The last time a bunch of local musicians got together to play Madonna songs at Radio Bean, it was a remarkably fun time. I’m not a fan of the Superbowl Half Time performer, but local music often provides a fun time. I knew that Vedora (pictured above in a photo from Caroline’s Facebook page) and Dino Bravo would be on the bill, so I thought I’d check it out.
I worked until 9:30 then stopped home for a minute. A long work day drained me, and I was very close to just sitting on the couch. It would have been so easy. Earlier in the day I walked to Winooksi to check out the Vermont Small Press and Comic Fair. It’s amazing how much talent there is out there. Everyone’s books looked nice and professional. What a great time we live in. I then walked back to Burlington for 8 hours of very intense work. I walked home, and contemplated not walking anymore for the day. I did not have to go out to check music. The Bears DVD that I recently ordered came that day, so I could have just sat and watched a show. Hmmm, Vedora were really good last time I saw them. Hmmm it’s been a while since I’ve seen Dino Bravo. Hmmm, OK, Let’s go!
Out the door I went. Unlike last time, there was no line and I walked right in. The Bean was pretty full, but not packed. Lots of women were dressed like Madonna from various stages of her career. A very tight schedule of performers was taped to the door. As I settled in, the show began.
A woman named Jodi and an acoustic guitar player, who’s name I did not catch, opened with a nice breezy version of La Isla Bonita. Last time Caroline played a sweet version of that one. This time, Jodi’s voice was rich and full and made it sound wonderful. The guitar had a nice sway to the music, and the night had begun in style.
Next up, Joe Redding took the stage with an acoustic guitar and a super deep voice. I’ve forgotten which two he played, but he gave the songs a country flair. They stood up well to the treatment. He remarked about how much is really going on in her songs. The audience were having a good time, but seemed to want something more dancy than the acoustic versions. It would not be long.
Joe Adler followed solo on the electric guitar. He played a subtle version of Dress You Up. It started slow enough that it caught the audience by surprise when he hit the chorus. It was pretty nice. He was just going to do the one, but Dino had not shown up yet. I did not know what the next song he played was, but he did say it was the last song that Madonna wrote on her own, before she started working with other songwriters.
After a bit of a load in and sound check, Dino Bravo took the stage. Matt played it up as if this was a gathering to celebrate the life and passing of Madonna. We’ll all remember where we were when we heard the news, you know, stuff like that. They followed with a heavy and haunting Borderline. Full of rage and pathos, they made the former dance song into a funeral dirge played at metal speed. It was pretty cool. I loved it, though the rest of the audience was really wanting to dance.
Vedora came up next, and gave them what they wanted. A smooth, cool version of True Blue lit up the room. People started dancing, and you could just feel the spark. They followed with a hard rock version of Papa Don’t Preach, and again I was moved to a happy place. It took a while for me to recognize it, and until I did, I just enjoyed the rock. Vedora are a band with a bit of firepower, and they let it loose on that one.
Pooloop moved it back to the dancy zone with Don’t Stop. Instead of straight up dance music, they moved it into a jammy Phishlike dance groove. Following Vedora’s lead, they pulled out a straight up rock and roll vibe for Burning Up. The full room was dancing and having a great time.
I had intended to hang out for Dino and Vedora, but I did have to work in the morning and knew I could not stay too late. Still, it had been a while since I had heard Jenny Montanna sing. I knew it would not be long until she took the stage, so I stuck it out for a bit more.
At 12:15 or so, cake was brought in and everyone sang Happy Birthday to Caroline O’Connor. She put the whole night together and played wonderfully with Vedora. It was a joy to be able to sing to her.
Again the stage became filled with musicians. Lily Sickles took the stage in a veiled white wedding gown. She was joined by a woman keyboard player that I did not know (Angie Mae according to Caroline), Matt Perry on guitar and the mighty Frank on drums. They did a bouncy Like A Virgin, making the lyric seem even more absurd than the original. They followed with a huge, over the top Like A Prayer. The music swelled and filled the room with it’s delightful sound. The party was going strong.
I was pretty tired after they wrapped up, but Jenny Montana was next and I was going to stick it out. She took the stage with a guitar player on her left, Alyssa on drums, and I think it was Paddy Reagan on bass. Her subtle voice and the bands true to form arrangements, made her set sound the most like the pop diva that everyone was here to celebrate (except for Dino Bravo, who were here to mourn). Open Your Heart sounded classic Madonna, with a bit of indie guitar to keep it cool. White Heat kept the party dancing. I thought that would be it, but they kept going. They played a full band version of La Isla Bonita that sounded sweet. Material Girl wrapped up their set and featured a nice robotic ending.
