Soundbites: New Venue Alert: Orlando's Bar & Lounge | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: New Venue Alert: Orlando's Bar & Lounge


Published April 3, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated July 14, 2020 at 1:52 p.m.

  • Courtesy Photo
  • Twiddle

Secret Garden

In case you missed it amid last weekend's Magic Hat Mardi Gras chaos, Orlando's Bar & Lounge had its grand opening on Saturday. Over the past few months, the new downtown Burlington music venue has rolled out its arrival with a series of hush-hush soft openings. But now it's fully open and ready to rock the Queen City.

Co-owned by Twiddle keyboardist Ryan Dempsey, the venue takes its name from an epic nine-minute track from the jam band's 2017 behemoth, Plump.

"[We thought] it would be cool if we wrote a song where all our fictitious characters that we've come up with over the last 13 years came together and all met at one spot," Dempsey told Seven Days in December, when work was just starting at the new club.

The song paints a picture of something like the wild rumpus from Where the Wild Things Are crossed with Twiddle's annual Tumble Down music festival at Burlington's Waterfront Park. "Come to drink at Orlando's Bar / On a lovely patch of grass in a land far away," sings the band's front person, Mihali Savoulidis. He goes on to mention a posse of crusty players and freaky creatures cutting loose and jamming out until all hours of the night.

Dempsey went on to describe the song's fictitious location as "mystical" and "hidden away" so that "you have to know about it" in order to find it. Talk about life imitating art! Orlando's is tucked away on one of Burlington's most hidden streets: Lawson Lane, the alleyway behind American Flatbread Burlington Hearth. You'd never know a club was there just by walking past. However, multiple businesses have occupied the space over the years, so it has some name recognition to locals. The partially subterranean spot housed Mexican eatery Hector's, short-lived clubs Kahiki Moon and Foggy's Notion, as well as Magnolia Bistro, which had the distinction of being Vermont's first certified green restaurant. Magnolia shut its doors in 2018.

Speaking of food, Orlando's is home to Maudite Poutine, purveyors of Canada's favorite ooey-gooey, carbo-licious foodstuff. You've probably seen their food cart on Church Street. Anyone with a hankering for late-night French fries smothered with an obscene amount of cheese curds, gravy, brisket and other delicious toppings should head down to the new bar for a fix.

Given Dempsey's musical connections, we can expect a lot of jam and jam-adjacent acts to take the stage at Orlando's. For instance, Mike MacDonald of progressive electro-funk group Strange Machines performs on Saturday, April 6.

A final thought: Now that Orlando's is up and running, the College/St. Paul street zone is becoming a highly concentrated music district in the Queen City. Jazz-centric speakeasy Deli 126 and Drink, the latter of which is soon to unveil some big changes, are also close by.

Fight Face

This week, Waking Windows hosts two special back-to-back events on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at the Monkey House and ArtsRiot, respectively. Titled the Battle for Planned Parenthood, the events feature 10 local bands in head-to-head competition, each hoping to land a slot at this year's Waking Windows festival.

Slowcore group Father Figuer, indie outfit LEAN TEE, singer-songwriter Trackstar, jam-rockers Spunhouse and alt-rock trio Discount Face Tattoos battle it out on Friday, while funk-rock band Sead, garage-punk three-piece Grease Face, pop trio boys cruise, and indie groups the Giant Peach and Full Walrus square off on Saturday.

As you may have guessed, all proceeds will support Planned Parenthood, which, in my opinion, is one of the most important global initiatives in existence. According to its 2017-18 annual report, the organization provided nearly 2 million people with sexual and reproductive health services. In an age when reproductive rights are in danger (and misunderstood), supporting nonprofits like Planned Parenthood is one of the most effective ways to ensure everyone has access to the services they require.

Quick disclosure: I'll be one of the competition's judges on Saturday. I'd say my judging style is somewhere between Judge Judy and Judge Dredd, with maybe a little bit of Fast Times at Ridgemont High-era Judge Reinhold thrown in.

Think of England

  • Courtesy Of Luke Awtry
  • British Isles

Remember last year when Josh Panda bid adieu to his project the Hot Damned and introduced the world to his new band, British Isles? No? That's probably because, after releasing one electrifying single and accompanying music video, "Hold Your Horses," the soul-rocker kind of disappeared — understandably so, given that he's currently navigating new fatherhood.

"After releasing ['Hold Your Horses'] last year, we decided to focus our energy into writing new material for the band to further separate [British Isles] from my solo efforts," Panda wrote in an email to Seven Days.

Panda is back in action starting on Wednesday, April 3. British Isles settle into Nectar's for a brief residency over the next three Wednesdays, ending on April 17.

Given that we've seen but a smidge of what the band is all about, the residency should give Panda and co. the space to sprawl out and fully reveal the glammed-up project. m

Listening In

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.

Was (Not Was), "Walk the Dinosaur"

Yo Majesty, "Club Action (Chris Bag Raider's Sailing to Baltimore Edit)"

Fannypack, "Nu Nu (Yeah Yeah) (Remix)"

St. Lucia, "Physical"

Lafawndah, "Tourist"

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