A Noble Spirit Embiggens the Smallest Man | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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A Noble Spirit Embiggens the Smallest Man 

Soundbites: A Noble Spirit Embiggens the Smallest Man, Freedom Isn’t Free, I Scream, You Scream, Bite Torrent, Precious Friend

Published July 1, 2009 at 7:14 a.m.

’Twas 400 years ago this very week that a hardy Frenchman named Samuel de Champlain sailed an ocean, forded rivers and scaled mountaintops before reaching what would come to be called Vermont and forging Lake Champlain with his bare hands.

In celebration, the entire…

I’m sorry, what? He didn’t actually create the lake? He just “discovered” it, eh? Hmm … take two.

This week, in celebration of Sammy D discovering Lake Champl…

Oh, now what? He didn’t actually discover the lake either, huh? Native peoples had been using the lake for thousands of years prior, and the Abenaki actually called it Bitawbakw? And, no, that’s not a Kid Rock song? I see.

OK, how ’bout this?

This Thursday, the Burlington International Waterfront Festival gets under way, marking 400 years since Samuel de Champlain began the gentrification of what we now call the Lake Champlain basin. And also, my birthday.

There we go. Third time’s the charm.

Kidding aside — though Thursday really is my birthday — this week does mark the beginning of the Burlington portion of the region’s quadricentennial celebrations. It also signals the arrival of the main events, music-wise, in “The Summer of …” well, we’re still working out what to call it. (The only submission so far: “The Summer of Sounds.” Please.)

Much like Jazz Fest, the Queen City will be a-rockin’ for nearly two weeks straight, with great music of both world and local renown oozing from every pore of the city. Here’s hoping we can get that cleaned up just in case Barack Obama stops by.

Anyway, from The Roots to Tony Bennett, Buddy Guy to Ween, it all starts now. Giddyup.

And merci, Sammy D, for, um … giving us a name for the lake that’s easy to pronounce?

Freedom Isn’t Free

Believe it or not, there are actually pretty big things happening this week that don’t involve 400 years of collecting blue-green algae. Like, say, the Fourth of July. Which now always actually happens on the third in Burlington. Even when the fourth falls on a weekend, as it does this year. Weird.

Anyway, continuing a newish tradition that is way cooler than simulating bombs bursting in air, local secondhand mecca Speaking Volumes is hosting its annual July Third Party outside the shop on Pine Street. And, believe it or not, it is actually on Friday, July 3. Crazy!

As per usual, they’ve lined up a slew of cool local bands, including rockers Workingman’s Army, speedwestern revivalists Waylon Speed and punkers Blowtorch. Rounding out the bill are The Bid, L.Dora and VAKKUUM.

The shindig starts around 8:30 p.m. and, much like freedom, it ain’t free — but it’s a measly five bucks. And it is a benefit for both Big Heavy World/The Radiator and the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation. And for those hypnotized by bright lights and loud noises, it’s also a pretty sweet spot to catch the fireworks display.

I Scream, You Scream

As the old saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If that’s the case, then what does a screaming wheel get? A sore throat, most likely. But also, a totally kickass hardcore and punk festival at The Hub in Bristol this weekend called “Screaming for Change.” And as anyone who has walked by the CCTA station on Cherry Street knows, screaming for change is way more effective than begging for it.

Jokes in (really) poor taste aside, this two-day fest (July 4 and 5) is quite simply going to rawk. Hahd. It features a great mix of local and regional talent, 13 bands per day and, of course, awesome hardcore band names, such as Revenge, My Revenge, My Turn to Win, Get Back Up, I Refuse and Coke Bust.

Have I mentioned how much I love hardcore band names?

For more info, click here.

