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Once Bitten



Published November 9, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.

Once again we find ourselves with so much to cover this week, and yet such precious little space in which to do so. What’s an ADHD-stricken music columnist to do? Hows about we Occupy Soundbites with a rapid-fire edition? Get your placards ready…

Leading off the week’s entertainment options, a rare — for this column — foray into highbrow cultural territory. I know. I’m as shocked as you. Anyway, far more notable music pundits than I have hailed Steve Reich as the world’s greatest living composer. While his famed contemporary, Philip Glass, may take exception to that notion, Reich has the hardware to back it up. The Grammy-winning composer was arguably as important as Glass in the evolution of minimalist music in the 1960s, alongside such pioneering pals as LaMonte Young and Terry Riley.

In short, the now 75-year-old helped alter the course of contemporary music, which probably explains the Pulitzer Prize he won in 2009 for his piece, “Double Sextet.” And, yes, that would be the first time the words “Pulitzer Prize” have been written in this space. Reich is appearing at the UVM Recital Hall this Wednesday, November 16, to discuss his music and career. A short, free concert featuring his groundbreaking work “Piano Phase,” will be performed by pianists and groovy UV faculty members, Sylvia Parker and David Feurzeig. The evening will also feature a piece called “Vermont Counterpoint,” performed by a decidedly un-minimal ensemble of 10 — count ’em, 10! — flautists. Really. And if that’s not enough to sate your minimalist thirst, well, you should probably reevaluate your idea of the term “minimal.” Earlier in the day, UVM faculty and students will perform Reich’s “Clapping Music” along with minimalist compositions from a number of other composers at the Davis Center.

After chatting with the Rosewood Thieves front man, Erick Jordan, for a piece in last week’s column, I was really curious to know how the reconfigured band’s two-night stand opening for State Radio at the Higher Ground Ballroom went last weekend. Unable to attend myself, I dispatched a spy to the Friday-night gig. Her assessment: “Ahhhhhmazing.” Thanks, mystery woman.

Speaking of Higher Ground, following up last Thursday’s acoustic performance, gypsy punks Gogol Bordello again take to the Ballroom stage this Thursday, November 10, for a full-on electrified performance. What’s notable is that Gogol front man Eugene Hutz has tabbed bands fronted by two of his old B-town pals to open the show: James Kochalka Superstar and Blue Button. Regular readers are undoubtedly familiar with JKS, but they may not know that, once upon a time, Hutz was a member of that band — though in fairness, I’m pretty sure anyone who played music in Burlington in the 1990s was in JKS at some point. The thoroughly ass-kicking Blue Button is the latest and perhaps greatest project from Jason Cooley, who, once upon the exact same time, was the bass player for Hutz’s legendary B-town punk band, the Fags. See where I’m going here?

Clearly, this would be the point in the column where I shamelessly beg for a Fags reunion. And though it would make sense, what with two-thirds of the lineup on the same stage, I’m not gonna do that. Instead, I’ll simply harp on Cooley to finish his band’s fucking debut album already. When you see them this week, you’ll understand why I’m so anxious.

Speaking of long-awaited new albums, Heloise Williams … what the hell? The disco-rock diva has been promising her new record with the Savoir Faire for what seems like an eternity now — OK, it’s only been, like, a year. But still. Anyway, this Saturday, November 12, Heloise and company plan to debut some tunes from that forthcoming record at the BCA Center in Burlington. DJ Disco Phantom opens.

Band Name of the Week: The Dirty Blondes. Kinda cheating here, as the Dirty Blondes have been around for a long, long time. In fact, they’ve even won a few Seven Daysies awards for Best Vermont Band — which I’m sure is in no way related to the fact that vocalist Diane Sullivan works for Seven Days. Nope. Nothing fishy about that at all … ahem. Aaaanyway, this week, the hard-partying Blondes improbably celebrate their 12th anniversary with a show at Club Metronome they’ve dubbed “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Years of Explosive Rock.” Of course, in an annoying twist of scheduling fate, the show is the same frigging night as Gogol Bordello at HG. In fact, the Blondes have challenged Hutz and Co. to a rumble on Main Street later that evening. By the way, I’m setting the odds on that melee at three-to-one in favor of the Blondes. Seriously, I would not mess with those cats, and Hutz is surprisingly slight in person. Also slated to appear, rockers Shark Victim, Gas & Oil and two previous BNOTW winners: Dino Bravo and Crazyhearse.

While we’re handicapping fights between local musicians, DJs Craig Mitchell and Fattie B are reprising their epic bouts from earlier in the year with a turntable battle at 1/2 Lounge this Wednesday, November 9. This is actually the third such title match between the veteran area turntablists. Rounds one and two were reportedly both draws. So I’m giving even odds here, though, based purely on strength of jokey nicknames, the smart money is on Jockey Balboa (Fattie B) over Apollo Creed (Mitchell), the latter of which is literally the name of the character in the Rocky movies and thus loses points for lack of punny ingenuity. Sorry, Craig.

Songwriter Joe Adler has a new record in hand, which he plans to release at Radio Bean this Friday, November 11, 2011 at — wait for it — 11:11 a.m. Anybody wanna guess how many songs are on it?

Nicholas Concklin debuts a new endeavor this week called Filthington Prep. Unlike his taste-making electronic-dance-music collective Mushpost, FP will cater more to the partying college crowd than Mushpost’s usual high-minded electro fare. In a recent email, Concklin writes that FP won’t abandon the artistic values set forth by Mushpost, but that those shows will be geared more toward a “good ol’ fashioned party.” See for yourself this Wednesday, November 16, when Filthington Prep presents Figure with the

Killabits at the Higher Ground Ballroom.

What do Joshua Panda and Poison’s Bret Michaels have in common? If you said “sleazy reality TV show” … you’re an idiot. Oddly enough, the two singers will soon share a stage. No, really. Both Panda and Michaels will appear at a veterans’ benefit in Westfield, N.Y., this Friday, November 11. Curious to know more? Ask Panda all about it when he plays a benefit closer to home for the Savoy Theater the following night, Saturday, November 12, at Montpelier City Hall with the Martin Guigui All Star Band and Tower of Power’s Ellis Hall.

And while we’re in the capital city, I’m happy to report the recent Stomp and Smash Irene benefit with the Devil Makes Three at the Vermont College of Fine Arts gymnasium in Montpelier raised more than $10,000 for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. Nice work.

I was at a pretty wild Halloween party a few weekends ago and caught a gnarly collaboration between Lynguistic Civilians and Learic from the Aztext. Though I can’t fully vouch for how it might sound while not under the influence of, um, a Teen Wolf costume, I’m guessing their set at Nectar’s this Wednesday, November 16, will be more than worth checking out.

Last but not least, happy birthday, WBKM. The online radio station and purveyors of “Burlington’s Kinda Music” turns 4 this Saturday, November 12, with a birthday bash at Nectar’s featuring Seth Yacovone and the Book ’em Blues Band. Swing by early for an acoustic set from Andy Lugo, who is releasing his latest solo EP, Loved Ones.

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.

Mannequin Men, Mannequin Men

Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials

Atlas Sound, Parallax

Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do