and The London Souls.

Most of you moe. heads already know, but this year's three-day event of music-making will be Sept. 4-6 at Snowridge Ski Resort in Turin.

Tickets purchased in advance are $105. Click for tickets.