The Upstate Beat: Super 400 to bring the music of Led Zeppelin to Cohoes Music Hall

Singer Sean Matthew Whiteford, far left, and, from left to right, Super 400's Kenny Hohman, Lori Friday and Joe Daley. (photo provided)

Singer Sean Matthew Whiteford, far left, and, from left to right, Super 400's Kenny Hohman, Lori Friday and Joe Daley. (photo provided)

UPSTATE BEAT Local blues-rock band Super 400 is well-versed with the songs of Led Zeppelin. The trio frequently breaks out versions of the legendary British rock band’s songs at shows. The members of Super 400 also play in Blue Machine, a rock cover band that pays tribute to Led Zeppelin with the addition of local singer Tommy Love, who has Robert Plant-like pipes.

At the inaugural NipperFest local music showcase this summer at Schenectady’s Central Park, Super 400 bassist Lori Friday and guitarist Kenny Hohman even brought out their young daughter Ellie to play drums on the Led Zeppelin tune “When the Levee Breaks.”

So, it makes perfect sense that Super 400, which also includes drummer Joe Daley, will bring a Led Zeppelin revival to Cohoes Music Hall this Saturday. With vocalist Sean Matthew Whiteford, the group will perform Led Zeppelin’s first album in its entirety.

Whiteford is a Hudson Valley singer-songwriter, vocal coach and theatrical performer with major vocal chops, who has toured with the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages.” Other performances include the title roles in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and the 50th anniversary concert production of “Hair.”

“I have been a fan and a friend of Super 400 since they first started playing out,” says local promoter Greg Bell, who booked the show. “The lead singer, Sean Matthew Whiteford, from all reports is Robert Plant’s twin at least vocally. You can’t find a better rock and roll band than Super 400 in this area, so the match up seemed perfect.”

The ornate and intimate Cohoes Music Hall, a historic gem, is always a stellar spot to see a show. “I have been trying to get more local acts to play Cohoes Music Hall whenever possible,” adds Bell. “Bars and clubs are great, but this gives bands a chance to play in a theater setting. It is a wonderful room, with both seating for older rock and rollers who prefer to sit, and also options for the people who still like to dance at shows. It’s the best of both worlds.”

First BAMF Music Festival in Troy a Success

Last weekend’s Bacchanalia Arts & Music Festival in Troy appeared to go off without a hitch for such an ambitious undertaking. The inaugural festival, modeled after South by Southwest in Austin, filled downtown Troy with music, with bands playing throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at multiple venues. No one could take it all in, but among a few highlights that I saw: an incendiary set by the legendary turntablist Cut Chemist and old-school hip hop vocalist Chali 2na on the outdoor stage on Fulton Street; a great dance-funk set by Albany nine-piece groove band Victory Soul Orchestra; a rollicking roots rock set from the Nude Party, the Catskills-by-way-of-Appalachia band who were fresh off a lengthy tour; and a super enjoyable set by local indie-rock outfit Great Mutations, who are in the midst of working on a new album.

Here’s hoping that organizers continue this fantastic event next year.

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Heads Up: An Upcoming Health Clinic for Musicians

When Saratoga Springs blues outfit Mark & Jill travelled to Memphis earlier this year for the International Blues Challenge, the duo’s Jill Burnham — a registered nurse by day — volunteered to assist with a pop-up health clinic for musicians. She noticed that touring musicians had driven several hours just to have basic health screenings done.

“I thought to myself, we have a lot of musicians in the Capital Region, and I would love to help provide routine health screenings and wellness education to my community and colleagues in the music community,” Burnham says.

Burnham makes that goal a reality on Sunday, Oct. 23, when Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs hosts a free health and wellness clinic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for uninsured and underinsured musicians, with support from Saratoga Hospital Community Health Center, Hudson Health Network and others.

This is a walk-in clinic; however, pre-registration is recommended at Custom-fitted ear plugs for onstage hearing protection will be available, and they are free for the first 40 musicians who register.

The Week Ahead

Syracuse native and bluegrass legend Tony Trischka visits the Cock ‘n Bull (5342 Parkis Mills Rd., Galway) this evening in a must-see show for bluegrass fans. Trischka will be backed by Robot Plane, a string band featuring National Mandolin Champion Jacob Jolliff of Yonder Mountain String Band, Scottish fiddle player Hannah Read and bassist Jared Engel. 7:30 p.m.

Vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross — a Blue Note Records artist, protégé of critically acclaimed vibraphonist Stefon Harris and rising star in the jazz world — brings his quintet Good Vibes to SUNY Schenectady’s Carl B. Taylor Auditorium (78 Washington Ave., Schenectady) on Friday, Oct. 7 in a can’t-miss event for jazz afficionados. 7:30 p.m.

Five-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette is one of the few vocalists who was recording during the birth of soul music in the ‘60s and is still creating vital recordings today. What a treat to see the R&B singer, whose sharp, distinctive style balances passion, ferocity and confidence, in the intimate setting of Caffè Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Saturday at 8 p.m.

The perceptive spoken-word lyrics of poet Karen Schoemer form the backbone of Sky Furrows songs. The band, with members from around the Capital Region, draws from ‘80s post-punk and ‘90s indie rock influences. Catch them at No Fun (275 River St., Troy) on Saturday with Virginia art-rock band Sensor Ghost and Philadelphia noise band Blues Ambush. 7 p.m.

Alabama-born country singer Jamey Johnson, a recent invitee to join the Grand Ole Opry, has co-written music for country legends like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and George Strait. On Sunday, he appears on the Frog Alley Brewing stage (108 State St., Schenectady) to play songs like “In Color” and “High Cost of Living.” 6 p.m.

Few folk singers compare to the incomparable Billy Bragg, Britain’s foremost political singer-songwriter, who is equally skilled at love songs and protest tunes. Don’t miss him during his stop at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 2nd St., Troy) on Tuesday.

Bragg is touring behind a new album, “The Million Things that Never Happened.” With Alice Phoebe Lou. 7:30 p.m.

Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Saratoga Springs

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