I had a great time seeing lots of music yesterday despite an emotionally rocky beginning. Father’s Day is coming up soon and this will be the first one since my dad passed away, and it was a couple of weeks after the anniversary of the death of my uncle. On Thursday I realized I had not spoken with mom for a week or so. I called but missed her. I called again Friday and we spoke for a while. She told me about all the kitchen renovations that happened this week and said I had to see them. I said I was thinking of going to a show in Shelburne, where I grew up and she still lives, that night, and it turns out she had heard of Burger Night and had wanted to check it out. Since the band I wanted to see were not too intense, we set a plan.
We met at the house around 4 and I got to see the garden and the new raised beds and the kitchen. We headed over to Bread & Butter Farm on Barstow road, found the parking area and headed in. Since it was so last minute she didn’t have any cash, so I got to treat her to a burger and a couple of salads and a raspberry lemonade. The food was fantastic and filled with delightful and strong flavors. It really is worth going just for the food.
Of course, I did not go just because of the food, but made sure I was hungry when I arrived. I really went to see The Wee Folkestra. The farm has a small sheltered seating area with a large lawn and a small stage. The band shoehorned themselves into place and began with the instantly recognizable I’ll Fly Away. They followed with Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay and that set the tone for a lovely afternoon. As is often the case, the audience was set up in a semi-circle a ways back from the stage. I broke through and found a place to sit reasonably close to the stage. I though mom might just hang out in the back but she came up close for the show. Soon, a few of the many kids started walking and running and spinning and twirling around and everyone was having fun. The eight-piece band has a folk sound but with three guitars, a saw, a bass, and drums and two more singers the music has a full, almost orchestrated feel. Their name describes them quite well. Set one featured songs like I’m So Sick Of That Same Old Love, Atlantic City, and the Tom Waits classic A Good Man is Hard To Find. Jackie Buttolph mostly sang harmonies but nicely took the lead now and then. Aya Inoue and Samara Lark Brown each got plenty of lead vocals and sounded great in harmony. Aya Inoue played a strong acoustic guitar for most of the songs. Joe Adler‘s deep voice added an extra dimension to the music and his card deck guitar playing rocked. Eric Segalstad’s electric guitar playing added a nice edge, with some sweet solos, and his (Lesser Paul) mandolin playing further enhanced the whole sound. Eric Daniels bass kept the rhythm together while Houston Illo’s drumming was steady and true. Johnnie Day Durand‘s musical saw found and bent some of the most beautiful notes and gave an ethereal sound to the music. They sounded great and played a beautiful 10 song set.
During the set break Mr Chris entertained the kids with Puff The Magic Dragon, a song about jumping, and a few others. It made me think this would be a great gig for Linda Bassick. Mr Chris organized the kids, and some parents, into line and they paraded around the picnic area. It was nice to see so many people having such a good time.
After the parade we returned to the stage as the Folkestra began set two. Folky versions of Billie Jean and The Way You Make Me feel began the more rocking of the sets. It was great to sit back in the sunshine with a ton of kids running everywhere. The second set was 10 songs also and featured One More Cup Of Coffee For The Road and the classic Old Mary. They wrapped the set with Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). It was a great time and we even got to watch the farmers create hay rolls on the walk back to the car.
We went back to mom’s house in Shelbune and I grabbed the car and headed back to Burlington. I made a brief stop at home and headed downtown. I had just crossed North st. When I heard a shout from the car that was stopped at the intersection. It was Samara Lark Brown with Jackie and Eric D. What timing.
I had originally though of heading to 242 Main for the punk show, but it started at 7 and the other show that caught my eye was at 8:30 and it was 8:40 when I arrived downtown. I headed over to Drink and found the door that leads down to Foundation, the club below. Hint, it’s the Exit door in back.
Foundation is a long skinny club with seats lining the walls, a cut out area where the bands play and a small bar in the back. It tuned out that I was quite early and likely should have swung by 242. Oh well,
I hung out for a bit then DJ Kanganade got up for a set. He did some serious scratching and song altering and it was pretty fun. What he did with Arthur Brown’s Fire had to be heard to be believed.
First up was Andrew Stearns. It was just him playing banjo, and occasionally acoustic guitar, and singing with a pure strong voice that just filled the room. Several of the songs were his and several were traditional songs from early America. He played songs like June Apple and Let Me Feel. He referred to Greasy Coat as possibly the first straight edge song. Closer Than My Troubles was a cool original as was the instrumental Dog And Ball. Mole In The Ground was fun with him choosing which of the many verses he wanted to sing, since so many have been created over the years. A three song banjo medley followed and his picking was perfect. Red Leaves Snowy Peaks was an ideal Vermont song and Honey In My Coffee was just nice. He closed the night with a guitar song dedicated to all of those who had passed, and he brought out the lovely idea of being able to sing with deceased loved ones in an Angel Band. I really enjoyed his whole set.
Forest Gray quickly followed by playing a few keyboard riffs and looping them and singing over them. He had a very indie feel to his songs and playing and expressed a quirkiness that made for a very enjoyable show. He alternated the keyboard songs with acoustic guitar songs and the one about the aliens and the closing song about the selfie that saved the world were great. I bought his disc after the show and he kindly gave me a second newer one. Yea, more music for my local music radio show on WBKM.
DJ Kanganade followed with a set then was joined by the two rappers known as Self Portrait. Their set was very intense and their voices sounded nice on their own and wonderful together. At one point James Lockridge wandered in, went to the bar came back and kindly handed me a Heady Topper. I was a bit blown away and we just sat and listed to songs like Nasty and a cool one about living in Vermont. I’m not a huge hip hop or rap fan but those guys were really good and I’m happy I got to experience their furor.
I chatted with Jim a little bit during the set break but it was not long until Doom Service hit the stage and rocked hard. Jeff Foran sang and played electric, Ben was a monster on the drums, Matt played guitar and sang backing vocals and Tyler Daniel Bean played bass. That was especially cool since I’ve seen him play drums and guitar at other shows. It’s great to see his versatility. They played a blisteringly loud 10 song set featuring covers like Black Hole In My Head and originals like 1.21 Gigawatts/Great Scott, Black Oil and Monsters Are Due. I had waited all day to rock this hard and was deliriously delighted for the full set.
When they wrapped up I chatted a bit more with Jim and said some goodbyes. I bought a T-Shirt on the way out, because you have got to support your local musicians, and it’s a pretty cool shirt.
The walk home was lovely and it was nice to spend some time thinking about how strong and diverse our local music scene is. I’m so lucky to live in this town.