Soundbites: Two Become One | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Music » Music News + Views

Soundbites: Two Become One


Published July 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated July 24, 2018 at 2:50 p.m.

  • Courtesy Of Natalie Girsberger
  • Ryan Miller of Guster

Summer 2018 has already provided us with a memorable selection of outdoor concerts and multiday festivals. But the hits keep coming this week when seasoned rockers Guster team up with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for a one-of-a-kind collaboration. The two groups take the stage on Saturday, July 21, at the Green at the Shelburne Museum. Psych-pop quintet Madaila add support.

"This is important for us to do as an institution," says VSO executive director Ben Cadwallader. "What is the place of an orchestra in this really diverse and incredible arts community that we have here in Vermont? This kind of work with Guster — that's at the front lines of how we are proactively evolving this institution and art form."

Cadwallader reckons the trend of pairing rock bands with symphony orchestras can be traced back to Metallica's two-night run with the San Francisco Symphony. The 1999 shows were recorded and later released as live album S&M.

The impending event wouldn't be possible without composer and JukeBox music series curator Matt LaRocca. The frequent VSO collaborator charted all of Guster's work for the performance.

"It's so fun for bands to play with orchestras," says Guster's Ryan Miller. "It feels like you're on a battleship. You have all this power behind you. All of these little things you might play on a guitar — there might be eight people playing that."

"There's a lot about the harmonic and rhythmic language we experience with Guster that the musicians in VSO are going to have a really fun time [with]," says Cadwallader, adding that it will be a different kind of fun than they normally have with "the dead German guys we usually play."

Both Guster and the VSO have embarked on similar collaborations before. Guster previously teamed up with classical ensembles such as the Colorado Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. And the VSO linked up with indie-folk singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov two years ago.

Cash Back

Remember Shrinedom 2017? Sure you do. Last September, a bunch of '80s hard-rock bands and artists — such as Lita Ford, Firehouse and Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil — were supposed to perform at a large-scale outdoor concert in Irasburg to benefit the Shriners organization. But on the day of the show, everything went to hell. Nary a scheduled headliner performed. The details of what went wrong were somewhat murky. But now, a newly released report from Vermont's Office of the Attorney General explains what happened.

According to a press release, "...the organizers had not sold enough tickets to pay the national bands" on the day of the show. Therefore, the bands walked. The release also mentions a bogus cover story relating to faulty generators, allegedly spread by the festival's organizers. Speaking of whom...

Adam Johnson and Marcus Clay, the folks who arranged the concert, are both named: "Johnson has agreed not to direct any fundraisers for five years. Clay will not produce any events with an audience greater than 1,000 for five years." Hooray for justice?

Here's the best part: If you purchased tickets to the failed attempt at a rock show, you are eligible for a refund! Visit to find the refund submission form and to read the press release in its entirety.


  • Courtesy Of Smalltalker
  • smalltalker

Have you ever been at a concert and had the misfortune of standing next to two people who wouldn't stop talking? I have — more times than I can count. I used to ask such Chatty Cathies the convoluted question, "Would it be OK if I asked you to move your conversation elsewhere?" Note that my passive-aggressive phrasing avoided actually telling them to shut up, or even asking them to move. I would ask them if I could ask them. A history of mixed results led me to retire the question. Now, I simply suck it up and move myself when I'm standing next to Lord and Lady Talksalot. Is that a sign of maturity or defeat?

Segue: You won't have to worry about incessant chatter at soul-jazz ensemble smalltalker's upcoming show on Friday, July 20, at Burlington's North End Studio A. As part of Foam Brewers' Listener Series, the off-site event puts an emphasis on, well, listening. So put a pin in your dissection of Season 2 of "Westworld" until after the show.


This week, the Vermont Comedy Club launches the Big Pond Improv Festival. A first for the Burlington-based giggle mill, the three-day fest runs from Thursday, July 19, through Saturday, July 21. Teams from all over the Northeast — including Montréal; Philadelphia; New York City; Hartford, Conn.; the Boston area; and the Green Mountain State — descend on the club in 12 blocks of improvised hilarity. Tickets can be purchased for each segment, or you can throw down for an all-access pass. If you plan to see five or more sets, the all-access pass is the way to go.

As you probably know, I'm responsible for compiling Seven Days' club listings. Once in a while, a band's name will attract my attention so much that I feel I have to mention it. This week's eye-catching band is ... Vermont. Weird, right? While I can't think of a worse name for a VT-based group, it's actually kind of adorable that the Cincinnati pop-punk outfit uses our state's name. Why call itself Vermont? The group claims it was playing Monopoly and was inspired by the Vermont Avenue space. Works for me!

Vermont play Radio Bean on Wednesday, July 25, along with locals APB and Days on End. Listen to Vermont's infectious new EP, I Didn't Think We'd Make It This Far, at

New local band alert: Briefly called Dead Island, singer-songwriter and guitarist Rob Voland's new group — tentatively called Rob Voland Band — hits Radio Bean on Saturday. The trio also includes Hunt Manley on bass and Wren Kitz on drums. Recently, while watching them play at the Monkey House, I was so awestruck that I wondered what other Seven Days writers have said about Voland in the past.

In 2006, former music editor Casey Rae wrote of Voland's album Springinsfeld, "His fractured melodies and aching, Neil Young-style electric guitar pushes the singer-songwriter genre to the outer limits." The same is true of the artist's new material, which can be heard on a limited-release cassette tape, Quality Loneliness, available only at shows.

Listening In

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.

Drive-In, "Night Drive"

Madonna, "Dear Jessie"

Years & Years, "Palo Santo"

Beach House, "L'Inconnue"

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, "Hunnybee"

Related Stories

Speaking of...



Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.