Archive for the ‘The Precipice’ Category
Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis
After working on July 31st, then seeing some of the music at The Precipice: A Vermont Music Festival that night, I got a good night’s sleep and woke up to a Saturday off. I still had moms car from seeing The Decemberists show at Shelburne Museum on Thursday. Around 11, I hopped into the car, drove over to Elmwood ave to pick up my cousins Matt and Jessica Pearson, and their mom Joyce. We drove to New Haven VT and met up with the rest of our family. My uncle David, Matt and Jess’ grandfather, passed away on Memorial Day, and while there was a service for him in his church in New Hampshire back in June, this was the day we were interning his ashes in his home town. The service was brief, but nice, then a couple of us, including Craig Pearson and Kook Cheney Pearson and Aunt Gail Pearson drove over to the farm where Uncle David and my Mom grew up. We ran into a neighbor who let us into the old barn then showed us the house, just down the road a few feet, that Uncle David and Aunt Gail built and lived in. It was a nice remembrance. We drove back into town and I dropped off Matt, Jess and Joyce, then stopped at home for a minute or two. I walked downtown to Radio Bean to see where the Precipice was at. Not a lot was happening but soon enough, Gnomedad hit the stage in Radio Bean. They played as a four-piece with guitar, bass, drums, and keys. Their discordant jazz, with rock drums, was interesting, but did not really catch my attention. I headed out to the yard in the back, and Johnnie Day Durand was seated in the performing space playing her saw. I love the haunting melodies she can evoke from the tool and was enchanted for the brief beautiful set. When she wrapped up, I headed back to the Bean and Gnomedad were playing some smoother mellower music that I kind of liked.
After they wrapped up, I looked outside and saw my cousin Michael Pearson, who had said he might stop by. I met him at the entrance to Light Club Lamp Shop and we headed to the back yard for a beer. The singer for Smooth Antics began a set with a guitar player. The guitar had a mellow jazz feel and Steph Heaghney’s voice was gorgeous. Unfortunately, I was mostly chatting with Mike and did not catch a lot. We then headed back into the Bean and The High Breaks were set to go on. They unleashed several surf rock noir songs and were as great as always. The last time I saw them they were a three-piece but this time the added a sax player who fit in perfectly. As always, Kevin Lynam‘s bass was locked in, Todd Gevry‘s drumming was fast and powerful and Matthew Bryan Hagen‘s guitar was super sharp. Matt’s song introductions were really fun and gave the show an extra bounce. We caught several of their songs, but then a loud sound washed in from the Lamp Shop, so we headed over and caught a bunch of songs from The Sun Parade. They are a four-piece with two guitars, bass, and drums and played some high energy indie rock. The songs were good and fun and kept me riveted. I kind of wanted to check back in with the Breaks, but just couldn’t leave. A few songs in found Mike at the end of his day and feeling wiped out. He took off, but was very impressed with the quality of the music. I hung out until the end of their set and was quite pleased.
I headed back to the Bean and the High Breaks were loading out. I waited for a bit, and watched some of the aquatic play that was happening on the street outside, and soon enough And The Kids hit the stage. I seemed to have missed them since they added Taliana Katz on bass, since Megan has had immigration issues, but they were just as perfectly on as always. The three piece lit into the set playing lots of great songs from their now classic debut album. The room was packed and everyone was dancing and having a great time. The band rocked hard and their music happily filled my tired soul. I loved every moment of their majestic set. When they wrapped it up, I said a quick goodbye to Todd, who was quite impressed with ATK, then took the long walk home. It’s so nice to know, that when you have a long intensely emotional day, that there is usually music about to help you fall into joy. Thanks everyone.
Nectar’s photo by Tim Lewis
I barely slept Thursday night for no real reason, just kept waking up then drifting back. I was pretty tired all day at work and got out just after 6:30 then raced home then raced downtown and arrived around 7:15 for Abbie Morin’s 7pm show at The Precipice: A Vermont Music Festival but they were not open yet. I wandered downtown then it hit me, what music can you see just after 7pm on a Friday? I headed over to Nectar’s and caught four, or so, songs from Seth Yacovone Band, really just Seth solo, and he was really great. His gruff vocals spun some vivid stories and his guitar playing is so warm and precise. He’s a treasure that I don’t check out often enough.
Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis
After a bit I headed back to Radio Bean for the big show, and quickly found my way to the outside yard where Abbie Morin was starting to play. She played acoustic and sang some solid well constructed songs and Thomas Pearo played electric and really lit them up. At times they let the music go very quiet and at times let it build a bit and rock out. The first set wasn’t long, and when they wrapped up, I went back through Light Club Lamp Shop over to Radio Bean to see if the next band were ready to go. They were not yet, so I headed back to the yard. I got to hear three or four more songs from Abbie and Tom when I thought I heard a louder noise coming from somewhere.
I ducked back into the Bean and Binger were on. They were playing a cool song when I walked in, then followed with a new song, then a super new song that had never been played out. Both were pretty good. Dalton Muzzy‘s drumming was super solid and at times he threw in a furious flurry of notes, then slipped back into the beat seamlessly. Shakir Stephen wandered around the bass making it almost sound like he was playing lead while keeping the rhythm immaculate. Braden Winslow‘s calypso sounding ripping lead guitar runs added nothing but joy to the songs. They played that Can You Dig It Yes we Can song that sounds like Walk On The Wild Side, then said they had time for one more. They asked if anyone in the audience had a request, though it had to be one of their songs. I gave it a second or so, and no one said anything, so I blurted out Sequoia 3. They played an epic over the top killer version of one of the best songs currently happening in Burlington. It was great!
Being a bit hungry, I walked from the Bean, through !Duino! (Duende), through the Lamp Shop into the back yard, and got a Cubano from the Pincho cart. I took it back into the Lamp shop and slowly ate as Paper Castles put on a mellow ripping show. Their songs have a moody flow that occasionally finds some sweet choruses. The drumming was solid and Padraic Reagan‘s bass held the songs together nicely while his singing illuminated the songs. With both Jake (from Violet Ultraviolet) and Wren on guitar, there was some serious rocking going on. Wren used a screwdriver to pull out some intense slide sounds from the instrument. Jake just attacked his Les Paul and ripped out some killer solos. The set was really good, but after that I was done. I really wanted to stay until ROUGH FRANCIS played at 12:30, but there was nothing left in me. I took a slow walk home and crashed just after 11. I actually slept nicely, so let’s see how late I can make it tonight.
I had a great time seeing music at The Precipice: A Vermont Music Festival last night. If Friday showcased dance bands, last night was more rock and roll.
Around 4 I hopped into the car, drove to Shleburne and picked up my brother Ken. We headed back to the festival and arrived just before the first band went on.
We settled in and The DuPont brothers took the stage. They played as a four-piece with Zack on electric guitar, Sam on acoustic, Rob Morse on stand up bass and Dan Davin (?) on drums. They have a smooth easy style about them, but rocked out at times. Sam sang most of the songs and when he and his brother sang together, they blended wonderfully. They sang songs about waiting (Seven Days), astral travel when sleeping (1,000 Years Old), and stuff like that. They did a nice job blending mellow tunes with some songs that really rocked. The last song of the set was the fastest and it was quite fun.
I turned 180 degrees, and Osange Orange started right up. A synth growl began then the band kicked in with some down tempo indie rock jangle pop. The four-piece, guitar/vocals, keys, bass, drums, played politically charged songs that had a bit of rock to them. There was one song that compared ice melting directly to air with not being there in a relationship anymore. I thought that was a great metaphor, and a really good song. Their set was strong and mellow at the same time. I had a great time for every moment.
When they wrapped up, Barbacoa hit the other stage and kicked things into high gear. Their dark surf rock instrumentals are fun to dance to. Bill Mullins guitar work was killer, as always. Kirk Flanagan’s bass was locked in with Jeremy Frederick‘s drumming, and every song was a fun work out. They played a killer version of Trans Am, tossed in covers like Goldfinger, and Paint It Black, and tempted the weather gods with Gorilla Monsoon. The weather was grey with dark clouds, and just a mist of rain at one point, but generally perfect. That said, you don’t really have to tempt fate do you? Either way, the set was fun as always. They are such pros, it’s always great to be in their presence.
