Honk If You Love Haiti Saturday January 30, 2010 At Higher Ground

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had been wanting to donate some money to Haiti and have felt financially challenged lately but a new pay period dawned, this show was announced and everything fell into place. Marie Claire and Swale were on the bill so I was set musically and the $15 price went to Doctors without Borders. Sweet. Marie Claire was due on at 8:30 and I was scheduled to work until then. It was slow and I got out an hour early and walked up the hill, by the hospital, through UVM over to Williston road and then down to Higher Ground. I arrived just about 8:30 and there was a long line of people waiting for tickets. I really hoped I would not miss her while waiting but the show started a bit late and I was all set. When I walked into the room a man who’s name I’ve forgotten was playing guitar and singing. He was pretty good. I was just getting a drink and settling in as he finished one song then played a nice version of a Dead song that I’ve also forgotten. Too bad, he played well and had a nice voice. He left and then it was time for Marie Claire. I walked close to the stage hoping people would break the 30 foot expanse between the stage and where the crowd was standing to no avail. I found a nice listening spot and let my ears and heart be filled with her wonderful voice and songs. It had been a while since I have heard her play so I was pretty rusty, but most of the songs came right back to me. She has such a great voice and her songs are very touching. I was enchanted for the set that ended all too soon. I really need to find a way to hear her more often. Patrick Fitzimmons came up next with a bass player and backup singer and played some nice songs. I’ve forgotten most of the details now, but I did enjoy the set and he had Brett Hughes come up and play a few incendiary guitar solos and it was pretty cool. In the break I went over to the far side wall and checked out the pin the tail on Pat Robertson game. They had a drawing of a giant bull with Robertson’s face and nice long horns. Riding the bull was a devil and there was a giant target on the bulls but where people tried to pin the tail. Considering Robertson’s recent remarks about Haiti, it was quite appropriate. Next up Waylon Speed took the stage and brought some power and volume to the show. They are kind of country but also bring the rock. They were pretty loud and played with lots of energy. I really enjoyed several songs but after a while started to loose interest. On and on they played. Generally with a lot of bands on the bill no one plays too long but these guys must have played for more than an hour. Finally they said they had a couple more, then after playing 2 more played another. I was wondering if it was ever going to end. I was tired and really wanted to see Swale and began to think I might not make it. They did finally end and by then a large part of the Audience left as well. I had been hanging out with Amanda from work and she and her flatmate reappeared at the end of the set. We chatted a bit as the Dirtminers took the stage. They decided to call it a night and offered a ride. I propped myself up and said I was going to stick it out. I wondered if I had made the wrong call as the Dirtminers played a few decent if not remarkable songs. Something turned. At the point I was kicking myself for not accepting a ride home they pulled out a song about being in love with the daughter of AQ Quan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb. I immediately recognized it and enjoyed it and I felt back in the game. They played a couple more songs and wrapped up the set in a reasonable time. Finally Swale took the stage. They started a bit slow and airy like only they can do. They mixed it up between slow and mid temper numbers and kept the interest of the dwindling crowd. After far too short of a time they said they had a couple left. They launched into a blistering version of War Pigs that lit the crowd on fire. Eric shredded a guitar string as the song came to a cacophonous conclusion but that did not stop them from taking it straight into I wanna Be Your Dog. As the final notes rang out, I summoned the last of my energy and walked out the door and back home. There were at least 2 bands to go but as it was I walked in my door at 1:23am feeling musically sated and blissful.

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