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Soundbites: STFU, We'll Always Have Montpelier, Bite Torrent, Dept. of Corrections

Published November 18, 2009 at 9:52 a.m.

Before we tackle the issues of the day, I want to congratulate you, dear readers, for coming out en masse to the Blind Pilot show at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge last Friday. “Indie” shows are a notoriously iffy draw at the area’s marquee juke joint. Not to beat a dead (iron) horse into the (higher) ground, but that’s why we don’t get as many of them as perhaps we should. But on this occasion, you guys really pulled through and came close to packing the place. And, as anyone who was there will tell you, it was a terrific show. Well done.

However, it appears that, once again, we need to go over some ground rules regarding club-going etiquette, specifically with regard to mellower fare, such as was on display this particular evening. (Note: That sound you’re hearing is me rolling up this very newspaper and preparing to whack you on your collective snout.)

Bad, audience. Bad.

We’ve been through this before, yet you continue to pee on my metaphorical rug. So I’m going to say it one more time.

Dear show talkers. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

You know who you are, so I won’t waste time pointing anyone out. OK, I lied: bro in the Phillies hat and your popped-collar crew, the two gum-chewing college chicks in the matching Ugg boots who were apparently embroiled in a wacky romantic crisis, among several others. Also, the excessive PDA couple in front of me. Granted, you weren’t really “talking,” per se. Still, it was distracting. Um, let’s move on.

To be fair, some degree of bar chatter is to be expected at almost any live show that’s not at the Flynn or Parima’s Acoustic Lounge. I’ll even go a step further and suggest that said chatter is actually part of the ambience. But here’s what I will never, ever understand. Why on earth would you fork over your hard-earned money to see a band — and for all of the wonderful things Higher Ground is, “cheap” is rarely one of them — then spend the whole night talking?

First of all, it is incredibly rude, not only to the folks in your immediate vicinity but to the performers as well. FYI: They can hear you. On behalf of Burlington, my deepest apologies, Laura Viers. Please come back.

Furthermore, it’s just dumb. And I don’t mean the money-wasting thing. Just ask the babbling yahoos who were nearly accosted by my girlfriend at a recent Low Anthem show. And, no, I am not joking about that. A word to the wise: Do not incur the wrath of Plus One.

At this point, you’re probably saying, “Gee, Dan. I agree with you. But it’s never really gonna change, is it?” You may also be saying, “Wow, Dan. Your girlfriend is effin’ nuts.” And you’re right — about the first thing, anyway.

As long as there are live shows, there will always be assho … er, show talkers. But that doesn’t mean we should stand for it. And if by writing this I’ve given pause to even just one of them concerning show habits, it will exponentially improve the concert experience of the 10 people standing around him or her at the next show. Thus, I will feel vindicated.

So, in closing, the next time you are out at a show, especially a low-key affair, take a moment to observe your surroundings. If you notice the people around you regularly turning in your direction looking as though someone just broke wind, the chances are good that you’re talking too loudly. Unless of course you did just … let’s move on.

We’ll Always Have Montpelier

Regular readers may be aware that I have a borderline unhealthy infatuation with Miriam Bernardo. For those not keeping score, the running tally of potentially embarrassing mentions in these pages recently includes a marriage proposal and my hinting at the prospect of fainting while watching her perform with The Motortown Revival. What can I say? I’m a sucker for incredibly talented female singers.

Anyway, last week, our “relationship” took a bizarre twist as Miriam informed me — via email, no less — that we were getting divorced. Frankly, I was crushed. Mostly because I never knew we had gotten married. (Note to Plus One: Love you, honey!)

Now, I should note that I have known Miriam for years, and that my pining here has been completely tongue-in-cheek. I was just trying to come up with a clever way to express how much admiration I have for her considerable vocal abilities. But it occurs to me that I should try a different tack. Here goes: I can count on one hand the local vocalists who are even remotely in her league. And about that line I am definitely not joking.

Now, back to our breakup. Amid the divorce papers, Miriam also mentioned a show she was putting together in tribute to the late Latina icon Mercedes Sosa, who passed away earlier this year and was regarded as among the most important voices in Latin American music. As Miriam put it, “The beauty of her voice captured the identity of her culture and transmitted a message of humanity and equality.” Anyone else feel like Miriam could be describing herself there?

Anyway, the show happens Thursday at the Langdon Street Café. Joining Bernardo will be nylon string guitar wonder Jairo Sequiera, bassist John Thompson and percussionist Caitrin Noel.

Bite Torrent

A hearty welcome back to the After Dark Music Series, which kicks off its 15th season this Saturday at Middlebury’s United Methodist Church with a performance by witty folk singer Christine Lavin.

Speaking of fun folk music, local duo Folk by Association present the next installment of their monthly residency at Parima’s Acoustic Lounge this Saturday.

Newly reconstituted local rock outfit My Dearest Darling are celebrating the release of a new album with a show at the Monkey House this Friday. If you want to get a taste of the disc, I’d recommend perusing my blog SolidState and checking out their new cut, “Decay.” Graph and In Memory of Pluto-spinoff Spirit Animal open.

Last but not least, the most intriguing show of the week is all-girl Led Zep tribute band, Lez Zeppelin, playing this Friday at … Burlington’s Union Station? Awesome. And, yes, this is really happening. Local rail advocates the Vermont Rail Action Network are presenting the show to promote awareness of the need for extensive train service in the state. I concur.

Dept. of Corrections

It appears I was seriously off my game last week and made a number of inexcusable goofs. In no particular order, they were:

The review of The Kind Buds’ latest effort, All in Your Mind, referred to the duo as being based in Massachusetts. They ain’t. The Buds are, in fact, from, um, Vermont. My bad, Buds.

The feature story I wrote about Michael Chorney and his brand-spankin’-new sextet [“Composing Himself”] regrettably did not contain a proper photo credit for the snazzy pic accompanying the piece. The photog was Brent Harrewyn. Sorry, Brent.

And, as several alert readers were kind enough to point out, my jab at The Decemberists’ newest album in last week’s “SoundBites” was off the mark. No, not that Hazards of Love blew, cuz it did. But rather that I absentmindedly referred to it as The Crane Wife, which was released in 2006 — and most decidedly didn’t blow.

Thanks for keeping me honest, folks. And please accept my sincere apologies for the errors. It will never happen again. Maybe.

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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.


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