I had a great time seeing music Halloween night at Foam Brewers. There were two shows I really wanted to make it to, but could only manage one. I worked until 7:30 then drove to Foam and got a wonderful beer. I slowly sipped it as the robed figures of Surf Sabbath took the stage. Sounding strangely similar to The High Breaks, they played surf rock instrumental versions of Black Sabbath songs. They opened with Paranoid and caught the audience right away. They took us Into The Void then had us meet the Children Of The Grave. They showed us this Wicked World then pointed out the Symptom Of The Universe. They pointed up and asked what that was and it appeared to be a Hole In The Sky. They played a slow heavy Black Sabbath then ended on a cheery note with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The set was dark and heavy and I loved every note.
I hung out for a bit and said a couple of quick goodbyes then drove home. I’m sure the other show was great too, but I’m OK with my choice.
I had a great time seeing music Monday night at Radio Bean. I got out of work at 7:30 and rushed downtown. I got in and settled and Ouzkxqlzn began to play. She lit into a cool drone and added a little voice and guitar and cello and recorded conversations and sounds she has found in the world. The mix was dizzying and she let recordings of people speaking guide the show. Themes such as explorations of performance art and societies ability to look the other way and let rapists be found not responsible cut into the listener’s soul. She played a story of a woman who had been raped then carried a mattress with her everywhere until the boy could be held accountable, but it did not sound like that ever happened. This was woven around Yoko Ono’s cutting show where she sat on stage and members of the audience came up to cut a piece of her clothing off. One voice from the drone wondered how anyone could let someone do that. Another voice from the drone confronted Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator, that seemed like it had some effect but eventually fell on deaf ears. The piece ended on a discussion of suffering and performance art. It’s always an amazing time when Lauren Costello plays.
Up next Wren Kitz took the stage. Joined by Lauren on cello, Rob Voland on drums and a cool bass player, Wren lit into the set with an off-kilter pop song about the unexplained. They rocked it out for a while then fell into a cool musical flow. They let that go for a bit and it solidified into a pop song about being the master of the world. They stopped and chatted for a bit then dove back into the music. They played a long cool piece about being unaware then wrapped it up. I love Wren’s sense of where to take music and loved every moment of the show.
Up next Rob Voland moved into the front man role and Wren moved to the drums. A different bass player joined them. The set up was longer than ideal but they sounded pretty cool when they got into it. Some of the high frequencies were a bit hard to handle, at the extreme volume, but the songs were cool and the playing was great. They opened with a song that had a Wren rock vibe then fell deep in exhaustion. They played a drone with a western vibe, but with more screeches. They closed with a long slow heavy jam that got more and more intense until Rob was shredding heavily as it crashed to a conclusion. I’m not sure if it was a little too much or perfect, but it certainly was something.
After the chaos of Voland’s set I popped over to Light Club Lamp Shop and settled into the soothing flow of Plastique Mammals. They are a keys/bass drums duo who play liquid instrumentals. They create fun loops to get a full sound then just let the music flow in happy ways. I only caught a couple of their songs, and they put me in a happy mellow place.
There was noise coming from the Bean as Mammals wrapped up their set. I headed back to the Bean and rocked out to The Drunk Monkeys. They are from Boston and play straight up rock. The first song I caught was a slow bluesy jam with a ripping sax. I think it was called Sundays and rocked out at the end. They had a rocking Dead sound on Elementary #9 then had us stand to fall. The next song was louder and had a crazy rock jam at the end that made me happy. They sang a song about shadows in the moonlight then sang about a trap door. They wrapped the set with a sultry ballad called Atlantis that became a sultry jam at the end. They were a lot of fun.
After their set I headed out quickly and took the short walk home.
