Instead of spending Cinco de Mayo sipping on Corona, I decided to drive four hours to Sharkey’s Bar & Grill in Liverpool, New York. The reason for my north-bound journey was that less than 24 hours before, I had found out from my mom that my favorite band, Timeflies, was holding a free concert at said location. I love this dynamic duo of vocalist Cal Shapiro and producer Rob Resnick (Rez), and if you know anything about me, you know that there was no way I was going to let studying for my impending final exams stand in my way.
After scouring the internet, I managed to find bits of information about the show. The concert was barely promoted, and I just happened to get lucky that my mother heard about it on the radio. Since I couldn’t convince anybody to go with me on such short notice, I made the four-hour drive solo.
Yes, I did get lost on the way.
The crowd at the show was very diverse, ranging from middle school girls to middle-aged adults, and being that it was also happy hour on Cinco de Mayo, it was decently sized for a small bar venue.
“I can count the gigs we’ve done like this probably on two hands, so not a ton, but they’re always some of our favorites,” Shapiro said. “The bar atmosphere always dictates kind of what the show’s going to be and this atmosphere is perfect for that.”
Before Timeflies took the stage, which was actually just the corner of the room with their equipment, local Syracuse University student and aspiring singer-songwriter Bri Tolani opened with some acoustic covers of songs including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber and “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” by Mike Posner. Tolani wasn’t bad, and her music definitely set the tone for Timeflies and their entirely acoustic performance.
Timeflies finally entered the room, and I had positioned myself close enough to touch Shapiro as he took his place behind the mic. The first number they performed was their 2014 hit “All The Way” which transitioned smoothly into “I Choose U,” one of their most widely known numbers.
Next, they performed an acoustic cover of “Wagon Wheel,” a popular country tune by Darius Rucker. Finally, it was time for Shapiro to freestyle. He performed Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” with a list of topics from the audience including a birthday shout out, chicken nuggets, pizza, bubbles, Cinco de Mayo, Corona and much more.
“We’ve been in this element a thousand times as people who are just at the bar,” Shapiro said. “What do we want when we go to the bar? We want to show people who Timeflies is, but we also want to show people that we also want to sing along to ‘Wagon Wheel.’”
You may recall from my review of “Just For Fun” last fall that my favorite song off their latest album is “Time Machine.” Luckily for me, the duo gave their first ever acoustic performance of this very tune before throwing it back to another 2014 jam, “Monsters.”
They wrapped the show up with their summer hit “Once In A While.” In addition to Shapiro’s vocals and Rez slaying it on the acoustic guitar, the audience was asked to participate using kazoos branded with the duo’s logo.
“Right now is mostly about getting to see ‘Once in a While’ react so positively, but I think we’re also, as I’m sure any artist is, really excited to drop new music,” Rez said. “We have a bunch of stuff we’ve been working on that I think [is] some of the best music we’ve ever made, and we’re so stoked just to get it out there and be able to perform it live and see it react.”
After the concert, I managed to slip into the meet-and-greet for a picture. As it turned out, 2014 SUNY New Paltz alumnus Austin Colins just happened to be their videographer and managed to hook me up with the interview for this very review, so huge thank you to him for such a great opportunity.
“It’s a small world everywhere you go,” Colins said.
Colins discovered his love for shooting music events during his junior year at New Paltz after he was able to film Avicii for an internship he was doing at the time. He soon decided that filming music events was his passion. Before doing photo and video work for Timeflies, Colins searched the city for any job, paid or unpaid, that he could find. Amateurs who want to land work in live music videography have to be relentless in order to gain experience in such a competitive industry, he said.
“There were things at New Paltz that I wouldn’t have been able to do at any other school because they really taught me about everything I needed to know about [the technology],” Colins said. “Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
I am thrilled that I made the impulsive four hour drive to meet this duo and their incredibly talented videographer. As Shapiro sang, I was reminded that every once in a while it’s important to let yourself dance and feel good, even during finals week.