Aaaaand we’re spent. And not a moment too soon, since I’m officially out of Quad-related puns.
After 400 years — or at least several months — of anticipation, the main event, the big hurrah, the crown jewel of this summer’s remarkable infusion of big-name musical talent, the Burlington International Waterfront Festival has come and gone. In its wake, the Quad leaves behind fond memories of sun-soaked evenings in Waterfront Park, not so fond memories of a few rain-soaked evenings, which corralled us in Memorial Auditorium, and, of course, the re-realization that everyone truly does love a parade. Like there was ever any doubt.
Now that we’ve had a few days to dry out and decompress, it seems only prudent to look back at the fortnight that was and take stock. So, Burlington, what did we learn?
We learned that, at 82 years old, Tony Bennett is still a great entertainer.
We learned that Steve Earle is a very funny man. Not a bad songwriter, either. That guy could go places.
We learned that Jay Craven, while a talented filmmaker and tireless producer, should leave emceeing duties to others.
We relearned that Waterfront Park is really a wonderful, versatile venue for big concerts, and that we need to take advantage of it more often.
We learned that the Quad organizers had brass cojones when they decided not to move Saturday’s Ween show from the Waterfront to Memorial. Given our ongoing spate of persnickity weather — Worst. Summer. Ever. — this had the potential to turn into an all-time backfire. But somehow we were blessed with a window in between thunderstorms just (barely) big enough to get the show in. Good lookin’ out, Sammy D.
On a related note, we also learned that something must be done about Memorial Auditorium, the de facto rain site for all of the Waterfront Park events. My vote: Blow it the hell up. Given the Queen City’s much-deserved reputation as a thriving arts town, it’s an embarrassment that we don’t have a better plan B than that building’s cavernous, concrete cockles. In all honesty, had the Ween show been moved indoors, I would have been very much on the fence about going. And I love Ween. Something tells me I’m not the only one who would have found another way to spend Saturday evening were that the case.
Memorial Auditorium is so bad that I’m seriously considering a mayoral run based solely on the platform of replacing it. It will be my only issue. And once it is gone and replaced by an adequate multiuse facility, I will resign. Bolles in 2010. I’m coming for you, Bob Kiss.
In closing, join me in offering a hearty round of applause to the BIWF crew. You done good, folks. Thank you.
Now, who’s in for the Quint?
Though the Quad is finished, the show must go on. And while it’s kind of hard to believe the summer is nearly half over — especially considering it has yet to feel like it’s started — there are still loads of fun musical options to be checked off the calendar. For example, the Sol Harvest Festivus for the Restivus (aka “The Manifestivus”) this weekend in Cabot.
Entering its seventh year, Festivus is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which being how they have managed to not get sued by Jerry Seinfeld. But more to the point, the three-day-long groove hootenanny on Toubab Krewe bassist David Pransky’s 93-acre family farm has quietly built a reputation as a legitimately family-friendly affair boasting a surprising variety of music.
Last year’s incarnation drew a reported 1500 concertgoers, so it is certainly smaller in scale than some other similarly groove-oriented fests. And though this year’s top-notch lineup suggests an uptick in attendance, one imagines the event’s signature down-home, communal feel will remain intact.
As usual, the Krewe will throw down on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday, they will be joined by Burlington-based West African drum-and-dance ensemble Jeh Kulu, as well as Malian sensation Oumou Sangare.
Saturday should prove to be the main event, beginning with Montpelier’s always exciting Sara Grace and the Suits and hip-pop up-and-comers Strength in Numbers in the afternoon. Malian griot Boubacar Diabate, who was among the more intriguing “discoveries” during last month’s Discover Jazz Fest is next, followed by Jamaican star Earl “Chinna” Smith. Local Fela Kuti torchbearers Movement of the People keep the Afrobeat vibe rolling, followed by the motley Krewe — see what I did there?
And then things get real, yo.
Sunday looks to be a low-key day as folks pack up and head home to a reprise from Smith and a set from Boston’s Jazz Criminals. For more on the fest, including ticket pricing and camping info, click here.
Did you guys know Bob Dylan is coming to the CV Fairgrounds this Friday? No kidding. And some guy named Willie. And the dude from those Chevy commercials. Neat. And if that weren’t enough, Travis Tritt headlines the 10th annual WOKO Country Club Music Festival at the fairgrounds on Sunday.
The welcome live-music experiment at Muddy Waters continues this Saturday when Burlington’s mavens of misanthropy, The Fatal Flaws, join Montreál-based garage-rawker Skip Jensen for an evening of no-fi fun. Trainwreck Kelly open the show.
There would be a good chance you would catch me at said Muddy’s gig, except it appears I may be previously engaged. You see, I recently chatted with Broken Lizard cofounder Kevin Heffernan for an interview that is currently up on my blog, Solid State. And I believe I may have accidentally challenged the comedy troupe to a round of Das Boot, one of the drinking games from their hilarious, booze-fueled epic Beerfest. Might that have been the worst idea I’ve ever had? Probably. Find out when the group performs this Saturday at the Higher Ground Ballroom.
If you dig world music but can’t make it to Cabot for Festivus, might I suggest this late addition to the Parima calendar, courtesy of our friends at Cumbancha Records: Afro-Peruvian collective Novalima, this Sunday. When the band isn’t making stops at local Thai restaurants, it’s been busy playing slightly larger joints such as Millennium Park in Chicago and Nuit d’Afrique in Montreál. A chance to see them in such intimate environs as Parima is a serious score.
Justin Levinson has a new weekly series running Saturday nights at Nectar’s. Something of a songwriter’s circle, the event is billed as an opportunity to hear some of the area’s finer tunesmiths collaborate in the bar’s cozy, pre-rockin’ setting. Joining Levinson this week is Marie Claire.
The Monkey House is gearing up for yet another run of amazing shows. This week’s best bets include Sweet Ass Pussy, Pooloop, the Golden Dogs and Rusty Belle on Friday, the welcome return of Pretty and Nice with In Memory of Pluto on Saturday, and Sunday’s Farm sighting with indie rockers Know Go Know and Pineapple Explode.
And finally, speaking of IMOP, you can catch them for free this Monday at Club Metronome with songwriter Pete Schluter’s new band Sun Lions as well as his old band, the niftily titled Death Pesos, who will reunite for one night only.
Dept. of Corrections
Last week’s announcement of the passing of Ninja Custodian’s bassist Hamdi Akar regrettably contained two errors. One, the accompanying photo caption read “Hamid Akar.” And two, the weblink to the band’s blog was incorrect. It should have read: mog.com/music/Ninja_Custodian. Our sincere apologies for the goofs. And again, condolences to Akar’s family and friends.