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Manifest Destiny 

Soundbites: Manifest Destiny, One for the Road, BiteTorrent

As I alluded in last week’s column, the big news on the local-music front this week is the return of renowned hip-hop hybrids Manifest Nexto Me, who take the stage again this Thursday at the Langdon Street Café in Montpelier. While the news is sure to delight the quartet’s legions of fans — Manifest were among Burlington’s most popular and well-traveled bands from 2001 to 2006 or so — it’s mildly inaccurate to call the show a reunion. Because, as keyboardist/vocalist Chris Kiper points out, they never really broke up.

“We elected for the ‘passive fizzle,’ which occurs when you just forget to keep being a band,” he writes in a recent email. Also, they started having kids. “I think we now have twice as many offspring,” he notes.

Adds bassist Will Schebaum, “In a certain way, we’ve always been ‘here’ and always will be. We don’t believe in the concept of apartness.”

Riiight … thanks for clearing that up, Will! But why come back now?

Kiper relays, perhaps with tongue in cheek, that part of the reason is to “promote our new album, Intermittent Resurrections.” Schebaum, meanwhile, offers a more direct response: It is “just damn fun rocking out some serious tradge-hop,” he shares.

Anyone who caught the band in its heyday would likely agree.

Manifest Nexto Me, which also include drummer PJ Davidian and vocalist Mike Morelli, will play tunes primarily from their last album, 2005’s Forever From Now On. That, Schebaum writes, is “almost even more relevant now than when it was written.” They’ll also unveil a few remixes and some new “dark and rugged” material penned by Morelli. “End-of-the-world shit,” Schebaum confides.

Manifest always had a flair for the cosmically dramatic.

Neither Kiper nor Schebaum would say for certain if the show is a portent of gigs (or albums) to come. Though, Kiper notes, “We emerge when our music feels culturally appropriate … when the cosmic paradox beckons for attention.”

So … Thursday?

One for the Road

Manifest aren’t the only local early-aughts throwbacks reuniting this week. B-town rockers The Lestons are saddling up for one last ride into the sunset — although, unlike Manifest, they actually did break up, about five years ago. They reemerge, apparently, when the cosmic paradox is thirsty.

Once upon a time, The Lestons, three-quarters of whom went on to become Party Star, were just about the drinkingest, rowdiest and, um, drinkingest band in town. But, as guitarist Matt Perry recalls, that didn’t always go over well with the audience. The band’s freshman record, the cheekily titled Their Self-Titled Debut, was soundly panned by then-7D music ed Ethan Covey. “In retrospect, I’m not thrilled with the product,” concedes Perry.

Having not heard the album — at least that I can recall — I’ll not quibble with my predecessor’s take. But I will say this: Any rock band with song titles such as “She Slipped Me a Rufie” and “All My Exes Live in Essex” are probably pretty raucous live. And that, my friends, is something to which I can absolutely attest. I caught The Lestons on several occasions back in the day — usually performing with Rock n Roll Sherpa — and always had a great time. If my liver can stand it, I just may make my way down to one of their two reunion gigs this weekend: Saturday at The Monkey House and Sunday at Radio Bean.


  • Montpelier’s The Lamb Abbey may be closed (for now), but the show must go on — even (especially?) if said show involves hair-raising heavy metal and public pseudo-nudity. Montpelierpalooza Metal Fest, originally slated for the forcibly hiatused alt-venue, will go on as planned this Saturday. In true festie form, the five-band, two-stage throwdown will take place outdoors. Scheduled to appear are Excrecor, Approaching the Fall and localvore favorites Uranium Belt, Stone Bullet and Amadis. There will be BBQ courtesy of VT-BBQ, and bodypainting and airbrush tattoos courtesy of Face Mania. And, ladies, according to festival organizers, nipple covers are free. No, I’m not making that up.
  • Though the chances for nudity are presumably — and blessedly — lower, the Vermont Comedy Club showcase at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge this Saturday should be a blast. The lineup features area regulars (and VCC cofounders) Nathan Hartswick, John Lyons and Chad Smith, as well as up-and-coming locals Jake Feldman and Ahamed Weinberg, and Higher Ground Comedy Battle champs Oliver Barkley and Roger Miller.
  • Oh, MSR Presents, how I love thee. Let me count the ways! Reason number 146: You’re giving me indie upstarts du jour Bear in Heaven at The Monkey House this Friday, with provocative Brooklyn-based experimental one-man-electronic-experimental-band Lobisomem. The ever-busy DJ Disco Phantom spins betwixt sets.
  • New Local Band Alert: Speaking of experimental electronic awesomeness, that show will also mark the debut of a new local outfit, Errands. The trio is led by My Dearest Darling’s Daniel Munzing, who describes the project as “essentially a continuation of MDD.” That is pretty much spot-on. The three-song EP, available for free download via the band’s Bandcamp page (, sounds like a collection of instrumental outtakes from MDD’s self-titled 2009 debut. Scale back that group’s indie-rock leanings, fade up their synthier electro moments, and — voila! — Errands. Needless to say, I dig it.
  • As you might know, I also dig Jocie Adams, of perrenial column darlings The Low Anthem. So, I would be remiss not to mention that this Friday the silken-voiced songstress and multi-instrumentalist will play a solo set at the Langdon Street Café.
  • Oh, and did I mention that following said solo set, Adams will sit in with renowned Boston folkies Session Americana?
  • Staying in the shadow of the Golden Dome, this Monday the city’s music scene will unite for a benefit concert to aid students from Tibet’s Munsel School, which was destroyed by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in April. Scheduled to appear at Langdon Street Café are Miriam Bernardo, Aliza Paglia, Heidi Wilson, George White, John Cleary, Rachael Rice and Kate Sprout, with more performers still to be announced.
  • Radio Bean has a pretty remarkable night of fingerpickin’ good music lined up this Friday, as local “whiskeygrass” progenitors Gold Town host fellow VT-based indie folks The Creaky Trees and the dubois, and North Carolina’s Bombadil. Aside from having a name that likely elicits knowing grins from LOTR geeks, Bombadil are signed to Ramseur Records. The all-around excellent folk, rock and indie Americana imprint is also the original label home of The Avett Brothers. Trust me, if you dig The Avetts — which I do — you’ll get a kick out of Bombadil.
  • Locals reign this Saturday at Nectar’s, which features Boston-based Queen City ex-pats The Luxury, neo-soul chanteuse Myra Flynn and indie darlings Lendway, the last of whom have been awfully quiet in recent months. According to a recent email from lead vocalist Michael Clifford, the band spent much of the winter holed up and writing new material. He says they have about 15 new tunes sketched out, and designs on a new record next spring. As Clifford notes, “We plan to take our time with this one.” No kidding. However, he did hint at the possibility of a “pre-album release” of some B-sides this fall. Stay tuned.
  • While we’re at Nectar’s, I’m hearing good things about new local electro-acoustic outfit Coba Stella. They wrap up a three-week residency at the club this Monday.
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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles is the Seven Days music editor. His column "Soundbites" appears weekly.


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