After their set, Duke Aeroplane and The Wrong Numbers took the stage. Well dressed in suits, the six-piece had a full cabaret rock sound. With guitar, bass, drums, keys/vocals, sax and trumpet player, the piano seemed to lead the way and the band filled in the rest of the sound. It was cool to see Matthew Kloss play electric bass, since I usually see him play stand up. I liked their set, but was hungry, and since the music was not going to stop, we took some time to get food and mingle a little. While wandering the grounds, I could hear the band fairly well, and I really liked them, even if I was distracted.
Up next Zack DuPont returned to the stage with his old band Japhy Ryder. They have played around town for a long time, but last night was the first time I saw them play. The six-piece with two drummers, guitar, bass, keys/trumpet, and trumpet player, jammed out some funky beats with occasional builds. Zack’s guitar playing was sweet, articulate, and smooth. They had the audience dancing and people seemed to have a great time. A couple of the songs rocked a bit and were fun. They wrapped up the set at twilight, then it was time to turn to the next stage, again.
Maryse Smith sang and played acoustic guitar, and was joined by Michael Chorney,,also on acoustic. I think her set was the same that she played at Radio Bean on Tuesday, except for dropping Good Thing and following 15 Steps with Liar. She has a great voice and a nice flow to her songs. She will just play some nice music, then drop it into a gorgeous chorus driven by her commanding voice, and that seems to happen on almost every song. Her guitar playing is nimble, but having Michael weave in and around her playing was pretty fantastic. After finishing with Liar she was told she had time for one more. She played a sweet version of Good Thing, and called it a night. One of her new songs, Orlando, is quickly becoming a favorite.
Another 180 turn brought me to an even happier place. Swale hit the stage with Joyless. It started slow and poignant then built and built until it was ripping at the end. Jeremy Fredrick sang backing vocals and pounded out the drums. Tyler Bolles held down the low end allowing Amanda Gustafson a bit more freedom on the keys. Eric Olsen ripped it up with killer guitar work and we were off and running. By the end of Joyless, it was rock and roll glory. The followed with Jack Sharp and Popular Crowd and played them at blistering speed and volume. I loved every rocking moment. They slowed it down a little for Soul Piggy Bank, then did a long slow build into Waterlanding. Again, late in the song, they built it into a monster and rocked it hard. They brought the tempo back down a little with the song about the gymnast, then played a stunning version of If You Get Lost. They followed with Old School, which is really slow, but even that one was a bit more uptempo than usual. They slammed it back into full gear for Everyone Likes To, and called it a night.
Lee Anderson directed everyone’s attention outside of the tent, to the right of the stage, for the Appalled Eagles puppet show. With all the music that was to come, Ken and I took some time to get another beer and say hi to Peg Tassey.
After a few minutes, four familiar people dressed like gondoliers, took the stage. The Italians (Swale in “disguise”) got set and invited the first guest to the stage. Joe Adler joined them for a rousing version of Pump It Up, and the audience bounced and danced. Nichole followed and sang a rousing I Love Rock And Roll. The next song was an indie rock song, maybe called Seasons. I think it was Brian someone who sang it. Despite not knowing much about either, it was a pretty good song, and well sang. Bill Mullins came up next for a deep voiced cover of Tom Jones’ She’s A Lady. I missed the name of the guy who sang We-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M., but it was done well and the audience was happily dancing. Kat Wright kept the party going with Party In The USA. Up next, James Kochalka played a rousing version of Justin Timberlake. I was very psyched, as I had not seen James play for a long time. Dan Bolles followed with a deeply sung version of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. The audience ate it up, but I was really wanting the music to start rocking again. I got my wish when the brought up Urian Hackney to sing the next song. Bobby Hackney Jr. took the drums. Julian Hackney and Paul Comegno joined Eric Olsen on guitar. I don’t think Steven Hazen Williams joined in on bass, I think it was just Tyler Bolles, but I was back a bit so it was hard to see. The Swale/ROUGH FRANCIS combo put the music into maximum overdrive on Iggy Pop’s Now I Wanna Be Your Dog. When the song ended, Tyler, Eric, and Amanda Gustafson left the stage, Williams took the stage, Urian and Bobby switched places. Rough Francis lit into their set. I did not recognize the first two, put they were powerful and fun. I-90 East was especially intense, and the audience was rocking hard, though not moshing yet. Staring Out The Window slowed things down a tiny bit, but Black And Red picked it right back up. The opening notes of Not A Nice Guy saw the front of the audience jump into most pit mode. The slam dancing was intense and people started surfing the crowd. Comm To Space followed, which Bobby dedicated to a couple of people who passed away recently. The song was filled with light dancing in the slow parts and the full on mosh when the song erupted. It was a wonderful show, and I could not have been happier.
