By Max Hammel, ’19
Putnam Place is used to be a great little spot back when it was still Putnam Den, but then they got all corporate and apparently college radio nerds don’t really like corporate-appearing establishments. Don’t try your fake ID to avoid the upcharge they make people under-21 pay. There’s a bouncer there that looks like Cee Lo Green and his job is to literally get paid for finding people’s fake IDs, and make them cry while he does it. Generally, though, you just get it back and he makes you pay the upcharge. Usually, the music here is pretty decent. It’s either a Grateful Dead cover band or some typical indie rock group. There’s a student band every year that seems to make Putnam the place to go (not naming names) and that seems, well, again with the corporate vibes.
Mostly SPAC holds country and old washed up geezer rock concerts. Every once and a while there will be a rapper that doesn’t suck come through and you’ll go because all of your friends are going, even though you haven’t listed to them since high school. Usually Dave Matthews and Phish will play here every year, concerts that many a freshman have lost their mushroom-virginity to, and they’re usually pretty enjoyable up until that point when your feet meld into the Earth and you become one with Gaia and spiritually awakened, at which point your experience has transcended the music. But other than that, SPAC is a great place to crack open a cold one (or twenty) with the boys on summer night.
Formally it’s known as Desperate Annie’s, but informally it’s known as DA’s, and it’s always known as DA’s because it’s not formal at all (if the beer-soaked floors didn’t give it away). If you haven’t been here yet, it’s probably because you aren’t 21, unless you’re one of those hockey kids who turned 25 their freshman year because they went off to play juniors in the middle of Minnesota somewhere. But who am I kidding, that’s probably not the crowd DA’s is going to attract anyway. The most regular music happening here is from the Super Dark Collective (check them out Thursdays 12-2pm). Each Monday brings a new variety of psychedelic, punk, metal or generally ‘edgy’ music. Sometime you’ll be really into one band whose frontwoman strips naked and belches purple paint all over herself and sometimes you’ll be turned off by the metal band who claims to play industrial speed nu-metalcore or some other ultra-specific genre of metal that metal bands seem wont to do. But you can’t please everyone. If you do want to hear metal you’ll like, though, tune into Full Metal Racket (Saturdays 12-3am) hosted by George, who also bartends at DA’s.
Gaffney’s is really only fun when they have the outside patio open, because when you are forced inside it seems it’s a Buffalo Wild Wings by day converted into a bar full of sweaty Skidmore students and vieux riche Saratogians by night. And they will force you inside, because at 1am they apparently have to abide by some ‘noise ordinance’ or else they’ll get ‘shut down,’ but who really knows. The music here is generally either a DJ or some mediocre cover band (and they’re
not all mediocre, trust me, because WSPN hosts a cover band show every year). It’s a great place to dance to music you listened to in middle school with friends you didn’t even know then and somehow you still enjoy it because you are probably pretty drunk (at least I hope you weren’t drunk in middle school, but who knows, kids are savages these days). But hey, at least Pizza 7 is just across the street.
Caffe Lena is the place for folk music. Their claim to fame is that Bob Dylan played there once, but he was still drinking then so he probably doesn’t even remember playing there. They also have open mics fairly frequently that are great if you want to try you new material out and don’t want the audience to be entirely Skidmore students (no offense, Lively Lucy’s). The audience here is fairly old so you won’t be trying to get turnt here. Keep that in mind when you buy $20 tickets to see a band that you vaguely know, but like, come through there. Oh, and if you become at all involved in live music at Skidmore they will very likely try to get you to do an ‘internship’ there so you can get ‘experience,’ but basically are just looking for free labor. Don’t do it.
The Parting Glass
This is an Irish pub. Ah, yes, every town needs one (apparently). As is customary (who knows, it could just be stereotypical around these parts) for Irish pubs, you can count fiddle music and drinking songs to make up the first and last parts, respectively, of your time here. Very infrequently do Skidmore students go here, but it’s usually that one guy you know that has red hair and whose last name is O’Shaughnessy, even though he’s only 1/16th Irish (and he doesn’t let you forget it).