Gig Review: Prince Daddy & The Hyena, Jouska + More in Albany

Posted: by Eli

prince daddy & the hyena

Photos By Ariel Einbeinder

Albany, New York’s DIY music scene was met with a challenge in recent months. After a year’s worth of frequent, successful shows between various houses and dive bars throughout the largely college student-ridden city, one of the most hardworking, consistent house venues, The Treehouse, decided to call it quits last spring. Albany bands such as Prince Daddy & the Hyena, Throat Culture and Jouska were beginning to break out regionally and draw increasingly larger crowds locally, particularly at The Treehouse. As the semester ended and a majority of the audience (college students) left for the summer, it was unclear as to how the void left by The Treehouse would be filled, and if its death would have any impact on the thriving local scene.

Fortunately, this past weekend reassured the entire community that Albany’s scene is not only still healthy, but growing stronger.

Both Friday and Saturday night were subject to the two wildest, most intimate DIY shows this writer’s ever been to. On Friday night The World Citizen Party House, another fantastic house venue tucked back on a quiet street in downtown Albany, hosted an all-local bill consisting of Coupons, Another Michael, Sun Natives, and Jasper. The WCPH have been putting on shows for a while now, but this must have been one of their highest attendances. Nearly 100 people were spread between the basement and the backyard, jamming out during the sets and mingling in between.

Jasper and Sun Natives both drew influence from psychedelic rock; the former utilizing jammier, more accessible, classic rock song structures, and the latter sliding into deep, trance-like grooves that were accentuated by the trippy visuals being projected behind them. As is commonplace at the WCPH, no two bands on the bill were very similar. However, the second half of the night drifted from the psych-rock vibes into more conventionally indie territory.

Another Michael, the brainchild of songwriter Michael Doherty, has historically been a one-man show. However, Doherty assembled a full band for this performance that brought a level of depth and cohesion that couldn’t otherwise be created with just a sole performer. His songs are light, melancholy, bedroom-pop numbers that can be likened to acts such as Florist, Adult Mom, and perhaps even Alex G, and his band’s performance put him right there alongside those groups.

another michael

Coupons’ set was the biggest surprise of the night though. The band self-released their impressive debut via Bandcamp just last month, and a hefty portion of the energetic crowd was already singing along. The band slickly cranked through most of the record, hitting every solo, fill, and note along the way. They play a relatively ubiquitous brand of nasal-voiced, melodic indie rock, but they somehow make it sound fresh on recording and groundbreaking in the live setting. Unfortunately, the future of the band is uncertain due to its members currently being scattered throughout the country. Hopefully a 100-plus turnout and a strikingly engaged crowd were enough to convince them that they might have something going for them.

coupons crowd

Friday night might’ve been memorable, but Saturday night was legendary. Prince Daddy & the Hyena and Jouska were celebrating the release of their respective debut record,s and they invited Posture & the Grizzly (Broken World Media) and Rochester, New York’s California Cousins to round out the bill. People travelled from California and Michigan to come to this gig, and the anticipation during the days leading up to it was so high that the bands decided to line up a secondary venue in preparation for a visit from the cops.

California Cousins and Posture each played incredibly raw, sweaty sets in the first venue, which was a tiny, three-bedroom apartment on the corner of one of the busiest streets in the city. Before the first band went on there were only about 30 people present, and the room was divided into small groups of friends conversing. Then, suddenly the room was at capacity, as dozens of beaming twenty-somethings danced, drank, smoked, and cheered as the first two band cranked through their gritty blends of pop punk and traditional emo.

Unfortunately, a group of rude, overly-intoxicated attendees were taking their moshing too far and ended up making many people in the room feel uncomfortable. Those people were thrown out of the show and the location was moved to the next house a few blocks over in order to avoid any future trouble. This could’ve been the end of the night, but the passionate, resilient crowd was dedicated enough to trek across town and fill into the next basement, which ended up being a more suitable setup for co-headliners anyways.


Jouska demonstrated yet again that they’re one of the tightest, most fine-tuned bands in the region. They played through most of their expansive new record Topiary, upping the ferocity of their slow-building, though satisfyingly-climactic songs in order to compete with the blistering Prince Daddy. The band plays Albany at least once and a month and they honestly do seem to improve each time. 

However, no Albany basement show feels complete without a performance by the hometown heroes, Prince Daddy & the Hyena. Since they put out their long-awaited debut full-length I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving last month via Broken World Media, their live show went from ten people singing along and 40 people jamming, to 40 people screaming along and over 100 jamming even harder. That record is designed, more than any other punk record in recent memory, to be belted back in a setting exactly like the one they were in. They’ve already perfected the difficult balance between memorable melodies and intricate riffs, all with a grimy, yet palatable delivery that bridges both the pop punk/emo and modern indie rock genres.

Throughout the entire set there were handfuls of fans singing along as the band not only nailed their songs, but experimented atop them with added solos, extended bridges, and subtle harmonies. Despite being notorious for partying hard, they somehow always hold it together and maintain a chemistry that would have you believe they’ve been playing together three times as long as they actually have.

prince daddy & the hyena

The entire set was great, but the clear climax of the night was when the power strips got knocked out by a massive heap of screaming punks who were piling on each other to belt out the infectious, shout-along breakdown of “Clever Girl.” Both guitars and the bass were silenced, but the impassioned fans kept the song moving forward on time, allowing the drummer to join in after two measures and provide a rhythm. It was one of those grand, spiritual moments in punk rock that you can only come close to understanding by physically being there. Some might say it was magical.

This exceptional weekend of underground music meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. Most importantly though, it proved that there wasn’t ever a void left by The Treehouse’s passing. It was simply a brief, natural, part of the DIY cycle that’s inherent to an adolescent culture that’s constantly changing and moving forward. This weekend highlighted a very important takeaway for this community: regardless of where it takes place, there will always be another gig.