I had a great time seeing music Saturday night at Light Club Lamp Shop and Radio Bean… I got into the Lamp and settled as the room steadily filled. A little after 8 Physics club took the stage and filled the room with cautious glee. They chatted with the audience a lot and chatted about chatting a lot. They sang about how Christmas is the time to give gifts to the baby Jesus, and delicious honey ham. Irene, Rex and Abraham, if those are their real names, had a relaxed vibe that came across as deeply hilarious. They sang about how too many candy canes made their breath minty, but their stomachs stinky and about making all of their Christmas presents because they didn’t have any money. Since it was Christmas, they decided they could wear what they wanted, then capped the seven song set by going out to find the biggest bushiest tree. It’s hard to capture how funny they were, but if you ever see them on a bill somewhere, go.
They began the transformation into Swale with a song about how everything smells like Christmas. Irene morphed into Amanda Gustafson as Abraham moved away from the keys to the backing vocal position. Rex stayed on the drums and moved into Jeremy Frederick mode and Eric Olsen started playing guitar at the end. It was still pretty funny, but you could begin to hear the huge rock sound coming out. Tyler Bolles joined them and they locked into SWALE mode for Mele Kalikimaka which was fun to hear on a chilly evening. Matt Larocca joined them on violin next and stayed for most of the night. It’s Christmas is a poignant song from their Kiss Mess EP and they played a beautiful version of it. Craig Mitchell came up next and took the mic. Marie Claire Johnson added some backing vocals as they sang This Christmas. The fireside blazing bright line was especially catchy. The band switched into high gear as Lily Sickles took the stage and belted out Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) and the audience rocked along. James Kochalka followed with a song about coveting his neighbors Christmas lights. It was hilarious and everyone was smiling. He stayed on stage and sang a song about a sleigh ride to heck and the audience sang along with gusto. There was something magical about the way it happened. Amanda followed with the most esoteric song of the night and played a haunting Snow Angel with Tyler on banjo. Tyler played the next one solo on banjo but took the time to explain that some band redid a version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that was just terrible, so he redid it in a fun way. The tune was familiar and the audience laughed in the verses about Rudolph and the Grinch but sang along on the choruses, even with Tyler’s altered words. I could feel chills running through me. Marie Claire came back and sang Fairy Tale Of New York with Tyler. It was really fun. Marie moved to the keys and Amanda moved to the front of the stage. Matt joined in on sax as they let loose a huge Baby Please Come Home. It was great. Jason Cooley came to the stage and played a song for Josh Bridgman that almost made me cry. The Velvet Underground’s Jesus was a perfect tribute to Josh. The next song was just Swale and they sang a cool song about getting to know the people in your house. They followed with an instrumental Jingle Bells that featured Amanda’s keys in the beginning and some ripping Eric guitar work at the end. Lily returned to the stage for Feliz Navidad. The song had a huge sound in the chorus and had people dancing hard. For the next song, Ryan Oberand Cooley stood in front of the stage and lit into Christmas in Hollis. It was brilliant and fun. Eric said they had a treat for us and Marie Clairecame back and sang Christmas Wrapping. Her voice was so close to The Waitresses that it was superb. Craig returned to the stage for a funky blues rock song about Backdoor Santa that got a little naughty in a nice way. Amanda sang the next song and wished us well for whatever lies ahead. Francesca Blanchard followed with All I Want For Christmas Is You and I swear that everyone in the room was in awe. Swale began the evening by handing out cards and asked us to pull out the lyric sheet. I’m not sure what happened but it sounds like someone slipped and fell outside of the Lamp Shop and an ambulance showed up. Per Eric, the person was fine, but the hoped for singalong didn’t quite work with so many distracted people. That said, Amanda sang a great version of The Christmas Song, and many people sang along. The band returned to full rock mode and Ryan Miller hit the stage for a blistering Hazy Shade Of Winter. Where does joy end and fun begin? Their version was right in that sweet spot. Cooley came back and played a fun gritty rocker that I couldn’t spot. Per my notes, I think it was Riverbottom Nightmare Band from the Muppets Emmet Otter’s Jug Band. It was really fun to listen to at the show, but doing this write-up brought me to YouTube to watch it. I’m sure it’s the song and both versions are great. Up next Tyler got everyone bouncing to the Christmas Polka. Swale capped the night with a sweet singalong with Christmastime is Here that filled my soul. It was a beautiful show.
I settled up and took the long walk over to Radio Bean as Samara Lark and friends belted out Baby Please Come Home. It turned out to be the only repeat of the night which is not bad when you see three bands in one night play traditional (ish) songs. Samara was joined by Jackie Buttolph and Aya Inoue on vocals, Eric and Eric on guitar, Johnnie Day Durand on musical saw and glockenspiel, Jake Styles on bass and Andrew Bedard on drums. Johnnie began Oh Holy Night and you could hear the words coming out of her saw. The rest of the band joined in and played a gorgeous version of the song. They took us into minor chord territory for Hark To The Bells and I was in a happy place. They kicked up the pace for Cheap Trick’s I Wish It Was Christmas Today and I bopped with glee. They kept up the pace for a rousing Holiday Road and we all just had to sing along. How can you not? i love that Samara thinks that is an essential Christmas song. They slowed things down and brought the energy up for Happy Xmas (War Is Over). That’s one of those songs that fills my soul and I’m so glad they closed the set with it.
