Saturday night I will be checking out Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad at The Red Square in downtown Albany. I never considered myself a big reggae fan until I met these guys. It was at The Red Square in 2005. A band called Mountain Mojo Authority was playing and the percussionist (Buddy Honeycutt) and keyboard player (Aaron Lipp) were in both bands, both reggae bands from Rochester. Mountain Mojo broke up soon after, and Giant Panda’s lineup swelled to seven members. In 2007, Honeycutt left the band leaving two guitars, bass, drums, and two keyboard players.
The band recently downsized to just 4 players. Vocalist / Guitar Player Matt O’Brian and Keyboardist Rachel Orke (a couple) have moved on to pursue other interests. While this would appear to leave a gaping hole in the sound, I have complete faith that these guys have already filled the void and that this will open new possibilities. Giant Panda now consists of James Searl on bass and vocals, Chris O’Brian (Matt’s brother) on drums, Dylan Savage on guitar and vocals, and Aaron Lipp on keyboards.
Giant Panda has played several shows in the Adirondacks. They played the Songs at the lake Concert Series in Lake Placid in 2008, The Music by the River Concert Series in North Creek in 2008 and 2009, a few shows at the Waterhole in 2008 and 2009, and I think they played in 2006 and 2007 at ‘the other place’ in Saranac Lake. The first time I saw them live, I hired them for our annual raft guide party in North Creek in 2007.
The Red Square is on Broadway in Albany, 2 blocks closer to the river than the Knick (Times Union Center). Doors are at 8pm, but they don’t usually take the stage until after 10pm.
Thursday, November 19
Power Duo Sirsy is at Gaffney’s in Saratoga at 10pm. Looks interesting with a female drummer/vocalist and a guitar player.
Friday, November 20
The Rubblebucket Orchestra is at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 10pm. I first saw these guys open for Giant Panda in Rochester. They are a wild collection of percussion and horns.
Saturday, November 21
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad will be playing The Red Square in Albany at 10pm.
Official Band Site: http://www.giantpandadub.com
Band MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/giantpandadub
Live Music Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/GiantPandaGuerillaDubSquad
Plattsburgh area band Lucid will be playing the Putnam Den on Saturday night. Opening the show will be a band called Dirty Little Boogie Band. Lucid headlined this year’s Backwoods Pondfest in Peru, NY.
Capital Zen is at LaCasbah in Potsdam. It looks like they have great Mediterranean menu and live music every Friday night at 9pm.
Sunday, November 22
Two Kribs (John & Orion) will be playing the Stony Creek Inn at 5pm and their weekly Mexican Night starts at 4pm. Only a couple weeks left until these guys close down for the winter.
Wednesday, November 25
The Blonde Roots at barVino in North Creek from 8-10pm. No Cover.
Grateful Dead cover band Half Step will be playing a mid-week show at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 10pm. These guys have been playing shows since 1991, one memorable one being 12-31-99 at The Glens Falls Civic Center with The South Catherine Street Jug Band.
Photo: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad playing at The Music by the River Concert Series in North Creek, 08-15-09, photo by Nate Pelton