Music: Clubs, pubs & jazz around Saratoga Springs

The races have all been run and the horses are put away, but the night is still young. You’ve just w

The races have all been run and the horses are put away, but the night is still young. You’ve just won big at the track, and you’re in a celebratory mood, or maybe you’ve lost and need some cheering up.

If you’re a music fan, you’re in luck: Spa City has a bustling music scene packed with intimate clubs, rocking bars and one huge amphitheater to cover just about every taste. With so much going on any given night during track season, some guidance is in order.

What follows is a partial list of venues, with some highlighted shows. Check with each venue for a full schedule.

After-race hot spots

Siro’s Restaurant (168 Lincoln Ave.; 584-4030; Adjacent to the thoroughbred track, Siro’s features both original and cover bands ranging from rock, soul and blues, to wind down a day at the races.

Highlights include local rockabilly group Rocky Velvet on Sunday, Aug. 17, and local faves Johnny Rabb and the Jailhouse Rockers on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Horseshoe Inn (1 Gridley St.; 587-4909; With a prime location directly across from Gate 10 of the race course, The Horseshoe Inn boasts live music every night except Tuesdays during track season.

The Inn’s concert schedule begins Wednesday, July 23, with cover band Blue Hand Luke. The covers continue with King’s English (Aug 3, 13, 24) and The Audiostars (Fridays, July 25 through Aug. 22). Jeff Walton will perform every Monday through Sept. 1. For original tunes, check out upstate New York funk band The Refrigerators on Saturday, Aug. 16.

The big names

Saratoga Performing Arts Center (108 Avenue of the Pines; 587-3330; SPAC has a long history of hosting some of the biggest names in rock and pop during its summer concert season. Where else are you going to be able to catch Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Raul Malo, The Swell Season and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst on the same bill?

That show, the Saratoga Folk Festival, will be happening Sunday, Aug. 17. There’ll be plenty of other big names at the amphitheater during race season, including The Police and Elvis Costello on Friday, Aug. 1 and moody alt-rockers The Counting Crows with Maroon 5 and up-and-comer Sara Bareilles on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The outdoor venue holds approximately 25,000 fans and features lawn seating, with pricier, reserved seating inside the main amphitheater.

The Vapor Nightclub at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway (Crescent Avenue; 584-2110; One of the newest venues on the scene, Vapor Nightclub hosts local musicians Fridays starting at 9 p.m. and a handful of national acts throughout August on Thursdays starting at 8 p.m.

You can catch some soulful R&B with The Neville Brothers on Aug. 7, country with Joe Diffiee on Aug. 21 and the cast of Broadway musical “Beatlemania” on Aug. 28. These shows usually run about $40, but Friday night acts are always free, and include The Big Smoothies (July 25) and Sould Out (Aug. 1).

Clubs and pubs

Parting Glass (40-42 Lake Avenue; 583-1916; If its Irish folk and Celtic music you’re looking for, Parting Glass offers a variety of local acts who perform regularly throughout each week during track season.

Opening day at the track will feature Jay Yager and The Audiostars (July 23). Regulars at the pub include The McKrells, Forthlin Road and Jeff Strange, along with Irish Celtic Sessions held every other Wednesday, which are open to any and all musicians.

Gaffney’s (16 Caroline St.; 587-7359; A popular downtown after-race spot, Gaffney’s offers music nearly every night of the week. Tuesdays are open mike nights with Rick Endres; Wednesdays and weekends feature local rock and blues, both acoustic and electric. Some highlights include quirky alt-pop duo Sirsy on four Sundays in August; blues rock singer-songwriter Rick Rourke and the Lost Wages band on Friday, July 25, and Saturday, Aug. 16; and acoustic rocker Rich Ortiz on Saturday, Aug. 9.

Bailey’s (corner of Phila and Putnam streets; 583-6060; A coffeehouse, bar and restaurant all rolled into one, Bailey’s also offers free live music four nights a week during track season.