I hung out for a bit and thought I’d check out the next band. It was a little late, but they usually don’t play super long sets and I was still ready to rock. Savage Hen took the stage and let loose their super heavy bass, drums, vocals dirgy sound. They opened with a horrific Here Comes Santa Claus that made me smile and the mighty audience dance hard. A heavy version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer followed and off we went. They advised us to not get on the wrong list then played a heavy traditional Hanukkah song that was very cool. They advised us to take a Christmas Bath then dropped a super heavy Jingle Bell Rock. They shouted loudly that the Seat’s Taken then played a song about how Santa is a monster. All evening long the dialog was wry. They sang of a Clever Girl then one about Santa is here, release your fear. Local Lore was a song about encountering the supernatural. The final lyric says If there really is a god, he ain’t watching me, but it’s not uncommon for Jaq Tothephuture to put a little spin on it. I think that night it was if there really is a Santa, he better be… good. They rocked on with a song about running for your life across the north pole and the next one may have had something to do with reindeer romance. They kept rocking and I didn’t catch much of the lyric but had a good time. Next, they took us to the Edge then released a little Voodoo Revenge. The next song was 46 seconds long, so it might have been Curtain Call, but I’m not sure. Either way, it was good. We followed them down to the Alabama swamp and battled monsters for a while then went back up north for another Santa song.
It was another lovely night of music in our lovely town. Wow, did I really hear 57 songs that night?
It was a Friday night and the last thing in the world that I wanted to do was go out. Saturday is my Monday and I knew it would be a challenge to figure out the work flow for the day. Staying in and getting to bed early made so much sense, and yet, a band I like were coming over from Plattsburgh, so what, I couldn’t walk 15 minutes downtown? There were a few shows around town that looked cool, and a can’t miss holiday show at Arts, that I totally missed and heard was totally amazing, but I thought if I found something quick and easy, I could make it out. Of course, once that decision was made, a couple of wish list shows lined up relatively nicely, I knew I’d have to make some choices to make it happen. All of that said, I had to take a pry bar to my psyche to make that first step out the door.
I quickly caught a reasonable walking pace and slid into the fairly full Radio Bean. I clumsily entered and got a drink and listened as Amerykanka unveiled their lovely voices with a drone underneath. Consisting of five women singers and occasional new or old drones from a laptop, the sound is ethereal and enchanting. I just listened to the first one as I settled in, but quickly knew the next. Blood And Gold is a tale of soldiers in the snow that brings you right into the story. They followed with a couple that were from a 20 year old requiem written by Rebecca . They sang a Czech song about Mother Mary and vespers and I think the next one had a Spanish theme. The next song was about joy, but that could be said about their whole show. I finished my beer and made hard choice one.
I took the long walk to the Light Club Lamp Shop and settled in. Erica Bosserman took the stage with her voice and an acoustic guitar. She sang with a soft falsetto voice and a steady driving guitar that caught me instantly. She sang about when the fever breaks and how it is written in the stars. She sang a song about putting the words she should have said into a letter. It had some quiet parts where her voice reminded me of Roger Waters. She said that not all of her songs are sad ones and played a rousing Mix It Up, The next song might have been about a blue life, but the one after definitely took us into the forest. She closed with a stark and cool song about not turning to stone. It was a really nice set.
I glanced at the clock and it said 20 of Carol, so thankfully, Katy Hellman took the stage quickly. She sang as delightfully as always and mixed up playing guitar and bass. I think the first one was about flesh and stars and it definitely had a cool bass groove. She sang a song about letting go of the peaches that have rotted so new ones can grow on the vine. She played a very new and very cool song called Storm then played a song that I think was called Mockingbirds. There is something about her songs that is so inviting, and just makes you feel good when you are listening to them. I reveled in one more beautiful song before the evil and beautiful time clock pulled me back to the Bean.
I walked in and The Mountain Carol began to play. Their sound is hypnotic and dreamy and has strength and a nice flow. I keep listening to their albums and think I will know all the songs when they play live then get lost immediately once they start. I’m OK with that. I think they opened with Dino then went into The Mountain Carol then into another one and maybe another, They surfaced at some point and said hi and that the next one was from their upcoming album Wonder Of Birds. Under Neath flowed through the depths and sounded similar to yet different from their Transmissions From Robot Dog version. They played a cool new song called Last Night then began to Sway. They claimed that the party was over but kept taking us into the land of the shadow puppets. All night long they sounded great, and it was easy to slide into that lovely flow, but there was a little something off with the lighting. It’s like you could see them just fine, but the shadows weren’t quite as distinct as usual. Anyway, they played a song about having pure intentions and called it a night.
