Greetings live music fans! It is once again the cusp of a new month, so I don’t have as much information available for you as I will for most of the rest of the month. Last weekend was a big one here in the capital region, with Spice on Snow happening in Montpelier among a number of other great musical events. Being that it’s the heart of winter, there’s not as much going on as usual this week, but I’ve dug up a number of events worth checking out. Read on.
Charlie O’s on Main Street in the heart of the capital has been diligent in getting next month’s calendar out by the first of the month (kudos to booking maven and bartender Beckie Sheloske for her due diligence in that department). On Friday night, you can catch country act Wild Leek River alongside Erin Cassels Brown. They’ll be rockin’ it classic country-style starting at 9 p.m. Acoustic artist Jackson Haught holds down the early slot at 6 p.m.
On Saturday night, Papa Greybeard and Friends offer up a classic rock jam in the early slot at 6 p.m. They’ll be followed by longtime Burlington-based surf rock purveyors Barbacoa, who’ll rock out in the back of the barroom Dick Dale-style starting at 9 p.m. If you are looking for live music in the capital on a weekend, O’s is always a go-to spot.
Another go-to spot in Montpelier for live music is Sweet Melissa’s at the corner of Elm and Langdon streets. They have live music every night of the week that they’re open, Tuesday through Sunday. Tonight you can stop in after your workday and catch Dave Langevin on the piano starting at 5 p.m. He’ll be followed by a very special early show at 7 p.m. with The Welterweights.
The Weights are something of a Vermont supergroup: a rock band featuring some of our state’s premier musicians in a number of genres, led by the duo of Kelly Ravin and Lowell Thompson, and featuring other notables like Caleb Elder, Michael Chorney and Pat Melvin. The band has a rotating cast, and I’d expect a fair amount of twang in the rock ‘n’ roll based on the songwriting background and styles of Kelly and Lowell. This one should be great and is highly recommended for what I suspect would be a nominal cover at the door.
On Sunday night, it’s live band karaoke with The Butcher Blocks as usual at Sweets, a weekly event that just seems to never run out of juice. That starts at 8:30 p.m. Rest assured Sweets will have live music Friday and Saturday night as well, but at press time the February schedule has not been posted online, so you’ll just have to show up to see what’s on tap beyond their solid beverage offerings.
Hopping over to Waterbury Center, Zen Barn has been serving up impressive programming for some time now, and has become the music hotspot in the bustling scene around the area. On Friday night, they’ll feature lauded act Dwight and Nicole, an up-and-coming group that has garnered no shortage of praise. “Take R&B, blues, soul and jazz, mix in razor-sharp rock guitar, heat to boiling ... and watch your face melt. That’s Dwight and Nicole.” (Relix Magazine). They’ve also been called “... poignant, hard-driving and ... heavenly” (Steve Morse, Boston Globe). This treat of a show starts at 9 p.m. for $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
On Saturday night, the Zen caps off this year’s Waterbury Winterfest by hosting the event’s annual Snowball Dance. Dynamic local dance band Still Kickin’, featuring renowned sax-man Joe Moore, will provide the soundtrack starting once again at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Those and more information are available at www.zenbarnvt.com.
There’s music in our more rural environs this weekend as well, with the Whammy Bar, cozily nestled in the back of the Maple Corner Store in Calais, hosting live music before closing for a few days next week. Tonight at 7 p.m., you can catch open mic. Show up early to sign up.
On Friday night, it’s the stellar vocal work of jazz act Bella and the Notables starting at 7:30 p.m. And, on Saturday night, it’s a special Ground Hog Day performance with vintage country act Them Boys, featuring local notables Danny Coane, Colin McCaffrey and Dave Rowell. They’ll kick things off once again at 7:30 p.m.
Finally, if you’re a fan of the iconic ‘70s band Abba, you are in luck this weekend. Arrival from Sweden is the world’s premier Abba tribute band, and it’ll be performing the hit-laden catalogue of the Swedish band’s material at the Barre Opera House on Saturday night starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $36.50 to $43, and those and more information are available at www.barreoperahouse.org.
That wraps up this week. Stay warm, and go see live music.
Ed DuFresne has produced concerts and events (which he prefers to call shows) in and around central and northeastern Vermont since the late ’90s. He is grateful to live in Montpelier with an exemplary Renaissance man as a housemate.