If you haven’t already checked out the article on local riot-grrl punk trio Doll Fight!, kindly do so now. I’ll wait…
Now that we’re all up to speed, Doll Fight! need your help. As mentioned in the story, the band is about to christen the first-ever Girls Rock Vermont camp on August 8. For those who didn’t follow my very explicit instructions to read the Doll Fight! story first, shame on you. But here’s the gist:
Girls Rock Vermont is a weeklong rock-music day camp. It’s very similar to the youth rock day camps at 242 Main, except for one thing: no boys allowed. It is open only to girls ages 10 to 18. Why? Because, to borrow a line from Joe Jackson, “It’s different for girls.”
In addition to learning how to write songs and just generally rock the ef out, the camp will focus on issues specific to being female in a traditionally male-dominated arena: rock music. Workshops will cover everything from self-esteem to self-defense in an effort to not only encourage girls to indulge their inner Joan Jett, but to be able to handle the inevitable bullshit that will occur when they do — insults from hecklers, pickup lines from lechers, drunken frat boys, music critics, etc.
Anyway, it’s an admirable pursuit that’s been proven effective in other cities all over the country, from Portland, Ore., to New York City. The thing is, while it may take a village to raise a child, it takes a scene to raise a rocker. That’s where you come in.
With roughly a month to go, Doll Fight! seem to have things pretty well in hand. But they could still use a few things, such as money (no duh, right?), volunteers and maybe some musical equipment. But the big thing is this: They need a female bass instructor.
Unfortunately, Doll Fight! bassist Kelly Riel is unavailable to teach that week, leaving a void on the low end. The band members say their first preference for a fill-in would be a female, but they will consider a male if no women step forward. My suggestion was to simply throw a dress on Aram Bedrosian and call it a day. They were less enthusiastic — as would be Aram, I’d imagine.
So come on, Vermont, help a sister out. If you’d like to get involved — especially if you slappa da bass, (wo)mon — contact Girls Rock Vermont at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know it’s finally/maybe summer in Burlington when the Battery Park Free Concert Series kicks off. And also when the first blue-green-algae bloom closes the beaches — but I digress. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the concert series, which happens in Battery Park. And is, um, free. Anyhoo, the series gets under way this Thursday, July 7, with local soul men the Joshua Panda Band. It takes place in Battery Park. And it’s free.
Welcome home, Alice Austin! Since last we saw the former Zola Turn front woman, she has moved from Boston to Los Angeles, which probably explains why it’s been a friggin’ year since she’s played here. This Saturday, July 9, she’ll be at the Monkey House with local rockers Gas & Oil and the Proper.
Band Name of the Week: the Benoits. Regular readers know I’m something of a Verbonics scholar. What can I say? The native Vermont accent never fails to amuse/amaze me. That’s why I’m tabbing the Benoits as this week’s BNOTW honoree. Those of you with French Canadian leanings may read that name and pronounce it “Ben-wah.” You would be wrong. As any Vermonter will tell you, it’s “Ben-oyt,” ideally with a guttural stop where most folks might enunciate a hard “t.” God, I love Vermon’. Aaaanyway, the real reason I bring this band to your attention is that it’s a rather cheeky side project of local songwriter Josh Brooks. His latest release with garage-y alt-blues duo Grant/Black, Babylon, has probably flown under many local music fans’ radars, which is a shame. It’s a terrific album. The Benoits are a little different from that group — Brooks describes them as “faux rock,” whatever that is. But I’m guessing they’ll be pretty entertaining. And, yes, the name thing is part of their shtick. Catch them at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury this Friday, July 8.
Not that I didn’t enjoy it — I surely did — but this year’s Burlington Discover Jazz Festival didn’t yield much in the way of “discovery” for me personally. However, there were a few moments of, shall we say, “reaffirmation.” One was that it’s really tough to make a tribute band interesting to anyone but the most rabid fans — looking at you, Bitches Brew Revisited. Another was that yoUSAy Placate are my favorite local jazz group. And the third was that Burlington-based funky bunch Bearquarium have the potential to get really, really good one day. That day has come. The band absolutely rocked a late-afternoon set on the top block of Church Street during the fest, sounding as tight and energetic as I’ve heard them. And Justin Panigutti, who was already on my short list of the city’s most dynamic vocalists, is really becoming something special, building on his admittedly derivative Joe-Cocker-meets-Van-Morrison-for-whiskey-at-Levon-Helm’s-house vibe and turning it into something all his own. I’ll be intrigued to hear their sophomore release, which they are reportedly hard at work on right this very minute. In the meantime, you can check ’em out at Nectar’s this Friday, July 8.
Though the Burlington hip-hop scene gets more press, Montpeculiar has a pretty sturdy little group of MCs, DJs and producers, as well. Golden Dome hip-hop will be on display at the greatest bar in world, Charlie O’s, this Saturday, July 9, when capital-city-based MC Aleck Woog takes the stage with Zach Crawford. Also on the bill are Algorhythms and No Humans Allowed, both of which involve prodigal Vermont rapper Thirtyseven (Wombaticus Rex). An interesting note about Thirtyseven, whose name has nothing to do with that line from the film Clerks (if you’ve seen it, you know which line I’m talking about): When I first started at Seven Days some four years ago and was doing my best to get better acquainted with Vermont’s then-nascent hip-hop scene, a certain notable local MC, who shall remain nameless, told me in no uncertain terms, “Ask anyone, Thirtyseven is the best rapper in Vermont. Period.” And this was coming from a guy who suffers no shortage of chest-thumping braggadocio or bears any qualms about hyping himself. That, my friends, is respect.
Indie fans, take note: If you’ve yet to see a show at Burlington alt-venue/recording studio/speakeasy Signal Kitchen, this Thursday, July 7, may be a good time to rectify that situation. The lineup features a pair of killer local acts, Parmaga and Daniel Munzing’s (ex-My Dearest Darling) newish project, Errands. We’ll also see a pair of Brooklyn-based bands, Home Video and Xylos. And, as we all know, anything that comes from Brooklyn is automatically, like, totally the raddest thing ever. I’m being facetious, but both of those bands are worth checking out, as is Signal Kitchen in general. It sates my need for a dingy, sweaty, kinda-smelly-in-a-good-way basement rock venue.
Last but not least, you look tired. Like you could really use a vacation. I’m on mine right now, and I gotta tell you, it’s pretty rad. But this isn’t about me. It’s about you. Just so you know, the good folks at Nectar’s have once again opened their southerly franchise on Martha’s Vineyard, which I’m told is a favorite haunt of the Obamas when they vacation there. I totally just made that last part up. Still, should the leader of the free world happen by the joint for a pint or two, he’d likely encounter some pretty great music. For example: Deer Tick on Saturday, July 9 — which is an MSR Presents show, no less; LA Riots on Friday, July 22, followed by Peter Tosh’s son, Tosh1, that Saturday, July 23; Holy Ghost! on Friday, July 29; and the Wood Brothers on Friday, August 12.
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.
Handsome Furs, Sound Kapital
Iceage, New Brigade
Wu Lyf, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Operation Ivy, Energy