This past weekend, the second annual Restoration Festival popped off at St. Joe’s in Albany, N.Y.
Day One: Saturday – featuring Deer Tick, Titus Andronicus and a host of Albany area bands went off without a hitch. A huge turnout coupled with nice weather, great beer and fantastic music made for an unforgettable day.
Day Two: Sunday – roared in with Hurricane (well, by then Tropical Storm) Irene dumping high winds and heavy rain all over the Capital District. While my B3nson pals swiftly handled the back room flooding that occurred at St. Joe’s overnight, I tried to keep in touch with all twelve of the other Undone Ensemble members – almost all of which were already preparing to make their way to the Ten Broeck triangle!
Plans had to change for the festival, since Sunday’s two headlining acts – A Hawk and a Hacksaw and The Music Tapes were coming from out of town by plane and by van, respectively. Both bands bowed out early due to the weather, so after bailing out buckets of rainwater, the B3nson crew decided to make Sunday’s RestFest “pay what you want”, shove the schedule back two hours and open the doors wide for anyone who could make it to downtown Albany. A move which Harith over at The Rev Recs blog calls “SO ALBANY” – to cobble together something out of nothing and fight for what we believe is beautiful.
As the rain and wind abated, Paul Coleman (drummer in Undone Ensemble!), Mrs. Matthew and I packed up the banjo and the drums and headed down to Albany. We noted that the “Emergency Travel Only” warning signs were appropriate in this case – this was a musical emergency that required our presence!
The next hour was a flurry of text messages and phone calls to track down the rest of the ensemble members who were not present. Thankfully everyone arrived with plenty of time to prepare and to even enjoy some music in advance of our set. Swamp Baby turned in a widely dynamic set filled with new songs and old songs that were given new life with We are Jeneric‘s Eric Krans playing drums for the entire set!
By the time We are Jeneric hit the stage, I was a bundle of nerves. Thankfully they were in the middle of performing the best set of their career, enrapturing everyone in the building while no one noticed that I was pacing in the green room!
These were tactical nerves – will we set up the stage quick enough? Will Sooze’s crack stage team be annoyed by our “first show” newbieisms? Will I drop my banjo like I dropped my mandolin at TulipFest?
Luckily, only one of my fears came to life (I kind of forgot some of the words to the first song – “Brooklyn or Bust”) and the first and only Undone Ensemble show came off without a hitch!
Here are the songs we played:
Brooklyn or Bust
Infinitely Red (from Kentucky)
Modest Birds (from Kentucky)
Neighborhood (from A Book About the Rest)
O My Luck
Poughkeepsie (from Community Balloon)
Major thanks are in order here: to all ensemble members for their dedication and energy towards this project, to all the ensemble member’s wives, girlfriends, dogs, cats, babies, pets, and families for to SwordPaw for the availability and awesomeness of their SwordPaw HQ for our rehearsals this summer, to Frank Moscowitz for some crucial advice and cobbled together rehearsal sound fantastics, to Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis at Design it Together for some fantastic band apparel, and to everyone at RestFest/B3nson for giving us the opportunity to put this show on.
Over the next few weeks, I have a few more posts relating to the Ensemble that I want to share. Stay tuned.
This is the beginning.