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Joshua Thomas
Chris Loxley plays cello with Brooklyn band Ponyhof.

Joshua Thomas
Carrie Erving sings lead vocals and plays keyboards in the Brooklyn-based band Ponyhof.

Joshua Thomas
The crowd watches Ponyhof play at Unity Hall Saturday night.

Joshua Thomas
Headliner Xenia Rubinos plays Unity Hall on Saturday evening.


Diverse bands play Unity Hall benefit

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Updated: 2:08 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Saturday night, the Mohawk Valley Collective held the third show of its Summer Concert Series at Unity Hall, inviting a diverse selection of bands and performers from the northeast to fill its huge, second-floor sanctuary with music.

Playing first was local musicians Sarah Bogran and Joe Gyurik, performing together for the first time at Unity Hall after both having played there separately -- Bogran during the first concert of the season in May, and Gyurik during last month's well attended event. Connecticut band Tinniens performed second, playing a clattering and propulsive set.

Up third was Brooklyn-based band Ponyhof. Lead singer Carrie Erving is familiar with the local area, first having met Mohawk Valley Collective Member Tolga Morawski during a benefit show at Beardslee Castle held to raise money for local restoration-aimed projects.

Ponyhof, playing in a stripped down incarnation Saturday, featured Chris Loxley on stringed instruments and Erving on keyboard. The band performed songs from its debut album "Empires," alongside two haunting old folk songs, during which Erving's full voice echoed through the massive, peaked room, the ethereal performance floating out the cracked windows into the street outside.

Performing last was Xenia Rubinos, who kicked off her short, but dramatic, set with an aggressive, invocation-style rocker. Rubinos, playing a keyboard and accompanied by drums, moved through her fast paced set with intensity, ending the charged, but melodic performance much the same way as it began, with Rubinos pounding away at a synthesized organ as she shouted and sang as if the world was ending.

Each band took the time to thank Morawski, appreciative of the chance to help bring in money for the building's continued restoration, and for the purchase of sound equipment.

"We absolutely loved playing at Unity Hall," commented Erving, adding, "I am so impressed with the scope of Tolga's undertaking to preserve and restore this historic building and to provide a new source for live music in the Fort Plain community, and I am excited to watch as this project continues to grow."

Erving continued, "I found that the beautiful openness of the church space had a big impact on our performance, and as musicians who spend a lot of time playing in rock venues, it was a great opportunity for us to experiment with which of our songs would work best sonically in this unique space."

Erving said that meeting people from the community "and connecting with local musicians," rounded out the fulfilling experience.

In an attempt to provide the best equipment possible for upcoming shows, MVC is currently accepting donations of sound equipment, mixers, amps, instruments, PAs, microphones, microphone stands, and other audio gear. MVC will provide donation receipts for donors' taxes.


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