Guide to local live music venues in Albany, Troy and Saratoga

Like you, I am totally excited to get back to school and start the fall semester. Now that I’ve moved into my dorm, put up my rad “Reservoir Dogs” poster and overpaid for my books, it’s time, as all of us college kids say, to lighten up.

Res life is totally sick, but let’s stay off the quad tonight for a change. I want to call an Uber and go off campus to hear some live music. I’m fixing to check out some bands and have some ideas of where I should go.


When we’re hanging out with some buddies at Russell Sage or RPI and looking for somewhere to have fun, let’s scope out the vibe a half mile away at No Fun, 275 River St. in Troy. The beer selection is good and reasonably priced ($3 Narragansetts!) and there’s a show every night at 8pm. We can see local indie acts, the occasional hip-hop show and crazy experimental and garage-psych rock that can only be seen there or in a major city, like this band Blk Jks from South Africa who are coming there in October. A couple blocks from there, at 90 Congress St., is Rare Form Brewing, and Super Dark Collective runs a weekly alternative show with regional bands. The Oct. 8 lineup, scheduled for Sensor Ghost, Wet Tuna and Albany’s Sky Furrows, looks particularly promising. Or, we’re at 121 4th St. At El Dorado Bar we can drop some aggression at one of the Crisis Isolation Gig DIY punk or underground rock shows.

Saratoga Springs

If we’re going to meet your brother at Skidmore in Saratoga, Super Dark hosts free shows every Monday and Thursday across from Desperate Annie’s at 12 Caroline St. Being students and all, going out on a Monday might not be the most responsible thing to do. We can, but it’s a dope way to see punk, metal, jam rock, DJs, synth-pop, sometimes local rappers like Sim Geezus and pretty much anything you can think of. But we can also grab a coffee at 47 Phila St., home of Cafe Lena, and chill out to some folk, jazz, blues or bluegrass. I’m looking for a place to play my laid back, acoustic songs, so we should come back here sometime for an open mic night.


Oh, you want to stay in Albany tonight? Let’s see if those friends and acquaintances we met in St. Rose last spring want to go to Pauley’s Hotel at 337 Central Ave. My older sister’s boyfriend, a Siena grad, swears by Paulie’s every Thirsty Thursday, no matter what. But anyway, I hear it’s good and there’s usually a good rippin’ rock band or Grateful Dead tribute. Sometimes, there is stand-up comedy and that can be good. Linda is also on the sidelines. That place is a bit cooler and there are usually some interesting roots. There’s a Leslie Mendelson concert on November 18th that looks good.

We can always mix it up a bit and go downtown. 79 N. Pearl St. The Hollow in the gets some pretty good jam bands and indie rock. Midnight North is going to be there soon, and last I heard they played, Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead made a surprise appearance and played with them. Empire Live 93 N Pearl St. A couple blocks on. There’s a metal show at least once a week, plus a bunch of other big-name groups. St. Vincent on September 14th and Wolf Alice on October 1st. If we’re feeling emo we can see Jimmy Eat World on September 28. Taylor Swift Night is October 7th, so it will be all T Swift. Jam all night.

Lots of choices, and all of them are better than what the dining room is serving for lunch today. I don’t know what goulash is, I just know it doesn’t look right. But that’s beside the point, that we should check out a show tonight. It’s like they tell us during orientation; The possibilities are endless.

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