My brother had to work in the morning and needed to leave a bit after midnight. We stuck it out through argonaut&wasp’s set. They are a four-piece with two electric guitars, bass and drums. The music was mostly beat driven dance music, but at times, the guitars roared and they rocked hard. It was a fun set.
When they wrapped up my brother Ken lobbied to leave, but I told him we had to stay for a couple of songs from the next band. And The Kids ferociously hit the stage with a killer Cats Were Born. The guitar, keys drums trio mixed dance sounds with indie rock and were brilliant as always. We stuck it out for three songs, then had to leave. We could hear them quite clearly for the slow steady walk out of the festival grounds, up the first hill, up the second hill, and all the way to the parking lot. It was hard to let the end of their set go, but it was a trade-off to get my brother to see how much great music we have in this town. I would have liked to check out Gnomedad, who finished the night and festival, but it’s hard to catch everything.
I am so delighted with all of the great musical talent we have in this town. I’m so grateful for people like Lee Anderson and Joe Adler and the ton of other people who put this all together. It was obvious that a lot of work went into it, and the whole thing ran very smoothly. I feel lucky to be able to be in the presence of all the talent that made this happen. Thanks everyone, you rock!
I had a great time seeing music yesterday, and last night, and this morning. It was day 1 of The Precipice: A Vermont Music Festival, and I had been waiting for months. The morning had a rough start with a low battery chirping fire alarm waking me up at 8. I was able to get a few things done, then caught a little nap in the afternoon. Around 3, I headed out the door, caught a bus to Shelburne and met up with my brother Ken. He has liked a lot of the local music that I play on my radio show, and it was well past time to get him out to see some.
I borrowed a car and we drove to the show. We parked by the college and took the long winding walk down the hill. Instead of using the full bottom part of the field, they used about half of it. Last year, everything was more spread out, and this year it was a bit more concentrated. There were enough people at the height of the show to make it feel full, but not even remotely packed. There was plenty of space to spread out and walk around. There were several food vendors, a place to get henna tattoos, and a couple of other attractions. The main event was in a large tent with a stage on each side and a soundboard in the middle. There a fair amount of room between the stage and soundboard, but at times it did get a bit cramped. The effect of almost continuous music had it’s ups and downs. Last year it was fun to check out a couple of different bands and see which one grabbed you, but this year, it’s one at a time. I have mixed feelings, but it did concentrate people a bit more, and that feeling of being one of the few people seeing a band at a festival, was not there. Either way, they set the stages that way, and went with it.
We arrived a few minutes early, and heard Jane Boxall warming up on the marimba, but soon enough, it was time for the show.
Binger were the first ones on. They are a guitar, bass, drums trio with guitarist and bassist singing. They started with a hip hop groove but built the song into an indie rock work out. As the show went on, they seemed comfortable playing jazz, indie, hip hop, at times sounded a bit like a prog rock band and had some notes of metal here and there, Lots of hammer on guitar and bass playing showed how good they are with their instruments. I was impressed that they could play around with so many genres but still sound cohesive. They have an album coming out in a couple of months, and I will have to check it out.
As their last notes rang out, my focus turned 180 degrees and Jane was at the marimba and ready to go. Gregory Douglas sang a beautiful song, and showcased his remarkable voice. Michael Chorney came up next and they did a sweet cover of Neil Young’s Ambulance Blues. Jane took it from there and played a couple of bouncy old timey tunes that got the slowly filling audience to smile and have a good time. Pyramid followed and she showcased her ability to play the instrument with anywhere between 6 and 0 mallets (she ended the piece by playing with just her hands). She wrapped it up with a little Salsa Mexicana and called it an evening.