I had a great time seeing music last Friday at Radio Bean. I’ve enjoyed the lovely sounds of Bethany Conner Music for a while and was psyched that she was playing in town. I got going a little late and walked in 10 minutes after 7:30 showtime. She was playing a cool cover of Linger as I got in and settled. She played some songs solo and some with her dad Greg Conner, but always lead the songs. Her voice is powerful, she’s a solid guitar player and she has great stage presence. Between songs she engaged the audience and made it a fun evening. She played a cover of Wonderwall then switched to her own songs for a cool version of Can You Love Me Too? She played a song about believing in me that will be from her upcoming album City Full Of Big Kids. She played Drops Of Jupiter and tossed in a little Drift Away at the end. That was the end of the first part of her set, since she and Julia Mark were each doing two alternating sets.
Julia took the stage with a song about the seasons changing called Doors. It was really cool. Her quick and well-articulated lyrics were a delight to follow. She sang a song called The Contract and advised everyone who was considering getting into a relationship to sign one, so you know what’s up. She played a song about palindromes then switched to ukulele for a song about a Lending Library. She moved back to keys for Gemini then played a new song called Mirrors And Windows that was really cool. She closed her set with a song about places you used to live in, but don’t anymore, called The Stranger Is You.
Bethany returned to the stage and regaled us with fun stories and cool tunes. She opened with a song that she wrote about not being able to do laundry and wondering how she would survive in the world. She asked will you jump with me then followed with a cover of Jumper. A song called Anchor was about having someone to hold you steady and about how they call it the real world since you are not allowed to dream. She engaged the group of boys in the back with a song about a boy who dumped her and the back and forth was pretty funny. The song, I Miss You, was pretty good too. She sang about doing something amazing before your life slips away and closed with a cover of Ex’s And Oh’s. It’s always a great time when she plays.
Julia returned to the stage and opened with a song called Sway. She sang about everything you never wanted and Static Electricity. She sang about being A Keeping Person and sang about how matter cannot be created or destroyed. She sang about how your heart is not a bottle of wine and you can’t cork it and leave it. She closed with a song about the end of the world and said she would see us on the moon.
I was pretty wiped out and the next day was set to be a long one, so I ducked out the door quickly and took the lovely walk home. I’m blessed to be able to hear so much amazing music with a mere walk downtown and back.
I had a great time seeing a band and a movie a week ago Wednesday at ArtsRiot. I worked until 7:30 and zipped down to Pine st and arrived around 8. I thought I would be late but my timing turned out well. Zentauri took the stage and lit into a heavy drone as the opening scene of The Shining began to play. Things were going great until the beginning of the interview scene and the projector turned off. The band kept playing along for a bit, then took a break when a ladder was brought out to check the connections on the projector. The issue was quickly fixed and we settled back in to the eerie movie. The band had a nice dark feel to the musical flow. They brought a heavy intensity for the blood flowing out of the elevator scene. They had a nice quick pace on the scenes where Danny was riding around the hotel. They lightened the mood when appropriate and were savage when Jack was chopping down the door. My favorite part of the performance may have been the sounds they emitted during the scenes where Jack was typing. They kept the music tense as Danny escaped the maze then brought the show to a nice conclusion. The sound from the movie was turned up for the closing shot of the old photograph and the end credits. It was another great night of music in town.
I had a great time seeing music at The Double E on Saturday. It was a short work day, then I ran a couple of errands and had a little time to settle at home and enjoy the sun streaming through the windows. October can be a fickle month but Saturday was warm and bright and the multicolored leaves were stunning.
I hopped into the car a bit early and took the lovely drive to Essex. I had some delicious food from The Mad Taco then ran into Molly King and Loren and we hung out and chatted for a while. John from The Nancy Druids sat in for a bit, then we headed our separate ways as showtime approached. I found my comfortable seat in the T-Rex Theater and settled in as The Empty Pockets began to play. The quartet from Chicago played smooth pop rock songs with hints of jazz and country. The rhythm section kept a comfortable pace, the keys floated nicely on the songs, the voices were gentle and pure and there was a nice strength in the guitar. They sang about hearing your voice in the distance and not minding being on the road. They sang a song for their niece Hannah then sang about cliches. Their stage banter was endearing and the crowd seemed to enjoy them. They played a couple more, one about traveling on, then wrapped up their set. It was a lovely show.
