Capital Sounds: New places, new music
Some of my regular readers who know me around town may have noticed my absence from The Uncommon Market lately. After four and a half wonderful years at that fine establishment, I have moved on and am now honing my culinary skills at the Vermont Thrush Tavern. I assure you the parting was amicable; quite frankly, Peter Foote and Sharon Allen are some of the loveliest people anyone could ever hope to work for. They’ve been like a family to me for years. There comes a time to move on, however, and I’m really enjoying the challenge of my new job.
And speaking of challenges, writing this column has been a bit more challenging lately, as the venue scene in Montpelier continues to change and evolve. There are some places stepping up to fill the gaps, however, one of them being Positive Pie. This weekend at its Montpelier location on State Street, there are two nights of live music, starting Friday with Afro-pop sensations Kina Zore.
“Fronted by soft-spoken and charismatic Mozambican songwriter Helder Tsinine, the seven-piece powerhouse commands the dance floor with earthy-yet-electric African rhythms that echo from Helder’s hometown of Maputo, Mozambique,” says the band’s Facebook page. This sounds like a good one for fans of African-inspired music, or if you just want to get out and dance. The fun starts at 10 p.m.; no word on a cover at press time.
On Saturday night, P-Pie Montpelier hosts local funk and hip-hop purveyors A Fly Allusion, with a special guest singer, Morgan Klarich of D’Moja fame. The band has been excited about playing more and more original material in its potent mix of soul, funk and hip-hop covers, so check out what all the fuss is about starting at 10 p.m.
Notice I specified P-Pie’s Montpelier location above: That’s because the resto has two other locations, in Plainfield and Hardwick, that are increasingly hosting live music. On Saturday night, you can catch longtime central Vermont bluesman Blue Fox playing solo at the Hardwick location at 8 p.m. Kudos to the Pie for bringing live music to the increasingly hip Northeast Kingdom town.
If you want to catch Blue a little closer to home, he’s hosting a blues jam at Charlie-O’s every first Thursday of the month. (So that would be … tonight!) It is an “open jam” format, so bring your instrument and you can get in on playing some “Mustang Sally” with the dude if you like. The fun starts 9 p.m.-ish. Friday night at the ol’ world famous is listed as TBA, but they will be kicking down their request-friendly dance party by Blue Moon Entertainment on Saturday night, so bring your good taste along with your dancin’ shoes.
There are a few other new venues outside Montpelier. Just to the south of the capital in Northfield, The Knotty Shamrock is hosting live music every Saturday night starting early-ish at 8 p.m. This Saturday features Celtic-inspired folkies Yanks in the Attic. A venue in Northfield — whoodathunkit?
Heading in the other direction, Morrisville has also gotten a new venue in the recent past, this one featuring live music nearly every night of the week. Moog’s Place is on Portland Street right next to the movie theater and is featuring a wide range of local talent on its stage. Tonight you can catch bluegrass-inspired sounds from The Hubcats.
On Friday night, folk-rockers Tritium Well will get the place radioactive, but in a totally good way. And Saturday night, Moog’s hosts an eight-band extravaganza to benefit “Griselda,” who is apparently a bass. Tall Grass Get Down, Spider Roulette, Girl’s Night Out, George Woodard, Lesley Grant & Stepstone, Sweet and Lowdown, Old Dirty String Band, Cal Stanton and Slick Martha’s Hot Club will all perform for the cause, starting at 8 p.m. Kudos to Moog’s for expanding the live music vibe in Mo-Vegas.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a bar venue in the area this weekend, look no further than the Adamant Community Club in the little hamlet near Calais. On Saturday night it’ll be hosting an acoustic performance by local honky-tonk heroes The Starline Rhythm Boys. Bandleader Danny Coane tells me the performance will be augmented with some stories and history of the band’s decade-plus career, which should add some extra fun to what is sure to be a great show. The fun starts at 7 p.m., and a potluck supper precedes the event at 6. Advance tickets can be had for $10 by calling 229-4026, or are $15 at the door — yeehaw!
Back in ol’ Montpeculiar, The Skinny Pancake has music every Sunday evening at 6, and for those who don’t like to stay out late, this is a great option as the programming is pretty high quality. This Sunday features Chicago-based Americana singer-songwriter Sara Syms. Fans of Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne should find lots to like here, for a modest cover or donation.
Go, Skinny P!
Bagitos on Main Street in the capital also features early-evening live music almost daily. Tonight you can catch some great traditional folk from Colin McCaffrey, one of our area’s finest talents. On Friday night, you can get all folked up with The Barn Burners, while Saturday night Neptunes take its place in the front window. Finally, on Sunday, catch a brunch show with Eric Friedman at 11 a.m. Cheers to the crew at Bagitos for providing early-evening live music.
That about wraps up this week. Here’s to new beginnings and more live music options in our neck of the woods. Cheers!
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 an energetic aspiring waitress.
The Times Argus and Rutland Herald regularly review CDs by Vermont performers. (They must have been reviewed to be considered for December’s annual Tammie Awards.) To have your CD considered for reviewing, please send it to: Arts Editor, The Times Argus, P.O. Box 707, Barre, 05641.
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