In an age when “news” has all but been reduced to vapid talking heads, ethically challenged blogosphere reportage and the sub-140 character inanity of the Twitterati, it’s hard not to long for the days when the term “journalism” meant more than snippet-sized bits of info, when “reading the paper” meant actually having the ability — and the time — to read. So, in this spirit we offer the first-ever, super-sized, crazy extended edition of “Soundbites.” Because we care. That, and we had to bag a live review slated to appear in this week’s music section and needed something to fill the space. But mostly the caring thing.
Before we move on to the pressing topics of the day, let’s revisit that live review. Originally, we had lined up a review of local outfit Osage Orange’s gig at Radio Bean last Saturday night. But, unfortunately, there was a scheduling glitch and we found ourselves without a writer to espouse the group’s many splendored indie-folk virtues. It happens.
At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, gee whiz, Dan Bolles. Why couldn’t you just review the show yourself? That’s, like, your job, right?”
Yes. Yes it is. And how astute of you to note, I might add. However, the band’s drummer, Jeremy Gantz, is also a close friend — we played together in a group called The Middle 8 some years ago, and Gantz is an occasional contributing photographer to the 7D music section — usually for live reviews, oddly enough. Thus, we arrive at that journalistic Kryptonite known as “conflict of interest.”
So, even though I was at the show, and even though I really enjoyed the band, I’m ethically bound not to say either of those things in print ... oh, crap! Er, I mean, they sucked ... um, let’s try this again.
My apologies to Osage Orange for the scheduling snafu. We’ll get to you sooner or later, I’m sure. Apologies as well to you, dear readers. Take this with the appropriate amount of salt grains, but the group puts on a fun show. And you would have enjoyed reading about it.
And now, newsy stuff, now 97 percent conflict-of-interest free!
HIS NAME IS ... ROBERT?
Did you know that Kid Rock’s real name is Robert Ritchie? How alliteratively dorky! Do you think he went by Bob, Rob or Bert, growing up? The last would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?
Anyway, I bring this up because, last week, it was announced that the hedonistic hip-hop cowboy will be appearing at this year’s Champlain Valley Fair on Sunday, September 6. His addition to the schedule makes this year’s lineup arguably the most star-studded ever, with country crooner Brad Paisley, “American Idol” champ Kelly Clarkson and “horny” classic rockers Chicago also on tap.
Tickets for all shows are now on sale. You can get yours at flynntix.org, or at the most rock ’n’ roll ticket outlet around, Copy, Ship & Fax Plus in Essex Junction.
DOWN IN THE VALLEY
If you’re totally stoked about Kid Rock’s impending visit, then you probably won’t be about this next bit. I’d suggest finishing up the detailing job on your IROC-Z and then coming back for the latter portions of the column. Ahem.
With the aforementioned CVF lineup, the Quadricentennial celebration (The Roots, Tony Bennett, Steve Earle and Aimee Mann, etc.); the Burlington Discover Jazz Fest (Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, etc.), Concerts on the Green (Emmylou Harris, David Byrne, etc.), this summer is shaping up to be epic on the music front. While the unprecedented smorgasbord of big-name acts is mesmerizing, I’d urge you not to pass over some of the excellent smaller events that occur each summer. For example, the Valley Stage Festival in Huntington on Saturday, August 8.
Event organizer Don Sheldon has just released the lineup for this year’s fest — the fourth annual! — and, as we’ve come to expect, it is chock-full of family-friendly folksy goodness.
Leading off is Nashville singer-songwriter Christopher Williams, followed by Michigan duo May Erlewine and Seth Bernard. Brooklyn punk-grass collective The Defibulators are next, and get my vote for press clipping of the year with this nugget: “Like watching ‘Hee Haw’ on mescaline.” Sold. Noted San Francisco art-folk quartet The Waybacks close out the festival, which, by the way, is completely solar powered.
And speaking of great local outdoor fests, the word from Langdon Street Café’s Ed DuFresne is that the lineup for this year’s Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is almost complete. With any luck, we’ll have all the details next week. Stay tuned.
NEW BAND ALERT!
Dubbed Waylon Speed — named after guitarist Chad Hammaker’s son — the group features Crowther’s younger brother Justin on drums as well as local singer-songwriter/musician-about-town Kelly Ravin on the Telecaster guit-box.
So, what do they sound like? Well, Noah puts it about as well as I could — better, if you consider that I’ve never actually heard the new group. In a recent email, he describes the new outfit thusly: “Back to our speedwestern, fuck-your-face, country-rock roots.” Given that the band is 75 percent Chuch lineage, I say only this: giddyup.
As for Jesus Vanacho, Crowther says they’re on the back burner for the time being. There had been whispers of a forthcoming EP, so it would appear we’ll have to wait a while longer for that one. In the meantime, you can catch Waylon Speed’s debut performance on Wednesday, May 6, on WRUV 90.1 FM’s live local rock show, “Exposure.” And check them out in person on Saturday, May 9, as WS pull double duty with an early show at the Green Mountain Derby Dames’ “Final Bout” at the Champlain Valley Expo, followed by a late-night throwdown at Nectar’s.
