Capital Sounds: Goddard goes AmericanaFebruary 20,2013
By Ed DuFresne
In the hubbub of all of last weekend’s great music around the area, I actually missed a show. I wandered into Charlie O’s on Sunday evening for what I thought would be a quiet night, but lo’ and behold, I found Looka Looka Looka (yeah, that’s really their name). I did see it on O’s schedule, but being that they rarely if ever have music on Sunday night, assumed it was later in the week and too late to cover (and negligently failed to notice the date!). Turns out they were an impressive duo doing old-timey “dumpster swing,” with a wicked slap bass player, excellent guitar and vocal harmonies, and solidly entertaining songwriting (with a kazoo ta’ boot). My bad, but for those that were there, a very lucky night indeed.
And speaking of lucky, those of us who go out to see live music around these parts are once again blessed this weekend, as there a number of great acts playing in and around the capital. On Friday night, you can head out to the Goddard College Haybarn Theater in Plainfield to catch the awesome act known as Session Americana. The seminal Boston band gained significant popularity around these parts by being one of the mainstay regional performers at the now defunct Langdon Street Café, and should be a real treat in the more spacious yet still intimate confines of the Haybarn. They’ll also have fresh material off their fall of 2012 release “Love and Dirt.” Expect topnotch vocal harmonies, consummate acoustic musicianship, a touch of irreverence, and foot-stomping barnburners alongside tear-jerking ballads starting at 8 p.m., with doors at 7. Tickets are $15 in advance, and available online or at Buch Spieler on Langdon Street in Montpelier; they are $20 day of show. For those and more info, visit www.wgdr.org.
If you’re sticking around town or looking to come in and barhop Friday night, Charlie O’s on Main Street should definitely be on your stop-in list, and you might stay all night. That’s because O’s is hosting another act the Langdon Street Cafe made famous around these parts, The Stereofidelics. The constantly touring male-female duo is nothing short of astounding live, each of them pulling triple-duty on drums, fiddle, vocals, keys, foot-peddle bass and guitar without missing a beat. They are hands-down one of the most impressive duos you will ever see, be it in the back of a barroom or on a larger festival stage. Prepare to be astounded starting at 10 p.m. And, if you’re looking to start your weekend a bit early (and a bit gnarly), check out the gorgeous DJ Crucible spinning classic heavy metal tonight at the ol’ world famous starting at 10. Rock on!
And in the spirit of rocking on, I’m going to jump ahead a bit and let you all know that next Wednesday, Feb. 27, local faves Jesse Gile (of psych-metal purveyors Kufui), and local business owner and all around great guy Wes Hamilton will be playing a show together at our local dive for nice people starting at about 9:30. I know firsthand that Jesse has been delving into more accessible stylings these days, which should meld well with Wes’s more folksy material, so expect the unexpected alongside both artists own offerings.
Around the corner at Positive Pie II, there’s also some funky music going on Saturday night when the resto-cum-venue hosts Burlington-based The WonderMics. These self-described “innovators of univer-soul hip hop” seem promising to get the dance floor moving at downtown’s roomiest room, fo’ sho’. The party starts at 10:30 p.m. for a nominal cover at the door – no word on the website on whether it’s 18-plus or not, so you’ll have to call or show up to find out, as shows at the Pie tend to vary on that aspect. Good luck, kids!
If you’re looking to head a bit out of town this weekend, and want something a bit more contemporary and “jammy,” look no further than Stowe and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center at the top of the Mountain Road. On Saturday night, festival-darlings and Northeast-jam faves the Ryan Montbleau Band will be joined by Burlington’s lauded Josh Panda & the Hot Damned for a night of scorching “soul, folk, gospel, Americana, and mind-blowing guitar riffs.” Jam-on-it starting at 8 p.m. for what in my opinion is a pretty steep $35.
If you’re looking for some earlier evening music of quality, Montpelier’s Skinny Pancake has got you covered Sunday at 6 p.m. when it present fiddler/singer-songwriter Lily Henley along with some “friends” (who are more than likely awesome musicians). “Drawing on her roots in both Americana and Middle Eastern music traditions, Lily Henley has begun to forge a unique musical path for herself. Her repertoire crosses three languages and combines original material with ear-catching arrangements of traditional songs and melodies.” This sounds like a good one, especially for those who don’t like to stay out late. Music at the Skinny is usually by donation, but they’ve been increasingly bringing in more reputable talent, so don’t be surprised if there is a nominal cover.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more high-end, you can head down I-89 to the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction to check out Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing fame on Friday night (see Tom Huntington’s feature on Page B2). The 10-years clean musician recently released a book chronicling his struggle with heroin, which I imagine would make for some interesting between-song banter during the show. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $30, and those and more info are available at www.tupelohallvermont.com.
That’s all for now – support you’re local scene and go see live music!
Ed DuFresne is the former talent coordinator at Langdon Street Café and The Black Door, occasionally produces concerts, and books at various venues in the area on a freelance basis. He lives in Montpelier with a lovely Polish anarchist and a human version of the Lorax.
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