I turned around and Grundlefunk filled the stage. They played as a 9-piece with guitar, bass, drums, keys, singer, a percussion/trumpet player, a couple of sax players, and there must have been another horn player in there too. The sound was mixed perfectly and you could hear the guitar cutting through the sound, the keys taking the lead, or whatever they needed the music to do. They sounded like a big full jazzy brassy funk band. The audience was slowly filling in, danced and had a great time.
Up next, a group of masked chaos masters, apparently all named El Beej, except the drummer who was Sergeant Cody, played a loosely odd set of sonic weirdness. They got a cool vocal sound out of an old telephone, and the two guitar, bass, drums, two sax, and keyboard band swerved and drifted as Joe Adler kept asking if anyone was there. At times they had a big rocking jazz(?) sound, and had a slow steady huge build for the last song. The playing was great, and the set was fun and I was happy to see the keyboard player was from And The Kids, who will play tonight.
After their set, Steady Betty came on and locked into a groove. They were super tight and the harmonies were delightful. Kat Wright’s voice blended beautifully with Miriam Bernardo’s and Linda Bassick added some sweet backups. The mellow happy rock steady sound had a lot of people dancing and having a great time. Their songs of social justice, wrapped within a happy dance groove were fun an powerful. The sheer talent of the players was on full display. They wrapped it up with the song that goes la la la, and then it was time to turn around again.
Barika were set to go and played some super smooth building flowing jazz. The sound is driven by a sting instrument called a Kamel N’goni, and the plucked strings lead down a path filled with the key/trombone, sax, trumpet, bass and drums. The music has a lovely sweeping flow and kept the audience dancing. Miriam and Kat joined them for one song and the whole set was a relaxed good time.
Up next, Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band filled the stage. The whole tent, past the soundboard, was dancing as they played some soul with a few rock and roll edges. With guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a couple of sax players, they created a beautiful space to let Kat loose. Her voice is warm and sweet and her stage demeanor is relaxed and confident. She led the band through lots of solid songs, and sang at least one with guitarist Bob Wagner. While the relaxed dance vibe thing works for most people, it left me wanting a bit of rock and roll. Bob threw in some nice guitar work, here and there during the set, so it made me happy.
Up next, it was time to rock. The Dirty Blondes were a little shorthanded, since Rebecca Rogers had recently been arrested in Cleveland, but they persevered. Sole singer Diane Sullivan was the opposite of Kat, loud brassy, and in your face. The band ripped through some very fast versions of their songs. From the opening notes of Burn, they played loud fun punk rock. Crybaby has a fun flow to the rhythm. They taught everyone the dance move for Kung Pao. Things threatened to get a bit spiritual with Hallelujah, but the ripping guitar and killer bass kept it nicely grounded. Slut was loud and fast, and Ornan McLean‘s drumming was blistering. Drunk was fun to sing, and Jacking Off has a great flow to the music. That New Guy Is Not James Bond had a nice spy theme going to it, and they wrapped the night with a cover of Cher’s Turn Back Time. The audience had fun with it and the guitar especially ripped. All in all, the set was a tad rough, but I was blissfully happy.
It was after midnight at this point. The air had a hint of crispness to it, but was still pretty warm. The audience had dwindled a bit, maybe due to the late hour or the Blondes volume, but there were lots of people there as Ryan Power hit the stage. He was playing keys and singing, and was joined by guitar, bass, drum, and another keyboard player. His songs are unique pop sort of songs. There are lots of layers of voice and keys and Michael Chorney mentioned that it doesn’t sound like anything else he’s ever heard. I concur.
It was late, and I was starting to feel drained. Ken was tired too, so we listened to most of Ryan’s set as we walked up the long hill. Bella’s Bartok and Plato’s Ears were still set to play, but it’s hard to catch everything. I drove him back to Shelburne, then drove home to Burlington. Later today, I will go pick him up, and we will do it all over again, this time with even more rock and roll!
I headed out just before 2 and took the familiar walk to the show. I could hear some heavy rock playing as I walked down the hill, and it just drew me into the InTENT. Violette Ultraviolet were on and rocking hard. Their sound was fluid and flowing and ferocious rock at the same time. It’s like they found a jam and worked it up to metal speed and let it drift back to a gentle whisper. With guitar, bass, and drums, the sound could be anything, but mostly it rocked. After their last song, they said something about Violette Ultraviolet coming up next, minus one member. I was confused, but thought it was time to see Jane Boxall in the main tent.
