If you only had $3 in your wallet and you wanted to rock out to three great bands, you really should have been at The Monkey House tonight, unless you where there, ’cause it was kind of packed.
I got out of work at 9 and stepped carefully over the dark railroad bridge, then upped the speed along the tracks and headed into Winooski. I walked into the Monkey at 9:20 and there was no band on stage. Yea. I walked up to the bar and Isaiah had a drink poured and ready. I headed to the open space in front of the stage, and soon enough, Swale began to play. The sound was a bit off for the first 30 seconds or so, but the caring hands and ears of Alyssa Solomon had them sounding perfect moments after. They opened with a gorgeous Armadillo then let the music stray into the long opening strains of Waterlanding. The song swayed for a while then started to tighten up an built itself into a rocking monster, and you could just feel the excitement in the crowd Joyless started slow but was quite intense and Eric Olsen was ripping up the guitar by the end. This Is Not The Photograph had a really intense rhythm going on, and Beaten Down drew a strong audience reaction. Having Tyler Bolles on bass let them rock into overdrive as a power trio, with really intense drumming by Jeremy Frederick. Amanda Gustafson took the mic, and center stage, and belted out a killer cover of Rebel Girl. They kept a hard rock pace with Amanda killing it on Jack Sharp then mellowed things out with Good Medicine. By the end of that one Eric unleashed a towering guitar solo. They kept things rocking hard with Everyone Likes to, then closed the night with Maybe I’m Amazed. It’s such an appropriate song since I’m always amazed when I see and hear Swale. Always!
During the break I ran into Sean Toohey and Ann Mindell and we talked about Burlington’s great musical past and that they have a bass player and something going on. My mind is still wondering about the possibilities.
I easily got my $3 worth by seeing Swale but was psyched to catch the other two bands. Boston’s Hallelujah The Hills came on next and rocked the place hard. They are a five-piece with a singer/fat Les Paul guitar player, another rhythm guitar player, a super fun bass player, a wicked fast super precise drummer and a keyboard/trumpet player. The music was high energy indie rock. One song had a Clash bounciness and one had a hint of the Dropkick Murphys. All of the songs were good and it was challenge to really listen to them and try and find out where they were going. I usually think it’s foolish for bands to go on after Swale, but they held their own and put in a killer set.
After a quick break the Villanelles hit the stage with a fury. With a singer guitar player, bass player, super fast heavy hitting drummer and a keyboard player, they played some oddly beautifully structured indie rock or punk songs. The energy was super high from first note to last. It was a challenge to try and keep up with where the songs were taking me. They played an intense set of short but dense fast rocking songs and I loved every note. Their set was not super long but every moment was great. I’ve got to pay more attention to them soon.
After they wrapped up I said a couple of good nights and took the long walk home. I’m so glad I put the effort in.