Now that Dennis Wygmans has confirmed the imminent sale of Club Toast to Club Extreme, everyone is getting all misty-eyed about their “last gig at Toast” this month. Include among them Belizbeha, who play there this Friday. “I have mixed emotions about it because I’m psyched for Dennis and Justin [Wygmans] to move on with their careers, but I’m going to miss it — I’ve grown up with this place,’’ says rapper Fattie Bumbalattie, aka Kyle Thompson. “I appreciate the hard work they’ve put into the community, and we wish them well. But we’re going to do our best to go out with a bang.” Everyone will feel sad about this loss — and maybe not realize what they had till it’s gone. In that respect, Toast is the Hunt’s of this generation of bands and club-goers — in both cases, great live-music venues eventually faced declining audiences. Whatever the cause — the scene’s grown tired, the audience is aging and/or fickle, the population’s too small for all these entertainment options — the fact remains that a club, like any business, can’t keep going without community support. Use it or lose it, people. And this final month, expect some rip-roaring “last rites” at Club Toast.
In With The New
Meanwhile, in Stowe, the slim entertainment scene just grew a little fatter. Enter the Mountain Roadhouse on, of course, the Mountain Road. Owner Bobby Fletcher has turned the former Three Green Doors steakhouse into a blues house. The Dave Keller Blues Band has already rocked those hand-hewn rustic beams, and a full lineup of Vermont bands is on the calendar — Fletcher says he’s dedicated to hiring local talent. This is good news for, say, the bazillion bands on the Best of the Green Mountain Blues CD released this week. “We’re here to express the music and let them have a good time,” says Fletcher. “I worked in South Carolina for a number of years, and the hospitality and music in the roadhouses was just great. That’s what I’m trying to get up here.”
More Ebb and Flow
This just in: Andy Greene, guitarist for Breakaway, is calling it quits after “a great 10 years” playing with the Burlington bluegrass gods. Greene plans to go back to school for his bachelor’s degree in psychology, and continue giving guitar lessons. Awesome acoustic guitarists looking for a band with a label (Signature Sounds), get in line. Meanwhile, Currently Nameless are back in the groove. And still nameless ha ha. The band took a break after touring the Virgin Islands last spring — that’s gotta be rough — but are newly revived, as their appearance on The Point Monday night at 8 will surely demonstrate. Check the new and improved CN at Emerald City December 17, with Organic Groove Farmers.
Want to deliver — or receive — a medieval message this holiday season? Try a Hildegram. Burlington vocalist Gail Ireland, formerly with the early music a cappella group Anima, is offering her singing services in a most unusual fashion. Clad in a long black dress, and bearing optional candles, incense and/or a celebratory bottle of wine, Ireland will show up at your door with a mini-concert in the words of 12th-century mystic Hildegard von Bingen. “I plan to go in and create an ambiance,” she says, “and have people tune in to the sound; I want to create a kind of atmosphere that might transport them somewhere.” And she’ll transport you back to the 20th century with some jazzier stuff. This itinerant vocal visitation will set you back $50 to $100, “depending on what people want,” Ireland says, noting that discounts are available. Call the Hildegram hotline at 802-652-0835.
You can catch Wide Wail on the air this Friday on “Burlington & Beyond,” WWPV88.7 FM . . . Gadfly Records owner Mitch Cantor will be on The Point’s “Crossroads” with host Tim Downey this Sunday morning, with his new compilation CD, Gadfly Pie, in hand . . . And for a good ho-ho-ho-down, don’t miss the Christmas party hosted by Morgan Sparks, Lara Heath, Alden Cadwell, Pascal Spengemann and Keith Brown, this Friday at the Red Square extension — in the alley, cats. A $12 donation goes to the Burlington Community Health Center, helping keep people well, well, well.
Band Name of the Week: Skeezix