A quick history lesson before we begin.
The Hangar is Troy's best kept secret these days. A converted medical supplies building on River Street, the venue has begun booking concerts in addition to hosting monthly burlesque shows (no lie; they're trying to bring burlesque back a few years after the movie "Moulin Rouge" should've done that). The building also is so named because the roof resembles an airport hangar. Get it?
On Saturday night, hometown talent Maurizio had the premiere party for his solo debut CD, "Before The Crowd", which we'll get to soon enough. He accurately described the evening as a "family affair", and it was, in more ways than one. Co-producer James Gascoyne also played with both opening acts on the bill.
Eric Margan went on first at 8:30 (show was advertised for an 8:00 start, but almost nothing starts on time in these cases), and warmed up the small, appreciative, enthusiastic crowd with a smart, soft 20 minute set that had ye scribe wishing it could've gone longer. He's that good.
The Rodeo Barons went on stage at 9, and played about 45 minutes of driving alt.-folk-rock. Guitarist-vocalist Chris Carey would probably blush if someone said he was the love child of Conan O'Brien and the late Dave Madden (Reuben from The Partridge Family). Carey said he had CD's of his own for sale in his truck, and never brought them into the Hangar. Would've sold like hotcakes, trust me. Would like to see these guys again. It's been years since I've done the club scene (20, in fact) with any regularity, and that could change, thanks.
Carey, Gascoyne, and drummer Sam (I Am) Zucchini stayed on to play behind Maurizio, who played "Before The Crowd" in its entirety, in track order. With a voice that falls into the Bob Dylan/Tom Petty/John Mellencamp range with a healthy dose of retro-Motown soul (i.e. Marvin Gaye), Maurizio looked and sounded like he was having fun, even as he shared the story of the four year process in preparing the album. The show ended at 11:05 after 65 minutes of solid rock. While engineer Frank Moscowicz took a quick curtain call, if he had stood up any longer, he might've been mistaken for one of the guys from The Big Bang Theory (It's the hair, as Maurizio deduced, that makes Moscowicz a ringer for actor Johnny Galecki. No lie. If enough people notice, maybe he'll change his name to Leonard!).
Sadly, the local papers whiffed on promoting the show, even though The Record's long time music critic, Don Wilcock, also contributes to the Nippertown website. The Record, Times-Union, & Metroland all focused instead on the next show at the Hangar, guitarist Wayne Hancock, coming up on Wednesday. Nippertown may have, in fact, been the only place folks would've known about the show. Posters were readily visible in sections of downtown for weeks, but the audience consisted almost entirely of family & friends. All this critic can say is, more, please. What a night!