I chatted with Kevin Joseph Ryan for a bit in the set break then returned to my seat as the lights went down. The Pockets returned to the stage as the backing band and were joined by Al Stewart. They opened with Sirens Of Titan and we were off. Al began telling wonderful stories right away. He talked about explorers not being able to make it to the South Pole and played a song called Antarctica. Apparently, the song needed a flute so Al introduced Marc Macisso, and he gave the song a cool edge. Throughout the night he would go on to play sax, harmonica, and various other instruments. The band followed with Time Passages and the audience was in a happy place. The large room had easy sight lines and the sound was perfect as the band launched into the Year Of The Cat album. All of the songs have held up well and sounded great in 2018. Al told stories of how English folk singers can’t just write about a subject directly. He cited a story of two airplanes taking off together and flying into a cloud bank and getting lost from one another as a conceit for human relationships. He enjoyed bringing awareness of Rhodesia and the Basques while we bopped to On The Border. Many other fun stories, and some trivia, were discussed between songs as the album played out. They ended the set with a powerhouse version of the title song and said thank you goodnight. They returned quickly and rocked out a fun song that I’m pretty sure was Almost Lucy. The band left but Al stayed and played one more song about being In Brooklyn.
I hung out for a bit after the show and said hi to my friends then ran into Eric Koval. Eric told me to hang out for a bit then took me backstage to meet Al. We spoke of writing and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for a few moments, then I wandered on.
Most everyone had left by then, so I hopped into the car for the trip home. I took a wrong turn off 289 and ended up on a familiar road heading into Colchester. I took a left on 7 and knew what was at the top of the hill. I pulled into the parking lot for the Vermont Respite House and quietly cried for a while as I stared at the building where my mother died. After a few moments, I wiped away the tears and drove into Winooski and headed for home.
I had a great time seeing music a couple of Friday’s ago at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts. There are not of rules in the local music scene, but one of them is to see Rue M. whenever you can. The show is different every time, but is always over the top. I had a relaxed day then took the short walk to Archibald street. I got in and settled and a couple of people spoke and sang about deer camp. A green face appeared on the screen and told tales of attempting to vanquish the The House of LeMay. Scary as he was, no success was to be had. The ladies took the stage and regaled us with stories from Beaver Pond and songs about how bigger is better and a fun reworking of Moonlight In Vermont. Their show was lots of fun.
They left the stage and Rue began to let the night go crazy. They opened with a fun song about a boogeyman then took us south for a tale of a witch queen from New Orleans. It’s hard to describe all the costumes and backing visuals but they were stunning. Everyone gathered around Ms Frankenstein for Frankenpussy then everyone ran ran ran from the devil man. The show turned very sweet when one of the characters sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, but took a dark turn when she was attacked with blood streaked images darkening the screen. Having sunk into such a dark place it took the power of LeMay to return sanity for a fun version of Monster Mash. Rue closed the night by getting the audience to dance along and do the Time Warp.
It was a really fun show, and it the music was a bit more dancey than I prefer, the whole show was as much fun as I prefer.
Note: I took a couple of pictures of Rue that came out excessively poorly. I swiped the pic of Rue from their Facebook page and want to thank Eva Sollberger for it.
I had a fun night at the theater last night. Our community is blessed with lots of great actors and playwrights and I seldom take advantage of all that is on offer. I thought a short walk over to the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts might be fun. The night was hosted by Phinn Sonin who was amusing as always. Seth Jarvis did a nice piece on being a dad. Haley Rice and MacArthur Stine! were brilliant doing an old time comedy radio show hour. David Schein performed John O’Keefe’s The Man In The Moon in a powerful and unsettling way.
