THE UPSTATE BEAT – A desire to combat boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic brought together the three musicians in the local band T.V. Doctors, who bring their surgical precision to Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady on Saturday to celebrate the brewery’s sixth anniversary.
“The three of us had been trying to put together a band for a little while, prior to COVID, but when it hit, we found we had nothing but time,” says Amsterdam native Evan Conway (formerly of Holly & Evan), who plays bass, bass synth and keyboards in the experimental outfit.
Conway cleared out his two-car garage and started hosting weekly jams, where he and Josh Witmer (guitar, guitar synth, keys, samples) and drummer Bob Morris could play while socially distant from each another.
“We quickly realized we had something on the first night, and kept it going every week, getting better and better and adding more songs to the repertoire,” says Conway.
The name for the group came from the number of doctors who would appear on television during the early days of the pandemic.
“Every single news channel had a doctor that they’d talk to about COVID — what to do, what to think about it, what the numbers were around the world,” Conway says. “Doctors immediately had this hyper-sensationalized place on television that they never really had before. And we juxtaposed that with the idea of a schmoozing Merv Griffin type character, who’s loving the newfound fame and fortune.”
The members of T.V. Doctors now ham up the role by donning white lab coats onstage. And the group remains all-instrumental, an outgrowth of the early days jamming in the Conway garage.
“We had no aspirations other than getting out of the house and playing music with one another, so that’s why it grew the way it did,” Conway says.
“Plus, none of us really wanted to sing. When things started opening back up, we discussed the possibility of adding vocals, but we thought better of it. It’s more fun without them.”
The Great Flats anniversary party runs from 12 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Expect a number of special beer releases for the occasion, as well as flavorful food from Flaco’s Tacos Food Truck starting at 4 p.m.
Musically, expect the unexpected. “We are largely improvisational, so we thrive on not knowing how the songs will sound ahead of time. But it’ll be a great time. You’ll have fun, we’ll have fun, and we’ll all make a joyful noise,” Conway says.
Visit www.tvdoctorsmusic.com for more on T.V. Doctors, or check out the band during their upcoming gigs at No Fun in Troy on March 30 or the 518 Stage at Albany’s Tulip Festival on May 13.
The Week Ahead
— It’s Salsa Night on Friday when the Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre swings into Universal Preservation Hall (25 Washington St., Saratoga Springs) with exuberant Afro-Caribbean music. 8 p.m.
— Local surf instrumental group the Jagaloons pay homage to classic surf music of the 1960s while adding their own unique spin on Saturday at the SingleCut North Brewery Tap Room (6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park). 5 p.m.
— Irish post-punk band the Murder Capital brings the muscular drama of its second album, “Gigi’s Recovery,” to Empire Underground (93 N. Pearl St., Albany) on Sunday. 8 p.m.
— Award-winning Indigenous musician Mali Obomsawin celebrates the release of her album “Sweet Tooth” on Sunday at Caffè Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). 7 p.m.
Contact Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]
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