Who turned off the lights?
The name “Sneaky
Pete’s” has been a nightlife staple in upstate
New York since the disco era. The club currently bearing the
name has been open on Albany’s Central Avenue for nearly
six years. But as this college town’s climate is changing,
the 1,000-capacity club must change with it.
Seasonal coeds continue to stream in for frat-party-esque
Thursdays, but the formerly house music-driven nights now
share the weekend with parties that include hip-hop, reggae
Headliners on the hip-hop front have included impressive names
like G-Unit’s Tony Yayo and DJ Clue. But can Sneaky’s
still hold it down for the trance, house and techno fans?
Our Stalkers set out to find out.
My girlfriend and I made it out to Nick’s Sneaky Pete’s
on April 27 for the Jonathan Peters party. Outside the club
there were metal “crowd corral” gates set up,
which are not typically used on normal nights. There was a
ladies’ line, a VIP line and the usual guys’ line.
After passing through a metal detector and then a modest frisking
by a bouncer, we were finally able to go inside.
There was a $20 cover, which is kind of understandable considering
they had brought in a big-name DJ like Peters. As soon as
we passed through the toll booth, we were facing the main
bar. It takes up about two-thirds of the upper area, and drinks
are priced at $3.75 for bottles of Miller Light and about
$5 to $6 for mixed drinks, which is typical for this area.
The staff is easily identifiable. Bouncers wore yellow shirts
and the rest of the crew wore black shirts with “STAFF”
written across the back in huge white letters. The staff seemed
OK. But I guess there are not too many problems on techno
It is quite easy to tell that the sound system was designed
for techno. It’s an Avalon system run on Crown amps.
There are four DC-2 and two DC-3 speakers all flying, and
there are eight DCS-2 subs, two of them are flown, so the
place really sounds sweet. The lighting system would be absolutely
fantastic if the staff took care of it. It’s all High
End Systems gear. There are 15 or so Studio Color 575s, about
20 Trackspots, four Technobeams, four Studio Spot 250s, 10
to 12 Dataflash AF1000 strobes and about 100 pin spots (which
is a really cool effect). There’s also neon, which I
am not a fan of, and about 10 PAR 64 cans mounted inside the
truss on the ceiling. But of all of the lights installed there
were only five to six Studio Colors working. And none of the
Technobeams were on – I think they were showing some
kind of error message. Three of the four Studio Spots would
just tilt, no pan at all. The lighting guy spent more of the
night fiddling with the EQ than he did controlling the lights.
I’ll be honest. It wasn’t a huge crowd, probably
only about four or five hundred people. But despite the weak
turnout and the even weaker lighting, it was a great night.
I believe JP played until 7 a.m., and considering the clubs
in Albany usually close at 3 a.m., it was a welcome change
to be able to stay out that late.
Upon entering the club and hearing Toto’s “Africa,”
I knew I was not in for an evening of good NY house music
as preached by the “legendary” DJ himself. Although
the bartending staff is amazing, with quick service and a
fire-spewing bartender named Elvis, there was not enough alcohol
to keep me there for more than two hours.
The sound system was good. One of the first-generation of
EAW Avalon club speakers, but they seemed to have on heavy
limiting due to the DJ’s notoriety for playing too loud
and clashing beats (translation: blowing up speakers). So
we moved our ears to the VIP room, which kept the main floor
music at a minimum, and the scaries out.
The first thing that’s nice about Sneaky Pete’s
is the parking lot. It’s not very common for a club
around here to have its own parking lot.
Inside the decor is absolutely beautiful: wall-to-wall carpeting
in the entire club except for the dancefloor area and by the
bathrooms. The dancefloor is large and recessed. This place
is still the only real club up here. On Thursdays it’s
college night, but I prefer to come for the special nights
when bigger DJs come to play.
I’ve also come by on an R&B night and it is very
easy to tell that the sound system is better equipped for
dance music, and when Jonathan Peters was there, there was
certainly no shortage of that. You could tell as soon as you
walked in the door that there was a certain New York City-element
in the club that night.