Soundbites: When I Was 17, Spring Loaded, Bite Torrent
It was a very good year. Wait a sec. No, it wasn’t. Seventeen sucked. In my final year of high school (about to embark on a blessedly brief tour of a decidedly un-groovy local institution of higher learning, and working as the world’s worst waiter), my life was like a bad episode of “The Wonder Years,” minus the nostalgic Daniel Stern commentary. And, yes, I realize there was never a bad episode of that show. But that’s hardly the point.
Anyway, as my (largely contrived) teenage misery found me wallowing in a sea of Mazzy Star and Counting Crows, Burlington was giving birth to an institution that would become a cornerstone of the city’s music scene. For it was 13 years ago that Jim Lockridge gave the Queen City Big Heavy World , all but ensuring a vastly cooler upbringing for music-obsessed local teenagers for generations to come.
In the time since, BHW has become such an integral part of Vermont music that it’s easy to take it for granted. But to overlook the organization’s wide reach and influence would be a mistake. From offering high school students invaluable internship opportunities, to providing resources for DIY-minded musicians, to undergoing the Herculean task of archiving all of recorded VT music (a staggering 4000 recordings and counting), few aspects of local music are left untouched by Lockridge and his merry band of volunteers. Personally, I think it’s high time we said, “Thanks.” Not to mention, “Happy Birthday.”
This Friday, BHW celebrates its entry into those awkward teenage years with the “Baker’s Dozen Birthday Bash,” a two-floor local rawk extravaganza at Nectar’s and Club Metronome.
Leading off upstairs is an early (6 p.m.) all-ages hardcore showcase featuring Weight of the World  and Even the Score . There will undoubtedly be a few additions to this portion of the bill, so be sure to check bigheavyworld.com for updates.
Later, Metronome will thrill to the sounds of garage rockers The Shandies  and The Fatal Flaws , dirty Southern stoner rockers Vultures of Cult  — who reportedly have a new album in the works — and the consummate rocker’s rocker, Ryan Ober .
Meanwhile, downstairs, ironic metal champs Cherry Cassette  headline a bill featuring Blowtorch , harmonious indie popsters Lendway , the estimable Aaron Flinn  and indie soap star Missy Bly .
The St. Michael’s College community was up in arms last week in response to the SMC Student Association’s decision to invite controversial hip-hop idiot, er, star Asher Roth  to open for Lupe Fiasco  at their annual spring concert, scheduled for this Saturday (see 7D’s music blog  for the full rundown).
If you don’t know who Roth is … good for you! If you are familiar with his “work,” you are probably aware of his current Billboard chart scorcher, “I Love College,” an ode to the many joys of, um, “higher” education. The single and its accompanying video shamelessly pander to just about every negative stereotype associated with party-crazed college kids — including sex with semiconscious coeds. Classy. In other words, it’s not exactly the kind of message a school wants to send its kids.
In response to vociferous public outcry, late last week Roth was actually uninvited — and put on double secret probation to boot. But that pissed off SMC’s moron contingent, who are rumored to be staging a beer-pong-in on the quad in protest.
And, yes, I made that last part up. But kudos to the SMC Student Association for (eventually) making the right decision.
In other college music news, UVM’s annual SpringFest is also this Saturday and, oddly enough, has stirred up no controversy whatsoever. However, the show — featuring, among others, Brooklyn electro-dance sensations Ratatat  and our very own sultans of Afro-funk Rubblebucket Orchestra  — is currently sold out, pending clear skies. Should the forecast remain sunny, thus allowing the event to be held outside, more tickets may be released on Thursday morning.
Outside the halls of academia, ’tis a busy week in our cozy local scene. Let’s get down to it.
Saturday night, Burlington psych-rock stalwarts The Cush  headline a show at The Monkey House. While that’s reason enough to swing ’round, and ’round, the Noosk on its own, show up early to check out opening sets from Paddy Reagan’s indie-folk outfit Paper Castles  and Brooklyn’s La Strada . If you took my advice about The Low Anthem  last week, I’d urge you to do so again, especially regarding La Strada, whom you can also catch the previous night at Montpelier’s Langdon Street Café.
In other Monkey news, Sunday’s Aether Everywhere -sponsored show with Connecticut noise outfits Bahh Black Box  and Open Star Clusters  has been moved from Radio Bean to the Onion City haunt. Local outfits The Le Duo , Rats Cops  and tooth ache.  are also slated to appear.
The word out of Richmond is that the town’s best — only? — live music venue, On the Rise Bakery and Café , has fallen on hard times as a result of the federally stimulated closing of the Bridge Street bridge. Thanks, Obama. However, the joint is still open and will hopefully be jumpin’ with a typically solid weekend of live music, highlighted by Saturday’s performance by ace jazz outfit The Dan Silverman Sextet.
It wouldn’t be a SoundBites column without mention of a benefit concert. This weekend, Cover Home Repair  in White River Junction is hosting its annual benny with noted songwriter Mary Gauthier  and Vermont’s own Anaïs Mitchell  at the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, N.H. Proceeds will help the organization continue to offer low-cost home-repair services to needy folks in the area.
Rough Francis  fans should tune into WRUV 90.1 FM  at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, to catch the band on “Exposure.” Word on the street is that it might be the last chance to catch them until the summer.
And finally, congrats to Higher Ground lighting tech Jason “Liggy” Liggett who, just last Sunday, left Burlington to join Wilco  on tour as their new lighting director. In a word, “whoa.” And this on the heels of getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend. So, Liggy, if you’re reading, would you mind picking me up a few lottery tickets? When you’re hot, you’re hot.