Memorial Weekend 2008 Tune-age, Funktion Key 3 And The Excelsior Cornet Band

A post 150 years in the making (plus a few weeks to get everything else done), with that same 150 year gap in styles and instrumentation bridged in just under 2 days.

May 24, 2008 – Memorial Day Music (and Head Spinning) Festival

Quite possibly a first for the usually sedate town of Manlius NY, guitarist William Nicholson hosted a day-long Memorial Day Music (and Head Spinning) Festival in his own living room and back yard. 30 to 40 in attendance, mostly performers, which was just about the right size to work out the bugs for a 2nd Annual event next year. A few notable notes…

Know Nothing – I'd seen this duo once already at the
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as the opener for The Future Has A Silver Lining, the first band I ever walked out on (in the words of THE Tony Williams, "there's a big difference between volume and intensity." This headliner's guitar player hadn't quite figured that out as of that gig. Which is bad for experimental jazz, because they tend to sit rather close to their pick-ups and on that smallest string, if you get my meaning). Nice experimental jazz/rock duo. Can't argue with a band with lead drums.

Mandate of Heaven – Greg Pier's outfit, also someone seen at the Metropolis Underground (opening for Geoff Farina and Chris Brokaw, dual acoustic guitars (and tambourine) that again proved there's good to be heard in Syracuse if your willing to look for it), but in acoustic mode, a much harder format for a show, but one he pulled off exceptionally well (and a cool after-show hang to boot).

Joshua Lee Loomis – Introduced by friend and occasional sax/drums duo mate Jesse Collins (the last time my drums had been set up outside was at Thornden Park in 2000ish near the amphitheater with two hours in the spirit of John/Elvin), Josh and I had had 4 rehearsals and 2 gigs in a band I don't even remember the name of anymore back when he and his band the Fiascos all rented a rundown two-family somewhere in the Westcott Nation. We'd rehearse 3 hours on Sunday, I'd wake up Tuesday with a massive sinus infection that'd last 'til Thursday from whatever was floating in the air at the rehearsal space, and we'd do it over. 3 more times. Now out of Boston.

Funktion Key 3 (F3) – which remains Sean Kelly on guitar/vocals and Mike Brandt on bass/Chapman Stick/keys/etc. (and myself on the top and bottom quarters of a new Pearl Masters Custom BRX) after a decade of rehearsals, covered our set and 15% faster than usual, bringing the entire festival back into schedule. That's science.

Festival line-up Joshua Lee Loomis (blast-from-past) and the festival grounds
F3 in action. Photos by William Nicholson. Click for a larger view. More available at

Excelsior Cornet Band In Glens Falls, NY

Monday saw a timely and exhausting return to the rank of Private as the parade-able bass drummer/cymbalist for the Excelsior Cornet Band in the Glens Falls NY Memorial Day Parade. After two years off, the uniform still fit the same, be that as it may. Below are two shots from Derek Pruitt of the Glens Falls Post Star, featuring the back halves of the back half of the band in one and myself and fellow former Nanoworks Inc. business associate Dickson Rothwell on the over-the-shoulder horn.

LEFT: Harrison Kim, 7, waves a flag while watching the 142nd annual Glens Falls-Queensbury Memorial Day Parade with his family in Glens Falls on Monday, May 26, 2008 (link).

RIGHT: Members of the Excelsior Cornet Band play while marching in the Glens Falls-Queensbury Memorial Day Parade in Glens Falls on Monday, May 26, 2008. Hundreds turned out for 142nd annual parade along Glen Street followed by Memorial Day ceremonies at the Peace and Victory monument at Crandall Park (link).

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