Perhaps due to it’s proximity to New York City, the festering hotbed of indie breaker-throughs that it is, Albany, NY rarely gets its proper recognition as a music scene of its own. That’s what’s so exciting about Restoration Festival, a two-day concert event kicking off August 28-29, entirely assembled by proponents of the local scene, like sponsors All Over Albany, Keep Albany Boring, and the Historic Albany Foundation. The lineup is also predominantly made up of artists off the local B3nson Records label, another principle mover in getting this thing off the ground. The festival was able to gain such momentum in part due to a good cause – 25% of the proceeds will go towards restoring St Joseph’s, the historic church that has been a landmark in Albany’s Arbor Hill district for over 150 years. To make things more interesting, St Joe’s is also the venue for the festival, giving Albany residents the chance to see some of their favorite local bands (plus a few impressive headliners) in a remarkable building that has, for the most part, been closed to the public for decades.
As you can see from the poster above, the festival includes performances from local acts including Railbird, Scientific Maps, Sgt Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, Matthew Carefully’s Undone Ensemble, and Barons in the Attic. There will also be headlining performances from indie darlings Deer Tick and Titus Andronicus, as well as critically-acclaimed weirdos The Music Tapes and A Hawk & A Hacksaw. This ecclectic bunch of headliners actually does a good job encapsulating the sound of many of the local groups. If there was a uniting element to Albany bands, it would be called something like world-dork-folk, a hodgepodge of multi-instrumentalist folk artists channeling a bevy of international influences over a strong foundation of Americana. Check out the highly affable, unfortunately-named We Are Jeneric, for example, who can come off as a scaled-down I’m From Barcelona or a more whimsical Beirut. From track to track, these guys bounce around from the Balkans to New Orleans, frequently centering their songs around sweet indie folk melodies, and occasionally tearing it up with a raucous brass section.
The headliners and experience at St Joseph’s should be enough to convince any indie music lover to shell out the ridiculously reasonably-priced $30 weekend ticket, but if you have not already done so, the real opportunity here is getting a chance to see all these great Albany acts under one roof. If you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to see what Albany’s indie scene is all about. You can purchase tickets here.