Bite Torrent

Lots more freedom fries to shoot your way. First up is the Bubblegum & Kale Music Festival: Freedom Fest at Lamb Abbey in Montpelier this Friday. The lineup includes five of Vermont’s finest, including the Eames Brothers Band, Vorcza, FRIT, Sara Grace and the Suits and Rogue Birds. And if you can’t make it in person, s’cool. The show will be broadcast live on Goddard College’s WGDR — that’s 91.1 on your FM dial, or wgdr.org to stream over the interwebs.

Leave it to our institutions of higher learning to celebrate Independence Day on actual Independence Day. This Saturday starting at noon, my alma mater, The Lab Turntablism and Urban Music Production Center, is throwing a block party outside its “campus” on the top block of Church Street. Expect much cutting and scratching, a little breakdancing and loads of free stuff.

The show at Battery Park this Friday with The Horse Flies and Québec’s The Lost Fingers, while technically part of the aforementioned quad celebration, actually serves a dual purpose. It is also the semi-official kickoff for this year’s free summer concert series at the park’s band shell. In weeks to come, performers will include songwriter Diane Birch (July 16), local Fela Kuti acolytes Movement of the People (July 23), and Fort Worth, Texas-based pop-rockers Green River Ordinance (July 30).

Postscript to my favorite story of the year: As reported by 7D food editor Suzanne Podhaizer last week, beleaguered Vergennes hotspot Bar Antidote is back, and better than ever. For those who haven’t been keeping up, here’s the gist: BA’s landlord booted ’em, a bunch of patrons banded together and helped raise money to reopen the joint, and it worked! Aaaand, they’re sporting live music! This Saturday, local country rockers The Josh Brooks Band take the stage. Man, I love a happy ending.

New Band Alert: The Concrete Rivals, a local surf-rock/’60s spy music supergroup featuring Jay Ekis, Jen Wells and Ben Roy. Catch them this Friday at Langdon Street Café.

One last bite: B-town rump shakers, the wait is over. Craig Mitchell’s new dance club Lift — formerly Second Floor — opens this Thursday, with the man himself holding court behind the wheels. Congrats, Craig.

Precious Friend

And finally, we’re going to end on a slightly unusual note, because, well, it’s been an unusual week. It gives me great pleasure to announce that this past weekend, I became an uncle for the first time, as my li’l bro Tyler and his lovely wife, Kate, gave birth to their first child, Arlo Bay Bolles. If you smoke cigars, now would be the time to light one up.

Before you get your diapers in a twist about me using this column to boast about personal stuff, let me say this. One, this is a local music column, and Tyler is a local musician. Two, the precedent was set long before I arrived for using this space to make musician-ly wedding, birth and, occasionally, death announcements. And three, if you had a weekly column and just became an uncle, wouldn’t you want to write about it? Yes, you would.

Furthermore, were I a betting man, I’d wager that whoever is occupying this chair 20 years from now will be writing about Arlo’s musical exploits — likely with Magny Olsen and a Cleary or three. Call it a hunch. So I think it’s only fitting that I be the one to give the lad his first ink in Seven Days. And also that I bestow upon him his first hip-hop name: R-Lo.

Welcome to the world, little buddy.

The Quadricentennial Issue

Like, oh my Quad! Quadricentennial, that is. After a long build-up, the massive celebration on account of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival here 400 years ago is finally upon us, and we can hardly contain the puns.

This week we preview some events in the Burlington International Waterfront Festival — see Dan Bolles’ Q&A with Steve Earle. But while we look forward to the fun, this issue also looks back — at the rich human and natural history surrounding Lake Champlain. Lauren Ober visits four individuals whose livelihoods and passions have depended on the water. She also tours the embattled Fort Montgomery across the lake. Elisabeth Crean wades through the hefty bio of Champlain the peaceful explorer, and Alice Levitt forages at the Abenaki Traditional Garden in the Intervale. Marc Awodey offers the most sobering perspective with a poem about lives lost beneath the waves.

Any way you look at it, Champlain is a lake with stories worth telling.

This is just one article from our 2009 Quadricentennial Issue. Click here for more Quadricentennial stories.

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.


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