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Keep on Rocking

Soundbites: Keep on Rocking, To the Nines, Bite Torrent, RIP Larry McCrorey, 1927-2009


This is why I love my job. (Déja vu, anyone?)

Before we get into the pressing issues of the day, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on a rather unusual confluence of events that led to a rather unusual occurrence in this week’s music section.

If you haven’t read it already, this week’s CD review section features not one but two releases by a pair of exciting young Burlington bands, Lendway and The Vacant Lots. That two talented homegrown acts would be reviewed in the same week is hardly noteworthy. It happens quite a bit, actually. But what is interesting — and to me a signal of increasing vitality in our cozy little scene — is that both albums are sophomore releases. And they are both very, very good.

What’s even cooler is that I had two other options for CD reviews to run in this week’s section by equally intriguing local outfits, both of which are debuts. The first was from Busted Brix, a band I not-so-tactfully begged to send me their album in a recent column. (They did. And I dig it.)

The second CD comes to us by way of a mysterious little indie trio called Dangerbird, which is composed of guitarist/vocalist Rob Voland, drummer Brian Hanf (both ex-Transit) and former Dialogue for Three bassist, Thomas Barnes. And guess what? It’s also pretty rad for a first attempt — and contrary to popular belief, I’m very finicky when it comes to my indie rockin’, especially the mellow variety.

Unfortunately, Dangerbird’s EP came in after I had already written the two reviews appearing in this edition — but I’ll get to you guys shortly, I promise. In the meantime, I urge everyone to catch their release party this Tuesday at Nectar’s.

Looking ahead at the upcoming review schedule, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My queue runneth over with releases from mostly new, almost exclusively local bands. Methinks things are heating up in Burlington Rock City.

To the Nines

In celebration of their flagship beer, #9, our old pals at the Magic Hat Brewing Company and Performing Arts Center are throwing a party of cosmic proportions on Wednesday, September 9 — 09/09/09, get it?

Now, before we go any further, I should confess that I was in the employ of beer baron Alan Newman and friends for several years before taking up the mantle of friendly neighborhood music editor at 7D. And I still have strong personal ties to folks who work there. But I am no longer on their payroll — nor, sadly, their beer roll. And just to show I’m not biased toward them, I’m going to say something to MH that’s been on my mind since long before I quit. Ready?

For the love of Guinness, stop killing off all of my favorite beers. Humble Patience, Heart of Darkness, Blind Faith, Jinx … I could go on all friggin’ day. Just stop it. Please.

Man, I feel much better now. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to get that off my chest.

Moving on, the Hat is essentially commandeering downtown Burlington, much like they do for the Mardi Gras parade every winter. This time around, festivities include a #9 scavenger hunt at various local watering holes to benefit Burlington City Arts, karaoke with a live backing band (barroom rockers Sideshow Bob), a Guitar Hero challenge, a laser light show, random acts of art and the coup de grace — drum roll, please! — freewheelin’ Afro-funk outfit Rubblebucket Orchestra tearing up the top block of Church Street. Not bad for a Wednesday, huh?

No word on whether revelers will be forced to drink apricot-flavored beverages. As for myself, I’m abstaining until MH brings back Bob’s First Ale (free T-shirt to anyone who can tell me what that beer became — MH employees excluded, of course).

Bite Torrent

After a summer-long hiatus, local ska-punk hooligans Husbands AKA are back in the game with a show this Friday at Radio Bean. Not only that, they are nearing completion on a new album. I know that because they recently asked me to sing some backing vocals for it, which I regrettably couldn’t. That is, I can sing, I just couldn’t make it. Still, pickitup! Welcome back, boys.

This just in from the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: The other day I was looking over the lineup for this year’s Burlington Bands 101 showcase — Wednesday, September 23, at Nectar’s and Club Metronome! — and realized something was missing. And that something was over-the-top cock-rockin’ metal. Fortunately, local “chaps” Amadis have agreed to 1) fill that void by playing the show, and 2) wear obscene amounts of leather. More details to come next week.

Local singerin’-songwriterin’ chanteuse Mia Adams is unveiling a new songwriters’ series at Richmond’s On the Rise Bakery this Thursday entitled “In the Round at On the Rise.” The monthly shindig will happen the first Thursday of every month. This week, she’ll be joined by Toni Catlin and Brennan Mangan.

And finally, this just in from the department of corrections: The photo credit for last week’s story on 4-track cassette recording (“Old Spool,” August 26) was incorrectly attributed to the piece’s author, Matt Bushlow. Julia Lewandoski (ex-Tick Tick) took the pic. Sorry ’bout that, Julia.

RIP Larry McCrorey, 1927-2009

The local jazz community was dealt a harsh blow last week by the passing of saxophonist Larry McCrorey, who died at his Grand Isle home on Sunday, August 23. Regrettably, news of the local jazz fixture’s death reached 7D too late for us to run an appropriate observance in last week’s edition. However, we did manage to publish a memorial post on our staff blog, Blurt, which I wrote and compiled, and which was “teased” in that issue. In this business, deadlines wait for no one.

Though I was certainly aware of who he was, I never met Larry McCrorey personally. But in corresponding with several notable local musicians who knew and loved him, I couldn’t help but wish that I had. To a person, everyone I reached marveled at McCrorey’s passion not just for music, but for the social and racial issues he championed in his personal life and as a prominent member of the University of Vermont faculty. Larry McCrorey, it seems, was a deeply fascinating and multidimensional man.

But of all the conversations I had concerning his passing, none hit home quite like the completely unexpected phone call I received from Ed Bemis.

Ed is a jazz aficionado of the highest order. If he doesn’t know about it, it probably doesn’t exist. He established the first jazz radio show at WRUV, as well as UVM’s first jazz history courses. He also gave me more than a little help on a singularly challenging story I wrote about Ornette Coleman last year.

“He was an amazing guy and an amazing friend,” said Bemis. “We always supported each other.” He paused, before adding, “I’m going to miss him greatly.”

Larry McCrorey was 82.