Sponsor: Proud New York Union Scholarship 2016

My thanks to Paul Giannetti and the Proud New York Union Scholarship 2016 for sponsoring KAB this week. The Proud New York Union Scholarship 2016 is a scholarship for students who have grown up in union homes in New York.

From the Proud New York Union Scholarship website:

To reward the sacrifices of union members and their contributions to better labor conditions and society at large, we are offering a $3,000 Proud New York Union Scholarship to students who have grown up in union homes in New York.

The scholarship is available to New York high school seniors and undergraduate students from New York state with a parent who is a past or current union member. To be considered for the scholarship, students are asked to write an essay about how growing up in a New York union home has influenced their education and work ethic.

The deadline for the scholarship application is August 1, 2016. To see the eligibility, requirements, and more details, head to the scholarship’s website.


Quality events for this weekend

Friday May 27

Troy Night Out: Arts, music, food and drink, etc., all over Troy.

TNO Box Truck Extravaganza at Footsy Magoo’s: Box truck art exhibit.

Erik Savage at SMCo.: Opening for “Maybe Someday, Probably Not”, with music from Rechorderoys.

Rachel Baxter at Fort Orange General Store: Drawing installation and print sale.

True Freak Music at UAG: Featuring : Belltone Suicide, Grab Ass + Parashi, Saviour Self, and Inch.

Morgan O’Kane and Vic Thrill at The Half Moon: Banjo jams.

Over The Verrazano at Peck’s Arcade: Trumastr crushing it upstairs.

Weakened Friends, Allenni, Eastern Electric, Better Pills, The Refectory at World Citizen Party House: Big ole banger of a show.

Matt Durfee at Savoy Taproom: Grand opening of sorts.

Back2Back at River Street Pub: Featuring Amani O+, Party With Tina and MKUltra.

Body Shine 2 at Fuze: “House, disco, and loft classics”,

Friday Night Cookout at The Cheese Traveler: Chef Josh Coletto whipping up some goodies.

Saturday May 28

Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show at Proctors: Comedy show featuring Jared Freid.

Mad Laughs at Madison Theater: Comedy show. With headliner E.J. Edmonds.

Luna at MASS MoCA: Indie rock.

Deradoorian and Emily Ritz at Club Helsinki: Ex-Dirty Projectors bassist crushing it on her own.

Sunday May 29

Turntables + Bagels at SMCo.: Brunch and jams with DJ Tall Ass Matt.

Musclepalooza XXIII at Lebanon Valley: “All-American muscle car show and quarter-mile drags”.

All weekend

Art Omi: The sculpture fields are awesome.

Day trip to MASS MoCA: Pretty drive and a great museum.

The NYS Museum: Bunch of great exhibits and it’s right in your backyard.

Second-run movies at the Madison Theater: Only five bucks!

Movies at The Spectrum: First run, independent movies at a small centrally located theater.

Farmer’s Markets: Troy, Delmar, and Saratoga on Saturday, and Schenectady and Saratoga on Sunday.


Coffee in Albany

I’ve written about coffee for a while, but there has been a substantial change in the coffee options in the past few years, so it’s worth looking at as a whole. Especially since some of what I’ve written in the past is not true anymore.

I drink my coffee black and have been doing so since 2008, so keep that in mind when reading my recommendations. If you normally add cream or sugar to your coffee, you’re most likely used to drinking coffee that is roasted with the intention of hiding bad favors rather than being roasted with care to highlight the nuanced flavors of each specific coffee. Those who add sugar and/or milk tend to prefer dark roasts, as a light-to-medium roasted coffee won’t have the “strong coffee flavor” which is able to cut through the milk. This “strong coffee flavor” is generally just the flavor of an over roasted coffee bean, which is not representative of that specific coffee itself. Lighter to medium roasted single origin coffee’s goal is to bring out and highlight certain desirable characteristics of each specific lot of coffee, and is typically listed on the bags as crazy taste descriptors such as root beer, jasmine tea, prosecco, or guava. Try one sometime.


