For anyone who grew up loving live music in and around Burlington, 242 Main is hallowed ground. Ever a breeding pool for the next wave of local talent — particularly in the heavy music scene — the dingy basement club below Memorial Auditorium has been the site of some of the best shows in the history of our bustling little burg and has given birth to some of our finest acts. There are few local rock musicians who didn’t spend a significant portion of their formative years in its concrete cockles. As an aside, it was also the site of Vanilla Ice’s rap-core comeback tour appearance in 1998. But I digress.
Now under the guidance of Franky Andreas, who doubles as the guitarist for metal throwback hooligans Amadis, 242 has made a concerted effort to branch out beyond the hardcore and punk scene (though the place still boasts enough steel-toed, double-bass-drum ass-kickery to sate the surliest musical appetites) and bring in scads of regional acts of various genres.
This Sunday, the club gets its indie-rock on with a trio of up-and-coming southern New England acts. Southwick, Mass.-based rockers Gone By Daylight kick things off. The quartet claims some questionable influences — Third Eye Blind? Really? — but delivers the goods with a gnarly brand of melodic pop-rock that defies the undeniable suckiness of the aforementioned pretty-boy popsters. Third Eye-effin’-Blind?
Next up is Forget Paris from New Haven, Connecticut. These guys put the “pow” in power-pop and might have one of the funniest MySpace pages I’ve ever seen. To wit, their profile headline reads, “I’m Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC. Have a seat.” A word of caution, boys: With lyrics like “She laughs too loud, but that’s not all she can do with her mouth,” I’m not sure I’d be antagonizing Mr. Hansen. Just throwin’ that out there.
Headliners The Ghost Sonata are mildly reminiscent of Cold War Kids’ dramatic indie-rock, but with a bit more emphasis on rockin’ than their hipster-sensation counterparts. Raw and energetic, I’m guessing these guys put on one hell of a live show.
Haven’t heard much from local jam-rock outfit Turkey Bouillon Mafia in a while. In a recent press release, the band claims responsibility for impregnating Jamie Lynn Spears and cites “covert infiltration” and a considerable amount of strategic planning as a primary reason for their recent hiatus. Who knew? In celebration of their procreational fortitude, a few, um, members of the group have banded together with some of the area’s most respected Grateful Dead acolytes for two nights of knocked-up, tie-dyed nostalgia.
This Friday at Club Metronome, TBM’s Benny Yurco and Adam King will be joined by Blues For Breakfast bassist David Hyman, Liquid Dead’s Trevor Ainsworth, Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro and Larry Flynn for the first session. Exactly two weeks later, the crew is at it again, this time with support from local blues howler Seth Yacovone and skins man extraordinaire Steve Hadeka. I’m guessing cigars will be provided. But you’ll have to bring your own weed.
It seems music sessions are all the rage in Vermont these days. Almost any night of the week, you can find old-time sessions, bluegrass sessions, Irish ceilis and, of course, honky-tonk sessions at a startling number of venues and coffeehouses around the state. And that’s pretty sweet.
Burlington’s Radio Bean is a veritable hotbed of musical community spirit and hosts such events with remarkable regularity. In particular, Wednesday night’s improvisational jazz session, Ensemble V, hosted by trumpeter Arthur Brooks, has carved out a nifty little niche in the Bean’s weekly schedule and is now entering its second year. Let me be the first to say congrats!
The former chair of Bennington College’s Black Music Department, Brooks is relatively unknown in these parts but has shared the stage and recorded with such notable artists as free-jazz trumpeter Bill Dixon and pioneering pianist Cecil Taylor. As impressive as those names are, Brooks manages to keep some pretty elite company even in the tiny hamlet of B-Town.
Ensemble V’s core lineup consists of improv auteur Michael Chorney on prepared guitar, venerable jazz bassist Anthony Santor, drummer PJ Davidian — who comes from one of the most musical Vermont families this side of the von Trapps — and cellist Polly Van der Putten. The roster of additional players changes every week and at times has swelled to as many as nine musicians. But regardless of who shows up, the music is always hot and entirely improvised. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I highly recommend that you do.
I feel like I’ve been writing so much about The Skinny Pancake lately that I’m running out of clever headlines. Seriously, “Skinny-dipping” is pretty much the bottom of the well. But enough of my problems, right?
I’ve been espousing the waterfront creperie’s virtues for months now, yet they continue to come up with new ways of piquing my musical interest. This time around, in an effort to reinvigorate sagging Thursday night turnouts and capitalize on the ever-present college crowd, the venue is launching a “Student Showcase” night later this month. The idea is essentially to find some of the area’s finest scholastic talent and provide an outlet for them to perform outside the ivied walls of our various institutions of higher learning/ binge drinking.
Not to be confused with an open mike, the evening will feature artists carefully selected by SP owner Benjy Adler and is not solely limited to acoustic singer-songwriter fare — though one imagines that sort of stuff will feature prominently in the schedule. I mean, what’s more collegiate than a sensitive dude who plays guitar to attract chicks? Artists and bands interested in being part of the showcase can contact Adler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS
Just a few housekeeping issues before I bid you adieu for this week.
First up, in a CD review in the 12/19 issue of Seven Days, we erroneously listed Silent Mind’s debut disc, 2012 Here We Come, as “self-released.” It’s not. The album was released by Chakra 5 Records, a brand-spankin’-new label based right here in Burlington. My bad, guys.
In the following issue, a photo of local MC Burnt MD with underground hip-hop luminaries Planet Asia and Tableek ran in this very column without a proper credit. The pic was taken by Anaii Lee-Ender of Gage Promotions.