Capital Sounds: Recovering from TweedAugust 21,2013
By Ed DuFresne
Hello live music fans! I’m back from a weekend of helping out the good folks at the Tweed River Music Festival with security, and I must say it was an awesome experience. The event continues to grow, and I’m confident the Tweed will be around for years to come. If you are looking for a great summer weekend music getaway, the TRMF is hard to beat. Keep your ear to the ground for next year’s dates and mark your calendars early!
There’s some great music around the capital this weekend as well, and it kicks off early Thursday at Three Penny Taproom. Yes, our favorite local craft beer destination is using the resto side to host live music and comedy events as of late, and Thursday's might be the biggest yet. Local guitar-hero and man of many bands Jay Ekis will have a rare performance of his Super-Gold Sing-Along, which is always a well-attended, super fun event. The format is simple: Audience members write down their request from a karaoke-style songbook, and Jay plays them for the crowd to sing along with. As one might guess, most of the tunes are familiar enough that most people know the words (think “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and the like). He even puts up an extra mic or two for more ambitious audience members to take the stage with him. Expect a great crowd and a great time starting at 10 p.m.
Down the street at Charlie O’s, Friday night brings an excellent duo out of Annapolis, Md., back to the back of the barroom when Swampcandy returns with its excellent old-school delta blues sound. Fans of Tom Waits’ growly, bluesy stomp and rattling pots and pans sound will find much to like here. Authentic as heck and perfect for the dive bar atmosphere, this one gets my pick of the week, as these guys are straight up excellent. Do yourself a favor and check them out starting at 10 p.m. Alex Culbreth and Dead Country Stars open the show.
On Saturday night, O’s goes a bit more local with Spirit Animal, Death Pesos and Lake Superior. I couldn’t find much on Spirit Animal, only that it’s out of Burlington. Death Pesos are formerly of the Queen City, but now primarily out of Boston, and a power-trio in the tradition of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ZZ Top and Cream. Lake Superior is one of the more up-and-coming acts in Montpelier, and are a power-blues duo in the vein of The Black Keys; they seem to get better every time I catch them, a true sign of a band on the rise. Overall a great triple bill at O’s starting at 10 p.m.
Around the corner at Positive Pie II, a great show in a decidedly different vein happens Friday night when longtime local musician and producer of note Michael Chorney brings his latest project, Hollar General, to the big restaurant-cum-venue stage. “There is nothing ordinary about this music, as it touches so many aspects of extraordinary style and substance. Is it alternative Americana? Avant-garde chamber folk? Old, weird, and hipless? Yup—all of the above.” I’ll invent my own term for it and call it “Alterna-cana,” and I believe Mr. Chorney himself terms it “arcane-Americana.” In short, it is hard to classify, which is what makes it so original and brilliant. Undoubtedly the most cutting-edge show of the week starting at 10:30 p.m. Expect a modest cover at the door.
Around the corner at Montpelier’s newest venue, Sweet Melissa’s, there’s music for the next three nights in a row, as in every week.
Thursday you can check out the original solo acoustic stylings of Jason Wedlock, who’ll throw in a few Grateful Dead covers for good measure.
On Friday night, it’s upbeat and rockin’, swingin’ Americana with Red Hot Juba. Finally, on Saturday, Shady Trees, a jam-band out of Stowe, winds up the weekend at the city of the golden dome’s newest hotspot. All shows at Melissa’s start around 9-ish on the weekends, so stop on in and support the venue!
And speaking of the Grateful Dead, for those of you who miss Jerry (I know I do), you can head down I-89 Friday night to catch Cats Under the Stars, our state’s premier Jerry Garcia Band tribute act. For those not familiar, the JGB was always a distinct entity from
The Grateful Dead (though Jerry did play a lot of his original material with both bands), weaving a lot of Motown, Dylan and the like into its gospel-hued sets. CUTS performs the material authentically, with the same equipment the original band used, and there’s probably no place better to hear it than in the acoustically crisp confines of the ‘Tupe. Tickets are $15 for the open-dance floor show, which starts at 8 p.m. For those and more info on other events at the ‘Tupe, visit www.tupelohallvermont.com.
That wraps up this week. Enjoy the waning days of summer, 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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