You know, I was all set to start this column with some really cool news about some really cool music-y stuff going down this week. But someone — not naming names (mostly cuz we don’t have any names yet) — had to go and rain on my friggin’ parade. What, like we haven’t seen enough rain already this summer? Don’t make me sic Tom Messner on your ass. Thanks to my weekly WPTZ cameos (Thursday nights at 11!), I actually know the dude. So don’t think I can’t make that happen. You wouldn’t like Tom when he’s angry … um, moving on.
As many of you likely know, this Saturday is the annual dawn-to-dusk Old North End Ramble in Burlington. If you’re new to town, or just generally lame and ignorant of such things, the Ramble is essentially the Old North End’s response to that highfalutin’ South End Art Hop on the other side of town. It’s kind of like Osheaga to Bonnaroo. Pitchfork to Lollapalooza. The WOKO Country Club Music Festival to Tanglewood. (Just kidding, South Enders. I don’t really think you’re highfalutin’.)
Anyway, it seems this year’s incarnation is off to a rough start. The word from Ramble organizer Heather Driscoll is that some no-account asshole(s) made off with several sign-up sheets — many of which had money and checks still attached — that were being held at Radio Bean. (OK, those weren’t her exact words; the “no-account asshole” bit was all me.)
While the missing funds are obviously a kick in the pants, the more immediate concern is making sure everyone who was signed up to participate is accounted for. The Ramble website — www.theramble.org — currently has a really nifty map of those businesses and other venues known to be involved. If you or folks you know are planning to participate, go to the website and make sure you’re on it. Do this right now.
While you’re there, I’d also recommend taking a look at the schedule of events. It’s a good ’un.
Things kick off bright and early with “Dawn Yoga” at Archibald Garden. Later that morning, Battery Park will host the ever-popular “War of the Wards” field days — bring it on, South End. The remainder of the day is chock-full of interesting arts- and/or crafts-styled events all over the Old North End, culminating in a massive bike ride and then, my favorite part, the Ramble Round Up, which features free crêpes from The Skinny Pancake and performances by 17th Fire, Jenny Martin, Cccome?, Mickey Western, Ryan Ober, Shawn Grady and Moustache Ride — the last of whom are my favorite new band I know absolutely nothing about.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Driscoll points out that the original spirit of the Ramble was just that: to ramble. So, even though the painstakingly crafted map of the festivities — by Driscoll’s account, the best. map. ever. — will be somewhat incomplete, the irony is, that’s kinda the whole point anyway. So swing by the Old North End this Saturday and poke around. Because you never know what you might find. Literally.
Band of Brothers
Now that we’re done with that bit of dirty business, let’s move on to something sunnier, shall we? We shall.
The time was the late 1980s. George Bush the elder was in office. Neon clothing was somehow in vogue. MTV actually played music videos. And in tiny Burlington, VT, The Jalapeno Brothers were kings of the blues-rock hill.
In their heyday, the band was about as bankable a draw as any local outfit not named Phish — partly because members of the Phab Phour often swam in similar streams and were known to drop in on JB shows with some frequency. Over a span of nearly 20 years, the Brothers released four well-received albums and a slew of bootleg recordings. They toured not only throughout VT and New England, but around the country and eventually the world, sharing stages with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Delbert McClinton, Hot Tuna and Rick Danko, among others.
The Jalapeno Brothers have been missing in action pretty much since the release of their last album in 2003. Bandleader Glen Schweitzer moved on to Asheville, N.C., where he is still a professional musician. The remaining cast of rotating characters have mostly gone their separate ways as well. But that all changes this Thursday, when the band reunites for “one night only” at Club Metronome … and then the next night at the Matterhorn in Stowe. Welcome back, boys.
The word, as reported to me by numerous reliable attendees at last Friday’s Dylan/Nelson/Mellencamp show: The Cougar upstaged the old-timers, and it wasn’t even close. Who’d a thunk it? (Oh, right. I did.)
The word from last weekend’s Vermont Brewers Fest: Duuuuude! Whoooo! Beeeeer! (Why is this fun again?)
The word from last Saturday’s Broken Lizard show at Higher Ground: not as funny in person. Bummer.
The word from Snalbans’ finest, Farm: Due to some scheduling confusion, they were not actually on Sunday’s bill with No Go Know at the Monkey House, as had been stated in this column last week. They are, however, playing the “Jig in the Valley” on the East Fairfield Green with John Cassel, The Spiders, Brian Curry & Friends, Dale & Darcy, the Backyard Bluegrass Band and The Oleo Romeos.
The word from Durians: New band plays its first show at Langdon Street Café this Thursday. Live breakbeat and heavy electronica. Asses will be shaken. And quite possibly stirred.
The word from Bearquarium: Up-and-coming local Afro-Latin funk ensemble releases debut CD at Nectar’s this Thursday. See “asses, shaking” in previous paragraph.
The word from the calendar: There is a lot happening this Thursday.
The word from Amadis: Leather chaps are even better when they are ass-less — but please avoid shaking. Also, this Sunday the band will be playing with a pair of thoroughly kick-ass metal bands from L.A., Rattlehead and Devastator. Locals Black Ice Burial open.
The word from me: Have I ever mentioned how much I love metal and hardcore band names?
The word from Charlie O’s: The best bar in the world somehow gets even better as it hosts B-town indie rockers Villanelles this Saturday. These kids got really good, really fast. Trust me.
The word from DesignHaus: Paaaaaartay! Positively epic benefit show at their Church Street studio this Saturday to help save a New Orleans food pantry. Slated to appear are: The Bob Wagner Band, June Debris, tooth ache., Parmaga, Thanks, Dude, The Feverbreakers and Lady Lioness.
The word from Neverland: Michael Jackson is still dead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t honor him by throwing a bunch of costumed karaoke singers on stage to butcher his tunes. This Friday, you have not one but two chances to pay tribute to Jacko. First — and not just because it’s a Seven Days event — we have “One Glove: Michael Jackson Tribute Night” at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge with host Jason Cooley and local celebrity judges Marie Claire, Myra Flynn and The Dirty Blondes. Oddly enough, this show is not all ages … too soon? Meanwhile, down the road a piece in the Capital City, Langdon Street Café hosts the Michael Jackson Tribute with Electric Sorcery, featuring guest vocalists, a dance competition and a rousing chorus of “We Are the World” led by Jim Douglas. (Just kidding about that last bit … or am I?)