Capital Sounds: Think spring, and live music
Happy Spring everyone! I know, I know, the equinox was last week, and spring does not really arrive around these parts for a few weeks yet. But sitting here typing, with the sun streaming into my office windows, and the icicles crashing down off my roof makes it impossible not to look forward.
What better way to celebrate longer days and warmer temps by going to check out some live music? Here’s the scoop.
On Saturday night at the Haybarn Theater at Goddard College in Plainfield, you can check out one of the best darn dance shows ever, and after this long winter, a dance party is just what the doctor ordered. The Debo Band is an 11-piece juggernaut led by led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. Their unique blend of
Ethiopian pop and American funk and soul alongside a horn section reminiscent of Eastern European dance bands has won high praise, with the Boston Globe saying, “If George Clinton had come from Ethiopia instead of outer space, the result might have been what Debo Band gives you.” Opening the show will be the equally impressive Underscore Orchestra, a San Francisco based outfit that blends Balkan, Klezmer, gypsy jazz and swing into a highly danceable musical stew. I’ll be trying to rearrange my work schedule to attend this one, and, if you’re looking to dance, you should too. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door, and those and more info are available at www.wgdr.org. Hands down, my pick of the week, and kudos to Goddard for bringing in some great, world-class music!
If you want to get your dance on without leaving good ol’ Montpelier, check out Positive Pie II on State Street in the capital on Friday night and catch the Andric Severance Xtet. The Burlington-based four-piece (shouldn’t that be a quartet?) plays a fiery brand of salsa music that’s all about the rhythm. That means it’s designed to get your feet moving as well as providing a feast for the ears. Shake off the winter rust and warm up your dance moves for the big show at Goddard Saturday night starting at 10:30 p.m. for a nominal cover at the door. Ole!
Looking for a decidedly different musical vibe? You can find it at Charlie O’s on Friday night when capital city punk outfit Vicious Gifts takes the back of the barroom by storm. The tight trio plays a straight-ahead, no-chaser style in the tradition of Black Flag, Bad Religion and Rancid, and they are darn good at it! Splitting the night with them will be NYC based “guitar freakout” band Cellular Chaos. With female screamo-style vocals and an overall sound that makes one think of smashing televisions with a sledge hammer, they sound chaotic indeed. A great night of punk rock, fo’ free, starting at 10 p.m.
And now for something completely different … comedy. Tonight at O’s you can catch an “Ask, Tell” comedy show to benefit a platoon of American soldiers serving in a remote area of Afghanistan. It seems these brave young soldiers are in an area so devoid of creature comforts that basic things like razors, non-perishable food items, etc. are needed, so the ol’ world famous has stepped up to the plate to send them some. You can show your support by having some laughs with Kathleen Kanz, Joel Chavez and others starting at 8 p.m.
For those looking for some early evening music, we have some of that too. The Skinny Pancake hosts music every Sunday, this week featuring Americana/folk-duo 90 Mile Portage. Catch exquisite, singer-songwriter based material for donations starting at 6 p.m. at the corner of State and Main in the city of the golden dome.
Another place in the capital to check out early-evening music is Bagitos next to the Savoy Theater on Main Street. On Friday night, catch longtime Montpelier guitarist David Kraus along with John LaRouche playing “Latin jazz and beyond” starting at 6 p.m. And, keep in mind Bagitos features live music starting at 6 nearly every night of the week, so pop in and check it out.
If you’re looking to get out of town, head on down I-89 to White River Junction to catch British rock legend Denny Laine with his band, The Cryers. The dude has stints with the Moody Blues, Ginger Baker’s Air Force and Paul McCartney and Wings all under his belt, lending his “soulful, agonized lead vocal” sound to some of those seminal projects. Catch a legend starting at 8 p.m. Friday night for $25-$30.
On Saturday night, the Tupe presents longtime regional jam-band Max Creek, a band, with a rabidly loyal following, that blends styles in the tradition of the Grateful Dead. This one will more than likely feature an open dance floor, with the $22 show starting at 7 p.m. Troop on down to the Tupe!
Finally, the Green Mountain Film Festival wraps up this weekend. I hope you all have had a chance to catch some of the wonderful cinematic offerings this past week, but if not, you still have a chance to enjoy some films before heading out to see live music, and I thoroughly encourage you to do so.
Until next week, think spring and go see live music!
Ed DuFresne is the former talent coordinator at Langdon Street Cafť 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, an energetic waitress, a budding renaissance man and a calico cat named Turtle.
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