When I was growing up in Saratoga Springs, I had a lot of favorite things—many of which were food- and music-related. (Hattie’s and PJ’s chicken, and bands such as Throwdown Bouquet and The Figgs, to name a few.) When I moved away to New York City, I never forgot about that list, and upon moving back to the area three years ago, I decided that I needed to start adding to it again.
One of those list additions has been patronizing Caffè Lena more often, checking out great, young acts there, such as Darlingside, as well as cool legacy ones, such as The Samples’ Sean Kelly (twice!). Since I was no longer take the subway to work, part of my daily commute became listening to NPR News on the way to Saratoga and WEXT on the way home to Troy, the latter being hosted nightly by my favorite local DJ, Chris Wienk, who’s signature phrase is to call his listeners “my friend.” And it was through those daily evening listenings, with Wienk in my ears and my eyes on the road, that I came to discover all of the amazing local artists that have set up shop in the 518.
But after the COVID-19 pandemic ground my morning commute to a halt, I soon realized I was missing out on all of my new, favorite Saratoga things. So, I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and bring them all together in one place, not only for my own benefit, but also for everyone else’s. We needed to create some normalcy, however difficult it might be to do so right now.
So, this Friday, May 8, Saratoga Living has teamed up with Caffè Lena and WEXT to throw a private, ticketed, virtual performance—a first in this format, as far as I can tell, for the Capital Region. Caffè Lena, which was recently deemed “essential” by New York State, will be welcoming Girl Blue to its historic stage—I’ve been a fan of since I saw her open up for Justin Townes Earle there—along with Jimi Woodul of Dark Honey opening for her, as well as backing her up (buy their music here). This will all be streamed live into a private Facebook group hosted by Saratoga Living.
Girl Blue, a.k.a. Arielle O’Keefe, has been playing live throughout the Capital Region for years—including a number of recent live-streamed performances—and she’s got her brand-new EP, For You, My Love, dropping on May 9 (pre-save the EP here; or purchase her music via Bandcamp or her monthly song club).
Also, WEXT DJ extraordinaire Wienk will be interviewing the artists, virtually; and Bailey’s in Saratoga will be offering up delicious food options and a boozy, Lena-inspired cocktail for viewers to feast on at home, while they watch the high-quality stream.
Lately, my Friday nights have been filled with a lot of reading, Netflix binge-watching and boredom. Now, I’ll be attending my first “live” show of the spring—without even having to get off of my couch.