by Dan Bolles
So there it is, in all its glory. The hunter's orange can from Miller High Life. Kinda pretty isn't it?
Not since Abercrombie & Fitch began marketing thongs to grade schoolers have we seen such a brazen display of marketing impropriety. Do you hunt? Do you drink? Now you can can do both without fear of a most unfortunate casualty befalling you in the woods: having your beer mistaken for a whitetail and accidentally blown away. Thanks, Miller! (High Life's actual slogan: "Common Sense in a Bottle" . . . indeed.)
Last weekend, some friends and I put the new design to the test at my girlfriend's parent's cabin on the edge of the Northeast Kingdom. None of us are hunters, but we do like drinking in the great outdoors. Adding legitimacy to the experiment, the normal parameters of "hunting season" don't really apply in that particular neck of the woods — which is red, and I ain't talkin' about the leaves.
I'm pleased to report that all of our beers emerged from the weekend unscathed. My poor half-crazy half-pit bull, Buckley, had a few close calls — he's mostly white — and I take full responsibility. Next time, he'll be outfitted with a beer helmet and have twice the protection! Safety first, don'cha know.
Aside from the obvious appeal of drinking schwaggy American lager in the great outdoors, perhaps the best part of the weekend was sitting by a fire in one of the most remote locations in Vermont and listening to a ton of great music. I think you know you've settled in to your job as a local music writer when you shuffle your iPod and discover there's equal parts local and national material. I've always listened to a lot of local stuff intermingled with well known groups. But perhaps because I have so much access to it now, never before have the two been pretty much on par.
There's something deeply pleasing about listening to Sufjan Stevens transition to Nose Bleed Island which then melds into Band Of Horses, segueing nicely into Farm. It was even cooler to have an Aesop Rock track blend seamlessly into VT Union and then turn around and spit out Andrew Bird — it was like the iPod had been observing my entire week and taking notes . . . creepy.
One band that stood out and made frequent appearances in the mix was the deliciously subversive acolytes of Beefheart, Man Man. With healthy vaudevillian nods towards Tom Waits, the band is a circus freakshow whose sinister musical machinations were magnified by the eerie shadows cast by the flickering flames. Picture David Lynch remaking The Blair Witch Project, and I think you'll get the idea.
It probably won't, but I'm hoping tonight's show at Metronome — with experimental weirdos Yip Yip and local boys Yes and No Stories — has a similarly chilling effect. Perhaps I should bring some High Life along, just in case.