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By musicians, for musicians

April 16, 2010

by R.J. Tamburri

Hardcore punk fans pack the club on an early April Saturday night to see Death Threat, a Connecticut band who has made the short trip to Albany to play in front of 100 or so fans.

The club is dark, with a small stage and a long, narrow viewing area and dance floor that opens up to the bar.

The music is loud, aggressive. Intimidating to some. Heavily tattooed and heavily pierced, the crowd might be perceived as the same. But there isn’t even so much as a menacing glare.

The dancing is hard. Those unfamiliar might say violent. It’s not. There are no fistfights, no animosity (at least not toward one another). Only—as the band Time Flies once wrote—high fives and stage dives. This is hardcore music.

The venue: Bogie’s.

Leave the popped collar, blowout haircut, and big ego at the door. This isn’t the Bogie’s you remember freshman year. Unless you were a freshman in 1995.

Bogie’s has recently partnered with Upstate Black N Blue productions to bring live rock music back to the 297 Ontario St. club.

Anthony Simeone, general manager of Bogie’s, and his partner Ralph Simeone purchased the club about five years ago. At that time, the club—then called “518″—catered to the nightlife crowd, mostly focusing on hip-hop and dance music, Anthony Simeone said.

“Those days are over,” said Simeone. Instead, the Simeone’s, Black N Blue productions, the musicians that perform, and the music fans that attend the concerts have transformed it back into the Bogie’s of the 90s.

“Bogie’s has been here for decades,” said Simeone. “About a year ago we teamed up with Mike (Valente) from Upstate Black N Blue Productions and turned this place around, just brought it back to what it used to be—a Rock and Roll venue.”

Valente, who has been booking live music shows in the area for more than 20 years, is the head of Upstate Black N Blue Productions. Neither Valente nor the promotional company—a division of the New York City-based Black N Blue productions—are employed by Bogie’s, but they handle all the booking at the club.

“We’re trying to keep it what it was back then, we just want to keep it like the old-school style,” said Valente. “It was one of the most memorable clubs of the 90s. For me anyways, this was one of the better places to see a show.”

Valente also plays guitar in the Troy-based hardcore band called Brick By Brick.

“This place is run by musicians, for musicians,” he said. “Everyone involved here is a musician.”

Valente’s previous band, Attica, played one of the last shows at Bogie’s before the club closed its doors to rock music in the late 90s.

The transformation, or reinvention, of Bogie’s, is not going unnoticed. Local musicians and music fans have expressed their approval at the return of the club.

“I think it’s awesome that the club is a live music venue again,” said Shane Williams, vocalist for Albany hardcore band Bulldog Courage. “I saw a lot of great shows there over the years, and missed it for a long time.”

Bulldog Courage was among the opening acts for Death Threat. The band has performed at Bogie’s four times since the club started hosting rock shows again, Williams said.

While the club focuses much of its energy on rock music, specifically punk rock and hardcore, different genres like hip-hop are not excluded. However, hard rock music remains the main focus at Bogie’s, just as it was in the 1990s.

“The only difference from the 90s and now is that I’m older,” said Robert Riley, a singer for Murderers Row, and previously Stigmata. Riley’s bands have both played at Bogie’s throughout the past decade, with Stigmata playing their farewell show at the venue in July of 2009.

Despite booking bands that often play an aggressive style of rock, Valente said there have been no problems with fights or altercations since reopening the club. He rarely puts bands of different genres on the same bill, which reduces the number of attendees who may come into conflict with one another. There is also a mutual respect among show-goers, Valente said.

“It’s all about fun now. I try to make sure all the shows I book at Bogies have a fun and entertaining vibe so kids walk away getting their money’s worth,” said Dan Brotherhood, a local promoter who works with Valente and Black N Blue productions, booking mostly hardcore and punk acts.

“Other venues seem more uptight and less willing to give kids the freedom to police themselves. We’ve had very few problems because we let the kids have a say,” he said.

The small club has a capacity of about 350 people, and is primarily used to book local acts and low to mid-level touring bands. And while the old-venue-turned-new has given bands a place to perform, those involved with the local music scene note that it’s more than the bar and PA system that make the shows there worthwhile.

“Because of this music scene I belong to I have made countless friends, and have too many funny stories and amazing experiences that have made me who I am. For me it’s a part of my life,” said Riley.

Williams added:

“It’s important to remember that it’s not really the venues that make the scene, it’s the people that come out to the shows. The scene will always find a place to do shows, whether it’s Bogie’s, Valentine’s, another club or some kid’s basement. As long as there are people to support, hardcore and punk rock will keep going, no matter where the shows are.”

For a complete listing of events at Bogie’s, visit the Upstate Black N Blue productions website:

Apr 16 2010 8 p.m.
Division Theory, Dread Woods, Of The Wild And Tame
Apr 17 2010 8 p.m.
Wasteform, Armor Column, Tentacles, In The Casket
Apr 21 2010 8 p.m.
Gravemaker, Donnybrook, MurderDeathKill, Burning Empires, Glory
Apr 23 2010 8 p.m.
FWORD Records presents….
Apr 24 2010 8 p.m.
The Business, Murderers Row, Chosen Ones, Dead Aces, Dangerfield @ Bogies
Apr 30 2010 8 p.m
Society High
May 1 2010 8 p.m.
A Sound Decision, The Closers, Ninepin, A Kick Of Crimson
May 7 2010 8 p.m.
JM Produstions presents TBA
May 8 2010 8 p.m.
Rock vs Autism with Letchworth, SNC, Sofakingz, SOSO Human, Downcast
May 13 2010 8 p.m.
Gunther Weesul, Barnburner, Black John Wayne
May 14 2010 8 p.m.
Black Tie Operation and more TBA
May 16 2010 6 p.m.
JM Productions presents TBA
May 21 2010 8 p.m.
Around The World And Back
May 22 2010 8 p.m.
JM Productions presents
May 23 2010 5 p.m.
SRU presents TBA
May 28 2010 8 p.m.
May 29 2010 8 p.m.
Lost Chapter, The Broken, Killerados, Bronze Title Foure
May 30 2010 10 p.m.
DJ KILLAH KEV presents
May 31 2010 7 p.m.
Jun 5 2010 7 p.m.
The Kidney Mosh – benefit fot the National Kidney Foundation
Jun 12 2010 7 p.m.
SKUMPFEST with Reinfecta, Deadlift, Die Pretty, Vesper, PNC, & more
Jun 18 2010 8 p.m.

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