Greetings live music fans! As summer winds down here in our majestic green mountains, festival season is still in high gear, and there are a variety of outdoor musical events going on this weekend to delight your ears. You can be somewhere out there, or, if you’re looking for something tamer, on the green in Peacham village. Here’s what’s up.
“Somewhere Out There” happens in wild and rugged Worcester, at a place called Rugged Ridge Forest. The Facebook page that serves as its website does not specify where exactly that is, but locals will surely know it and chances are there will be signs in the tiny village that will lead you to the spot. If you are looking for a freewheeling good time, with all the accouterments, this is a show for you.
Gates open Saturday at noon for the overnight camping event, with car camping options available. The event features some of our area’s finest local acts, including one of my faves, Carter Glass. I caught them again last weekend, and they delivered a delightfully entertaining performance of modern pop and other classics through their acoustic bluegrass lens. They’ll be joined by do-it-all rockers Guano Loco, Mad River Valley surf-rock/post-punk acts The Tsunamibots and Brand New Luddites, fem-rockers Yestrogen, and a host of others. Admission is an affordable $20 at the gate, which includes regular camping. For more information, find ‘em on Facebook.
If you are looking for a more mellow kind of festival, look no further than the pastoral village of Peacham, where the annual Peacham Acoustic Music Festival (aka PAMfest) happens this weekend. The rain or shine event takes place in various locations throughout the village on Friday and Saturday, with a variety of performances, workshops and other activities.
The fest features a wide array of folk, Americana, roots and acoustic music, with highlights including Annie and the Hedonists, a vintage act that interprets the songs of the great female blues artists of the early 20th century alongside jazz, country and other Americana sounds. Other highlights include Pete’s Posse, Vermont’s own traditional roots power trio, and longtime Vermont jazz guitarist Paul Asbell with his trio. The event begins Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., and runs through Saturday evening. There are a wide variety of activities that are beyond the scope of what I can cover here, so for more information, visit www.pamfest.com.
Another unique event is going on down in Waitsfield this weekend at Sugarhouse Soundworks in Mad River Park. On Saturday night, Juno Award-winning artist Wesli brings his Rara, Afro-rock Haitian dance music sound to the studio for a live show that should be off the charts. Doors open at 7 p.m. and for tickets and more information visit www.phantomtheater.org.
There’s some great music off the beaten track but quite close to the capital proper this and most weekends at The Whammy Bar, nestled cozily in the back of the Maple Corner Store in bucolic Calais. Tonight is open mic night at 7 p.m. On Friday night, they’ll feature some of our brightest local luminaries, soul-folk purveyors Sara Grace and Soots. Sara is one of our most gifted vocalists and unique instrumentalists, with a syncopated style of guitar playing augmented by Andy Suits’ excellent skill on the trap-kit. Highly recommended.
On Saturday night, another great duo will inhabit the diminutive barroom stage when the brilliantly named Cowboys and Angels perform. It’s the latest project from prolific Vermont-based songwriter Kelly Ravin, who has employed the sublime vocals of Halle Jade to accompany him. Another great one to catch in the intimate confines of the Whammy. Both performances start at 7:30 p.m., for donations.
Hopping over to Waterbury Center, the Guptil Road hotspot known as Zenbarn continues cranking out its impressive programming this weekend. They have a real penchant for ethno-centric music at the Zen, and that trend continues Saturday night when they host acclaimed 11-piece global fusion act The Afro-Yaqui Music Collective. The band combines a variety of styles from around the world to produce a sound that’s been hailed as “going where no one has gone before” (Mt. Lebanon Almanac). The band is a true melting pot, featuring members from multiple continents, all bringing their musical traditions together into one joyous, momentous sound. Tickets for the 9 p.m. performance are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. Those and more information can be had at www.zenbarnvt.com.
For more indoor nightlife, you can always bounce around the city of the golden dome on a weekend night. To that end, Sweet Melissa’s on the corner of Elm and Langdon streets in said dome’s shadow has live music pretty much every night. Tonight you can catch Thomas Gunn with The Tiniest Lifeboat starting at 8 p.m.
Friday night, Soulstice rocks the black box stage at Mel’s at 9 p.m., with Saturday featuring Umlaut in the early slot at 6 p.m., followed by a multi-band metal/hard rock show featuring Concillium, Green Chapel, Alien Dog and Old North End starting once again at 9 p.m. Expect a nominal cover at the door at Sweets on the weekends.
And in the end, there’s always Charlie O’s, sometimes to the chagrin of the weary bartender at last call. On Friday night O’s will present what is being dubbed “Hip Hop Benefit Night: It’s all Fun and Games Tour.” Being that’s all that is listed on the schedule, I don’t have many specifics for you, but if you are into the hip hop genre this certainly could be worth checking out. On Saturday night, O’s features DJ Ernest Bubblegum Boogie, and if its name is any indication, I’d expect some tasty tracks to be thrown down in the back of the barroom. Both performances start at 9 p.m.
That wraps up this week. Whether you are out and about in the countryside, or roaming around town, go see live music!