I walked over intently, but my timing was off. Andy Lugo was still onstage, singing and playing acoustic guitar. The song I heard had a good clip to it, and his voice was strong. I liked what I heard, but realized that I was missing some rock and roll.
I went back to the InTENT and Violette Ultraviolet were onstage with a different bass player. He looked familiar, from the last time I saw them. Their songs were more structured and song oriented than the other version of the band, but still had the huge ebb and flow to the songs. They were kind of like a pop rock band that could jam, and bring it up to metal intensity, or let it fall into delicate passages. The songs could go on forever, or be tightly played. They were really fun, and it will be great to see them more the next time I can.
When they wrapped up, I headed to the OmnipoTENT for Jane Boxall and friends. Jane was playing pop songs on the marimba. She sang with a quirky delightful voice and I was intrigued. Soon after I was in and sat down, it was a mellow show, she brought up Miriam Bernardo. She sang the next song with her wonderfully resonant voice and captivated the small but appreciative audience. When that wrapped up, Jane brought Kat Wright to the stage, but did not let Miriam go quite yet. She said it was a special day for Miriam and began to play Happy Birthday. Kat joined in and so did the audience, at the end. Miriam looked so delighted. Jane began playing, and used the marimba to create a full musical sound that caught all the needed parts of the song. Kat sang the sad and lovely, Love Is A Losing Game with elegance and grace. Next up Jane brought Raph Worrick to the stage. He sang one of his songs, Let’s Complain, then a song by Massive (marimba) Attack. From there Jane played three more before calling it a show. Her music was wonderfully played, whether using two mallets, four mallets or even six at one point. Her stage presence was delightful and it was a really fun show. Even the sound of a ferocious rock band in the background (Mickey Western and the Rodeo Clowns), that wanted to drag me away, didn’t.
I hung out for a bit, and bought an EP. I chatted with Caroline O’Conner for a moment but heard another rock band start up. I ran for the InTENT and Vetica were letting it rip. They are a four-piece, two guitars, bass drums, with one of the guitar players singing. The music was fast and loud and short and fun. Their catchy riffs got me dancing from the moment I arrived until the last note. It felt odd, with the rest of the small audience hanging back and sitting, but I could do nothing but rock out when they were playing like that. After last year’s Precipice, I had a song stuck in my head for a month or so. It was one of theirs and they played it third or fourth. I can still hear it now.
When they wrapped up, I took the short stroll to the CoexisTENT for Monoprix. With Brett Hughes on guitar and two microphone vocals, Tyler Bolles on stand-up bass and Steve Hadeka on drums, they played some very nice music. The pace was a lot slower than Vetica, and some of the songs were very country. They almost lost me in the middle. The playing was sweet, and subtly intense, but I was still in rock mode. Fortunately for me, by the end of the set, so were Monoprix. The second to last song rocked and the closer just tore it up. They woke me from my temporary lull and rocked me hard. Thanks guys!
When they were done, there was some noise coming from the main tent. I wandered over and Serotheft was on stage. With keys, drums, bass and guitar, they played something between jam and EDM. They had a bright, happy sound, but the dance beat did not do it for me.
Back in the InTENT, Bella’s Bartok took the stage. I tried to give them a listen, but the cabaret style music, with a country beat, discordant horns and shouty vocals was a bit chaotic for me. They held a crowd for their whole set, and there were people dancing. I could not find the way into their music, but lots of others did. That’s the great thing about festivals, not all music is for everyone.
I headed back to the OmnipoTENT and waited as Haley Jane and the Primates set up. With a guitar, bass, drums and front woman, they played some low key bluesy delightful songs. The singer was warm and engaging and her eyes could practically have a conversation on their own. She was a delightful host and brought everyone into the songs. They played a bluesy jam that ran through the lime and the coconut, to I don’t know but I’ve been told, while weaving in and out of one way or another. It was lots of fun. The song about the prostitute and the madam was really engaging. The song about being in love and calling all of her love’s family was just great, except that she never told us who Eliza is. It was a great song about the chaotic emotions of being in love. I wanted to stay for every last note, but heard another rock band start, and knew who that was. I wandered towards the CoexisTENT, as the Primates jammed out Aiko Aiko.
