While theatrics can be very entertaining, some of my favorite shows I’ve seen have been by Pearl Jam and the Tragically Hip, who have a minimal stage setup, but have great musical chemistry and a huge repertoire of music to choose from that make each show different.
I recently attended the Camp Bisco music festival outside Albany, while the big acts I cwas excited to see were fun, I was blown away by English electronic producer Squarepusher.
Like many DJs who give live performances, the first half of his set was just him playing with knobs behind a sound booth. Though he does have a unique and experimental sound compared to the onslaught of dubstep, drum and bass and house acts you find at most festivals, the second part of his set was really unique. He left his booth and picked up an electric bass guitar. He then manipulated a drum machine with foot pedals while playing his bass. It was captivating, especially for a one-man-show, and to quote my brother: “I felt like I was watching a master at work.”
While many critics of electronic music concerts point to the lack of a performance with instruments (and they have a point), Squarepusher showed how the two could intersect on the same stage.
While I have been mostly talking about big, expensive concert tours, I think more low-key live music at local bars, restaurants and parks is also something everyone should enjoy.
While free shows featuring local acts may not be the thrill of a big expensive concert, they can be just as enjoyable. I always like when a local band gets a crowd moving by playing recognizable covers. It’s an easy way to get attention, but hey it works.
In Skaneateles, the community band gives a free performance every week during the summer, Symphoria comes to town this week and local restaurants like Creekside Books and Coffee or the Sherwood Inn regularly have live entertainment worth checking out. Also, check out the State Fair’s lineup of concerts, some free and some not, they always bring in a lot of acts.
Live music is one of the many pleasures of summer, so go see some soon, fall always comes quicker than you expect.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.