I’ve been doing the Mountain Jam thing for a few years now and really feel like I’ve got this music fest under control. I know how to get to the event, where to park and the best landmarks for meeting my friends. I understand and accept that there will be red mud and rain at least one of the days and that the sun always shines when Michael Franti plays. I got this. For those who may not have had the good fortune to attend MJ2015, let me share some of my impressions from this year’s festival.
• Grace Potter is always an energetic and enthusiastic performer. I particularly enjoyed “Turntable” and her rip through “Cinnamon Girl.” The complete setlist is here.
• I’ve had mixed Robert Plant experiences, but amazingly enough he’s gotten better each time I’ve seen him. How’s that for longevity? That 66 y/o rock and roll icon was so smoking hot that he compelled me to drop an f-bomb when I captioned an Instagram shot of him. I had no other word to describe the thrill of seeing him rock once again. Prepare to be impressed by this setlist!
• Gov’t Mule’s Dark Side of the Mule inspired me to stay on the Mountain far later than ever before – it was definitely pushing 2:00 a.m. before we headed for the gates. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Warren and the band (including 3 phenomenal female back-up singers) killed it. I hope to experience this spectacle again and my respect for the band has gone through the roof.
• The food and beverages in which I indulged were all of good quality and fairly priced. I was impressed by the sausage stand’s commitment to checking the internal temperature on their offerings prior to selling and thought $6 for a big cup of cider was more than reasonable. Take note, SPAC!
• Saturday’s headliner was the dynamic duo, The Black Keys. I’m most familiar with their junior Kimbrough tribute album, Chulahoma, as well as 2011’s El Camino. Well, these guys absolutely rock! The drums/guitar combination is always my favorite and watching these two play was unbelievable. I’d do that again in a heartbeat.
• Unlike other large musical gatherings I’ve attended, there was zero drama or aggression in this crowd. It was soooo mellow and pleasant.
• I already talked about Sunday on the mountain, but I wanted to add a note about Warren Haynes joining Franti and Spearhead during their set. What a treat it was to see Haynes play three consecutive days! And, his range – from Pink Floyd to jammy originals to Franti…wow! I even finally got a few good pictures of him, too.
- Check out all my photos here.
Have you ever had a day when the universe lets you know that you must be doing something right? You know, everything just goes your way, from the weather to the drive to the food you eat and the people you meet..every single thing just goes your way. For me, that was yesterday in a nutshell.
My day began a little bleary after two consecutive late nights (more on those in another post), but I fortified myself, and the guys, with French toast with strawberries and bacon, along with coffee. Lots of coffee. I refused to rush, but still managed to get some necessary chores done, read the paper and mow the lawn before heading south for my third day of music on the mountain.
I found myself with an unexpected opportunity to have a friend join me and immediately thought of my Franti-loving, Lunar B#tch friend, Chrissy. I knew she was on the road, heading north after some time spent with friends, and figured Mountain Jam might be the perfect pit stop – and it was. We texted and talked and put an impromptu plan together, including parking coordination and where to meet on the inside. And it all worked. Perfectly, in fact.
Franti was his consistent dose of sunshine and good vibes and the crowd was fantastic. Being in the pit to shoot photos has ruined me for all future shows, I’m afraid. It’s going to be like returning to coach after being bumped up to first class on an international flight. The other photographers were all friendly and cooperative as we moved around the area, each taking our shots and making way for one another. Security was cool, too, and there were no harsh voices to be heard. Amazing, just like the set Alabama Shakes laid down after Franti. Mercy, Brittany Howard takes no prisoners! She didn’t hold an iota back and I am so glad I got to experience this band live. If you have the chance – do it. No regrets, I promise.
I took hundreds of pictures this weekend and every single person I interacted with was pleasant and happy and totally cool. There were smiles and laughs as far as the camera and eye could see. It was one of those magical times when I couldn’t stop myself from continually wondering “How did I ever get to live this life?”
On a night that felt borderline oppressive in the city, I loaded up my wagon with lots of water, towels and Jeter and headed south to Schodack Island State Park for the first trail run of the summer season. One of my summer goals is to make at least half of these runs and, so far, I’m batting a thousand.
I’ve never visited this park before but I know I’ll be back. The drive took about 20 minutes from the DelSo, yet ultimately felt much further away. The trails were amazing – wide, soft and flat. The breeze coming in off of the river was lovely and the temperature was absolutely perfect.
I’m really working on simply enjoying these runs and to foster that mindset, I left my phone in the car. That means no Runmeter recording my miles and no motivating playlist. You know what? Other than my unfamiliarity with the course and where I was in terms of miles, I didn’t miss either. The magnificent green ferns and plentiful pink, white and purple phlox along the trail were stimulation enough.
This particular run was followed by a potluck bar-b-q, which I didn’t participate in due to a need to get back home. Jeter, however, was rewarded for his efforts when he scored a charred burger that he found on the ground. I believe we both left the park happy.
