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Needle Droppers 

Soundbites: Lotus Entertainment, The Kode, Vermont Youth Orchestra, Reverend Nathan Brady Crain

Despite its reputation as a hotbed of live music, Burlington has always been something of a DJ town. The well of bands dries up from time to time, but local turntablists rarely miss a beat. They don't always get a lot of attention, though. That could very well change with the introduction of a new DJ service organization, Lotus Entertainment.

The company is the brainchild of DJ ZJ (a.k.a. Zach Johnson) and Rikki Thiel, who created Lotus to satisfy clients looking for more than cheesy pop hits cued up on an iPod. "We can identify with the youth of today, because we are the youth," states their website, http://www.LotusMusicVt.com. As long as they aren't "Electric Youth." 'Cause that's Debbie Gibson's territory.

In addition to serving up fresh beats, Lotus is starting up a DJ school, which will offer beginner, intermediate and expert classes. Don't have your own set of steel wheels? No worries. The company will provide equipment and records as part of its tuition. They also plan on launching a clothing line at some point in the near future, so keep your eyes out for lids and hoodies.

Lotus' local roster includes DJs A-Dog, Anubus, CRE8, Russell, Strongarm and, of course, ZJ. Representing the "international" talent (which, unsurprisingly, includes Montréal) are DJs Killa Jewel, Mana, Revolution and Rob Swift.

Swift, a former member of world-renowned turntablists the X-Ecutioners, is indeed deadly on the decks. The Queens-born DJ will be on hand for the Lotus launch party, which takes place at Plan B on Thursday, March 22. You can also expect appearances from nearly every other act on the company's roster, as well as giveaways and a screening of Swift's new DVD, As the Tables Turn.

The show takes place at 9 p.m.; tickets are $10, and can be purchased at Steez in Burlington. Call 310-4700 for more info.

DEPT. OF WASTED TIME

If you're between the ages of, say, 28 and 40, you no doubt grew up playing a lot of "classic" videogames, such as "Super Mario Brothers" and "Double Dragon". And chances are, you could remember the theme to Castlevania better than "America the Beautiful." I was gonna say the national anthem, but that's too easy . . . I hope.

If the music from Mike Tyson's "Punch Out" is still stuck in your head, or if you're a young pup who wants to know why us oldsters are still stuck on 8-bit audio, you might wanna check out The Kode, a videogame music tribute act coming to Club Metronome on Friday, March 23.

The Boston-based band prides itself on the accuracy of its renditions, which are performed on traditional rock instruments, such as drums, guitar and keyboards. The Kode claim "all of the songs are played at the same tempo as the originals," and that the "arrangements and harmonies are kept intact, accurately detailing every nuance." So prepare to be pwned, h8erz. That's called "leet speak," but I don't have time to explain it here. Let's just say it's for all my geeks, yo.

I recently checked out a few songs online at http://www.MySpace.com/TheKonamiKode, and was impressed at how tight the band is. They must've spent as much time with their hands on their axes as their controllers. Who needs a social life when you've got game?

READY TO RUMBLE

A couple of weeks ago, I let you know about a Battle of the Bands hosted by the Vermont Youth Orchestra, who are hoping to earn some scratch for their big trip to China later this year. The event takes place on Wednesday, March 21, at the Higher Ground Ballroom.

According to VYO rep Lisamarie Charlesworth, the organization had more than 20 bands submit demos since announcing the benefit/battle last month. "Two bands have VYO kids in them, the rest are all local musicians at the high school and college level," she says.

The show isn't gonna be micromanaged by grown-ups, either. "It's almost entirely student-run," Charlesworth offers. "The VYO elects officers each season, and this is the gang that's in charge, along with a committee of other students."

There are some fancypants adults on the judges' panel, however. Arbiters include Dave Grippo, Amber DeLaurentis and Jon Fishman, who will try not to make the bands nervous while evaluating their talent.

Contestants might wanna keep their minds on the prizes, which include a Washburn acoustic guitar from Advance Music, a recording session at Egan Media, a band photo shoot with shutterbug Sean Cooley, an opening slot at Nectar's and an invitation to do it all over again at First Night Burlington's 2008 Battle of the Bands.

Good luck, and may the best band win.

SCREEN JAMS

The Green Mountain Film Festival is currently underway in Montpelier, so I thought I'd make a quick mention about a locally themed flick that also happens to be music-related.

On Friday, March 23, at 8 p.m., the Langdon St. Café will host the premiere of The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival Film. The movie collects footage from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 editions of the event, which takes place each August at the Chilly Ranch in Albany, Vermont.

Included in the doc are performances by Gogol Bordello, Saul Williams, Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey, Anaïs Mitchell, Hieroglyphics and Toubab Krewe, to name a few. Produced by Chris Pepino of L.A.-based True Form Pictures, the 60-minute feature also contains interviews and crowd footage. It's almost like being there, minus the sunburn and mosquito bites.

T-shirts, posters and a pair of passes to this year's concert will be raffled off at the screening. Following the flick is Jay Ekis' "Solid Gold Sing-Along," which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. For more info, contact NEKMF honcho Ed DuFresne at 229-9942, or shoot an email to mailto:edified2@hotmail.com.

CRAIN KEPT A' ROLLIN'

Potty-mouthed comedian/troubadour the Reverend Nathan Brady Crain recently tipped me off to his upcoming activities, which include a CD release party and a major tour that'll take him at least as far as Oklahoma.

The Rev. plans to unveil his new, non-musical comedy disc, Piss of Fire, this Friday at Plan B. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and costs $12. Admission also includes a copy of the disc.

After the show, it's on to the road. "I'm moving into a camper this week, and am basically going to remain on tour for the foreseeable future," he says. "It's nuts."

If he makes it back in one piece, there'll be another comedy show at City Hall Auditorium on April 27 with fellow jokester Lisa Nagle. Crain hopes to release a disc of his Americana tunes early next year, and has already booked a date at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph to celebrate. To stay abreast of his every move, visit http://www.MySpace.com/rnbc.

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About The Author

Casey Rea

Casey Rea

Bio:
Casey Rea was the Seven Days music editor from 2004 until 2007. He won the 2005 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.

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