• Capital Sounds: Another venue lost
     | January 02,2013

    Happy new year to all of you! Unfortunately, I've got some sad news to share with you all to start out 2013; The Black Door, despite being an award-winning music venue here in the capital city, has closed its doors and will not be reopening under current ownership. Local blues-man Dave Keller sent the place out with a bang on NYE, playing late into the night, but alas, it's the last time for at least a while that anyone will grace the third floor stage.

    This obviously affects me personally since I booked the place, but the bigger question remains: What's happening to the music scene in the capital now that it's losing another one of its crucial venues?

    In the past few years, we've witnessed the demise of the beloved Langdon Street Café, as well as the unique and awesome Lamb Abbey. That leaves the capital city with only three actively booking venues: Positive Pie II, Charlie O's and Bagitos. Skinny Pancake has music too, but it's really more of an augment to their successful resto.
    We can only hope as we head into 2013 that the current venues will step up, and perhaps something new will rise on the scene to revitalize what has been a vibrant live music scene in the capital in the recent past.

    And speaking of stepping up, you can step up to help fight hunger at Charlie O's tonight, when Sexy Bexy and Bad Mr. Bingo host their first and last Thursday bingo night to benefit the Vermont Foodbank. Good fun for a good cause starts at 9 p.m.

    Then, on Friday, O's cranks up the live music with longtime local jazz / funk power trio Vorcza. The boys are not gigging these days at the breakneck pace they once were; they are all active with other projects. This, however, should provide the audience with a fresh, energetic show, and the talent and interplay that Rob Morse, Gabe Jarrett and Ray Pacczkowski display playing live is always an impressive treat for the ears. Catch a great one in the back of the barroom starting at 10 p.m.

    On Saturday nights, starting this one, O's is hosting a weekly all-request DJ dance party throughout January and February. Bring your friends, and hopefully your good musical taste and perhaps it could turn into a great place to get your dance on and chase away the winter blues. Check it startin' at 10!

    Around the corner at Positive Pie II, they've also got a request-friendly dance party goin' on Friday night with DJ Bay Six — perhaps there's something about 2013 that trends toward requests being met! Bring it on starting at 10:30 p.m.

    On Saturday night, the Pie jumps back into the live music side of things with one of the more interesting bands to come through town in some time. Ellis Ashbrook is a four piece out of Brooklyn that I dare say may be a “post jam-band.” The group is self-described as “a genre-bending band that echoes the sounds of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and Ween.” Hearing their online offerings, the prog-rock elements, heavy rock sound and epic post-rock breakdowns are clearly evident, as is the level of musical talent. This should be a rockin' show starting at 10:30 p.m. for a modest cover at the door.
    Bagito's on Main Street is also stepping up this weekend with a number of promising shows. Tonight you can catch consummate local folkies Colin McCaffrey and Lewis Franco, perhaps with some brown-eyed girls as special guests. Expect well-played, swingin' acoustic tunes 6 to 8 p.m.

    On Friday night, a newish local outfit by the name of All Night Funk takes the front window of the Bag starting at 6. Then, on Saturday, a very special show happens at Bagitos when up-and-coming contemporary folk duo Neptune's Car plays at the bagel and burrito cafét. The two are currently on the national folk charts and are being quite lauded in their genre. Catch a great folk show starting at 6 p.m. All shows at Bagitos are for donations.

    And, you could head out of town to catch some great shows this weekend as well. Down I-89 in White River Junction, The Tupelo Music Hall will host classic big-band sounds of the mid-20th century on Friday night with East Bay Jazz starting at 8 p.m.

    On Saturday night, folk singer-songwriter Cheryl Wheeler, who is known to be an astoundingly great live performer, takes the Tupe stage at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.tupelohallvermont.com.

    Here's to a safe and happy new year ahead, and to hoping that when one door closes, another will open! Cheers!

    Ed DuFresne 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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