by Dan Bolles
Since I spent the entirety of this week's Soundbites column raving about last weekend's thoroughly excellent Precipice festival, here are news and notes that would have been included had the Precipice not been so freakin' awesome.
Didn't get an invite to this Friday's Daysies awards party at the ECHO Center? Actually, I'm jealous. Because that means you'll be free to take to the high seas with two of Burlington's hardest-rocking outfits, Waylon Speed and Rough Francis. (While I will be gamely pretending to enjoy schmoozing at the party. I hate schmoozing.)
WS and RF will be rocking aboard the Lake Champlain Ferry this Friday, August 2, as part of the MSR Presents-presented Rock the Boat. Aside from telling you the cruise departs the King Street ferry dock at precisely 7 p.m., and that you can get tix here, I'm not really sure what else I need to say about it. It's two awesome local bands. On a boat. If I need to explain why that's awesome, you're beyond my help. But what do you think, Artie Lange?
If you're experiencing Precipice withdrawal, you could head north of the border to Montréal this weekend for the indie rock smorgasbord that is Osheaga, where you can undoubtedly catch more than a few "Mumford bands" — including the original, BTW. Or for something a little more down home, you could check out the Backwoods Pondfest in Peru, N.Y.
The fest, now in its 7th year, is curated by Plattsburgh-based rockers Lucid — who just released a pretty solid new record. As it is most years, the 25-plus band lineup for the two-day, groove-oriented festival is dominated by upstate New York and Vermont talent, including the Blind Owl Band, Flabberghaster, Twiddle and VT expat Jennifer Hartswick. And there is plenty of heavy-hitting national and regional talent, too — such as Dopapod, the Bernie Worrell Orchestra and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, to name a few.
Backwoods Pondfest runs from Friday, August 2, through Saturday, August 3, at the Twin Ponds Campsite in Peru, NY. For more info, go here.
Finally, if the most diabolical among you were to devise a personal hell for yours truly, it might be something like "North America's most comprehensive alternative bagpipe event." That is the tagline for the the 15th Annual Pipers' Gathering slated for this Saturday and Sunday at Champlain College.
Nothing against the pipers who will descend on the town this weekend from all over the world to bleat their stuff. I'm sure you're all really great folks, very talented and greatly respected in your field. I just can't stand the sound of anything you play. "Nails on a chalkboard" is not a strong enough phrase for what the drone and squawk of bagpipes sounds like to these ears. "Nails fastening dying cats to a chalkboard" would be a little closer.
But maybe I'm precisely the sort of person the Pipers' Gathering is aiming to reach. The two-day event makes a point of featuring a variety of bagpipe types, not just the usual Great Highland Bagpipe. If you go, you'll hear pipes from throughout Europse, including Northumbrian smallpipes, Scottish smallpipes, Irish Uilleann pipes and border pipes, among other styles. Sounds educational. Tell you what, pipers: I'll come if someone does a rendition of this:
For those who don't require the lure of of great scenes from old Mike Myers movies, more details on the Pipers' Gathering — including concert and workshop info — can be found here.