A Weekend of Music
May 18th 2012 · 0 Comments
Saturday, May 12th was nothing if not a infusion of the area’s best musical talents. Two venues, the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY and the Electric Company on Varick Street in Utica hosted live music shows to usher in the warm weather.
Bands such as The Neon Marias, Strung Sideways, The Band Lawless, Scott Bravo, Jay Barady, Side Effect, Jay Schnitt, Ryan Miller, Joy Sweet, Catherine Caruso, Jake Ford Trio, and Autumn Fire represented some of the bands present between the two venues.
The Kirkland Art Center’s show, entitled “KAC Rocks On…” was more than just a music concert. Billed as a ‘very rockin’ silent art auction,” it was a way for the Center to auction of artwork, while celebrating musicians from the area. The event featured food from Nola’s restaurant in Clinton, beer and wine, and desserts by Just Peggy. To round out the festivities, a signed Picasso print was also auctioned off.
The event was another in a line of musical events the Center hosts, from local Jazz musicians Carmen Carmanica to Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) to Brooklyn’s Anne Egge, who played a show on Friday, May 11th.
However, for the Electric Company, the music, while fan pleasing and varied, came in on a somber note. Saturday, May 12th marked the last time that the bar would open its doors, after announcing in April that it would be closing.
The establishment, which was opened by trio of owners Anthony “Zee” Donaldson, Matt Mercer, and Laura Roberto, has been bringing vibrant, live music to the Utica area since 2002. Its announced closing in April has effected the community with the loss of a independent, local venue to the area.
Said Gabe Lockwood, of the bands The Archipelagos, Side Effect, and The Neon Marias, “[The Event] was a very appropriate send-off celebration to the home of independent music in Central New York for the past 10 years. Even though The Electric Company is gone, the music lives on.”
In addition to live music acts, The Electric Company has a long history of supporting the community. Back in November, the bar hosted a benefit for artist Tony Thompson, a local artist who was hospitalized at the SUNY Upstate Hospital for several brain hemorrhages and other complications. Additionally, they have hosted such benefits and shows for such local agencies as the Utica Community Food Bank, America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, Toys for Tots, Animals for Animal (for Stevens-Swan Humane Society), and more.
As a testament to The Electric Company’s popularity, after 10 years of operation, a full house came out for the bar’s last night in operation. It was standing-room only for the bar’s many bands, an all day “Customer Appreciation Party,” which, according to a post on their website (www.electricco.net), was in thanks for a decade-long support since their opening.
And while the closing day was successful in every sense of the word, there is a distinct impression that patrons walking down Varick Street this summer will be missing something as the walk past the building that housed The Electric Company – a haven that brought live music, laughs, and fun to the area for a decade.
However, it’s not all melancholy – the Kirkland Art Center is primed for a Spring and Summer season to bring live music and culture to the Mohawk Valley. With bands such as this weekend saw, it stands to be reasoned it will be a very successful season indeed.
By Mark Ziobro