I won’t be seeing much in the way of live music this weekend. That’s because I’ll be doing a different kind of recreating. I will be joining some of my old school friends on an island in the Green River Reservoir for a couple of days of sun, swimming, food and ice cold adult beverages. Hopefully the mosquitoes won’t be too bad as there is a hole or two in my hammock netting. No doubt the birdsong in the pre-dawn hours will be music to my ears.
If you are not recreating in the great outdoors this weekend, there are plenty of options both inside and out for enjoying live music. One place to find lots of action this weekend is in Barre City, where the annual Barre Heritage Festival and Homecoming Days happens. There are a plethora of events going on at the festival, not least among them lots of live music. On Friday night, you can catch Chad Hollister and Primo starting at 6:30 p.m. Expect upbeat pop-rock from one of our area’s most successful artists. At 7:30 p.m., The Bressets take the stage. They’ll be followed by an act you might not expect, but it appears that the festival is seeking to attract a younger audience, and to that end they have Plainfield based electro-band The Electrolads. The live-instrument-driven act incorporates syncopated, culturally diverse percussion rhythm’s via Brandon Klarich, and they are sure to get the crowd movin’ and groovin’. They’ll go on at 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, the fun continues with music in the park all day, including sets by Tim Brick, Sherrie’s Jubilee, The Starline Rhythm Boys and Heartless, who will close out the night on the City Hall Park stage with their tribute to the band Heart, with a healthy dose of Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure. There is also a Quarry Kitchen and Spirits Stage which features acts all afternoon, with uber-popular local 80s tribute act Duroc taking the stage at 6:30 p.m., followed by a DJ dance party at 9:30 p.m. All in all, it looks like the Granite City might be the place to be this weekend. For more information on all the festivals offerings, visit www.barrepartnership.com.
Over in Waterbury Center, Zen Barn on Guptil Road has established itself as a premier music destination here in central Vermont. They book a wide variety of music, but seem to have a penchant for music from the African Diaspora, and that trend continues this weekend. You can start it off early tonight with Reggae artist Akea Beka, co-founder of the Virgin Island’s based reggae band Midnite. Expect conscious roots-reggae with a hypnotic feel starting at 9 p.m. for $20 in advance and $25 at the door. On Friday night, The afro-inspired vibe continues when the ‘Zen hosts Malian act BKO Quintet. The band has taken traditional Malian hunter’s music and used the traditional instrumentation to produce a modern take on the sound that has transformed it into a more urban and highly danceable music. Tickets are $15 for the 9 p.m. show, and those and more information can be had at www.zenbarnvt.com.
Back in ol’ Montpeculiar, there’s lots of music around town at the usual suspect venues as well. Sweet Melissa’s on the corner of Elm and Langdon tonight will feature something called Soul Projects at 8 p.m. (try Googling that). On Friday night, a more familiar act takes the black box stage when Los Angeles based all-girl act No Small Children return. The lauded alt-rock band has the notable distinction of being school teachers by day and self-described “rockin’ chicks by night”. They do most of their touring in the summer, of course, which annually brings them to the East Coast. These ladies are well worth seeing; I’ve caught their act before and they indeed do rock. Should be a good one starting at 9 p.m. On Saturday night, acoustic artist Lillith plays the early slot at 6 p.m., with Sunshine Riot in the later slot at 9:30 p.m. The Boston-based act has garnered rave reviews throughout the country for their unique, rockin’ Americana sound. “Grit and the most raucous Americana sound that combines the angst of Nirvana with the temperament of Wilco”(Rockwired.com). That is some high praise, and if I was around this weekend this would definitely be an act I would be checking out. Of course on Sunday its the ever popular weekly live band karaoke with The Butcher Blocks starting at 8:30 p.m.
If you are looking for some daytime music, look no further than the heart of downtown Montpelier on Sunday at 11 a.m. That’s when the Skinny Pancake hosts music on their patio featuring Danny Coane and his Bluegrass Buddies playing traditional, authentic mountain music. The outdoor show (weather permitting) is for donations.
Finally, in the end, there’s always Charlie O’s, and this weekend is no exception. On Friday night, O’s host a punk-tinged triple bill with The Brand New Luddites, Demon Seeds and Middle Son. On Saturday night, rockers The Pilgrims take the back of the barroom by storm. Both shows start at 9 p.m. and all shows at the ol’ world famous are free.
That wraps up this week. If you aren’t out in nature, go see live music.