Here are the places I’d recommend getting coffee that have a spot to sit and read a book or chat with a friend.

Superior Merchandise Co., 4th St, Troy

Superior Merchandise bill themselves as a “design shop + coffee bar”. They recently added a bottle bar where you can buy rare Nordic beers to take home, and they also have two beers on tap, a bunch of bottles, cider, and canned wine (it’s surprisingly good). In addition to this, they have the strongest coffee program of any shop in the area. Everything from their cheapest batch brew to their $5 signature drinks is considered and well executed. Their coffee comes from select roasters that change every few months. They also host coffee classes about brewing at home with different coffee apparatuses such as the Kalita Wave or Aeropress. They even bring in extremely rare, pricey coffee from somewhere in Scandinavia once a month for the aptly titled Scandinavian Saturdays.

Stacks Espresso Bar, Lark St (Soon to also be on Broadway)

The focus at Stacks is coffee. They are a multi-roaster shop which is still quite rare in this area. That means they have many different coffees from many different companies. They have a small selection in their bakery case of goods from local bakers. Their espresso is among the best in the area, and they usually have more than one option ready to go for espresso. It’s typically their house blend espresso as well as single origin or espresso blend from a featured roaster. I’d recommend avoiding the house coffee, and opt for an Americano with either the house espresso or guest espresso, or a pour over if the shop isn’t too busy. As mentioned, they do pour overs on the Wave or Aeropress, iced pour overs, cold brew, macchiatos, etc., and even pumpkin spice lattes if that’s what you’re into.

Lucas Confectionery, 2nd St, Troy

The Lucas Confectionery is a wine bar in Troy. They have coffee from Portland, Maine’s Tandem Coffee Roasters that you can get as a french press, pour over, or espresso. I’d recommend avoiding the espresso and instead opting for a french press or pour over. You can also buy bags of whole bean coffee from them. They are currently in the process of opening Little Peck’s, an all day cafe, which right out of the gate should be an extremely strong contender for best shop in the area.

Tierra Coffee Roasters, Madison Ave

Tierra Farms is a big company based in Valatie that mostly makes granolas and roasts nuts, but also roasts their own coffee. On Madison Ave they have a store where you can buy all their bulk nuts, coffee, granola and more. Their store is right next to their cafe, which has a nice food menu, beer/wine, and coffee. They do Chemex, cold brew (via Toddy and Hario tower), standard drip coffee, and all the flavored lattes you can dream of. Tierra coffee is not as much of a specialty coffee house as they are a nice cafe that happens to roast their own coffee good enough, but most likely not up to “specialty” standards.

I can not in good faith recommend Uncommon Grounds, Hudson River Coffee House, Delaware Trolley House, Emack and Bolio’s, Bonobo, Stagecoach Coffee, Iron Gate, Mug Shots, or Daily Grind solely for their coffee.


If you’re a nerd like me and you make your fussy coffee at home, there’s plenty of spots to grab a bag of high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans and not have to pay for shipping.

Brew, Lark St

Brew is a craft beverage shop on Lark St that mainly sells craft beer. They also sell Tandem Coffee, Stumptown, Intelligentsia and more by the bag. They also have coffee brewing supplies such as Chemex, Aeropress and french presses. In the summer they have cold brew and iced yerba mate by the cup, and generally hot coffee by the cup all the time.

Stacks Espresso Bar, Lark St

They have a few shelves of coffee (and brewing supplies) from a revolving selection of roasters, as well as their house-roasted coffee, which I would avoid.

Superior Merchandise Co, 4th St, Troy

Always stocked with fresh bags from whatever roasters they currently have on bar. You can try a cup of each before buying your bag via pourover if that’s what you’re into.

Tierra Coffee, Madison Ave

They have a million different kinds of coffee for sale in their retail store. I would stick to the single origin options listed as light roast only. My last bag of their blonde blend has been closer to a Full City Roast (while listed as light), which shows a massive quality control issue, so proceed with extreme caution.

