Soundbites: Wake Up, Winooski! | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: Wake Up, Winooski!


Published May 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated May 1, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

The Waking Windows team, from left: Paddy Reagan, Brian Nagle, Matt Rogers, Ali Nagle and Nick Mavodones - COURTESY OF WAKING WINDOWS
  • Courtesy Of Waking Windows
  • The Waking Windows team, from left: Paddy Reagan, Brian Nagle, Matt Rogers, Ali Nagle and Nick Mavodones

News flash: Waking Windows, the three-day music and arts festival in Winooski, is this weekend — specifically, Friday through Sunday, May 3 through 5. But most of you already knew that. On the off chance you have no idea what I'm talking about, here it is in a nutshell: Waking Windows is awesome. If you love music, you should go. Pretty simple.

Now that the daily schedules have been announced, anticipation is at a high. Whether you keep track of who you want to see (and where and when they play) in your head or if you create some kind of crazy-ass spreadsheet, ticketholders are justifiably distracted this week setting up their ideal daily intake.

Music blogs love to dissect festival lineups to look for "conflicts" — that is, two or more artists performing head-to-head that perhaps share a fan base. I think music writers often make assumptions there, but once in a while they stumble upon an oversight or two.

But I have to say, I've pored over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday lineups, and I don't see any glaringly obvious scheduling mishaps. In fact, I think this year's daily agendas might be the most cohesive we've ever seen — especially when looking at local music programming.

For instance, take Lucky Cloud's Friday roster. (Just a reminder: Lucky Cloud is the fancy name given to the former KeyBank building at the corner of Main and West Allen streets.) Amps are turned to 11 for this seven-band lineup of local thrashers: Barishi, Savage Hen, KiefCatcher, Sleeping In, Blowtorch, PREECE and Grease Face. If Burlington-area punk and metal is what you crave, you'll be on cloud nine.

What's New With You?

Every year, Waking Windows brings something new to the table. Whether it's a fresh venue, the debut performance of a new local act or the first outing of a nonmusic event, there's always something unique. Here's a brief rundown of some of this year's latest advancements.

In terms of venues, the only new spot to get down is Mandarin, the sleek Chinese restaurant at the corner of Main and West Canal streets. Poised to be 2019's go-to spot for late-night booty-shaking, the space that formerly housed Donny's New York Pizza hosts local DJs such as Luis Calderin, Cre8, SVPPLY and Moochie. If all you want to do is dance, look no further.

A few new local bands unveil themselves for the first time. There's the Wet Ones, a new surf-rock group featuring members of gritty rock band Jessica Rabbit Syndrome. They kick off the weekend on Friday at the Monkey House.

Also making a first impression is Ernest, the new moniker of Madaila front person Mark Daly. Now that Madaila is on indefinite hiatus — read: broken up — Daly has the space to reinvent and rebrand himself. Think wry, introspective pop tunes reflecting on life as a new dad. His first album as Ernest, I'm Gonna Do It Anyway, comes out in June. You have two chances to see what Ernest is all about: Saturday and Sunday, both at Scout & Co.

Additionally, a peppy new pop-rock project from Ezra Oklan called Matthew Mercury stages its inaugural performance. Finally stepping into the spotlight after years in the backline, the drummer of local projects such as Dwight & Nicole and Kat Wright takes the lead in this new-wave-infused band. The group's first single, "Burn Right Down," hits major streaming platforms on Friday. Catch the band's initial outing on Sunday at the Rotary Stage.

Last year, a peculiar event called the Feminist Bird Club was supposed to kick off Saturday morning. But, due to extenuating circumstances, the meet-up didn't actually happen. Thank goodness for second chances.

The group, which has chapters in Boston, New York City and other locales, promotes "diversity in birding and providing a safe opportunity to connect with the natural world," according to its website, as well as conducting "an ongoing conversation about intersectionality, activism and the safety/rights of all women, non-binary folks and members of the LGBTQ community," as is stated on Facebook.

Do cis-het men dominate the pastime of bird watching? I can't say I've ever thought about it before. Then again, what sectors aren't dominated by cis-het men? The crew plans to take a walk along the Winooski River early Saturday morning.

BiteTorrent: Waking Windows Edition

  • Courtesy Of Tyler Nettleton
  • 99 Neighbors

Waking Windows hack: While most folks spring for the weekend pass, it's possible to see most of the festival without actually picking up a wristband. That's because most Waking Windows venues have individual cover charges. Now, if you plan to access multiple shows per day, it at least makes sense to pick up a day pass, if any are available. But let's say you have to work all weekend and only have a few hours to take in some music. Aside from the Main and Rotary stages, which require wristbands for entry, you can get into every other Waking Windows venue for as little as zero dollars — though most charge between five and 15 bucks.

In March, a number of Vermont-based groups battled it out at ArtsRiot and the Monkey House to secure a slot on this year's lineup. The winners were Trackstar and boys cruise. They represent new blood on the local scene. Pay particularly close attention to the latter. The punk three-piece infuses its sets with wacky sketches and high-octane stage antics.

In case you aren't planning on hitting up Waking Windows — at least not on Friday night — you should probably head over to the Higher Ground Ballroom to catch 99 Neighbors. The Queen City hip-hop collective is on fire as of late, snagging summer festival slots at Diplo's Super Mega Ultra Giant Mad Decent Block Party in Foxborough, Mass., and the Made in America fest in Philadelphia. That's thanks to their recent deal with the powerhouse booking and management company the Paradigm Talent Agency. Expect great things from the burgeoning crew featuring MCs Sam Paulino and Hanknative.

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.

Georgia, "About Work the Dancefloor"

Goldfrapp, "Anymore"

Spektrum, "May Day"

Prep, "Who's Got You Singing Again?"

Princess Nostalgia, "The Talking Drug"