Though there were more bands on the bill, it was late and I was done. The minute the last Jenny song finished, I took the door and headed home. It would be another long work day on Sunday, but I was so glad to go listen to local music. Everyone took Madonna’s songs and made them their own for the evening. It was a joy to behold. I could have just sat on the couch and missed it. Instead I went out, and am richer for it.
Bill Maher “This was a tough week. This is the week the Supreme Court heard all the arguments about health care, and that could be going down the drain. The mood in Washington: very tense. Angry, incoherent Tea Party protesters were everywhere, including the five on the Supreme Court. What we heard today, apparently, is they made their decision, but we will not know about it until June. It’s like an election in Florida. But, apparently, they have made the call, and I don’t want to like bum you out, but if you get cancer, put ice on it. Unfortunately, because of global warming, we’re out of ice.”
Barack Obama 3-29-12 “Good morning. Today, Members of Congress have a simple choice to make. They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.
Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits – profits that go up every time folks like these pull into a gas station. But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year in taxpayer subsidies – a subsidy they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.
Think about that. It’s like hitting the American people twice. You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now. And on top of that, Congress thinks it’s a good idea to send billions more of your tax dollars to the oil industry?
It’s not like these are companies that can’t stand on their own. Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profit. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour. And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits. In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits. Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments – partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.
Now, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our energy strategy. And we want our oil companies to succeed. That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some. And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.
The fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it too. For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home – for the first time in over a decade. Simply put, American oil is booming.”
David Letterman 3-26-12 “But this raises the greater question, which is, it’s 2012, why are we still shooting and killing other humans? Why hasn’t that worn off? You know, I feel ridiculous expressing…when is that going to go away?”
Rachel Maddow “I don’t know, but whoever makes that happen gets to write the next Bible”
Letterman “Good gig.”
Rick Santorum “My public policy isn’t written on an Etch A Sketch, it’s written on my heart.”
Stephen Colbert “Of course, the only way to read what’s written on Rick Santorum’s heart is with a transvaginal ultrasound.”
Matthew Dowd, President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist, on Sunday observed that the same conservative legislatures and governors who are championing so-called Christian values like prayer in schools are also pushing for dangerous gun laws that are counter to Christian teachings.
During a panel on ABC, “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran noted that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law gave officials cover to not arrest neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American boy.
“No other state has a law like this,” Moran explained. “Not only is it a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law — in the olden days under common law you had a duty to retreat. ‘Stand Your Ground’ says, no, you don’t have to. Florida goes one step farther. ‘Stand Your Ground’ is self defense — defense at trial. It would go to trial where the jury would figure out what happened.”
“In Florida, the law says if you raise a claim of self defense after killing someone in public, you can’t even be arrested,” he added. “It’s why prosecutors and police hated this law. It sabotaged our justice system. All this discussion we’ve heard — What did Zimmerman do? What did Trayvon do? — Juries are supposed to figure that out. The Florida law destroys that American system.”
“There is such irony about this,” Dowd agreed. “Most of the states that have passed this including Florida and the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws and the expanded gun-ownership laws where you can carry a concealed weapon are also the same states and the same legislatures and the same governors who sort of pushed for prayer in the school.”
Dowd continued: “To me, there is such and irony here, that we want to be a Christian nation and we want to act in a Christian manner, but oh, by the way, we don’t believe in the turn your other cheek and we don’t believe in love your enemy. We believe in loading citizens and basically giving them an opportunity to shoot people.”
Rachel Maddow “Mr. Romney is OK with lying as he runs for president even when he gets caught and it is amazing. I think it is the most notable thing about his candidacy. It is an important thing about his candidacy that we have to grapple with as a country, whether this sort of thing is just the sort of thing we expect, whether it`s OK for somebody running for president or whether it`s not OK, whether it goes to a question of his character and what we expect of people running for an office this high.”
Bill Maher “You know what you get when you place a premium on never offending anyone and only saying what’s safe? You get this guy (shows a picture of Mitt Romney), the least interesting man in the world. A man who never takes a position on anything that he cannot reverse in the second half of the same sentence. Like last week when he said “We may make mistakes, as a nation, and we’ll say we’re sorry for that, but apologizing for America is something I will never do’. That’s right, Mitt refuses to apologize, and he’s very sorry about that. The Mittbot 3000 has been programmed to take both sides of every issue everywhere. For example, his position on pulling out of Afghanistan. He’s for it. And also against it. He’s for-against it. This is the Frankenstein we have created. Mitt Romney, the least interesting man in the world.”