Happy Birthday Radio Bean Saturday November 7, 2009

Words by Tim Lewis.

This is always the best birthday party of the year. They start in the morning and put on band after band until 2am or later. Most years I pop in a couple of times but this year I had to work.

I started Saturday with the usual breakfast at Penny Cluse followed by a bit of grocery shopping. As I was walking home from downtown I went by Radio Bean. It looked like cccome? was on and jamming but I was on too tight of a schedule to stop in. I continued home, and got set up for the day. Off I went to work and slugged my way through the day. When 8:30 finally came I raced home, donned the black and charged out the door.

I was hoping there would not be a line and I could get right in. The Bean is pretty small and later in the day it can be a bit tricky, but on this night they had Duino! (Duende) open so they had plenty of room, and a full restaurant.

As I got close someone from a car said hi. I did not catch who it was but saw the car pull up in front of the Bean. It was the Cave Bees. Why does our timing seem to run that way? I think it happened last year too.

We walked in and headed to the crowded bar. I chatted with Rebekah for a bit then ran into Christine from work and hung out with her for the evening.

Shortly after I arrived it was 9:15pm and Pooloop were onstage and ready to go. The four-piece played a blistering set that may have been a few songs ran into each other or may have been one long song. Either way it was a great set of music that made my heart soar and my memories of work drain. I’m going to have to watch out for them and see them again.

The bands were using a mutual drum kit so the switch over was pretty quick. I chatted with Christine for a bit in the break but before long the Vacant Lots took the stage. They continued with the powerhouse shows they’ve been doing lately but seemed to have a bit of an extra edge that night. Soaring guitar and pounding drums were enhanced by low lighting to create a specter of sound and fury. By the end of the set, Jared started going off. At one point he played a solo so hard his guitar came unstrapped. The set careened to its conclusion with Jared going off on a rant that ended with several affirmations of his belief in this town. I am so with him on that!

Somewhere in the break I caught up with Caroline O’Connor. While it was as lovely to chat with her as always, I did realize at that point she had gone on before Pooloop so I missed her set. Too bad for me, I heard it was really good and pretty intense.

Swale came on next and had a pretty quick setup. They started playing much slower and softer than the two previous bands but still had a bit of a kick. I know most of Swale’s songs and cold not place this one so I thought it was a cover. Chatting with people later speculation ran that it was a Sandy Denny or Fairport Convention song. Either way it was nice. Next up they played a bit of a faster one and again I had no idea what it was. Song three was another cover with a grinding piano track that built and built and by the time it was done they had the whole bar rocking. The followed with another cover that brought the energy higher then closed with a full on slam about version of War Pigs. Swale always does it for me but their show that night was one for the legends.

During the set break I was chatting with Christine and other friends when Dug Nap came onstage to read some poetry. I was not listening closely but strains of his “poem” about lots of men masturbating were hard to ignore. Oh those silly Burlington artists.

After a bit the Cave Bees were set up and ready to go. They opened soft with Muskrat Love but by the end had the song at full speed and volume. They followed with a few fast and heavy rockers including the wonderful Mine All Mine. They had to stop the set when a couple of people walked into the Bean with birthday cakes. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Radio Bean then Lee got up to make a small speech. He spoke passionately about the Burlington community and how proud he was that the Bean could be such a gathering place for cool caring people. He left the stage and the Cave Bees turned the volume to 11 and kicked out a searing version of the Golden Goose then called it a night.

Next up Toby Aronson set up a keyboard and played some heavy trippy ambient music for a while. I was hanging out with people and more appreciating than listening close but it sounded pretty nice. He’s another name to watch for.

Osange Orange came on next and slowed things down a bit with some acoustic guitars and mellower music. Don’t get me wrong, they rocked, but after the Cave Bees and Swale’s version of War Pigs there was a whole level shift to the after midnight vibe.

I didn’t stay for too much of their set but did hang outside for a while with Steve and Rebekah from the Bees and Jeremy from Swale and chatted a bit. It was about then, the long workday and intense hours of listening to music caught up with me and I headed for home.

In retrospect it would have been cooler to get there earlier and see more, but I got to see a lot and feel lucky to have to joined in with such a great birthday party. Here’s to next year!

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.