Lendway had just started as I wandered in. They had a bit of a rough start as the sound dropped out during Gone With Eraser. The band kept playing, though all you could hear was the drums. The sound man hit a couple of switches, and the amps kicked back in. They finished it up nicely, then had the sound drop in the next song. It came back on its own quickly and was smooth sailing from there. Matt got out the drill for a heavy feedback filled version of Hollywood. Songs like Take Your Gold Away, and You’re Safe With Us, showed they could transform breezy pop into a massive rock song at will. Despite the small glitches, their show was wonderful and filled my heart with joy.
They wrapped up around 7 and I was done. There were a couple of more bands playing, but none who would rock that hard. My body was extremely tired, my mind was over-saturated with music, but my soul was completely delighted, as I took the slow walk home.
It was going to be another long day and night of music, so I did not want to get there too early. I looked at the schedule and really wanted to check out Alpenglow. I left a little after three and took the moderate walk to North Avenue, and followed the hill down to the show. I headed for the main stage OmnipoTENT, and Alpenglow was playing. They played relaxed gorgeous songs with an electric guitar player, bass, drummer, singer/acoustic guitar, and a banjo/keys/violin player. The guitarists and banjo player often sang with splendid three-part harmonies. The banjo gave the songs a bit of an Americana feel, but their sound was more of a mellow indie rock sound with a propensity to rock, which they did a couple of times. The audience sat rapt for the show, and towards the end, someone from the audience shouted out to them “you make me feel good”. That really sums them up.
I wandered towards the other two tents, when I heard this huge rock and roll roar. I almost ran to the CoexisTENT and Barbacoa were on stage. The three-piece, guitar, bass, drums band played loud nimble surf rock and got the audience dancing. Bill Mullins, jr.’s guitar playing was spot on and exciting. Kirk Flanagan and Jeremy Fredericks kept the beat driving, and it was fun to give the body a shake. They played a bunch of songs then were set to wrap it up with Paint It Black. The song soared in the middle, then rocked hard into the conclusion. I think they were going to leave after that, but were told they had time for another. They kicked out another blast of joy, and called it a night.
I missed that there was more going on in the non-tent domed structure that they called the TENTacle, and wish I had clued in that Milton Busker was playing at the same time as Barbacoa. I would have liked to check him out, but walking away from Barbacoa would have been hard.
I headed back to the OmnipoTENT and caught a few songs by Maryse Smith. She sang and played acoustic guitar and was joined by Michael Chorney, who also played acoustic. The guitars were quiet and elegant and her super strong voice soared over the top. Her poignant lyrics, about the complexities of relationships, were laid before us, wrapped in the gentle comfort of the guitars. The relaxed sitting audience was quiet and respectful and her music was enjoyed by all.
After her set, I headed out into the hot summer sun, to the InTENT, for Errands. They are a two-piece, singer/keyboards and drummer. The drummer was a wild man who mostly played regular beats to a click track. The keys provided a drone and the vocals drove the melodies. They were kind of like a trance band, who blurred the lines between dance, pop, and rock. Their set had a rocking feel and was lots of fun.
It looked like the Dirty Blondes were set to play next, at the very close CoexisTENT, but it took forever for them to take the stage. Finally, they were set, and lit into a fast, heavy rocking version of Burn. With Becky and Diane singing (and sporting Ornan t-shirts), Eric driving the rhythm with his massive guitar sound, the other guitar player and bass player (whose names I always forget) keeping a fast pace, and Ornan’s full rock drumming, they had a ferocious rock sound. Crybaby had a nice bounce to the rhythm. We, well most of us, did the dance for the Kung Pao. Scorned Woman rocked hard. Hallelujah and Oh Dirty Blondes soared. They followed with a raw and earthy version of drunk. Someone said something about not being in shape, so Diane hit the floor and started doing pushups. She bounced back up and they lit into Slut. The sound was pure rock and roll, and Jackin’ Off, which followed, kept it up. They followed with the song to honor the drummer and explain why a whole host of famous drummers would never be the drummer for the Dirty Blondes. I love Ornan’s Song. They pushed the bounds of good taste, tossing out small packets of white powder while playing Yayo, then ended the set with That New Guy Is Not James Bond. Becky sat back and let Diane sing the first line of each chorus, then joined in, like she was not sure which Bond guy Diane would think of next. They left the stage, but the audience begged for another. They came back for a rousing Too Drunk To Vote and called it a night. I just love the fury when the Blondes play.