Savage Hen, Boil The Whore, and Melkor for the 7th Annual Metal Monday Christmas Bash at Nectar’s December 17, 2018
I had a great time seeing music a couple of Mondays ago at Nectar’s. I really enjoyed the new Savage Hen album The Red and was excited to see some of it live. I got out of work at 8:30, met up with Nathan Curtis, and arrived around 9 for the Metal Monday Christmas show… The Hen hit the stage loud and heavy with a sludgy version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Here Comes Santa Claus arrived with a roar then they advised us to not get on The Wrong List. They cleaned us up with a Christmas Bath then hit us with a heavy Hanukkah song. Jingle Bell Rock was equal to the bands name then they kicked out Seat’s Taken. They took a short Curtain Call and capped the show with a delightfully heavy version of Adam Sandler’s Hanukah Song. What a fun set.
Up next the savage music continued with Boil The Whore. With a harsh name and cookie monster vocals they played thrash with a tendency to build songs into epic territory. They opened with a song about a harbinger and followed with one about a broken nose. They regaled us with a truthful retelling of an ancient hymn that they called Amazing Disgrace then screamed about sanctuary. The played a couple more then wrapped up the powerhouse set. It was an impressive show.
Melkor took the stage next and were dressed for the holiday mood. They kept the music in full metal mode and I just got lost in the first few songs. The sound was huge and overdriven and brought to mind the phrase “the music’s so loud, you can’t hear the sound”. It was great. They sang a song about confession and then one that had a bit of a jazzy Christmas feel, in a blistering metal sort of way. The took us to the depths of the ocean and closed with a song about a big house. I loved every minute.
After that, we headed out quickly. Sometimes this world is beautiful and sometimes it’s painful and it’s nice to dive into a heavy metal show now and then to connect with reality. I’m so glad I went
I had a great time seeing music a couple of Fridays ago at The Monkey House. It was in the middle of the heavy work season, but I had been missing cool shows and pushed myself out the door at the last minute and took the long walk to Winooski. I got in and settled as Ryan Ober and The Romans kicked off the set with a song about how it used to be. With a cool bluesy indie rock sound, the band oozed talent. I felt better about not knowing several of the songs when Ryan said half of the set was new. They played a sparkly song with an indie vibe then let loose a big rocker that may have been about a shady operator. They played a cool medium paced rocker about making it up then went a bit country for a song about life from the time I was two. Supernatural had a cool vibe that was fun to get lost in then they took us to Californ-i-a. The next one rocked and the one after took a bluesy turn. They capped the show with a rocker that sounded like a freight train driving through. Ryan flew off the stage and around the room for a bit before returning and rocking it to the end. What a great show.
Up next Happy Spangler took the stage. Their indie rock sound has hints of blues and classic rock and their songs are fun and inviting. They opened with an epic I Brought You Flowers But You Wanted Drugs that put the room in a happy place. Sean Toohey from the Druids heard something wrong and rushed to the stage to make an adjustment to the bass amp and Kirk Flanagan tossed in a lyric about thanking Sean for the assist. That’s so Burlington. Spangler followed with a cheery song about not needing you or needing anything, then they played one about what fell outta my head. Hawks has a solid rock sound with a couple of spacey parts in the middle and is one of my favorites. Barbara tossed in a few hawk screams at appropriate times, which just added to the fun. She is really coming into her own as a bass player and it was fun to watch her begin to stalk the stage. They said they would never let me go then then said Dave doesn’t live here anymore. Kirk switched to a mini guitar with a huge sound for Bit O Honey and stayed with it for the song about how the door flew open and you blew in. All night long Michael Bradshaw had been killing it on the drums, but for the next one he sang too. I’m not sure what it was, maybe a Big Star cover or something. Kirk resumed vocals on the next one and they took us on a ride in the Golden Caddy. That is such a fun song. They rocked out another then brought Sean up to play bass for the last song. Barbara sang some of the lead with Kirk, and the song was a super fun punk rocker about a Scandinavian business called Bik Bok (sp???). It was great.
After a short set The Nancy Druids took the stage. They sang about the Sky that’s all around us then lit into December. The last time I saw them they scaled the sound back a little for more of an acoustic set. This night was them at peak power and they rocked hard. I Can’t Remember Who You Were has a killer Ann Mindelldrum part and a huge rock sound. Just Another Day is a heavy stomp that ends with Sean ripping it up on guitar. They played dreamy rock pop on By Design, Salvation and one about life since you left me. They took The Space Between to epic heights with more of Sean’s stunning guitar work. John Franklin found a nice groove to open Bitter Days and the band dove in and filled the song with glee. They played the breezy Vondle Park (sp???) and capped the night with the blistering Halo.