Soundbites: Smashing Pumpkins, Bite Torrent, Sweet Sorrow
Courtesy of Glynis Arban
Well, folks, the big day is almost here. Can you feel the change on the wind? Can you taste the excitement? I can. And you know what? It tastes like freedom — which bears an odd resemblance to chicken, actually.
Of course, the “big day” I am referring to is that most sacred of free world institutions, Halloween. What, you thought I meant the election? Well, that could be pretty frightening, too, I suppose. (Free Halloween Costume Idea #1: The Bradley Effect . . . terrifying.)
This year, All Hallows’ Eve falls on a Friday, which pretty much creates a perfect storm of parties, candy and sexy nurses/schoolgirls/nuns. (Free Halloween Costume Idea #2: sexy music editor.) We have a lot on the docket this weekend, so without further ado: Seven Days’ Guide to the Seven Best Music-related Halloween Shindigs of 2008.
- 7. Horse Feathers, Matthew Loiacono and Paddy Reagan at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington OK, there isn’t anything particularly ghoulish about this show other than the fact that it’s happening on Halloween. But still, it promises to be one of the better indie-folk shows you’ll see all year. Regular readers are likely familiar with Mr. Reagan by now. For newbies, he’s a quirkily talented dude and among the hardest-working songsmiths in the area. Loiacono is better known as the mandolinist for Albany alt-country darlings The Kamikaze Hearts, who are currently on hiatus to make babies and solo records.
Horse Feathers are, simply put, the best thing to come out of Portland, Oregon, since The Shins. And, no, I’m not kidding. This show marks their third trip to the Green Mountains and their fourth Vermont show in the last 18 months. I’ve managed to catch two of the first three and have been blown away both times. In particular, the group’s debut Vermont performance in the cozy confines of The Skinny Pancake was stunning. Their brooding brand of chamber folk is intoxicating in an intimate setting such as the Firehouse Gallery. And it’s a Tick Tick show, so I’m guessing costumes are A-OK.
- 6. Hallowbean at Radio Bean First and foremost, this one gets a nod for the cute pun. Awww. Second, the show should be pretty friggin’ rad. That’s right. Rad. Leading off is the Strangers in the Night Shadow Puppet Show, which I know absolutely nothing about. But it sounds pretty cool, right? So there you go.
Next up, we have a split bill between a pair of devilish Burlington outfits, The Vacant Lots and Nose Bleed Island. The latter always seem to perform in some sort of costumes, so what they’ll pull off on Halloween is anyone’s guess. (Idea #3: NBI lead singer Joey Pizza Slice.)
Closing out the evening are punky alt-country hellions Pariah Beat with a new album in tow. The band is also rockin’ the night before, Devil’s Night, at the Bean’s kissin’ cousin, Langdon Street Café in Montpelier.
- 5. Heartbreak Happy Hour at Langdon Street Café Speaking of Montpeculiar’s cozy hipster haunt, Halloween marks the final installment of über-talented chanteuse Miriam Bernardo’s monthlong Friday residency, as well as the expiration date of my marriage proposal from a few weeks back. (Idea #4: sexy, heartbroken music editor . . . sigh.) Eclectic electro-hip-hop local supergroup Drop close out the night.
- 4. 242 Main’s Annual Halloween Benefit Depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s festivities, public-arts funding may be increasingly more difficult to come by — although given the state of the economy, it might be a moot point regardless of who wins. So supporting Burlington’s favorite city-run rock breeding pool is as important as ever. And the night before Halloween, especially, it will be lots of fun.
Here’s the gist: Eight local acts dress as and cover their favorite bands. Among the expected doppelgängers are Take Warning, playing the role of — surprise! — Operation Ivy, Husbands AKA doing their best Bouncing Souls impersonation and metal stalwarts Amadis as — are you sitting down? — Judas Priest. Local rockers Maneuvers also reportedly have something pretty special on tap. But they ain’t telling and neither am I.
- 3. Ghouls Gone Wild II at the Higher Ground Ballroom Again, we have an entry that gets “inspired pun” bonus points. This is simply the biggest Halloween party in the state and will feature performances by the Poof! Drag Cabaret and DJ Precious, as well as a monstrous costume contest. And better still, proceeds benefit the R.U.1.2? Community Center.
- 2. Sound of Urchin and Party Star at Nectar’s As usual, Halloween is loaded with dance parties — i.e., Ghouls Gone Wild II and Lotus Entertainment’s Halloween Bash upstairs at Club Metronome. And that’s great. Sexy nuns need somewhere to get down, dirty and sacrilicious. But I prefer my demonic debauchery with more of a hard-rockin’ edge, thank you. And this year, the best bet is likely Sound of Urchin and Party Star. The former describes their sound as a mix of Thin Lizzy and The Bee Gees. I’m guessing they meant that ironically, but it actually works. But, might I add: The Go! Team on a crystal-meth bender with Green Jelly. (Idea #5: The Go! Team on a crystal-meth bender with Green Jelly.)
- 1. Burton Snowboards Halloween Party at Parima
OK, this one is actually on Devil’s Night. But if you’re looking for gruesome and tasteless — and who isn’t on Halloween? — nobody does it better than Burton, apparently.
In non-Halloween related news, the venerable Bluegrass Gospel Project is back in action this week with a benefit show for Volunteer Vermont this Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Burlington. In addition to new vocalist Colby Crehan of PossumHaw renown, the group will be rolling out factory-fresh bassist Kirk Lord, who joined the group earlier this year. The monies raised will help send Vermont high school students to South Carolina to help with church rebuilding projects and other civic-minded good deeds.
That same evening, indie-pop fans will descend upon Winooski en masse for an evening with Brooklyn’s soon-to-be-huge punk-poppers The Besties and Athens garage-pop outfit Cars Can Be Blue at The Monkey House. The Smittens’ David Zacharias had this to say about the latter: “The shows are almost more raunchy sketch comedy than an indie-pop band. Think Dressy Bessy with Sarah Silverman singing.” Awesome. Speaking of The Smittens, they’re on the bill too, as is James Kochalka, who will be playing a killer solo Game Boy set. No, really.
Meanwhile, at Burlington’s North End Studio, a trio of fresh-faced college bands will introduce themselves to the city at large with a show entitled “Revolution Rock.” Indie-rock outfit Buzz Jar — featuring former members of late alt-country group The Marigolds — blues-rockers The Feverbreakers and avant-noise savant Mr. Shopping are all slated to appear. Also on the bill is a presentation from Burlington’s oWL PaRTY, just in time for the election.
On a sad note, this week Seven Days says goodbye to one of its best, office manager extraordinaire and my partner in music bloggery, Bridget Burns, who is leaving us for Burlington-by-the-sea, Portland, Maine — a.k.a. the other Portland. On behalf of myself, the denizens of Solid State and, of course, Seven Days, we’re gonna miss you, kid. Wyld Stallions rule!