End of Days
I spent last Friday night paying my respects to the Langdon Street Café. Maybe you’ve heard, the juke joint is going out of business, like, this Saturday … sigh.
I had kind of hoped dropping by the café would make me feel a little better about losing one of the state’s true artistic hubs, maybe bring some closure, you know? It didn’t. If anything, taking in the scene at LSC only made me feel worse — and a little guilty for not making an effort to go there more often. The mood was hardly somber. Thanks to J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices — who might just be my new favorite VT band — it was quite the opposite. Still, I can’t say I really enjoyed myself, per se. As Boyz II Men once sagely noted, “It’s so hard to say goodbye.” (That’s right, I went there.)
However, to borrow another line, this time from Monty Python, “I’m not dead yet.” Though the end is near, it’s not quite here yet. There will be plenty of time to mourn the LSC’s passing — any time after Sunday, in fact. But between now and then, there’s really nothing left to do but celebrate the life and times of the Langdon Street Café. Think of it like having the wake before the funeral.
LSC’s last stand looks to be one for the ages. Thursday finds local jazz fusionists Vorcza taking to the stage for one seriously funkdafied last waltz. The following night, the Miriam Bernardo Band will blow the café doors off as the normally modest Latin jazz siren rolls up her cuffs and gets her rock-and-roll on.
And then, on Saturday, it all comes to an end. A four-piece psych-folk band from Ann Arbor, Mich., the Appleseed Collective, will play an afternoon set on their way through town. Kinda fitting, no?
Then the circus comes to town, literally.
Boston circus-punk ensemble Cirkestra have the distinction of playing the last-ever show at Langdon Street Café, which, according to Ben T. Matchstick, will feature “untamed she-cats, games of fun and chance, fortune telling and scary clowns.” So, you know, pretty much everything you might expect from LSC on its last night on Earth. That’s gonna be one hell of a party.
Before we close this chapter of VT music history for good, I’d like to thank Meg Hammond, Matchstick and the rest of the incredible, varied cast of characters who helped make Langdon Street Café what it was these past six-plus years. And that was a vital, invaluable asset to the community it served and loved — and who loved it right back. Places like this, and the people who sacrifice to bring them to life, help make Vermont a special place. Thank you.
Kingdom Come (and Go)
With any luck, the end of May will also bring about the end of the most depressing month of Soundbites columns … well, ever, I think. But before it gets lighter, it’s gonna get a little darker. Ready?
This year’s Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is not happening.
(That sound you hear is me banging my head on the top of my desk.)
In a press release late last week, NEKMF founder Ed Dufresne broke the news to the local press, citing — drum roll, please! — the Rapture! Or financial challenges. Who can remember?
Money, obviously, was the deciding factor in DuFresne’s decision to pull the plug on the NEKMF this year, which would have been the ninth annual. He does suggest some sort of event may again take place at the picturesque Chilly Ranch, though not until 2012. Of course, if the Mayans were right, the world is also supposed to end then, too.
In the meantime, DuFresne is gonna do what he does best: book shows. In a related press release, he announced that he’s signed on as the talent buyer for the newly reopened Black Door — a post he held for several years at Langdon Street Café. As usual, DuFresne has lined up some top-notch acts for the early summer, including Rusty Belle (June 4), Holy Ghost Tent Revival (June 17) and Quisqueya (July 8).
We now take a break from this column’s regularly scheduled Montpelier lovefest to bring you news from … Rutland? You know, I’ve been writing this column for four years, and I’m pretty sure this is the first time that news of any kind has broken from Rut Vegas. (Note to Rutland: Just kidding! Again.) Anyway, the news is that Burlington’s sons of Death, Rough Francis, head south this Saturday for an all-ages show at that city’s Unitarian Universalist Church. Also on the bill: a whole bunch of local and regional punk bands with phenomenal names, including Jonee Earthquake Band, the Black Tie Operation, Midnight Saints, Damn Broads, Cozi Come and 16HPP.
Aaand we’re back to Montpelier. Happy birthday to local rapper Aleck Woog. On the heels of a solid sophomore effort, WzdoM, released earlier this month, Mister Woogmatic celebrates in grand style with a “Birthday Bender” at the one and only Charlie O’s World Famous this Saturday. Helping Woog blow out the candles are DJ Bay 6, Mr. Yee and Tank, Brutally Honest, No Humans Allowed and Zach Crawford.
Erin McDermott’s “new” album, which we reviewed in January, has an ominous title: Time to Go. Recorded in Nashville and featuring some of Music City’s finest session players, it’s a slick little disc that suggests the local cowgirl has designs on bigger stages — and the guess here is, she’ll get there. In the meantime, McDermott is playing a handful of local gigs this summer to celebrate the record, which was officially released last week. The first is this Saturday at the Enosburg Opera House.
Band Name of the Week: That’s What She Said. More fun in Montpelier and at Charlie O’s. Yet another BNOTW winner that’s tough to Google — though this particular search was far more fun than most. Ahem. Turns out these cats are a cover band featuring a crew of Mont-p regulars, including Robyn Peirce, Chris Ponzio, Theis Bergstrom and Dan Zura. They’ll be at the best bar in the world this Friday, with rockers — and this week’s BNOTW runners-up — Bedeviled Eggs.
When it was announced that Drop the Lime was playing Sunday Night Mass at Club Metronome this week, it was already kind of a big deal in local dance circles. But since that announcement, his impending appearance has actually taken on even more significance — which is saying something for a guy Hype Machine once dubbed “the most-blogged-about artist on the planet.” Earlier this week, DTL signed a global deal with Ultra Records, one of the world’s preeminent dance labels and home to folks such as Chemical Brothers and Deadmau5. In short, dude is about to blow up, big time. Currently, DTL is touring with a live band, which he debuted recently in Brooklyn to stellar reviews. Catch him — while you can — this Sunday at Club Metronome.
Speaking of bass music, Nicholas Concklin and the rest of the cats from local DJ collective Mushpost unveil a new monthly residency at Nectar’s this Wednesday, May 25, dubbed Select — though I much prefer their alternate name, “Mushpost Monthly.” Actually, “dubbed” may have been a poor word choice there. As Concklin explains in a recent email, “The purpose of the night is to provide an outlet for amazing bass music that gets smothered or neglected at dubstep shows. Dubstep is polarizing and can be inaccessible and at times even oppressive. Yet there is so much bass-oriented dance music that is exactly the opposite, much of which is so ahead of the curve we are legitimately without a genre to categorize it … thus ‘bass music.’” Gotcha. Thanks, Nick. To help celebrate the new residency, Concklin is bringing in Chicago producer Chrissy Murderbot, who will celebrate the release of his own latest record, Women’s Studies. Future installments of Select/Mushpost Monthly will happen the third Thursday of each month throughout the summer.
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.