The big news on the local music front this past week was undoubtedly the surprising announcement that Burlington Thai restaurant and music venue Parima would be shuttering its doors for good in September. Excuse me for a moment, please.
OK. I’m better now.
The word came in Friday morning from Parima talent buyer Joe Adler that the Pearl Street nightspot had been sold to undisclosed buyers. Adler preferred not to go on record identifying who the new honchos might be. But he did say that continuing entertainment in the space was not in the plans and that he’d be looking for a new gig.
Adler was understandably disappointed with this turn of events. That makes two of us, at least. In the span of a little more than a year and a half, the place evolved into a consistently great option for live music. The restaurant’s funky layout and aesthetic, combined with Adler’s knack for finding interesting shows, made for a unique concert-going experience. Sure, some other place in town will probably emerge and start booking similarly cool shows at some point. Things come and go in Burlington. They always have. But, make no mistake, we’re losing a great venue that will not be easy to replace.
Adler has slated a farewell bash for September 18, with local favorites Jen Hartswick and Nick Cassarino. We’ll have more details on that in the weeks to come. Meantime, there’s a full schedule of music between now and then that bears keeping an eye on, including this weekend. For example, Denitia Ogidie, Zack duPont and Sara Grace on Friday, July 29, Afro-Latin ensemble Afinque on Saturday, July 30, and folk-jazz songstress Christie Lenée on Sunday, July 31.
What the Folk?
It’s time once again for the little folk fest that could, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival. The three-day folkenanny — like a hootenanny, only with less hooting — begins this Friday, July 29, on the Burlington waterfront and at Main Street Landing and continues through Sunday, July 31.
This year’s fest boasts an intriguing lineup, highlighted by Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton — no, the nickname isn’t ironic; he’s really blind — Si Kahn and Koshka, among a host of local folk acts, workshops and contra dances.
The CVFF, which is celebrating its 28th year, tends to fly under the radar somewhat, which is too bad. It’s a unique fest in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. What’s more, as other supposed “folk” fests veer toward more popular styles of music to help their bottom lines — looking at you, Newport — the CVFF manages to stay true to its roots, delivering traditional and folk music of exceptionally high quality and resisting the urge to “go electric,” so to speak. And for that they should be commended. Stop by and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Amy Winehouse’s unfortunate passing last week at age 27 sparked a lot of media chatter about the Curse of 27. For the uninitiated, or anyone who is not on Facebook, the Curse of 27 relates to the admittedly bizarre coincidence of troubled rock stars dying at the age of 27. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain. The list goes on. And now, sadly, it has a new name.
Local author and musician Eric Segalstad released a book in 2008 on this very subject. The 27s details the dozens of rockers and other celebs who checked out at that age. Since Saturday, he’s been making the rounds on global media outlets from Al Jazeera to CNN, talking about his book and the creepy phenomenon.
I sat down with Segalstad for an interview when the book came out. In light of Winehouse’s death, the last segment of our chat is chilling. Here it is in truncated form:
SEVEN DAYS: Most books like this one eventually undergo a “revised edition.” But if you come out with a second edition, isn’t that sort of a bad thing, because it means there’s a new member of the club?
ERIC SEGALSTAD: Absolutely. But I think it’s a continuing story. … Look at Britney Spears. If we’d had this conversation a year ago today, we would have been, like, “Yeah, she’s a complete mess.” But she’s 27 now and she’s cleaned up her act. Unless a freak accident happens, she’s probably gonna be all right. But what about Amy Winehouse?
SD: She’s 25.
ES: She’s 25…
In non-creepy-as-shit news, it’s a huge week for the good folks over at Higher Ground. The marquee juke joint has three — count ’em, three! — big off-site concerts this week: Bright Eyes and the Mountain Goats at the Shelburne Museum this Friday, July 29; Beantown Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys at the Midway Lawn at the Champlain Valley Expo, also this Friday; and rapper Wiz Khalifa this Sunday, July 31, also at the Midway Lawn. I’ll most likely pass on Khalifa, but I’m torn about Friday. On the one hand, it doesn’t feel like summer until I’ve lazed on the museum lawn taking in some mellow indie rock. Plus, I’m kind of in love with the Mountain Goats right now. On the other hand, as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I really want to hear the Dropkicks play “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” live. I get chills whenever Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon enters a game to that tune. Though in fairness, his entrance is not nearly as badass as Yankees closer Mariano Rivera’s: “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.
Speaking of which, why can’t we introduce entrance music to more aspects of everyday life? I think my columns would improve exponentially if every time I strolled into the Seven Days office they played AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Or anything by Def Leppard. (What, like you don’t have guilty pleasures?)
Back to Higher Ground, Broken Lizard’s Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan bring their standup act to the Ballroom this Thursday, July 28. I caught the comedy troupe’s sketch show at the club a couple of years ago, and, well, it really sucked. However, I also interviewed Heffernan prior to that show and found him to be hilarious. Given BL’s general track record, I’d be inclined to give their standup show a shot.
I’ve written this before, but I have to reiterate that I really get a kick out of the Burlington Concert Band. I no longer live near Battery Park, so I don’t have the pleasure of hearing them every Sunday. But I happened to be in the neighborhood this past Sunday and had a delightful time, bopping along to their eclectic mix of big-band standards, early rock and roll, and even a couple of Broadway numbers. Also, the band’s medleys are hilarious. Three words: Star Trek theme. Yeah, it’s kinda corny. And the BCB are not exactly the Boston Pops — though they seem to get better every year. But if you’re looking for a wholesome way to wind down a weekend, you could do worse than to lie on a blanket with a friend and take in the sunset show.
Band Name of the Week: Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G Strings. Honestly, with that name, who the hell cares what they play? This Virginia-based funk-rap hybrid might just win the overall BNOTW award for 2011 — if such an award existed. They’ll be at Nectar’s this Friday, July 29, opening for nine-piece, N’awlins-inspired funky bunch Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds.
Local experimental label Mars Pyramid has a big night lined up this Thursday, July 28, at the Monkey House, celebrating its catalog of summer releases. Slated to appear are the le duo, Even the Dew Is Porous, K. Lynam, Wirefall and the Antaeus Trio.
Last but not least, mothers, lock up your daughters. Hip-hop is coming to central Vermont. Chicago/Buffalo hip-hop duo Pseudo Slang are touring the East Coast and will drop by the Big Picture Theater & Café in Waitsfield Wednesday, July 27. I mention this for two reasons. One, Pseudo Slang are pretty good, and, really, how often do hip-hop acts play there? And two, because the press release from the folks at the Big Pic contains one of my favorite PR lines in weeks, saying that the duo will “blow up the Big Picture’s Valley Night.” Damn skippy. Pseudo Slang will also blow up the Black Door in Montpelier this Saturday, July 30.