People like to bitch. And moan. And in some instances, both. And why not? It’s always easier to point out why something sucks than to make the effort to find the silver lining, right? Though it’s not unique to the area by any means, rampant complaining is one of those little peculiarities that is amplified by our state’s diminutive size. Vermonters will grouse about anything. Weather? Check. Taxes? Check. Dirty pictures on a snowboard? Boy howdy.
And then there is the music scene.
Despite the embarrassment of riches to be found on stages across the region on any given night, certain folks (and just so we’re clear, this includes yours truly from time to time) tend to focus on what we don’t have: So-and-so indie band is playing Montréal and Boston but not Higher Ground? Another funk band at Nectar’s? Is that really “music” emanating from Radio Bean, or did someone just skin a poodle? Who the fuck wants to go to Winooski? Didn’t we just have a jazz fest last year?
I’m paraphrasing, but versions of those gripes have all appeared in my inbox recently. Really. Snarky justice is truly blind.
Funny thing is, most people never do a damn thing about it. Sure, we complain. But put our feet to flame — again, including me — and 99 percent of us will meekly shrink back to the sidelines.
And this is precisely what makes organizations like screen-printing, indie-rock magnates Tick Tick great. They identify an issue — in this case, a dearth of out-of-state underground bands stopping in town — and they act. Or, I guess I should say, “They acted.”
Last Friday, Tick Tick Booking unceremoniously called it quits in a lengthy farewell letter posted on their website — although Graham Keegan will continue the screen-printing operation.
The long and short? They’re simply burned out. And with good reason. In the past two-plus years Tick Tick have been responsible for literally hundreds of shows all over the state, bringing in acts that otherwise might never have thought twice about touching down in the Green Mountains. Not to mention bands that the casual fan would never have heard of until they (often inevitably) blew up nationally: Women, Beach House, Horse Feathers, Nick Jaina, Pontiak … shall I go on? ’Cuz I could.
Does the impending absence of Tick Tick signal some sort of indie-rock death knell for Vermont music, as has been postulated on local Twitter feeds and blogs since the news broke? Of course not, Chicken Littles. The sky ain’t falling. It might be a little darker for a while, sure. But this is VT — see “complaining, weather,” above.
Vermont music thrived long before Tick Tick was a screen-printed twinkle on an American Apparel tee. And it will continue to do so now that they’re gone, I promise. Folks such as Langdon Street Café’s Ed DuFresne, The Monkey House’s Paddy Reagan, Alex Crothers and Co. at Higher Ground, and the reinvigorated crew at Nectar’s, among others, will make sure of it. And if they don’t? Well, I’ll be out of a job — but so will they. No pressure.
More than the innumerable nights of terrific music and experiences that can only be described as “a Tick Tick show,” the legacy that Julia Lewandoski, Dale Donaldson and Nick Mavadones — the last of whom will continue booking at Radio Bean — leave behind is this: If you build it, they will come. And, yeah, I just watched Field of Dreams again. Sue me.
Cheesy as that sentiment undoubtedly is, Tick Tick proved it true, without a shadow of a doubt. And so it falls on the rest of us to take the lesson to heart.
Tick Tick will throw one last hootenanny, this Monday at The Monkey House. True to form, the lineup is an eclectic mash-up of out-of-towners and local bands. Slated to appear are Montréal indie-dance sensations Think About Life, Baltimore art-rockers Ponytail, Canadian “nightmare hippie” duo Black Feelings, Joey Pizza Slice (Nose Bleed Island) solo project Son of Salami, and B-town’s DJ Mike Device and Drew Stock.
In closing, I would just like to say thanks. That’s something Tick Tick — and most local booking folks, for that matter — probably don’t hear often enough.
Of all the weeks for Tick Tick to close up shop, they had to pick this one? So much to do, so little space left!
Local rock outfit The Leaves have been out of the game for the last few months as they’ve been putting the finishing touches on a new album, slated for release next month. They make their grand scene re-entrance this Friday at Radio Bean.
Speaking of CDs, In Memory of Pluto release their new EP this Friday at The Monkey House, the same night Husbands AKA drop their debut disc. Meanwhile, longtime local rockers The Grift unleash their latest with a Friday-night throw-down at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.
Looking for something to do on the last day of UVM classes? How ’bout internationally renown D&B star Juan BassHead (aka DJ Burn)at Club Metronome, Wednesday, April 29? Burlington’s 2K Deep Crew open the show. And, yes, it’s BYOG (Bring Your Own Glowsticks).
That same night at the Higher Ground Ballroom, the local kids are all right as Champlain Valley Union H.S. outfit MK Ultra warm up the stage for electro-rock heavies Future Rock. Love me some homegrown openers!
Speaking of kids and rockin’, this Sunday the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington hosts an (early) evening of local fare with Hello Control, Driver Side Impact, Honor Bright, The Doppler Effect and Young Denver.
Shameless self-promo alert: This Friday marks the debut installment of Seven Days’ new weekly happy-hour series, “Monkey Music” at (duh) The Monkey House. First up: alt-whatever darlings Cannon Fodder.
In Montpeculiar, alt-venue The Lamb Abbey unveils a new stage this Saturday. Local alt-country stalwarts Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck christen the improved digs. The following afternoon, Sara Grace and the Suits headline a benefit show for the High Ledge Farm, which was recently destroyed in a fire (“Farm Fire,” Seven Days, April 15). The unfortunately named — at least in this case — Hot Flannel open.
If you were going to throw a show called “Fucked Up Music V. 2.0,” where would you do it? Outerspace Café, right? Right. Get, um, you know, this Friday with Crank Sturgeon, Brown Heir, tooth ache., Lawrence Welks and Our Bear to Cross, Nose Bleed Island and Rats Cops.
And finally, Burlington Discover Jazz Fest tickets have officially been on sale for a week now … what are you waiting for?
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Drunk Duff: Hello - No mention of Pushing a Brain Uphill Fest or Wolf Eyes but a lot of words…