On Friday, November 16th, there was too much going on in Syracuse. Yes, there was too much. For a connoisseur of Central New York culture, the end of the week was a blowout of exciting events that had to be carefully planned. At times like these, the desire to be cloned is much anticipated simply due to the fact I wanted to enjoy multiple events at once.
It’s Friday, so everyone is destined to enjoy a happy hour at their favorite watering hole in or around Downtown. At Al’s Wine and Whiskey Lounge, taking place was heading a tasting that captured everyone’s interests and tastes. Al’s has been a favorite of mine for years, and I have never heard any negative about it. With a variety of draughts available to meet any beer-drinker’s preference, the waist to ceiling selection of wine and liquor will make your jaw drop to the ground. The bar staff aims to please, making any drink imaginable; and if they haven’t heard of it, they are willing to find out how to. Throughout my travels in Italy, I had one beverage called Pirlo; when I got back to the states after a nine-day stint, Al’s gratefully made it for me.
Al’s music selection is probably the most eclectic one can get. At times, you will hear fusions of sounds, or some nights you will hear your standard rock. Live music ranges from blues or jazz to alternative, country rock and hip-hop. With a crowded bar—not overwhelmingly congested—any happy hour or concert can be thoroughly enjoyed.
Now, as for the whole wanting to clone myself…
Zac Brown Band was indefinitely the highlight concert of the night. Unfortunately, I was not attending, but that has nothing to do with my affiliation for country music. The genre isn’t my favorite, but I still listen to it. In fact, I highly enjoy Zac Brown Band; I really wish I had the opportunity to go see the concert. However, I can almost guarantee that this country rock band will be back.
At the Westcott Theater, which is one of my favorite venues in Central New York, was housing Ryan Montbleau and his band. I saw Montbleau in a solo show when I was at school in Oneonta. It’s been long overdue to see him and his band perform. His fusion of rock, folk, and blues can easily win the attention to any listener.
However, at the majestic Landmark Theatre, The Tragically Hip took the stage in full force. This Canadian band, whose notoriety has spanned since the 1980’s, was anticipated to put on a great show.
The Landmark, since the late 1920’s, has been a quintessential venue for plays, musicals, concerts, and milestone events to celebrate weddings and proms amongst many others. Let’s not forget to highlight the success of the recent showing of Jersey Boys and the anticipated upcoming Wicked, which the show’s appearance has been talked about for months. The décor of The Landmark Theatre is breathtakingly golden, which is fit for royalty. However, it goes without saying that the Landmark caters to its patrons as if they are of that status: perfect. As you can see, The Tragically Hip show attracted a slew of attendees, making, which added to the aura for this concert.
The band, as original as the lineup is, showed their musical prowess with putting on a tight show. Gordon Downie, lead singer, displayed his distinctive characterization as front man for the group, and his distinguishing voice resonated throughout the theater. His roaming around the stage added to the performance, complimenting one of the necessary duties of a band: an energetic lead singer. His flailing arms, his dancing, and often strumming of the guitar disrupted the redundancies which can often plague a lead singer. The audience was absolutely enthralled.
The crowd was never forced to participate; the clichéd gimmick of holding the mic to the audience was never done, because most of us were singing along with The Hip to begin with. No coaxing necessary. As Downie and The Hip roared through “New Orleans is Sinking,” “Gus: The Polar Bear from Central Park,” “Gift Shop,” “Ahead by a Century,” and “Poets” amongst many others, including a six-song encore, the crowd never stopped moving, bodies and limbs seemed to be continually suspended in the excitement. The Hip ended the show with (but not limited to) “Bobcaygeon” and “Blow at High Dough” (one of my favorites).
Now, personally, I get to look forward to Umphree’s McGee on January 17th! I cannot wait, but who could?!