Photos by Ashley Snively
The second annual MOVE Music Festival was held April 27th in Albany, bringing 100 bands to play in 10 venues across the city, catering to a wide array of musical genres. People are always looking for the next big thing and wanting to be a part of something, especially from the beginning. Some bands catch big breaks and it’s fun to be a fan who can say, “I saw them before they were famous.” Albany’s MOVE Music Fest gave concert goers the opportunity to experience new acts from all over the state and country, promoting the cities’ ever growing music scene. I barely knew 5 out of 100 bands on the lineup and was expecting really amateur music from bands who I thought were getting their first gig out of their mother’s basement. However, I was more than surprised with the talent that each group displayed and can’t wait to see their upcoming shows.
It was more than overwhelming to look at the schedule for the day and pick a place to start. With each band only getting an hour to play, my friends and I tried to strategize a route which was convenient for ourselves and would give us the chance to catch the few bands we did know in action. In the end, we decided to start at Valentines because it was the closest venue to my apartment and never fails with good music. We arrived at the venue around 4pm with plenty of people inside and out ready to catch the first of many acts to come. Party Boat kicked off my evening with wailing vocals that reminded me of the indie band GroupLove, complete with catchy lyrics and simple harmonies. I love surfer music, mostly for the unique guitar sounds that I don’t hear too often living in Upstate New York. I was excited to learn that the group is from Saratoga Springs and often play at Valentines plus other nearby venues.
Next up was The Ameros, who opened with one of my favorite songs, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant. This not only pumped me up but the rest of the crowd too causing a massive surge to the front of the stage. Lead singer Jesse Calhoun belted out lyrics of freedom and rebellion with great passion and honesty, almost causing a riot on the dance floor. Charles Pope blew me away with his sharp guitar riffs especially during “New American Century.” The Ameros musical style ranges from reggae, rock, funk and explosive hip hop. This was their second time playing at the MOVE Music Festival and Calhoun said it went way better this year since they got to play at one of their favorite venues, Valentines, and were able to support their friends’ bands by catching more music too.
While catching some fresh air outside, my friends and I were approached by a few tie dye wearing, hairy faced dudes handing out flyers for the band, TreeHouse! It seemed legit. We headed upstairs at Valentines to check out the reggae group that had traveled all the way from the Carolinas to play here. As it was getting closer to show time, we noticed that the guys handing flyers outside were now on stage, tuning up and was actually the band TreeHouse! The band takes pride in their excessive way to self-promote themselves, such as pulling people in from out the streets. I was totally surprised by the deep vocals coming from Jeremy Anderson that echoed off the walls in the venue. Bassist Matt Link did not stop dancing and grooving the entire time they were on stage. Trey Moody laid out tasty beats throughout the set, only encouraging the band to keep pushing the reggae party vibe.
Barons in the Attic, the grunge rock Albany locals, took the downstairs Valentines stage and blasted into their set with “Julia.” The upbeat melody mixed with hardcore rhythm was more than enough to get the crowd in full dance mode. The Barons combine punk, garage and folk with energetic force and attitude, always making for a good show. Matt Hamilton was unavailable for the show so fans were treated to Eric Krans from “The Parlor” who fit right in by strumming and stirring up the crowd just as loud as the rest of the boys.
For a change of pace, we headed towards Lark St where there would be more venues with more music. My girlfriend suggested we check out Brown Bread & Von Holt, an electronic pop band from her home town in Beacon, NY. We cruised into Lark Tavern, a bar that after undergoing renovations, hosts routine musical acts of all genres in their back room with a small stage and plenty of table seating. The dynamic duo is Rebecca Doerfer (Brown Bread) and Colin Cheyne (Von Holt) who together make up a bone chilling dance party. Doerfer’s voice is haunting and angelic while Cheyne sends out eerie chords from his guitar. Their sound is a dark and electronic space jam full of heartbreak yet good spirits.
Still a new festival, MOVE is off to a great start and has UpstateLIVE’s support next year when they want to host 100 bands in our back yard of Albany.