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Silent Night



Published August 31, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.

It’s depressing to think about, but as we stand on the eve of Labor Day weekend, summer is just about finished. Yeah, I know the “official” end of summer isn’t for a few more weeks. But I doubt I’m the only one who has noticed a crisp, fall chill in the morning air lately — that is, when I’m actually up early enough to see “morning.” We rock critics stay up late and like to sleep in. But I digress. Point is, it’s time to say goodbye to summer. Almost.

Before we bid a fond adieu to our shortest season, there is one more big summer throwdown in store: North Beach Unplugged: An Independence Weekend Silent Disco, this Saturday, September 3, at North Beach in Burlington.

Brought to you by the fine folks from local DJ collective 2K Deep, this daylong dance party features a grand total of 19 DJs, including a set from world-famous NYC club maven The Juan MacLean, as well as a slew of local DJ favorites such as Craig Mitchell, Bonjour-Hi!, Mushpost, DJ Disco Phantom and the entire 2K Deep crew, to name but a handful. Also, should you be house-music averse but want to spend one last Saturday peacefully basking on the beach this weekend, fret not. You won’t hear a thing.

When they say “silent disco,” they mean it. Ticket holders will be given personal headsets that will allow them to listen to one of two channels, broadcast directly from DJ booths in the park where each turntablist will be spinning live. No headset, no tunes. As an added bonus, this might make for one of the more surreal scenes in recent memory as hundreds of revelers get down and dirty in what would appear to outside observers to be total silence — presumably punctuated by wild applause between phantom sets. Eerie.

Tickets for the show are available at Pure Pop Records in Burlington.

(BTW, not to pick nits, but wouldn’t “Independence Weekend” have been in July?)

The Homecoming

Our favorite snowbirds are back! At least for a few days. Longtime Burlington psych-rock stalwarts the Cush return to Vermont this week for the first time since moving home to Texas last year. So what have they been up to since last we met?

According to a recent email from guitarist Burette Douglas, it’s been really hot in Texas. Also, it doesn’t rain much.

Well, OK, then. Thanks for the update!

Anyway, before hopping across the pond for an upcoming European tour, the band has a gig at Nectar’s this Thursday, September 1, with Burlington’s Errands. And I’m told both frequent Cush drummer Steve Hadeka and Farm’s Ben Maddox will be joining the band for the evening. But that’s not all.

On Sunday, September 4, two Cush side projects will take the stage at the Monkey House: Burette Douglas’ alt-country all-star band Lonestar Chain and his wife Gabrielle Douglas’ band, the Dwellers. Local indie-folk outfit Cannon Fodder open.

Welcome back, guys. It’s been too long. And, please, take some rain back with you to Texas. We’ve had plenty.


Burlington’s Nexus Artist Management continues to grow. The artist-promotion company recently launched a new business model — and an accompanying snazzy new website, — that favors a three-pronged attack to pimping their acts: management, media design and event production. Nexus is even expanding its black-lit gaze beyond breakbeat and electronica to include live acts from a variety of genres, including rock, hip-hop and classical chamber music. And, yes, I made up one of those. Still, the folks at NAM are keenly aware of how they got to where they are: by throwing raging parties. For example, the next installment of Sunday Night Mass, this Sunday, September 4, at Club Metronome. The lineup features a typical roster of talent, including globe-trotting London club giant Sinden, local DJ Luis Calderin, and resident DJs Chris Pattison, Haitian and Justin REM.

If, like me, you’re a sucker for the retro R&B sound currently being revived by the likes of Sharon Jones, Mayer Hawthorne and Ryan Shaw, check out Raphael Saadiq, who is opening for Bruno Mars at the Champlain Valley Fair this Thursday. Saadiq’s latest album, Stone Rollin’, is about the closest thing to vintage Philly and Memphis soul — with occasional obligatory nods to Motown — this side of 1974. Fun fact about Saadiq: Once upon a time, he was the front man for early 1990s pop-R&B outfit Tony! Toni! Toné! Yes, really.

In the wake of Langdon Street Café closing this spring … excuse me for a sec. (AAARGGGH!) Sorry. Where was I? Ah, yes, the aftermath of LSC. While no single hot spot has yet emerged to completely fill the void in central Vermont, several venues have ramped up their music calendars lately. The Goddard College Haybarn looks like the latest entrant, with a new monthly series getting under way this week, organized by local songwriter Kris Gruen and a few of his notable friends, including Anaïs Mitchell, former LSC owner Meg Hammond and Cumbancha honcho Jacob Edgar. The series starts this Thursday with Cumbancha recording artist Luisa Maita. Future installments will include Mitchell’s Transcontinental Revue with John Elliot on Sunday, October 10, followed by Session Americana in November.

Speaking of the Montpeculiar scene, the capital city hosts a double bill of supremely talented female tunesmiths this week when Burlington’s Maryse Smith & the Rosesmiths join Montpelier’s Katie Trautz and the Tall Boys at Positive Pie 2 this Friday. See, Montpelier? Things aren’t so bad after all.

Local maladjusted hardcore hooligans Blinded by Rage are back in action this week, headlining yet another Homegrown Metal showcase at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge this Saturday, September 3. And where there are metal and hardcore bands, you know there are great metal and hardcore band names. To wit: Filthy Minutes of Fame, Renewal of Faith and, my personal favorite and winner of this issue’s Band Name of the Week, Boil the Whore.

After eight years of operating the successful hip-hop boutique Steez on Church Street in Burlington, Fattie B and his business partner, Jordan Boyea, are retiring. The dynamic duo recently completed the transfer of the business, selling it to friends who will rename the shop the ME Boutique. Fattie B will retain rights to use the Steez brand name, and will continue to produce art under that banner — and sell it at the new shop, no less. To honor the end of an era, a crew of Burlington’s finest turntable talents will gather at the 1/2 Lounge this Wednesday, August 31, and throw down in honor of Steez. Slated to appear: Bonjour-Hi!, DJ ZJ, DJ Big Dog and — drum roll, please — DJ Big Kat with a special appearance by the Aztext.

Speaking of the Aztext, I just got my hot little hands on the last, and as-yet-unreleased, installment of their Who Cares If We’re Dope. At the risk of spoiling the eventual review in these pages, I gotta say: I care, and you probably will, too. It’s definitely dope.

Congratulations to the monthly First Friday series at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, which celebrates its five-year anniversary this Friday, September 2. For the occasion, resident DJs Llu and Precious will be joined by talented songwriter Linda Cullum.

Father-son gypsy-jazz duo They Might Be Gypsies celebrate the release of their second album, Rendezvous, with a show at 51 Main in Middlebury this Saturday, September 3. I glowingly reviewed their self-titled debut last year, when guitarist Aidan Ryan was but a lad of 14. Though I have yet to hear the new one, it’s scary to think how good he might be now that he’s a year closer to getting a driver’s license.

Last but not least, any Beatles fans in the house? Local Beatles tribute band Rubber Revolver will give a reprise salute to two Fab Four records, Rubber Soul and Revolver, this Thursday, September 1, at Club Metronome. The band, which debuted in May, features local notables Mike Pedersen, Peter Day, Clint Bierman, Joshua Glass and Sean Preece.

Listening In

Once again, this week’s totally self-indulgent column segment, in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc., this week.

The Weeknd, Thursday

Active Child, You Are All I See

Blood Orange, Coastal Grooves

Purling Hiss, Lounge Lizards EP

Lennie Tristano, Lennie Tristano/The New Tristano

Speaking of Music, soundbites