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The Treehouse: A Haven for Albany Punks

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By Eli Enis

November 23, 2015

Attendees precariously slithered through a narrow, pitch black alleyway, sandwiched between two worn-down houses that epitomize the Pine Hills neighborhood in downtown Albany. The crunch and crackle of feet stepping on mysterious pieces of aluminum and other indefinable objects could be heard from the backyard which is where the alleyway opened up to.

Clusters of punks, indie heads, and various other 20-something hipsters were spread throughout the yard and a swirl of friendly conversation, tuning guitars, and incomprehensible background music were emanating from the open back door of the house, beckoning newcomers into the basement.

The house is a DIY basement venue called The Treehouse. It’s owned by a handful of Albany punks, some of whom graduated from the University at Albany. Underground punk and indie bands from all over the country come to play there, and it’s beautiful.

The show on Monday, Nov. 16 consisted of two Albany bands, Slowshine and Prince Daddy & the Hyena, Utica’s Comfy, and Connecticut’s Posture & the Grizzly. The basement was packed tight, beers were in hand, and each band put on an impressive set.

Slowshine started off the night with a mixed selection of both upbeat and laid back shoegaze tunes. With only one guitar, a bass, a drummer and a slew of effect pedals they were able to create a wall of delay-ridden rock music that evoked their genre’s signature feeling of distance. However, the interesting time signatures and off-kilter rhythms showed their intent on expanding beyond the traditional shoegaze formula.  The only thing their performance lacked was consistency as the bassist and guitarist switched vocal duties mid-set, leading to a change in the overall vibe of their performance.

The fuzzy, power-pop trio Comfy followed with the tightest set of the evening. Weaving in between soft, lo-fi verses and breakout, foot-tapping choruses, the band was clearly well-rehearsed and the guitar solos, electronic samplings and seamless transitions between songs sounded as they would on recording. Most of their songs were upbeat, making them inherently fit to be enjoyed in the live setting.

But it was Prince Daddy & the Hyena who really stole the show. Although their set was followed up by their labelmates Posture & the Grizzly (essentially the brainchild of frontman and guitarist “J Nasty” and accompanied live by a rotating cast of members, who were in this case four-fifths of P. Daddy), P. Daddy themselves were at home and the majority of the crowd was there for them.

The performance acted as a record release show for their new EP called “Adult Summers” which was put out via the rising, underground label Broken World Media last month. The band played through all five songs on the EP, as well as a handful of other unreleased material that a surprising number of audience members knew the words to.

As their outrageous name would imply, P. Daddy were a freakin’ ball to see perform. Their fast, jammy, rough-around-the-edges pop-punk songs are littered with earworm, “woah-oh” singalong parts and simple, yet incredibly satisfying riffs that induce head-bobbing, excessive swaying, and massive smiles. P. Daddy were simply a good time, and their songs were designed to be played in an atmosphere like The Treehouse.

As the attendees exited “punkdom” by ascending the rickety staircase and the cold November air greeted them back into the bleak, darkness of reality, each one of them knew that they now had a place where they could escape to. They had a treehouse. 

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