• Capital Sounds: A weekend to travel
    July 31,2013

    By Ed DuFresne
    Arts Correspondent

    After a jam-packed live music weekend last week here in the capital, this week looks to be somewhat of a down one, with not a whole heckuva’ lot going on the live music front. Nonetheless, there are a few tasty musical morsels around, especially outside the confines of the capital city. Here we go:

    Sweet Melissa’s, Montpelier’s newest live music hotspot, apparently had a successful experiment last week running a band two nights consecutively. Owner Tom Moog reported it went just how it should: Folks caught the act Thursday, and brought back more peeps for Friday. We can probably expect Melissa’s to repeat this format in the future when appropriate.

    As for this weekend, Melissa’s has a full slate of music on tap, as well as some tasty beers, starting Thursday with local institution Dave Keller playing solo starting at 8 p.m. Expect blues, soul, solid guitar work, and the great songwriting you’ve come to expect from one of our most gifted local performers.

    On Friday night, super-mom, bartender extraordinaire, and local musical institution of her own Abby Jenne performs with her band, The Enablers, starting at 9 pm. Original Americana and some tasty covers in a rock vernacular are to be had. They wind up the weekend at the corner of Elm and Langdon Saturday night with The Jason Widlock Band at 9. Check out Montpelier’s newest and reportedly most musician-friendly venue.

    On Sunday at 6 p.m., you can catch some bluegrass outdoors in the heart of downtown at The Skinny Pancake at City Center. Mountain Ride, which plays “fast-picking, hard-driving tunes along with a few heart-melting old-time classic bluegrass ballads,” takes the patio by storm, for donations. Let’s hope their harmonies and string work are the only storm happening so they can play outdoors.

    Believe it or not, that’s all there is to report in the capital at press time. Charlie O’s apparently had a cancellation Friday night, and had an idle Saturday, so as a consolation O’s is offering free pool all weekend. Positive Pie’s stage is idle this weekend as well. As usual, it’s feast or famine in the capital city — luckily for us it’s usually closer to feast.

    This does give me the opportunity to cover some venues outside the capital city limits a bit more extensively, however. Last week I mentioned how some of Barre’s hotspots don’t get much coverage as they have not updated their Facebook pages — perhaps there’s nothing to update as, for all I know, they may be idle as well.

    There is one Barre spot that does have live music this weekend, and they’re featuring a former local gal-gone-NYC who is a perennial favorite around these parts. Soul diva Myra Flynn will be playing at Espresso Bueno, the excellent coffee shop on Main Street, at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. She’ll be joined by her former bass player, Paul Boffa, as accompanist. Hopefully some of her fans are reading this, for undoubtedly many would be disappointed to miss this show, as Myra’s appearances around the area are few and far between these days. No word on a cover at press time.

    In addition, Espresso Bueno is apparently planning a move soon, to a bigger and better location more suitable for events, so we could be looking at an even more music- friendly venue in the Granite City in the near future. Viva la Bueno!

    A bit further from the confines of the twin cities, one can take a lovely cruise about 10 miles up the County Road, past bucolic fields and farms to the village of Calais. There you’ll find the Maple Corner General Store, and within its confines, the increasingly popular Whammy Bar. They’ve been featuring some of the area’s both established and lesser-known acts (along with a great tap list) on a weekly basis, and this Friday evening is no exception. They’ll host Hardwick-based string band Granite Junction, which has risen from the ashes of The Butterbeans, another former Hardwick act. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m.

    If you’re willing to head way out of town, there’s good stuff to be had to the south of us in White River Junction at Tupelo Music Hall.

    Often I hear folks around here lamenting that there are no good, club-style dance parties happening. Well, if that’s what you’re jonesing for, I highly suggest checking out Club 188 at The Tupelo tonight. The 18-plus dance party appears to be the real deal, with the light show and spacious, open dance floor it requires. The doors open at 9, with no cover before 10 p.m. Thereafter covers vary based on age and gender, in proper urban club style. Head on down I-89 to get your dance on.

    On Friday night, catch “The Summer Rumble” at the Tupe featuring some rockin’ alt-folk with The Pilgrims, The Break Maids, Pariah Beat, Thompson Gunner and Chris Conquest starting at 8 p.m. for a mere $10 — a serious bargain to catch some awesome live acts, trust me. Finally, on Saturday night, the big ticket show comes to the Tupe when Blue Coupe, a group featuring members of Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper, takes the music hall stage. Expect some classic hits as well as originals from their own

    “Tornado on the Tracks” album, starting at 7 p.m. for $25. Seating is general admission, which means the room should basically be pretty wide open. So you can jam out in all your ‘70s arena rock glory.

    That wraps up this week; stick around, or get out of town 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 as well as being a PM sous-chef at The Vermont Thrush Restaurant. He lives in Montpelier with a lovely Polish anarchist.

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