I routinely travel to the Mad River Valley on an almost daily basis in my other vocational life, but don’t often get to write up happenings there. Mind you, things do happen, especially during the winter ski season, but they are largely localized and not often well publicized (I guess that’s where I come in). A notable show is happening this weekend in Warren at the unique venue known as Hostel Tevere, just off Rt. 100 at 203 Powderhound Road. The small hostel houses a bar and a diminutive venue that hosts live music on a semi-regular basis, and is open to the public for live music events, like this one.
Fro is the brainchild of Harold “Fro” Davis Jr., a NYC transplant who has been actively making his brand of instrumental rock a thing around these parts. He’s teamed up with exemplary drummer Andy Suits and bassist Alex Budney to form a formidable trio steeped in eclectic sounds that range from heavy rock & roll to deep funk and soul grooves. This will be only their sixth gig together, but they’ve already established a solid foundation and are in my humble opinion one of our area’s most up-and-coming acts. You can check them out at ‘Tevere on Friday night starting at 9 p.m. There perhaps might be a modest cover at the door (no word at press time), but I guarantee it will be worth it.
Sticking in the Mad River Valley for the moment, there’s another event that starts this weekend and runs throughout next week. Though the programming has been scaled back a bit this year, The Mountaintop Film Series still boasts an impressive lineup of ‘films for thought’ in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The series starts Friday and runs through Thursday, January 23 at The Big Picture Theater on Carroll Road just off Rt. 100 in Waitsfield. For information on films and show times, visit www.mountaintopfilmfestival.com.
Back in ol’ Montpeculiar and its environs, there’s lots of action going on this weekend as well. I don’t often publicize house events, but being I found this one on a regional calendar of events, it seemed like fair game. A number of indie bands will be playing at The Sound Art House Party tonight at 1248 Rt. 2 in East Montpelier. The free gig promises “pleasant (and sometimes unpleasant)” sounds from the likes of Corrupting Sea, Glacial Erratics, Euphonette, Steven Lichti and Amy Konigbauer. The house-party fun starts at 7 p.m.
Back in the capital proper, one of downtown’s newest venue spaces has got an album release party this weekend for local singer-songwriter Thomas Gunn, who will be performing to celebrate the release of his latest, “Swimming With Fire.” I’ve yet to catch an event at the ‘Rabble, but the space looks to be a good one for live performance. Check it out Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. for $5 at the door.
A few doors over at Charlie O’s, they’ve got it goin’ on as usual this weekend, starting tonight with a DJ dance party featuring Davinci spinning from 9 p.m. to midnight. On Friday night, Z-Jazz plays at 6 p.m. in the early slot, followed by the awesome female hip-hop duo known as New Fame at 9:30 p.m. New Fame is one of my favorite emerging acts on the scene that I’ve caught the last year, and I highly recommend checking them out. They are like a Salt N’ Pepa for the new millenium. On Saturday, O’s switches gears when they host Dead Fret, a Dead Kennedy’s tribute act starting at 9:30 p.m. Bartender extraordinaire and booking master Jeffrey marked this one as “awesome” on his calendar, and knowing the man’s taste, I’d be inclined to believe him. A great show for fans of classic punk rock.
Around the corner at Sweet Melissa’s, they of course have live music nearly every night of the week. Tonight you can catch Italian folk music (whooda’ thunk it?) with Vechio Stile starting at 8 p.m. On Friday night, multi-instrumentalist solo act Julia Rose will rock the black box stage starting at 9 p.m. On Saturday evening, honky-tonkers Big Hat No Cattle fill the early slot at 6 p.m., followed by Chad Hollister and Primo at 9 p.m. Chad has somewhat quietly but notably garnered a fair amount of attention nationally for his brand of pop-rock, and is playing a rare show in a small local venue that fans will not want to miss at ‘Sweet’s on Saturday night.
Burlesque has been all the rage around these parts of late; the old-school, vaudevillian art form has made a formidable comeback in recent years. You can catch some of our state’s premier purveyors of the art form Friday night at The Barre Opera House. The Vermont Burlesque Festival will take the stage at the majestic BOH starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $42 -$47 in advance or at the door, and for those and more into, visit www.barreoperahouse.org.
We’ll close by hopping over to Waterbury Center, where Zen Barn on Guptil Road continues their impressive programming on a week-to-week basis. I’ve written extensively on their Thursday night American Roots series collaboration with the Berklee School of Music, and tonight is a special one as they host new-folk stringband Pretty Saro backed by their house band. The show starts at 7 p.m. and is free; a real treat for such a high level of talent.
That wraps up this week, which is a stellar one for live music here in Central Vermont. It’s just up to you to get out and support it, so do your part and go see live music.