For me, Albany’s Move Festival started days before the event. Eighty-eight bands were scheduled to play across across ten different venues and I had to plan who I wanted to see. If you were like me you knew almost nothing about the acts participating in Move prior to the festival. The majority of the bands were small indie acts from around the northeast (with the notable exception of the headliners, England’s Wombats). After spending several hours checking out all of the bands, I completed my itinerary, and sat tight for the show.
We left the show early to make the long trek up to Justin’s to see Hug The Dog. Somewhere around mid way through the twenty minute walk to the venue, we began to regret our decision. Having the one bar so far away seems silly when the others were all grouped so close. Hug The Dog was already playing in a lounge area inside Justin’s. The crowd was even more sparse than at the last venue, but grew slowly. The band seemed happy to have anyone make the trek (when they started their set there was no one there). They played bluesy rock and roll, and to quote a fellow audience member who was certainly getting into the Move spirit, with a “good vibe.” We left Justin’s and headed down to Legend’s (after a quick stop at a vintage video game shop).
Legend’s was by far the worst venue we encountered at Move. The setup was awkward and distracting, there was no stage, and the kitchen was open behind the bands. TVs showed soccer games to the sides of the bands and the bathroom was located behind the "stage" so people had to walk past the band in order to use it. Nonetheless, we settled in for an intimate acoustic set with Titanics. Unfortunately, the other audience members seemed quite uninterested in the music. Surprisingly enough, one of the most obnoxious tables featured a member of the previous band, The Getdown, who rudely talked through most of Titanics' set. Other tables were equally annoying and rude.
After the Titanics' set we headed to the R Bar where My Favorite Fence were still playing. Their set went quite over time (I’m guessing because setting up made them start late). We watched the end of the performance while trying to avoid the gross floor that felt like it would peel the tread off my shoes every time I lifted them. We intended to watch Gracies Paris perform, but a prolonged set-up, in conjunction with our rumbling bellies led us to head back to the hotel. Thereafter, we headed back to The Bayou Cafe. At the cafe, we were greeted with the unexpected surprise of lunching next to Wild Adriatic, one of the bands we were most looking forward to seeing that night. We didn’t want to interrupt them as they tried to eat, so we quietly fangirled (yes, I know I’m a man but I was fangirling) as we ate.
After lunch, we headed to Red Square to see Skeletons in the Piano. By this point, it had become quite cold (and rainy to boot) and I regretted my choice of summery attire. The violin-infused hard rock sound of Skeletons easily made for one of the best sets of the night, and the first to draw a larger crowd (this may have been due to lead singer Elijah Hargrave yelling at the bar squatters to join the show).
Next up was Aviation Orange at Jillian's. Jillian's had one of the nicest setups of all the bars - spacious and well laid-out. It came as no surprise that the venue was chosen to host the headliners of the festival. At any rate, we left AO's performance early to make sure we were able to get a good spot for the Wild Adriatic show at McGeary's.
Rather than try to cram the band into the tiny space at McGeary's, the venue actually opted to set up big outdoor tent in front of the bar. It was quite chilly and I was freezing. Luckily, I already knew I liked Wild Adriatic so I bought a cardigan from there merch table (along with some other things like an early copy of their new EP which we'll be reviewing sometime later this week). The combination of blues, funk, and soulful rock & roll, with synchronized dancing, the goofy antics of drummer Mateo Vosganian, and Travis Grays amazing voice made this my favorite show of the night (or maybe it was the shout out I got from Gray for wearing the cardigan). I also had the chance to chat with a member of Cosmonauts, a band that had played Red Square earlier. I later remembered why I think I passed on them - they required a "like" to listen to music on their Facebook - if you're in a band and you do this, stop it.
After Wild Adriatic it was back to Jillian's for headliners The Wombats. This was the first truely packed venue of the whole festival. I suspect many people paid for their $13 wristband just to see The Wombats - their loss. We waited over half an hour for The Wombats to set up, but when the band did finally take the stage, the crowd went wild. The club's floor swayed as they jumped; knowing there was nothing underneath but a game room made my companions and I a wee bit uneasy. We left after a few songs to make it back to Red Square to catch a band I was much more interested in: Black Taxi. Despite an overlapping time slot with The Wombats, the band drew a significant crowd. The boys put on an extremely high energy show playing everything from guitars and trumpets to a melange of homemade instruments. After Black Taxi, the last act of the night, namely Paranoid Social Club took the stage. By this time we had been at it for twelve hours, with barely a chance to rest. Needless to say, we were exhausted. Nonetheless, we stayed for a few songs before heading out, leaving our friend John to (unsuccessfully) hit on girls at the bar while the rest of us returned to the hotel to pass out. All, in all we collectively found the first Move fest to be a rather successful endeavor.