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Time Signature 

Soundbites: Time Signature, Discover … Other Music, Lawn Darts, BiteTorrent

Is it me, or does everything seem to be happening earlier than usual this year? My theory is that the phenomenon traces back to the Super Bowl being one week ahead of schedule, which subsequently skewed our collective perspective. Well, that and global warming giving us Sundress Day on St. Patrick’s Day — which, if you’ll recall, created a perfect storm of drunken jackassery in downtown Burlington. But I digress.

It’s hard to believe, but here we are on the precipice of yet another edition of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. It’s true. Right now I’m staring at my invitation to this Thursday’s opening reception/glad-handing booze fest.

As is my tradition, each year I declare this column a “Jazz-Free Zone.” Over the next 10 days, you will be positively bombarded with Jazz-Fest coverage, from this publication and pretty much every other media outlet around. And rightly so. The fest is rad. However, there are still local people making music that doesn’t involve horns, or old guys with funny names, or songs in 7/19 time. And those folks deserve to be heard from, too.

So, in honor of the enormity of Jazz Fest, for the next two weeks consider this humble column your refuge from all things jazzy. Because, I mean, it’s not like anyone could possibly have any problems with Jazz Fest, right?

Discover … Other Music

Peter Negroponte has a problem with Jazz Fest.

The Boston-based experimental drummer and Burlington expat has noticed what he perceives as a troubling trend. Namely, that the BDJF appears to be moving steadily away from more sonically challenging shades of jazz in favor of more widely palatable fare.

In a recent email he writes, “Unfortunately, the Jazz Fest seems to have become more mainstream than ever in the last two years.” Negroponte cites as evidence his own troubles booking BDJF gigs for his various ensembles, as well as for his mentor, noted avant-garde composer Anthony Coleman. A peek at this year’s schedule seems to bear out that observation. The lineup actually does feel a little light on the free-jazz end of the spectrum.

But rather than complain or force the issue, Negroponte has taken matters into his own hands and curated an alternative to the BDJF, the Other Music Festival — provocative tagline: “Discover Other Music.” The weeklong series runs smack in the middle of Jazz Fest, from Monday, June 7, through Saturday, June 12, at the North End Studio in Burlington.

The OMF lineup features an impressively varied group of performers of local, national and international renown. Monday, the fest kicks off with an appropriately eclectic evening presented by local booking gurus Angioplasty Media, featuring local songwriter Nuda Veritas and Chicago collective Distractions. Tuesday, B-town experimental auteurs the le duo highlight an evening of largely locals, including Ryan Power, indie-folk collective Paper Castles and one of Negroponte’s own outfits, Deadwood.

We’ll delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of the OMF and check in with Negroponte in next week’s issue. For now, check out more details from the festival at myspace.com/othermusicfestival2010.

Lawn Darts

One of the more interesting music-related developments to keep an eye on this summer will be the series of shows slated for the Midway Lawn at the Champlain Valley Exposition — aka “the fair.” Three such shows are currently on the books: My Morning Jacket (8/20); Primus, Gogol Bordello and Heloise & the Savoir Faire (7/29); and, kicking off the experiment, Michael Franti & Spearhead this Saturday.

These shows are the work of our old friends at Higher Ground who, in addition to booking Concerts on the Green at Shelburne Museum, are helping to curate Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts this August, and, you know, running their own nightclub, apparently needed something else to do.

In a recent email, the club’s promotions director Nick Vaden says HG is really excited about the new venture, which, if it is successful, would give the area a legitimate midsize outdoor venue. Frankly, we need it.

Shelburne Museum, while a fantastic place to see a concert, is limited by the fact that it sits smack in the middle of a residential area — and also, a museum. And, as anyone who has ever driven to or from a show there knows, Shelburne doesn’t exactly have the infrastructure to handle that kind of traffic on a regular basis.

The Burlington waterfront is another compelling option, as evidenced by last summer’s Quad celebrations — not to mention years of Lake Champlain Maritime Festival and BDJF performances. But it’s also a high-traffic, multiuse public space. And it’s kind of nice to not have stages and tents on the green all the time.

True, the Midway Lawn lacks the cachet — and the views — of those locations. But unlike the Museum, the Expo can (mostly) handle the traffic. And unlike the waterfront, it’s intended to host large events regularly. If all goes well, that could happen a lot more in coming years.

Vaden points out that there actually are some mountain views from the Midway Lawn. And, as I tweeted to one of my followers recently, it also sits next to the area’s only Wendy’s. So there.

BiteTorrent

  • If you just can’t wait for the OMF, you can get a taste of some other, um, “other music” at The Monkey House this Friday. The ’noosk nightspot hosts D.C.-based industrial psych trio Moon Pie and a handful of local acts, including the le duo, free-jazz outfit the Mohantey-Mallon Duet and Tyler Brassard’s ambient solo project Even the Dew Is Porous.
  • On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the live-music schedule at Breakwater Café & Grill begins on Wednesday, June 9, with the WIZN Mid-Week Break, featuring The Dog Catchers. Happy summer, folks.
  • Technically, this next bit isn’t Jazz-Fest related, because Parima isn’t an official BDJF venue. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that beloved trumpeter and B-town expat Jennifer Hartswick will be at the Thai joint with her killer alt-country band Van Ghost this Monday. See? Not even slightly jazz related.
  • Club Metronome is technically a BDJF venue, however. The fest even has the club’s weekly “No Diggity” ‘90s Night listed on its schedule — probably because DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince are in frequent rotation. Anyway, I mention this because on Monday, June 7, Metronome hosts Operation: Prince, a birthday tribute to the Purple One featuring none other than Craig Mitchell in the starring role.
  • And, last but not least, between Jazz Fest, OMF, Concerts on the Green, Franti and killer lineups at clubs all over town, could you guess which show I’m most looking forward to this week? Jacuzzi Boys, The Persian Claws and The Fatal Flaws at, of all places, Manhattan Pizza in Burlington on Wednesday, June 9. Rawk and roll.
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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

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

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