If you're like me, you pay attention to the calendars of larger venues around the Northeast. Personally, I just like to stay on top of who's gonna be at Paradise Rock Club in Allston next week (Beach House), who's coming to Metropolis in Montreal next month (The XX) and who's at Iron Horse in Northampton in May (Horse Feathers). And who is, um, not coming to Burlington. Ahem.
Come to think of it, I can't recommend this as a healthy pastime at all. It's really more a source of constant frustration. There is nothing so deflating as finding out an artist you've been hot to see is touring the Northeast and hitting every reasonably sizable city in the region except ours. Especially when, as is the case with Joanna Newsom, they have an off day between, say, Montreal and Boston.
Now, just so we're clear, I'm not ragging on our local booking folks and club owners. By and large, they do a terrific job, especially for a town/region our size. And frankly, they are usually as bummed as you and I when folks like Newsom do a flyover. Rather, this is just one of those little irritations of living in and around Burlington. You learn to live with having to go to Boston and beyond to see some of your favorites. Like, for example, Spoon at House of Blues on March 27 … WOOHOO!
Excuse me. Where was I? Ah, yes. Joanna Newsom. The hell with her.
Every now and then, when certain stars pass us by, others align just so and things unexpectedly work out in our favor. Tuesday night should prove to be just such an occasion.
The Monkey House has scored a serious coup with the last minute booking of, well, Joanna Newsom's band. Or at least some of them. Since they have an off day, Newsom's supporting act, Kevin Barker will play a set with Brooklyn's Robert A.A. Lowe (a.k.a. Lichens). Newsom band mates Ryan Francesconi and Neal Morgan will also plays sets, as will our own cosmo-rural crooner, Brett Hughes.
Barker actually made a stop at the Monkey last July with Happy Birthday and Paper Castles. In a quickie column bit I wrote about the show, I mentioned that our old pal Greg Davis had suggested I might really dig Barker. Not surprisingly, Davis was spot on. Sadly, I missed the show — something about the Quad, I imagine. But Barker's solo debut You & Me stands among my favorite albums of 2009.
Here's a clip of Barker performing with his band last year. And Ms. Newsom, maybe you wouldn't have such a tough time moving records if you played more places like Burlington …