If you are looking to make your own fussy coffee at home, you can do so easily via pourover or using an SCAA certified machine with fresh coffee, a good burr grinder, and a way to make water hot.

Last updated: May 27, 2016

superior neon

Upcoming at SMCo.

SMCo. has a few events in the works, and they’re all in the next few days.

• Tomorrow, May 25: Peaer, Better Pills, Thomas Quinttus, Russel the Leaf: Lo-fi, alternative, indie, rock.

• Friday, May 27: TNO with Erik Savage: Maybe Someday, Probably Not reception. With live music 8-10pm from Rechorderoys, Carl Daniels, and Yellow Teeth.

• Sunday, May 29: Turntables + Bagels with DJ Tall Ass Matt: Boogie your hangover away.

Click the titles of the events above to find out more. Mark your calendar and bring a friend.


Rideshare Rally Wednesday at Takk House

On Wednesday at 5:30pm at Takk House in Troy, a group of local business owners and members of the community will be hosting a panel discussion in support of ridesharing legislation currently under consideration.

Josh Gold, New York policy advisor for Uber, and a representative from Lyft will be in attendance, in addition to elected leaders from across the region. The intent of the rally will be to drum up public awareness and support to urge state lawmakers to pass the legislation this session.

Such legislation, should it pass, would provide a direct benefit to Capital Region economic development and recreation initiatives.

Refreshments will be provided by Wolff’s Biergarten, Lucas Confectionery, and other local businesses. Attendance is open to the public.

Learn more, ask questions, RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.


Quality events for this weekend

Friday May 20

The Paul Green Rock Academy Presents Bowie! at BSP: Tribute show.

The Figgs with The Upper Crust at Helsinki Hudson: Local rock legends.

Hammer Hawk at The Low Beat: Album release show, with Victory Soul Orchestra, Veneer, and Slaughterhouse Chorus.

Saturday May 21

The Paul Green Rock Academy Presents Bowie! at BSP: Tribute show.

Scandinavian Saturday at SMCo.: Rare Scandinavian coffee, this month from Kaffa.

Bare Mattress, Slowshine, Erik Savage, Wishbone Zoe, Hill Haints at River St Pub: Dark wave, punk, post-pop, psych, etc.

Hot Jamz at The Half Moon: Dance party.

WWE Live at TU Center: Wrasslin’.

Sunday May 22

Rock n Roll Brunch XXIII at The Low Beat: Only three more of these left.

Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall: “Ira will return to the Hall to once again talk about how they put together This American Life”

Modern Vaudeville at BSP: Music, comedy, circus, drama, and more.

Bing Bamboo Room Burlesque at The Low Beat: Celebrating World Goth Day.

Joywave and Cheerleader at The Hollow: Indie pop.

All weekend

Art Omi: The sculpture fields are awesome.

Day trip to MASS MoCA: Pretty drive and a great museum.

The NYS Museum: Bunch of great exhibits and it’s right in your backyard.

Second-run movies at the Madison Theater: Only five bucks!

Movies at The Spectrum: First run, independent movies at a small centrally located theater.

Farmer’s Markets: Troy, Delmar, and Saratoga on Saturday, and Schenectady and Saratoga on Sunday.


2016 Alive at Five Lineup Announced

Mayor Sheehan announced the 2016 location and lineup for this year’s Alive at Five. The location has moved to Broadway at Tricentennial Park due to construction at the Corning Preserve.

The lineup is as follows:

June 9: Dr. John & The Nite Trippers with Jocamo

June 16: The Joy Formidable with Good Fiction

June 23: Tony! Toni! Tone! with Tameka Amar

June 30: The Chronicles (As Earth Wind And Fire) with Thump Gospel (As Michael Jackson)

July 14: Enter The Haggis with Hair Of The Dog

July 21: Bloc Party with Titanics

July 28: Locash with Skeeter Creek

August 4: Molly Hatchet with Tumbleweed Highway

For more info head to albanyevents.org