Rear Window, Part 2
The early word out of Winooski is that Angioplasty Media’s Waking Windows Festival at the Monkey House has been resoundingly rad. With the fest’s inaugural weekend in the books, it’s time to take a look at what’s left on the docket.
The following night, the fine gents from NNA Tapes set up shop for an evening of experimental fare with NYC’s Hubble, Matt Mayer and Lee Tindall’s Einfgall, electro-pop songwriter tooth ache., Bible-thumping trash-pop duo Lawrence Welks & Our Bear to Cross and DJ Spanish 9.
Following an early show Saturday with KhÔra, Nick Kuepfer and Silent Land Time Machine, things get decidedly more aggro at the Monkey House. The punk and hardcore showcase features a pair of Seattle punk bands, the Assassinators and Shakin’ Michael J, as well as Cape Cod’s Led to the Grave, Rhode Island thrash-metal band Rampant Decay, Boston’s Drago and our very own hardcore hooligans Lord Silky — who should be just about ready to release their new album.
The double dip continues on Sunday. Following an early comedy showcase, the fest comes to a pop-tastic close with Shepard’s Pie, disco-rock darlings Diamond Tiger and the Smittens, fresh off what was undoubtedly a wild and wacky West Coast tour. Yow!
After the first weekend of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, I have two clear highlights. The first was Parker Shper’s trio yoUSAy Placate, who opened for Bitches Brew Revisited at the Flynn Friday and, well, pretty much showed up the headliners. Judging by the three rows of people sleeping in front of me — and a crowd that likely set the land speed record for fastest Flynn exit in history after the show — I don’t think I’m the only one who felt that way. BBR were underwhelming and seemingly unprepared — particularly DJ Logic, who struggled to match beats all night. By contrast, yoUSAy Placate were as in tune as I’ve ever seen them. I ran into bassist Rob Morse the next day, and he told me it was the most comfortable he’s ever felt on the MainStage. It showed. Unfortunately, yoUSAy Placate don’t have any gigs for the remainder of Jazz Fest. But catch Shper’s other band, Groundfood at Nectar’s this Wednesday, June 8, and at Red Square on Friday, June 10, opening for Snarky Puppy. Will Shper go two-for-two showing up headliners? And if he does, would that set a new BDJF record for a single festival?
Speaking of Nectar’s, highlight No. 2 came Saturday night at the House that Phish Built. I believe I’ve mentioned a couple-three times that Craig Mitchell is as talented a vocalist as he is a DJ. Well, he is. And fronting his new outfit, Motor City, he proved it. Mitchell describes his band as “if Prince, Jamiroquai and the Black Keys had a baby.” That’s not terribly far off the mark, actually. But I’ll go a step further and say that Motor City is the kind of music that would be on the hi-fi whilst Prince, Jamiroquai and the Black Keys were making said baby — how’s that mental image?
No doubt you’re already aware that a certain famous banjo virtuoso will swing through Burlington this week as part of the BDJF. (In case you’re not, that would be Béla Fleck.) But Béla ain’t the only finger-pickin’-good banjo player in town this weekend. Fleck contemporary Gordon Stone tears up Red Square this Friday. Do I smell a good ol’ fashioned banjo duel?
Continuing on our mini jazz roll, a hearty welcome back to the long-running weekly Big Joe Burell tribute series, Friends of Joe, which kicks off a new season this Thursday at Halvorson’s with its annual “super-size” all-star edition featuring, well, pretty much every hepcat in town.
One more BDJF note and I swear we’ll move on. If you have a chance, swing by the second floor of the BCA Center at some point this week and check out JazzLab. The project is a live studio session engineered by Ben Collette and Rob O’Dea of the Tank Studio. The gist is that bands drop by for an afternoon, spend a few hours tracking some tunes, and you get to watch ’em do it. Last year’s JazzLab produced a number of interesting recordings, including Villanelles’ latest, Kiss My Grits EP. Artists participating this year include the BTV/NOLA Experiment on Wednesday, June 8, which features Vermont musicians Rob Morse, Heloise Williams and Gabe Jarrett, and N’awlins’ players Jonathan Freilich and Justin Peake. Thursday, June 9, catch the aforementioned Snarky Puppy. And on Saturday, June 11, local Afrobeat ensemble Barika lay down a session.
Starline Rhythm Boys are some savvy dudes. The veteran local rockabilly band has teamed up with BBQ master Jimmy Kennedy (formerly of River Run Restaurant) and Three Penny Taproom’s Scott Kerner to form a new venture called Full House Events. The idea is basically one-stop shopping for the best dang hillbilly wedding ever. For one price, you get food, booze and, of course, killer tunes courtesy of SRB. For more info, email the band at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just swing by American Flatbread in Burlington when they play this Wednesday, June 8. (Oops. I lied earlier. That’s technically a Jazz Fest gig, too.)
Ever hear that song “Steven’s Last Night in Town” by Ben Folds? It’s about a guy who continually is about to leave town, has a going-away party each time he is supposed to go, but then never leaves. Good tune. The reason I bring it up is that this marks the third time I’ve said farewell to Montpelier songwriters Rachael Rice and Dan Haley in this column in as many weeks. And yet they’re still here. What gives? Anyway, this Friday, the Bethany Church in Montpelier hosts “A Concert for Dan,” which in addition to having a great name is a farewell concert for Haley. He’ll perform solo, with his partner Rice, Susannah Blachly’s Two Shoes Off and the Stars of Gilead, which also feature Mark LeGrand, Sarah Munro and Spencer Lewis. And then he and Rice will move to Portland, Ore. Maybe.
Our old friends the Powder Kegs will be in town this Friday as they wrap up a five-week tour at Radio Bean. The briefly VT-based, briefly bluegrass-indie-rock outfit has been touring in support of a new album, The Amanicans, which was released on March 30 and, well, rocks pretty flippin’ hard. I absolutely adored the band’s 2010 EP, Empty Side, and am growing equally fond of the new record, as it sates my thirst for hooky pop in much the same way as fellow Philly-based indie outfit Dr. Dog. That ain’t a bad thing. Villanelles open the show.
Band Name of the Week: Armen at the Bazaar. That’s the bizarre pseudonym of Montréal-based songwriter Armen Bazarian. Fans of Come On Feel the Illinoise-era Sufjan Stevens or fellow Montréaler Patrick Watson would do well to check Bazarian out at Radio Bean this Saturday, June 11.
Last but not least, there are almost too many musical options to choose from this week. But if I had to choose just one to attend, the Barr Brothers at Parima this Saturday just might be it. The Montréal-based art-folk band have become Burlington regulars, dropping by every few months or so. And every time they do, the reviews after the show are almost impossibly glowing. Plus, you gotta love any band with a full-size harp, right? Maryse Smith & the Rosesmiths open.
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.