Two of the area's most popular acts, Dwight & Nicole and Waylon Speed, are both releasing great new records this week and throwing release parties on Friday, April 25, at ArtsRiot and the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, respectively. This despite my official, scene-wide decree that multiple awesome things are no longer allowed to happen on the same night until we can clone local superfan Tim Lewis. Yet this week is shaping up to be one of the busiest of the year so far. Think of it like spring training — a warm-up for the near nonstop rocking (and jazzing) to come as we eventually head into the warmer part of the year. Like, for example, Waking Windows IV. More on that next week.
Point is, there's a lot to get to this week. So let's dispense with the nonsense and dig in with a rapid-fire Soundbites.
If you didn't get enough from Record Store Day last week, I'd suggest dropping by the Speaking Volumes Record Swap at Speaking Volumes in Burlington this weekend, April 26 and 27. The annual two-day swap is sponsored by WRUV and will reportedly feature some 40,000 records, CDs and tapes and even more music paraphernalia. There will be live performances all day Saturday, including sets from tooth ache., Disco Phantom, SnakeFoot, Principal Dean and WRUV DJs. There will also be food and maybe, just maybe, a raffle! I love a good raffle.
On a semirelated note, several of you have passed along a recent Burlington Free Press article about Record Store Day that includes a quote from Dan Bowles, typically with a note to the effect of, "Ha! They got your name wrong! Stupid Freeps!"
No, they didn't. That wasn't me. Believe it or not, that was a local guy named Dan Bowles. ('Sup, Dan!) And based on a recent Facebook interaction, I'm guessing it's a fairly common mistake. So cut it out. And if Chris Valyou has any of those "I'm Not Dan Bolles" T-shirts left, I'd like to send one to Dan Bowles. Also, Dan, the next time a band mistakes you for me, you have my permission to promise them a Seven Days cover story and demand payola up front.
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned the impending nonstop rocking this summer? Well, it's a-comin'.
Last week, the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival announced the headliners for the 2014 festival. As usual, there are some marquee names on tap for Burlington's Waterfront Park, including Umphrey's McGee on Thursday, August 7, the Avett Brothers on Saturday, August 9, and Buddy Guy on Sunday, August 10. But wait, there's more...
Not to be outdone, earlier this week, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals announced the lineup for this year's Grand Point North Festival, also at Waterfront Park. In addition to the usual smorgasbord of local acts — we'll dish on those in a future column, I promise — the national names include Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, Trampled by Turtles and Dr. John, to name but a few. Oh, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. So if you gambled on the "blind faith" ticket sale prior to the lineup being announced, well played, you.
Remember Geek Week? For the unfamiliar, GW was an annual staple at the dearly departed Langdon Street Café in Montpelier. It featured all manner of geeky goodness, from music to epic Dungeons & Dragons games to seminars on someday losing your virginity. OK, I made up one of those. Point is, it was a lot of fun.
I'm happy to report that the organizers of Geek Week at LSC are reviving it, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. The Geekend is set for this weekend, beginning this Friday, April 25, and running through Sunday, April 27, at Espresso Bueno in Barre. The schedule includes, among other dorky delights, a Pac-Man tournament, a seminar on DJing with vinyl, something called "Nintendo Nofriendo," a Sunday cereal bar and nightly themed dance parties.
The geek shall inherit the Earth. Or at least a café in Barre.
I know how you kids love the tribute shows. And lucky for you, this week there's no reason you should have to go see a band play any original music at all!
I'm being (a little) facetious. But there does seem to be a wealth of tribute acts on the books this week, even more than usual. This includes local electro-dance act Plato Ears (Mark Daly, ex-Chamberlin), who are doing Michael Jackson's Thriller in its entirety at Nectar's on Thursday, April 24, which, frankly, takes some serious stones. I might go just to see if he can pull it off.
Then, on Saturday, also at Nectar's, a trio of local tribute acts will rock you like it's 1994, including Twenty Year old Dookie (Green Day), Burning Monk (Rage Against the Machine) and 20 Years Blue (Weezer).
Look, I get it. Tribute acts are fun and they fill a niche. And I really don't have anything against them, except that it seems far easier for local musicians to pack a club playing covers than playing their own stuff, which fundamentally bothers me. So let's make a deal: I'll stop bitching about the growing tribute trend if you promise to seek out one original local band for every tribute show you see. Such as...
Anyway, in a recent email, Chorney writes that his band is getting to work on a new record. No details on a release date yet, but the saxophonist and composer says the suite of songs HG recently played at the FlynnSpace will serve as the record's centerpiece. Chorney also writes that he'll be producing Maryse Smith's new record, which may hit our ears this summer. Stay tuned.
Speaking of live local music, I've been rather enamored of the curious sounds emanating from Windsor-based sorta-label What Doth Life for a few years now. But I haven't been able to see many of their bands live because ... Windsor. Fortunately, a trio of spunky, punky WDL bands will make their way to the Monkey House in Winooski this Thursday, April 24. These include devil rockers Death Pesos, Carton, who are wrapping up a new record, and the Pilgrims, whom I've seen live and really enjoyed. Burlington-based prog-rockers Brave the Vertigo will join the out-of-towners. (You're up three bands now, tribute fans!)
Finally, we close this week's column on a sad note. Early last week, Wayne Beam, 54, passed away due to complications from diabetes. Your average scenester might not have known Beam by name. But if you frequented clubs such as 135 Pearl and Club Toast in the 1990s, or more recently the Monkey House and Higher Ground, you knew him. He was the super nice guy with the big, goofy, gap-toothed grin who probably checked your ID or served you a drink or 50.
Beam wasn't a star performer. But, like so many of the folks who make Burlington's little scene work, he was an integral piece of the larger puzzle; a friendly, familiar face behind the bar that makes a nightclub feel like a second home and a scene feel like a community. We're gonna miss him.
Rest in peace, Wayne.
A peek at what was on my iPod, turntable, eight-track player, etc., this week.
Tags: Music News, Dwight & Nicole, Waylon Speed, tooth ache., Disco Phantom, SnakeFoot, Principal Dea, Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, Umphrey's McGee, Avett Brothers, Buddy Guy, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Grand Point North Festival, Lake Street Dive, War on Drugs, Trampled by Turtles, Dr. John, Plato Ears, DuPont Brothers, What Doth Life, Death Pesos, Carton, Pilgrims, Brave the Vertigo