Ouzkxqlzn took the stage and wove a magical spell. She played guitar and cello and looped those instruments into a drone. Recordings of our world were mixed in and we were transported to a lovely place. Voices were mixed in which related Yoko Ono’s cutting show with women protesting the Kananaugh nomination. It was completely magical, as always.
Next, Peter Burns told a bunch of stories with an orange theme. The night was wrapped by Nathan Hartswick and Daniel Trigg acting out a story of a king, his sons, and lion taming, all done in Old English.
The whole night was fun.
I had a great time seeing music around Burlington a couple of Saturdays ago. My friend Lisa Lavigne Tejeda was back in Vermont for the day and we made plans to meet up. She wanted to go see some music, and it was a day full of possibilities. In the last few weeks, since I do a local music radio show every Thursday and write about music a lot, several bands have contacted me about their shows in town. Three of them were playing that night.
I worked until 5, had a bit of time to hang out then headed to Light Club Lamp Shop. Loida & Lenahan were on stage and sounded enchanting as I tiptoed into the room and quietly ordered a drink. With keys and vibraphone the instrumental duo had a nice flow to their music. Julian Loida left the stage and Kelly Lenahan played a beautiful song on keys. She left after that one and Julian played a little Bach for Bachtober. He followed with a song in the style of synesthesia called Easter Trance that was magical. Kelly returned after that and they closed with a song lead by sweet keys over a quiet drone that may be called You’ll Be Missed. They were really good.
I took the long walk over to Radio Bean and ran into Lisa and Abraham. We hung out as Serena Jost took the stage with her cello and began to sing. I think the first song was It’s A Delight, since it sounded familiar. Either way, it was really cool. Her songs had a nice strength to them as she continued on and looked for a shooting star. She sang about being in the garden then played a Molly Drake cover called Happiness. She switched to guitar and brought up Dan Macklin (sp?) to help her sing the next one. I think it was about mysteries and walking in open doors.
We took off after that song and headed to Juniper at Hotel Vermont. Josh Glass and Julia Beerworth were joined by Tim Swanson on fiddle, and they played some gently beautiful songs. They played a song about how you may see me tomorrow then one that went by in the blink of an eye. A cover of Dylan’s One More Cup Of Coffee had a nice dark edge then they played a Julia song about taking he dog for one last drive before putting it down. They played a great version of Josh’s song New York My Lovely then they played another Dylan cover that I think was Tomorrow Is A Long Time. They played another sweet Julia song called Wonder then Tim sang a song about Cassie. Josh sang a nice cover of Blackbird and they closed the set with Neil Young’s Helpless and the end section of LayLa. The whole set was very nice.
We zipped out the door and headed back to the Bean and kicked it up a notch as Barbacoa were on stage ripping it up. Kirk Flanagan drove the bass hard, Bobby Hackney Jr. drove the drums hard and Bill Mullins effortlessly let loose stinging guitar chords and sang some fun songs. They were playing a ferocious surf rock jam as we settled in. They followed with a cool version of Dragonfly and followed that with Mighty Have Fallen. I think they said that was the first time Bobby ever played it and he made it sound great, since he is so amazing. They went back to the surfing for a Sergio Leone sounding song with a whip snap ending. They tossed in a fun version of Love Potion #9 then played a song about when I rule the world. They played another great instrumental then pulled out Sweet Child O’ Mine. Someone yelled pulp fiction and they launched into Misirlou. They played it into If I Was A Rich Man then a full version of I Wanna Be Sedated, then brought it back to Dick Dale. They kept the uncommon sting of covers coming with You’re So Vain and Country Roads. They played a couple more cool songs and called it a night. It’s always a great time when they play.
Lisa and Abraham left at one point, but I hung out and soon it was time for Freak Dream. With an intense swirling visual background, the electronic rocking duo played a fierce show. The songs had a power and freakishness and I really enjoyed their set. They wrapped the night with a song about getting out and I left shortly after the final note.
What a great night of music in our town.