The big news on the local music front this week is undoubtedly the return of Feist, who is playing the Flynn MainStage on Friday, May 11, to the delight of hipsters all over Vermont. However, if you find yourself priced out of the show, or otherwise unable to attend, fret not. Our old pals at Angioplasty Media have you covered with Waking Windows 2, a weekend-long music and arts festival in Winooski. It might just be the coolest thing to happen in the Onion City since city planners proposed putting a dome over the whole town in 1979. And, yes, that really happened.
Last year’s inaugural Waking Windows was an ambitious, 11-day affair unofficially intended as an indie-rock and experimental-music alternative to the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, which ran the same week. Angioplasty scored some great bands for WW1, but forcing the concertgoing public to choose between WW and BDJF was risky. This year, they’ve refined their approach and wisely scheduled the fest before BDJF.
Waking Windows 2 runs from Thursday, May 10, through Saturday, May 12, and will occupy several downtown Winooski venues, including the Monkey House, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Winooski Welcome Center, the Stoplight Gallery, the Block Gallery and — wait for it — the parking garage. Twenty-five dollars gets you access to every show, as well as a nifty button, or you can pay à la carte. Order tickets at ticketfly.com.
So what about the bands? Glad you asked!
As we’ve come to expect from Angioplasty, the lineup includes an intriguing cross section of local and national talent in a wide variety of genres. To wit, the fest kicks off Thursday at the Monkey House with speedwestern heroes Waylon Speed. They headline a locals-only showcase featuring swampy-tonk stalwart Brett Hughes, indie-folk chanteuse Maryse Smith, nattily mustachioed alt-country crooner Lowell Thompson and, one of my new favorites, Shelly Shredder. Meanwhile, over at the Welcome Center, local remixologist Snakefoot takes the stage with hip-hop producer Principal Dean and indie-pop favorites the Smittens, Missy Bly and surroundsound.
On Friday, May 11, highlights include Anders Parker Cloud Badge with local openers Swale, Lendway, tooth ache., North America, Bob Wagner and Hello Shark, at the Welcome Center. If experimental music is more your thing, catch Nuda Veritas, K. Lyman, Spaceman Saturday Night and several others at the Stoplight Gallery. Or, if you need a good chuckle, hit the Block Gallery for a local-comedy showcase. I’d recommend topping off the evening at the Monkey House with a dose of booze-fueled rock courtesy of Dino Bravo, PoolooP, Vedora and Teleport.
Saturday gets cooking on the fourth floor of the parking garage with an afternoon showcase of rawk featuring the likes of Blue Button, Spirit Animal, Trapper Keeper and others. Later that day at the church, Death Vessel headlines a showcase that also includes local experimental composer Greg Davis, his pal Kurt Weisman and local duo Wren & Mary. Not to be outdone, local soul band Craig Mitchell and Motor City lead a bill at the Welcome Center that also includes Great Western, Paper Castles, Golden Claws and VT expats the Milkman’s Union. You’ll find more experimental fare at the Stoplight Gallery and singer-songwriters at the Block Gallery. Finally, K Records electro-pop sensation the Blow close out WW2 at the Monkey House with Mitten and DJ Disco Phantom.
The local jazz scene says good-bye to one of its bright young talents this week when trombone phenom Andrew Moroz splits town for the left coast — Seattle, specifically.
I first came to know/corrupt Moroz more than 10 years ago when I was the singer for a local ska band called the Skamaphrodites — we were much better than the name implies, thank you very much. Anyway, we had recently parted ways with two of our horn players and had heard through the grapevine about this high school hotshot looking for a band. We invited him to one of our practices in the beer-can-littered basement of the dingy Old North End house we shared. I’m pretty sure his mom dropped him off, since he wasn’t old enough to drive, let alone hang out with a bunch of degenerate ska musicians. But I digress.
Before we had finished playing our first song, one thing became painfully obvious: Andy was way too good for our band. Despite being several years older, and accomplished musicians in their own right, our horn players could barely keep up with him. Because he’s one of the nicest people you could hope to meet, Andy humored us for a few weeks and even sat in on a couple of gigs. But this kid was clearly meant for bigger stages.
In the years since, Moroz has become one of Vermont’s most respected players. He toured with Trey Anastasio and regularly collaborates with composer Michael Chorney. But his best collaboration might be his trio with bassist Robinson Morse and drummer Geza Carr. The group evolved over the course of a weekly Sunday-evening residency at the dearly departed Langdon Street Café in Montpelier. Morse writes that they “developed a deep and meaningful musical dialogue” over the course of those sessions, and while the trio doesn’t have as many opportunities to play now, when they do, “the conversation picks up right where we left off.”
Eavesdrop this Saturday, May 12, when the trio plays Moroz’s farewell gig at the Marriott Harbor Lounge in Burlington.
Best of luck, Andy.
In last week’s column, we mentioned that Grace Potter and the Nocturnals would be announcing the full lineup for the second annual Grand Point North Festival at Burlington’s Waterfront Park “sometime later this month.” They weren’t kidding. The day after that column was filed, they released the entire slate of acts — just hours past our print deadline. Grrr. Anyway, the two-day waterfront blowout once again looks pretty spectacular, with a slew of big-name acts and a healthy dose of local flavor to boot. In addition to the Avett Brothers, Grace and her merry band of insomniacs are hosting Dr. Dog, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Galactic, Sam Roberts Band and Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers. As for the locals, the mix includes Heloise & the Savoir Faire, Waylon Speed, Gregory Douglass, Ryan Power, Bob Wagner, Bow Thayer and tooth ache., as well as Portland, Maine-based indie outfit Brenda, who play Burlington so often that we consider them honorary locals. GPN, the festival, runs Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15. Tickets are on sale now at gpnfest.frontgatetickets.com.
The local do-gooders at Big Heavy World have extra tickets to see emo darlings Hawthorne Heights at the Rusty Nail in Stowe on Tuesday, June 5 — and they want you to have them. If you’re a high school junior or senior, grab three of your closest friends, jot down the names of three local bands you’d like to see and email the list to email@example.com. BHW will then send you tickets to the show for as long as their supply lasts. If you need help coming up with three local band names … well, you should really be reading this column more often. But here’s a freebie: Bombardier to Pilot, who are opening the show alongside Life on Repeat, Forever Came Calling, Failsafe and Super Prime.
Last but not least, a minor correction. Last week’s Q&A with M. Ward contained a goof. Ward had recently toured with fIREHOSE, not Firehouse, as was stated in the interview. Apologies for the slip. And in case you’re wondering, M. Ward’s show this past Sunday at the Higher Ground Ballroom was, in a word, sublime.
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.
Ramona Falls, Prophet
Dirty Ghosts, Metal Moon
Hope for Agoldensummer, Life Inside The Body
Emily Wells, Mama
Lower Dens, Nootropics