A guide to live music venues in Albany, Troy and Saratoga

Like you, I am totally excited to go back to school and start the fall semester. Now that I’ve been moved into my dorm, put up my “Reservoir Dogs” sign, and overpaid for my books, it’s time to turn on, as all college kids say.

Nothing life is totally sick, but let’s stay off the quad tonight for a change. I want to call an Uber and go off campus to listen to live music. I’m getting ready to see some bands and have some ideas on where to go.


While we’re hanging out with some buds at Russell Sage or RPI and looking to get spooked somewhere, we check out the atmosphere half a mile away at No Fun at 275 River St. in Troy The beer selection is good and reasonably priced ($3 Narragansetts!) and there’s a show at 8pm pretty much every night. We got to see local indie acts, the occasional hip-hop show and experimental rock and crazy psych garage that you can only see there or in a big city, like this band Blk Jks from South Africa who come to the October A couple of blocks down at 90 Congress St. is Rare Form Brewing, and Super Dark Collective hosts a weekly alternative show featuring regional bands. The Oct. 8 lineup with Sensor Ghost, Wet Tuna, and Albany’s Sky Furrows looks especially promising. Or we could even go to El Dorado Bar on 121 4th Street and let loose some aggression at one of the Crisis Isolation Gig underground punk or rock shows.

Saratoga Springs

If we’re in Saratoga visiting your cousin in Skidmore, Super Dark hosts free shows every Monday and Thursday at Desperate Annie’s over at 12 Caroline St. Being students and all, going out on a Monday might not be the most responsible thing to do. we can, but it’s a great way to see punk, metal, jam rock, DJs, synth-pop, sometimes a local rapper like Sime Gezus and pretty much anything you can think of. But we could also grab a coffee at 47 Phila St., home of Caffe Lena, and relax with some folk, jazz, blues or even bluegrass. I’ve been looking for a place to play my quiet acoustic songs, so we should come back here for an open mic night sometime.


Oh, you want to stay in Albany tonight? Let’s see if those boys and girls we met in Saint Rose last spring want to go to Pauly’s Hotel at 337 Central Ave. My older sister’s boyfriend, the Siena grad, swore by Pauly’s every Thursday in September, whatever that means. But anyway, I’ve heard it’s great, and there’s usually a pretty rocking rock band or a Grateful Dead tribute. Sometimes there is stand-up comedy and that could be good. The Linda is also right next door. This place is a bit quieter and usually has interesting things going on. Leslie Mendelson’s concert there on November 18 looks good.

We could always mix it up a bit and go downtown. The Hollow, at 79 N. Pearl St., has some pretty nice indie rock and jam bands. Midnight North will be there soon, and I heard that the last time they played, Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead made a surprise appearance and played with them. A couple of blocks away at 93 N Pearl St. it’s Empire Live. There is a metal show at least once a week, as well as a bunch of other big name bands. St. Vincent will arrive on September 14th and Wolf Alice on October 1st. If we’re feeling emo, we might catch Jimmy Eat World on September 28. Taylor Swift Night is on October 7th, so it’s going to be all T Swift jams all night.

Lots of options, and all better than what the dining room serves for lunch today. I don’t even know what a goulash is, I just know it doesn’t look good. But that’s beside the point, which is that we should see a show tonight. It’s like they tell us during orientation; the possibilities are endless.

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