Regulars Rich Ortiz (Aug. 8) and Acoustic Circus (Aug. 2) will be joined this year by newcomers to the venue, including Ballston Spa folk-country band Happy Balky and the Good Livin’ (July 18) and jazz rockers October Circle (July 26). The venue is still booking acts for August, so keep checking back throughout the season.

All That Jazz

9 Maple Avenue (583-2582; Those looking for an intimate place to listen to some of the Capital Region’s best jazz players should check out this club. The 40-seat venue hosts free shows Friday and charges $2 for Saturday shows.

Regulars here include drummer and composer Joe Barna (Saturday, Aug. 16); Michael Benedict and his Jazz Vibes band (Saturday, Aug. 9); and guitarist Mark Capon (Friday, Aug. 29). Also check out experiment jazz fusion duo New Regime on Friday, Aug. 8, and Clarinet Marmalade with Skip Parsons on Saturday, Aug. 2.

Circus Cafe (392 Broadway; 583-1106; The theme at this cafe, as its name suggests, is the circus, with old memorabilia decorating the walls. However, when it comes to live music here, it’s all about the jazz.

Circus Cafe hosts live jazz on Wednesdays starting at 8 p.m. throughout the track season, including Sonny and Perley (Aug. 6), The Rainbow Room Trio (Aug. 13) and Jeanne O’Connor (Aug. 27). Like many other Spa City venues, Circus Cafe also holds an open mike night on Thursdays beginning at 10 p.m.

One Caroline Street (587-2026; This restaurant hosts local music seven nights a week in conjunction with sister restaurant Mouzon House (see Mouzon’s listing below).

The feel here is primarily jazz, although the acts tend to kick it up a notch later in the evening. Groups such as Skidmore Jazz (July 24, 31, Aug. 7), Masters of Nostalgia II (July 23, 30, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27) and The Mike Parker Duo (July 22, 29, Aug. 5, 12) perform regularly. Restaurant owners the Pedinotti family even get in on the action here, with performances by The Sarah Pedinotti Band on July 18, 21 and 28; and Aug. 1, 4, 8, 15, 22, 25 and 29. Whew.

Mouzon House (1 York St.; 226-0014; The Pedinotti family’s other restaurant features music in much the same vein as its sister restaurant. Chef David Pedinotti’s Kitchen Band performs here every Tuesday night, playing jazz favorites early in the evening, and later covers from Neil Young and other rockers to close out the night.

Other featured musicians include Brian Patneaude (July 30, Aug. 29), Keith Pray (Aug. 8) and Root Blues Revival (July 26, 27, Aug. 1, 10).

The quiet and intimate

Caffe Lena (47 Phila St.; 583-0022, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean and the late Utah Phillips have all graced this club’s stage. One of the oldest folk venues in the country, Caffe Lena has a long tradition of hosting up-and-coming acts, as well. And the music isn’t just limited to folk; most any roots-based music finds its way onto Lena’s stage, from blues and bluegrass to rock and country.

Upcoming shows include local favorites such as The Ramblin’ Jug Stompers (Aug. 2), Happy Balky and the Good Livin’ (Aug. 23) and rock duo 28N (Aug. 29). Legendary West Texan Jimmie Dale Gilmore will hit the stage on Sunday, July 27. And of course, there’s always the weekly open mike nights, held each Thursday.

Upbeat on the Roof series at Tang Museum (815 North Broadway; 580-8080; Each year, Skidmore College’s Tang Museum holds free Friday night concerts on its roof. This year the series runs through Aug. 29, with concerts beginning at 7 p.m.

Track season shows include acoustic singer Sean Rowe (July 25), Dixieland band Reggie’s Red Hot Feet Warmers (Aug. 1) and Doc Scanlon’s Rhythm Boys (Aug. 22).

Reach Gazette reporter Brian McElhiney at 395-3111 or [email protected]

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply