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Jazzed Out



Published June 15, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.

They came (mostly … looking at you, Poncho Sanchez). They saw. They conquered. And now, after 10 crazy nights, the 2011 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is in the books. But before we completely turn the page, let’s take a look back with a few random observations about the week-plus that was.

I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must be for the BDJF to bank so heavily on outdoor shows each year. Both Thursday’s (Groove Tent) and Saturday’s (World Tent) shows at Waterfront Park were beset by weather issues to varying degrees, including a storm-related evacuation or two. Still, I’d love to see even more outdoor shows, in general. But then, I’m a glutton for punishment.

My favorite set of the fest was viperHouse. Those who stuck it out after the second evacuation saw something special.

Speaking of evacuations, kudos to the BDJF crew for getting everyone out of the tent safely. But we need a better place to be corralled than a parking garage. Ideally, someplace with a bar…

To the several people I heard whining about being forced to leave the tent that night: No, you can’t have your money back. And no, killjoy city officials aren’t trying to stop you from having fun. Unless your idea of “fun” is you and 3000 of your closest friends simultaneously being struck by lightning while standing under a tent supported by six giant metal poles in an open field. In which case, by all means, stay put.

Bearquarium sounded great at the Block Party on upper Church Street last Friday. But is there any reason that party shouldn’t go later? Think about how much fun the opening-night block party is. Why not do that more than once? And would it kill the city to allow a beer garden again? Lousy puritans…

Finally, thanks to everyone at the BDJF for another rousing festival. You guys rock, er, jazz. You know what I mean.

After the Flood

Q: April showers bring May flowers. But what do May flowers bring?

A: Pilgrims! (Rimshot!) And also, apparently, more showers. And then in June, yet more showers. But then, you know this. You live here, too.

Jamie Lee Thurston, on the other hand, doesn’t live here anymore. But the Montpelier-born country singer has been keeping close tabs on the recent washout in his old stomping grounds from his adopted home in Nashville. The devastation from the statewide flooding struck a chord with the aspiring pop-country star. In a recent press release he says the deluge reminds him of the great “flood of ’83,” which he witnessed as a child in Vermont and, if it isn’t already, needs to be a country song. Stat.

Anyway, Thurston — whose father, Jimmy T Thurston, is also quite the rowdy country rocker — felt compelled to come home and do what he could to lend a hand to the thousands of folks who have been adversely affected by the damage. He returns to Vermont this week and is throwing a benefit concert at the Higher Ground Ballroom Thursday, June 16. Local bar band the Growlers open. The show is technically free, but donations are obviously welcome. All proceeds go to the local chapter of the American Red Cross flood relief fund.


Rain or shi … er, slightly less rain, summer festival season is about to kick into high gear. This week’s installment comes to us by way of Boston-based roots-pop outfit Brothers McCann. Dubbed “Reunion,” this three-day fest has been going on for three years now. It kicks off this Friday, June 17, at the Bissex Homestead in Plainfield. The lineup features a number of regional acts that should be familiar to local scenesters, including Brothers McCann (duh), Goosepimp Orchestra, the Primate Fiasco, Rockspring, Jen Kearney & the Lost Onion, Baker Thomas Band, Darlingside, Ross Livermore and Danielle Miraglia. For more info, visit brothersmccann.com/fr_reunion.

Speaking of summer music festivals in Plainfield, the folks at Rhinofest released the complete lineup for this year’s installment — the fourth annual — to be held August 5 through 7. Some notable names include EOTO, Fareed Haque and Math Games with Ray White (of Frank Zappa renown), Michal Menert, Jurassic 5’s Akil the MC and Jahdan Blakkamoore and Noble Society. Rhinofest also has a distinct local flavor, as acts such as Wombaticus Rex, the Move It Move It, Champagne Dynasty, Casio Bastard, Funkwagon and Gold Town — among several others — are all slated to appear. For more info on the fest, and the rest of the 30-plus acts on the dance card, visit rhinofestvt.com.

Continuing on a theme, Reggae Fest is … um, happening? Not happening? A figment of our collectively stoned imagination? A state of mind? Honestly, I have no idea. And even if and when someone does contact me about this year’s fest, I’ll be dubious until the first hippie wagon is searched for drugs on the way in. Call me a skeptic. Anyway, those jonesing for irie vibes this week need look no further than Nectar’s and Club Metronome. Saturday, June 18, the House that Phish Built hosts Buru Style, who offer us this riddle. “Q: What do you get when you mix a poppin’ boogaloo beat, a chilled-out dub bass line delivered via the airy whump of a souzaphone, and some Jamaican nyabingi-jazz vis-a-vis a few layers of synth and horns? A: Buru Style!” (Note: We also would have accepted “really high” or “Duuuuude!” as correct answers.) Continuing the positive vibrations, Monday, June 20, roots reggae legends the Itals make the pressure drop at Club Metronome. The Pulse Prophets open.

Welcome home to the Vermont Joy Parade. The progenitors of “suspender fusion” wrap up their most recent tour at Radio Bean this Saturday, June 18, after which I’m told they will hole up with the one and only Ryan Power to record a new album. Not only that, but they’ll reportedly be the first band to christen his new studio.

It should be an interesting week for electronic music fans, as a pair of monster showcases offer up more dirty beats than you can shake a glow stick at. This Thursday, June 16, the industrious lads from Nexus Artist Management team up with the equally industrious lads from Slanted Black Records and 4word Productions to present an epic night of electronica, house, dubstep and hip-hop at Red Square, cleverly called Hoptronica 4.0. The three-stage throwdown features 15 DJs of local, national and international renown. The outdoor stage, Slanted Black Alley, features four of that label’s local acts: Craig Mitchell, Bonjour-Hi!, Rob Ticho and First Order. Meanwhile, 4word Productions DJs Nastee and A-Dog hold down the Hip-Hop Room inside. Out back in the Red Square Blue Room, Nexus holds court with Mason Dunn and Slopp-E-Mopp, Chris Pattison, Justin REM and Cre8, and, the evening’s main event, heavyweight producer and DJ Pete Moss, who is touring behind his latest LP, Aerials. Oh, and there’s gonna be a laser show. Showcase No. 2 is an all-ages party at the Higher Ground Ballroom this Saturday hosted by the empire-lovin’ storm troopers from Lazerdisk Party Sex, DJs ZJ and Pres, and featuring a pair of up-and-coming locals, DJs MillerTime and Billy Hoerr. In addition, the folks from impartying.com will be on hand, giving out free schwag, such as T-shirts that say, “I’m Partying” — in case you forget that you are, in fact, partying. At which point I might suggest you stop partying immediately. I’d also suggest not using the word, “party” as a verb. Ever. But I digress.

New Band Alert!/Band Name of the Week: Dino Bravo. Last but not least, it’s nice to see Matt Perry, late of Party Star, back on the horse. His new outfit, Dino Bravo, makes its debut at the Monkey House this Sunday, June 19, opening for Jangover. And the guess here is that it’s gonna be a pretty rollicking affair. For one, Perry’s old band, Party Star, certainly never lacked for rock-and-roll shenanigans. What’s more, the rest of the band boasts a splendidly scuzzy local rock pedigree in Chris Farnsworth (Lobot), Josh Shedaker (Amadis, Made in Iron) and Mike Cattle (Player 2). For Montpelier folks, the band plays its second show next week, at Charlie O’s on Friday, June 24.

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.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

The Powder Kegs, The Amanicans

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Battles, Gloss Drop

Bon Iver, Bon Iver