'High Water Mark' Documentary Premier & Swale Tribute to The Pants March 26

Poster art by Seven Days.

We are pleased to announce a very special evening honoring the artistry of The Pants, one of Burlington Vermont’s most locally renowned rock bands of the last 20 years.

The evening begins with the world premiere of High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants, the first feature-length documentary from award-winning Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon. A short Q&A with the director follows the screening.

Then it's a musical tribute to the Pants, curated by Burlington’s own Swale and featuring Tom Lawson (the Pants, Chainsaws of Babylon, Activists/Dictators, Factory Edge) along with several special guests from the Burlington music scene both past and present, performing classics from the Pants' songbook. For more about the event including specifics about guest musicians, see Dan Bolle's Soundbites music column in Seven Days!

Saturday, March 26, 2016 Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington, VT $18 advance | $20 day of show

Buy tickets online at highergroundmusic.com.


The Pants ruled the Burlington, Vermont music scene in the 1990s, combining the lo-fi underground aesthetic of bands like Guided By Voices and Pavement with songwriting chops reminiscent of The Pixies and Weezer’s River Cuomo. The Pants played “indie rock” before it had a name. They could tear the roof off with crunching post-punk noise suffused with jazzy chords and rhythms. They could just as easily leave ladies swooning and guys crying in their beers with their bittersweet ballads. Their singular sound garnered the attention of music labels as well as the enduring admiration of Vermont contemporaries such as Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, James Kochalka Superstar, and Trey Anastasio of Phish.

But as the ’90s came to a close, this buzz band from Burlington seemed to burn out as quickly as it had blown up, leaving many to wonder what had happened. In 2006, nearly a decade after calling it quits, The Pants reunited for one triumphant, sold-out show at the Higher Ground Ballroom, the city’s largest rock venue.

Now, as the band members have moved on to new bands, new careers, families, and lives, the songs of The Pants still live on through a dedicated network (cult?) of fans and artists inspired by a band that few outside of northern Vermont have ever heard of.

High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of The Pants explores the band’s lasting footprint on Burlington's vibrant music scene and the intense, devoted fandom they've enjoyed. It chronicles their struggle to “make it” in the late 1990s, in the last days before the Internet era would forever change the music industry. The film also asks hard questions about the personal toll of ambition and what can happen when a big fish tries to swim upstream to a larger pond. High Water Mark is a story that happened in Vermont, but it’s a tale that no doubt rings familiar in countless music scenes around the country.

Bill Simmon

Ten years in the making, High Water Mark was directed by Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon, who compiled interviews with the band and fans, photos, documents, and hundreds of hours of audio and video of old shows in order to tell the band’s story.

“It was a labor of love,” says Simmon. “I tell my filmmaking students ‘don’t start down the path of making a documentary unless you’re willing to eat, live, and breathe the film’s subject matter for years.’ I’m a huge Pants fan and I just made the film that I would want to see as a fan.”

Are The Pants “the best band you’ve never heard,” or one of thousands of talented acts that got caught up in the tumultuous shifting tides of the music biz? The answer might be both. Experience the story and music of The Pants, then, you decide.

There’s way more than just fire, From which you can get burned, That’s why I’m saying, "Bye-bye."

— 2000 by the Pants

More info, http://candleboy.com/thepants/

EventBig Heavy World