It probably wasn’t coincidence that I heard that Springsteen song not once, but twice, on my way to the 35th reunion of my 8th grade class, right? There probably isn’t a song more appropriate for getting together with classmates and reminiscing about shared childhoods than that nugget that made its debut the same year I graduated from high school.
I’ve been to school reunions before, 4 of them actually. But this, the first middle school reunion planned and executed, was different. After a couple of days reflecting about it, I finally recognized what made this reunion so very novel. From the first M-W reunion in 1984, which I attended in a white crepe number I referred to as my Ginger Grant dress, I went with the intention of showing people who I had become, how I had grown and changed. Going to a reunion of my 8th grade classmates couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
Attending a reunion, in my actual hometown, with other members of the Class of 1980 wasn’t an exercise in validating who I am now. Instead it was a warm embrace from the friends who have always known exactly who I am. From the former teacher who remembered me as being “so smart” to the women who made a point of telling me that I had given them something intangible that they had never forgotten, those that were present on Saturday night demonstrated that the value I held for them was completely unrelated to anything I may have achieved in my life. It was simply because of who I am, and who I’ve always been, in an absolutely organic way.
Getting together with those who shared critical, right of passage events – field trips to NYC, hitchhiking adventures, explorations with gateway substances, first kisses, was positively fantastic. The hard work of classmates to make this event happen was greatly appreciated by all who attended and I truly believe every one there had a special and memorable night. For those who weren’t there, by choice or circumstance, you were missed. Pencil this event in for 2020. It’ll be epic.
It’s been a couple of years since I last attended this event, the official kickoff to Tulip Fest Weekend. Boy, am I glad I picked last night to jump back in! What a wonderful night it was in our fair city – the air was warm, but without humidity, the evening light was divine, the flowers magnificent and the crowd festive and decked out in their finest attire. It truly was an epic night, the sort we all long for during the short, dark days of winter.
I was so busy shooting photos and visiting with friends (so many friends!) that I didn’t nosh at all, but the local restaurants put out what looked to be a satisfying spread, particularly when paired with bubbly pink wine. Albany was really at her finest . Thanks for a great evening, Lark Street BID!
My picture does NOT do the work justice. Apologies!
On Friday, despite Mother Nature’s attempt to disrupt my plans, I ventured down to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to attend my uber talented neighbor, Ken Ragsdale’s art show opening at the Front Room Gallery. As someone who doesn’t often attend gallery openings (read: hardly ever), I was a bit out of my element, and, as a person who doesn’t stray from Manhattan usually, I was definitely outside of my borough of reference. After consulting my Facebook friends regarding attire and Google maps for directions, we hit the road in the late afternoon. Next stop: The Hundred-Acre Wood!
View from the Roebling Tea Room on the first evening of spring.
The drive was uneventful, other than my imagination working overtime creating vivid scenarios about how the piece of Ken’s which ended up in the back of my wagon could be damaged during the trip to Brooklyn. Rear-end collision, encounter with a remarkable pothole resulting in the shattering of glass…
Safely parked around the corner from the gallery, wearing the suggested attire of skinny jeans, ankle boots and a cool hat, we met up with some of the Albany contingent and enjoyed a lite bite and a round of drinks at the Roebling Tea Room. My cocktail, an excellent old-fashioned with a clean, citrus element was wonderful, the small plates equally perfect.
The show was an absolute triumph. The work vividly expressed a time in the artist’s life and is truly stunning. The presence of so many familiar faces must have made the opening a dreamy blend of memories and modern day moments. So friggin cool. Can’t get to Brooklyn? Check out the group show opening Friday, 3/27/15 at the Albany International
Whatever Airport right in the 518.
*This post has nothing to do with sleeping in Brooklyn or the Beastie Boys. Nothing. I just love the sentiment. Here – watch the video anyway.
Filed under Albany, art, DelSo, drinking, Events, friends, Local, NYC, Recommendations, road trips, Spring
I couldn’t be happier about the new rules announced this morning regarding Albany’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. In years past this event has been an absolute sh*t show and I haven’t felt comfortable taking my kids there in many years. If you know me, you know I’m all about having fun and a couple of drinks, but this annual event has repeatedly proven that far too many people have no capacity for moderation – or alcohol.
I think the comments posted under the TU article are representative of a small
minded percent of the population, but maybe I’m wrong. What do you think? How do you feel about these new policies? The response I would provide to the commenters is below.
I assume you all live in the city of Albany, right? You probably own property and pay taxes, too, don’t you? And vote, also. Maybe you have children you would like to bring to the parade but haven’t in years past because of the drunken and disorderly crowd in attendance? Well, I meet all of the preceding criteria and I am thrilled by the crackdown on public intoxication and the promised enforcement of appropriate public behavior. I love this mayor – she represents me and thousands of Albany citizens who want our city to be a place for families and residents who understand and appreciate that quality of life for citizens is an important factor in the place we have chosen to call home.
I’m seriously considering going to the parade this year, my youngest child has never been and I’d like for him to experience festivities relating to his heritage. The weather forecast isn’t great, but as long as it is only the sky pissing on me, I think we might just get there. Erin Go Bragh!