BREAK ON THROUGH
For better or worse, the Green Mountains suffer no shortage of tribute bands. From Grateful Dead homage-ists like Blues for Breakfast and The Dead Sessions, to Iron Maiden acolytes Made in Iron, to Neil Young fanatics Ragged Glory, themed local cover bands are eternally in vogue. And that’s to say nothing of groups like The Machine (Pink Floyd), Dark Star Orchestra (Grateful Dead) and Badfish (Sublime), all of whom make frequent VT visits.
Anyway, this Thursday will see yet another musical appreciation guild come together on the Parima Main Stage with the second installment of “The Doors Open,” a tribute to The Doors led by noted local jazz vocalist Matt Wright.
The series began last month with a sold-out debut in the Acoustic Lounge. It was apparently such a hit that Parima owners moved it to the big room and made it a monthly residency, the last Thursday of every month. What’s even cooler is that reflecting on the 1960s costs a mere 99 cents.
If you’re like me, you probably saw Slim Francis listed at Charlie O’s in Montpelier this Saturday and thought, “Hmm. Is this some sort of Rough Francis side project?” Like, maybe Slim Francis is a tribute to Rough Francis, which itself is a tribute to Death. Not so, I’m afraid. Though that would be pretty cool.
No, Slim Francis are actually completely unrelated. But they’re a pretty rockin’ band just the same. Hailing from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg — which is now officially so hip that it’s no longer cool to be from there — this three-piece trades in fuzzy indie-liciousness with an ear towards melody-heavy classic rock. But the irony here is that there is no irony. These dudes just have an affinity for big, hooky melodies. (Note: That sound you hear is the collective mind-blowing of hipsters as they attempt to grasp the concept of the ultimate irony: no irony.)
Anyway, regular readers know that I need virtually no provocation to wax rhapsodic about the world’s greatest bar. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t live in Montpeculiar. But for all the juke joint’s finer — read: lower — charms, a bastion of indie-rock it ain’t. Which is precisely why I think you should go.
Have you been to the new and improved Spare Time Lanes in Colchester? I’m more of a Champlain Lanes guy myself. But even I have to admit the expanded digs are pretty impressive. And the fact that they’re booking local bands in the adjacent City Sports Grille on the weekends combines two of my favorite pastimes: live music and bowling. Yes, I love bowling. Granted, the bulk of the schedule is your garden-variety weekend-warrior cover-band fare — minus occasional appearances from the likes of Starline Rhythm Boys. But that’s exactly what you want at a bowling alley, right? Anyway, this Saturday will see a slight break from the norm as the bar welcomes Wilkes-Barre alt-rock outfit Pan.ace.a. To be sure, their radio-ready sound isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. But it would probably serve as a decent appetizer for Tuesday’s Third Eye Blind show at the Higher Ground Ballroom.
Speaking of Higher Ground, this weekend promises to be rocktastic from start to finish. Saturday night the Showcase Lounge welcomes Montréal hard-rock heroes Priestess, Boston’s arena-rock champs Township and our very own Vultures of Cult. If any IROC-Z owners are still reading, this Bud, er, show is for you.
The following night features double-barreled action with Blinded By Rage’s CD release (click here for the review) at the Hardcore & Metal Showcase in the Showcase Lounge, and ska-punk torch bearers The Bouncing Souls in the Ballroom with The Loved Ones, Black President and Burlington’s Husbands AKA.
It’s yet another big week at The Monkey House, highlighted by Tuesday’s indie-folk gem with Ryan Power, Papercuts and — drum roll, please — Vetiver. Big ups to Angioplasty Media for putting together what might be the coolest show this month. On the other hand, that honor might go to Thursday night’s show — also courtesy of Angioplasty — featuring These United States, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Cannon Fodder and Area C.
Not to be left out of the indie-rockin’ fun, The Mathematicians make a long overdue return to VT this Friday for a pop quiz at the Langdon Street Café.
VT Union’s Dakota is set to begin a new residency at RJ’s on, of all nights, Monday. Aptly, it’s dubbed “Why Not Monday?” The multi-talented DJ is out to prove that the best cure for a “case of the Mondays” is a case of PBR. And some seriously tight hip-hop.
And finally, a few months ago I reported the heartwarming story of a community coming together to save a bar. The watering hole in question, Vergennes’ hotspot Bar Antidote, has since closed. However, thanks to the industrious crew of drunks, er, musicians who banded together in solidarity with a benefit show at the Vergennes Opera House, the joint will reopen on Memorial Day weekend. Not only that, but the new location is merely a block away, and reportedly will feature a much larger space for live music.
I’m sorry, I’m getting a little misty-eyed over here. Pull it together, Bolles.
In celebration, bar owner Andrew Peterson is throwing another VOH bash. Not another benefit, mind you. Just a party. He’s invited Vergennes-based ska-punk outfit Busted Brix and Americana noir darlings Farm to provide the tunes. Meanwhile, Bar Antidote will provide a full complement of drinks — it’s an all-ages show, so the latter applies as long as you’re legal. Congrats to Peterson, the Vergennes community and civic-minded boozehounds the world over!