- Courtesy Of Christian Bertrand
- Brian Wilson
Holy. Shit. In case you missed it, the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, along with Higher Ground Presents, recently unveiled the artist closing out this year's festival: Brian Wilson. The legendary singer-songwriter and cofounder of the Beach Boys returns to the Queen City on Sunday, June 9 — specifically to the Flynn MainStage, where he and his band will perform the Beach Boys' magnum opus, Pet Sounds. Wilson's upcoming tour of the record is billed as "The Final Performances." And I'm sure he means it.
In the summer of 2016, Wilson brought his Pet Sounds show to both the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the Shelburne Museum. Needless to say, the pair of events sold out hella fast. And it's pretty darn likely that the June show will sell out just as quickly. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 22.
If you're only going to see one show in Vermont this entire year, you should probably choose this one — assuming you can snag a ticket. As we hurtle forward into the future, the sad truth is that, one by one, all of the great masters of the golden era of recorded pop music are going to join David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Prince, Karen Carpenter, George Harrison, et al., in the great beyond. Frankly, it's kind of a miracle that Wilson is still with us, given his ongoing struggles with mental health. I hate to be morbid about this, but I'm nothing if not realistic. God only knows how many more chances you have to see this wonderfully gifted human perform some of the best pop ever written.
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival runs from Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 9, at locations all around Burlington and Winooski. Visit discoverjazz.com to see more of the initial lineup.
For your entertainment pleasure, a large group of Vermont musicians is putting on a special musical game show exhibition on Friday at ArtsRiot in Burlington. Dubbed Wheelz of Steel, the show is the brainchild of Lonny Edwards, who plays weekly as part of the Big Pick bluegrass jam down at Hatch 31 in Bristol. As Edwards puts it in an email to Seven Days, Wheelz of Steel "is a competition in the same way that Wiffle ball is a sport."
Here's how the game works: A group of preselected musicians go head-to-head in a battle-of-the-bands-style bout. After the bands are chosen from the preselected group (more on that below), the audience will collectively pick five popular bands and/or artists, and also five musical genres. For instance, the crowd might respond with the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Bob Dylan, the Go-Go's and the Backstreet Boys, as well as calypso, funk, metal, swing and punk.
Next, the artists and genres are written on two large wheels — aka the Wheelz of Steel, or Random Awesomeness Generators, as Edwards calls them — which are then spun. The bands have to create a version of a song based on the mismatched combination, such as a metal version of Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'." And so it goes for the rest of the evening. (I will be so happy if we get to hear a calypso version of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." Here's hoping.)
Again, this is a competition — but the audience is the judge. Teams will be evaluated on how accurately they present the given genre, how awesome their rendition of the tune is and also on their team names. Edwards points out that, indeed, team names are a third of the final score.
Musicians set to appear include Rachel Capobianco, Gabe Calvi, Tom Siegfried, Simeon Chapin, Melanie Sroka, Nate Gusakov, Will Gusakov, Orion Lazo, Adam Wood, Andric Severance, Caleb Bronz, Emma Back, Clint Bierman and Edwards. Storyteller Bobby Stoddard, whose work has been featured on "The Moth," will serve as host.
Once in a while, it's good to pull back the curtain and dish a little bit about what's going on behind the scenes in the Seven Days music department. In the last few weeks, I've received a number of emails from folks who've submitted albums for review in the last six months or so. They ranged from friendly check-ins to, um, not-so-friendly check-ins. And I totally understand people's curiosity and, to put it politely, impatience.
Here's where we're at: Seven Days receives more albums than we can review, and we only publish two reviews per week. We've never been able to review everything that gets submitted, but the sheer volume of submissions landing on the music desk is more or less unprecedented. Many albums submitted in 2018 went un-reviewed, compared to only a handful from 2017. Lamentably, we're outnumbered.
Generally speaking, I think there's something kind of amazing about this situation. It means Vermont is home to an active creative community producing a bumper crop. I'd hate to live in a place where that wasn't the case. However, the amount of space on our album review page hasn't gotten any bigger. In order to review more than two records per week, we'll need to get creative in how we present those pieces.
On that note, what I can say is that we are currently looking at ways to review more albums. So far, we haven't come up with any solutions about which we are particularly jazzed. But we're working on it, and we'll hopefully have some news on that front soon.
Trust me when I say that I think about this problem a lot. In the meantime, please be patient if you're an artist awaiting review. We're working as fast as we can.
If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.
Young Fathers, "Toy"
Rina Mushonga, "Narcisc0"
Boss Selection, "Flip and Rewind (featuring Rashida Jones)"
St. Vincent, "Los Ageless"