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Amateur Night



Published March 16, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.

This next sentence will likely betray my Irish ancestry — if my English ancestry hadn’t already, I suppose. But I loathe St. Patrick’s Day. There, I said it.

Regular readers might think I’d feel otherwise, as the annual pseudo-holiday is centered on at least two of my favorite things — namely, Guinness and whiskey. But as I get a little older and (maybe) a little wiser, my tolerance for sloppy shenanigans continues to wane. And next to New Year’s Eve and possibly Mardi Gras, few nights of the year can match St. Patty’s Day for sheer drunken lunacy. So, as I have the last couple of years, I will be staying in this Thursday. Drunken Irish wannabes, the town is all yours for the evening. Please clean up after yourselves, thanks. And we’ll try and keep it down on Friday morning.

Personal prickliness aside, there are a few local traditions that bear mentioning for those of you who will brave the housed hordes and may be looking for a soundtrack to which to publicly embarrass yourselves/vomit. So, in no particular order…

If you’re looking for traditional Irish fare, your best bet might just be Nectar’s. For the last few years running, the House That Phish Built has hosted local acoustic quartet the Seawolves, whose varied repertoire includes a veritable pot o’ gold of jigs, reels and waltzes, and beloved ballads. They also veer into more modern fare from time to time, just to keep things fresh. After all, man cannot live on tradition and Guinness alone. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Around the corner at Rí Rá, essentially ground zero on Patty’s Day, expect live music all day long. As of press time, the Irish-ish pub has yet to release the full day’s schedule, but a personal local favorite, Longford Row, are playing that afternoon. I know it’s tempting to start boozing at the crack of dawn, but try to stay upright at least through their set. You’ll thank me later — you know, if you remember it.

Meanwhile, across the bricks at Red Square we find a local tradition that, if anything could, might just get me out and about on Black, er, Green Thursday: Everybody’s Favorite Irish Drinking Songs Band. For the unfamiliar, EFIDSB is pretty much local rockers the Dirty Blondes, only drunk(er), armed with baked potatoes (yes, really) and playing everybody’s fav … you get the idea.

(Brief aside: There was a rumor swirling about that my all-star, all-redhead band, the Ginger Snaps, would also be on this bill. Though it would sorta make sense, at least aesthetically, we ain’t playing. Sorry. See: St. Patty’s Day, hate it, above.)

Finally, if bodhrans (Irish frame drums. But, being “Irish,” you knew that, right?) just don’t pack enough beat-dropping punch for you, you’re in luck. The boyz and girlz from local DJ collective 2K Deep have a special St. Patty’s Day blowout of club bangers and mash(ups) on deck at Club Metronome, featuring Minneapolis-based dubstep heavyweight Vaski and radioactive B-more producer Smash Gordon.

Sending Love

I’m rarely at a loss for words. But like so many who watched the horrific aftermath of last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I’m left virtually speechless. Heavy as that tragedy weighs on many of us, I can only imagine what must have been going through the mind of local songwriter and Amida Bourbon Project front woman Aya Inoue that Friday morning.

Inoue was born in Tokyo and lived there until she was 15. Her father and much of his family still live there. Thankfully, her family and friends are all OK. Still, the shock of trying to comprehend the devastation to her homeland is profound.

According to Inoue, the most frustrating part for her has been a feeling of helplessness, of watching and waiting from half a world away. Though we may not all have the same personal connection to Japan, I’m guessing that’s a pretty universal emotion right now.

This Friday at the Parima Main Stage, Inoue is hosting a benefit show called Send-ing Love: A Fundraiser for Japan. The all-star jam session features a who’s who of local songwriting talent, including Tiffany Pfeiffer, the Wee Folkestra, Seny Daffe & Wontanara, Zack duPont, Greg Alexander, Steve Hartmann and Samara Lark. Though there haven’t been any other confirmations as of press time, Parima’s Joe Adler has hinted at reeling in some very “special guests” as well. All the proceeds from the door, as well as a portion of Parima’s total sales will go toward relief efforts in Japan.


Speaking of Parima, I had a killer time at Mildred Moody’s Full Moon Masquerade last month. The Thai restaurant is quickly becoming a go-to spot for live music, and nights such as this monthly party are a big reason why. This month’s installment is this Saturday and features folk-punk outfit Sai U Drom, DJ Luke Skyrocker and, as always, Scott Mangan’s band, Mildred Moody. But that’s not all. You can also have your fortune read, get a chair massage, and check out some live art courtesy of Jerome Foster. But here’s the best part. Each month the proceeds from the masquerade go to a different charity. This month the beneficiary is Save Our Strays, an organization that helps stray pooches and kitties find new homes.

One more Parima bit: Gua Gua cofounder Raphael Groten has been curiously quiet lately. After a lengthy hiatus, the guitarist and composer has gotten back on the horse with a few shows around Burlington. This Saturday, he’ll play an early-ish Main Stage set with his quartet, which also includes Andric Severance on keys, John Thompson-Figueroa on upright bass and Caleb Bronz on drums.

Band Name of the Week: Canadian Lesbian Twins. No, Tegan & Sara aren’t playing in Burlington this week. But this local duo actually did model their provocative moniker after the Canadian le … er, the Canadian band, whom they’ve been known to cover from time to time. They’ll be at the Monkey House in Winooski this Monday with the Current Flash and Megan Luttrell.

Email of the Week, from experimental pop outfit Lawrence Welks & Our Bear to Cross: “Saturday, March 19, Lawrence Welks & Our Bear to Cross plays the decadent hippie luv pit that is Slade Hall. We will be saving souls and preaching God’s word, an all Psalms set.” ’Nuff said. Actually, not quite. Son of Salami and Happy Jawbone Family Band are also on that bill. UVM won’t know what hit it.

Punk night in Montpelier, anyone? Be at Langdon Street Café this Friday when two Burlington-based outfits, Rough Francis and riot-grrrl trio Doll Fight! get down and dirty in the capital city.

And finally, local Ween tribute act Brown Gold has a new Gene Ween, local singer and guitarist Matt Nunan. In other news, Burlington apparently has a Ween tribute act. Who knew? They’ll be at the Monkey House this Friday.

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 Hit Back, Who Are Those Weird Old Kids?

The Luyas, Too Beautiful to Work

François Peglau, The Imminent Failure of François Peglau

Elbow, Build a Rocket Boys!

Elliot Smith, Figure 8