Zen Lounge Hosts a Toast to Club Toast | Live Culture

Zen Lounge Hosts a Toast to Club Toast


Wide Wail from "Sound Proof" - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Wide Wail from "Sound Proof"
If you're a local music fan of certain vintage, the Burlington rock scene of the mid-to-late1990s likely holds a special place in your heart. Bands such as Guppyboy, the Pants, Wide Wail, Zola Turn, Envy, Chin Ho!, the Fags and Eef — to name but a few — ruled as royalty in the Queen City with fuzzed-out guitars and floppy hair. And their castle keep was a dingy lower Church Street rock venue called Club Toast.

Club Toast was a mainstay in the local music scene for years, until it closed on New Year's Eve 1998. As with the fabled downtown hotspot Hunt's a generation before it, the nostalgia surrounding Toast has since assumed near-mythic proportions. And with good reason. Owners Dennis and Justin Wygmans stacked the the second-floor nightclub with a remarkable array of big-name national talent. And locals were featured just as prominently on the ubiquitous schedule flyers that cluttered local poster boards and shop counters all over town.

Since Toast closed, a string of nightclubs has occupied the upstairs space above Rasputin's, including Lift, Second Floor and Club Millennium. Catering more to the dance crowd than rockers, none of those spots ever quite captured the magic of Toast — nor, it should be noted, did they particularly try. But this Saturday, September 26, the current tenant, Zen Lounge, owned by longtime BTV resident Robbie Zapatski, is paying tribute to the history in those walls with a night dedicated to remembering Club Toast: A Toast to Club Toast.

Revelers will party like its 1999 to the live sounds of era favorites the Channel Two Dub Band and Aaron Flinn. Local DJs Luis Calderin and Frostee will spin late-1990s classics — presumably including cuts from BTV labels such as Club Fub and Good Citizen. Seven Days photog Matt Thorsen's "Sound Proof" photo exhibit, which features dozens of images of 1990s BTV bands, will be on display. Dennis Wygmans himself will be on hand. And, who knows, maybe we can convince local filmmaker Bill Simmon to play some clips from his long-awaited documentary about the Pants, High Water Mark, which is reportedly very close to completion.