Jukebox: SummerNight, Music Haven serve up free treats – New York News

SummerNight Friday on Schenectady’s State Street serves drinks, food and family activities from dinner (5 p.m.) through fireworks (9:45 p.m.) Here’s the music, the loud fun.


Main stage action features 1980s-to-now blues-rockers Blues Traveler (8:30 p.m.) after openers the Stockade Kids, and Lucy — winners of recent county Battles of the Bands.

Blues Traveler has rocked audiences here since soon after forming in 1987. Rumor has it they were discovered while playing the Saratoga Springs City Center. That led to a record deal and upgrades from a beat-up van, bar gigs and sleeping on fans’ floors to filling America’s biggest venues.

Leveraging their success, Blues Traveler founded the 1990s H.O.R.D.E. Festival that introduced the Dave Matthews Band and other then-emerging acts to SPAC, becoming leading lights on the national jam scene along with the Spin Doctors, roommates of some Blues Traveler guys in their early NYC days.

Blues Traveler orbits around the ferocious, high-blues-pressure harmonica of John Popper, also the band’s lead singer. Bandmates are Chan Kinchla, guitar; Brendan Hill, drums; Tad Kinchla, bass; and Ben Wilson, keyboards. Wilson and Tad Kinchla joined after bassist Bobby Sheehan died in 1999. In addition to 12 albums — “Blow Up the Moon” hit in 2015 — Blues Traveler lets fans record their live shows, a jam-band tradition.

Also in Schenectady, also free, brilliant Afro-pop stars Amadou & Mariam play Sunday at Music Haven in Central Park. Guitarist-singer Amadou Bagayoko and singer Mariam Doumbia may be the best husband-and-wife musical team since Womack & Womack….

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