by Dan Bolles
Just kidding. Burlington doesn't suck. But now that I have your attention . . .
In a couple of weeks, Seven Days will be running a cover story concerning ways to "make Burlington better." The piece is still very much in the planning stages. But a brainstorming session earlier today kind of got my juices flowing. So I thought, why not ask you, denizens of Solid State, for some music-y suggestions?
A few that jumped immediately to my mind were:
1. A Rock club (capital R). No offense to any of the existing area venues, but there's no denying there's been a void since Toast closed (which filled the void left when Hunt's closed). Nectar's and Metronome are great at what they do. So is Higher Ground, but you have to drive there. The Monkey Bar is close — but again, you gotta drive. And the recent rise of alt-venues has been a fun development. But we're missing the happy medium in Burlington proper. That dive-bar-meets-juke-joint kind of place that draws up-and-coming rock bands and established touring acts who don't quite fit the Nectar's bailiwick, are probably too big for the Monkey or an alt-venue and are too small for destination venues like HG. I know the Toast era is often viewed through rose-colored glasses. But there's a reason for that.
2. A Waterfront Amphitheater. Sure, we could really only use it for a few months a year. But it would be a hell of a lot better than the existing proposals for the Moran Plant.
3. More local music showcases. They're awesome. They always draw. And they don't happen often enough.
4. Mandatory showering policy at all venues. Bouncers would be required to smell all patrons before they enter. I'm serious about this one.
And some non-music related suggestions:
1. More trashcans outside of the Church Street district. I've logged more miles on foot clutching plastic bags filled with dog poop because I can't find a trashcan until I get downtown than I care to count.
2. A commuter rail. Lessee, we've got high gas prices, an imploding economy and state full of supposedly progressive thinking environmental types. Screw the Circ. Sure the Champlain Flyer didn't work. But it only served folks on the state's West Coast and only like twice a day. Extend the rails throughout Chittenden County and run it all day long. If we want to be a big boy city, we've gotta have real mass transit. Monorail!
3. A weatherproof bubble over the city with a retractable roof. I'd say I'm kidding, but I'm seriously all set with winter. Enough already.
4. More/better bars. The current crop is enough to drive a man not to drink.
5. A pool hall. I miss Cherry St. Billiards. A downtown bowling alley would be pretty rad too.
6. Fewer chain stores/eateries on Church Street. Remember Chassman & Bem's? Cassler's? Those places were great. But hey, at least we're getting a bigger Urban Outfitters! Gee, swell.
I could go on. But enough of my ramblings. I want to hear what you would do to improve Burlington. And yes, wishful thinking is wholeheartedly encouraged.