Yum, Ill Itches, And Rough Francis At The Monkey House October 13, 2014

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had a great time seeing music last Monday at The Monkey House. It was a long work day, and I was feeling drained. I debated skipping the show, but it had been a while since I’d seen ROUGH FRANCIS, and it looked like an early show, so instead of taking the right turn and the 10 minute walk home, I took the left, and walked the 25 minutes to Winooski.

I arrived shortly after the 7:30 start time. It looked like the first band was almost ready to go, but it was just a sound check. The second band did a sound check too, then left the stage empty for a while. Having not eaten since lunch, I got some food from the bar. On the second bite, the first band hit the stage. I never have luck mixing food and music.

Yum, a duo from Detroit, played a killer set of off kilter rock and roll. The songs had great changes and a nice flow. I ate quickly for the first two songs then ran up front. The singer/guitar player kept the rhythm and leads flowing nicely and the drummer propelled the songs forward. I loved the show from first moment to last. I had to listen close to try and keep up with them, and was heavily rewarded for it. The Monkey House has a great tradition of bringing bands I’ve never heard of, and love from first moment to last, and Yum are among the finest I’ve been lucky enough to encounter.

After they wrapped up, another band from Detroit, with the same drummer, hit the stage. Ill Itches played some nice heavy grooves and rocked hard. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I found the path, I happily rocked out. They worked the growing audience hard with their heavy and fun songs. It was easy to hear all of the instruments and vocals, thanks to the attentiveness of Alyssa Solomon who was doing sound all night. There was a great insistence to all of their songs, and they were as solid of a rock band as you could hope for.

After their set, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I help strong, and soon enough, Rough Francis hit the stage. They played a few songs from their first album, but played a lot of newish ones. I’m starting to like them a lot. The audience was full and rocking, though not quite moshing. Paul jumped into the audience, while ripping out some killer leads, to try and get us going, but we never quite made it to the slam dancing. As usual, drummer extraordinaire Urian Hackney played about 15 notes per one note for the rest of the band. It was nice being close enough to watch him work, and he is up there with Jane Boxall Percussion, and Mike Billington as the best drummers in Burlington’s history. Bobby Hackney Jr. was a great front man as usual, and his scream singing kept the energy at dizzying heights all evening long. As it was Columbus Day, he had some great comments about how the day can now just be a license to take whatever you want, whenever you want. They wrapped up the killer set just before 11 with a rousing Comm To Space.

There were still two bands left, Kal Marks and Pile, but after the Rough Francis set, it felt like I had hit the wall. All the energy was drained out of me, so I settled up and took the long walk home. It was an effort to get to the show, and I wish I had just a bit more and could have caught the last two bands, but I’m so happy I caught what I could.

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