I headed back to the OmnipoTENT for the Dupont brothers. Zach and Sam kept switching electric and acoustic guitars, and were joined by Pat on bass (with the distracting hair) and Tim on drums. The songs were mellow countryish bluesy rock. The bass had a throbbing sound, and both guitar players had a fluid style. Sam and Zach sang with tightly perfect harmonies, and the whole sound had a Southern California relaxed rock vibe, until the last song, which revealed itself as a bit of a snarling rocker.
I wandered back towards the other tents. Something With Strings were playing countryish tunes in the CoexisTENT. It was not quite my speed, so I sat a long way back and listened for a while. They sounded nice and played well. I got up to wander, and they lit into a fun version of Act Naturally.
I went back to the OmnipoTENT to see if Ryan Power was ready to go on, but it was a guy and girl playing samples and sonic weirdness. Fat Paul let loose a lot of sound, but it did not do it for me. I headed back to the InTENT to see if Vedora were ready, but they took a long time to set up.
After a bit, Ryan Power and his full band were set to go in the OmnipoTENT. I hung back a ways, and listened to a song or two from afar. They sounded nice, and his oddly timed pop songs were cool, but I was looking for some rock, and I knew Vedora would let it loose soon.
Vedora at the Precipice photo by Sean Altrui
Vedora at the Precipice photo by Sean Altrui
The InTENT, with red backing drapes, looked like it was a set from Twin Peaks. Vedora came on rocking with Terrarium. The new drummer (Charlie?) held his own and kept the songs together, even as Matt tried his hardest to use his guitar to rip them apart. Promises and Basalt Anchor sounded great, then they jammed out some new songs. I think one was called the feeling, and I need to listen to them more, but I really liked what I heard. Caroline’s bass drove the songs, and her singing was delightful, as always. They followed the very new ones, with the newish Sober. It started with some killer guitar work, then slid into the slow grind build that comprises the song. By the end, Matt was calling down the thunder of the gods with his overt the top guitar work. The audience seemed amazed. For the next song, they switched gears with a cover of Careless Whisper. A bolt of energy shook the audience out of its trance. People danced happily as Matt’s brother James rocked the bass and Caroline unleashed the sax. They followed with another new one that had Matt go over the top on guitar. They ended the set in a rain of feedback, and it was just a glorious set of rock and roll.
Vedora at the Precipice photo by Sean Altrui
After really rocking out, I headed to the OmnipoTENT, and kept up the pace as Rough Francis hit the stage. Their songs were somewhere between heavy rock and punk, and sent the crowd into a frenzy. With two guitars, bass, drums and over the top front man, Bobby Hackney jr., they rocked the audience into a full on mosh pit. A cover of New Rose brought out the crowd surfing, before they eased off and merely rocked hard for the next few. They kicked it back into high gear for the closer, and the moshing continued. The band is great, and I cannot say enough about the drummer. That guy rocks so hard, I sometimes think Rough Francis is a drummer and a bunch of guys trying to keep up.
I was totally spent at that point, but really wanted to check out Superhuman Happiness. I wandered aimlessly for a bit and ended up in the TENTacle and caught a few songs by Hana Zara. She played acoustic guitar and sang visceral stories about life. It was easy to follow the story lines as her words and voice painted pictures. She was really intense, and I loved every moment. I heard a band playing and thought it was Superhuman, so I was a bit antsy. I finally ducked out after a song, but when I realized it was someone else, I ran back for the last few. I really enjoyed her show.
As soon as she finished, Superhuman Happiness started up in the OmnipoTENT. They began with a long slow building epic piece of music. After a long ride, it settled into a nice dance groove. They were immensely talented, but the straight up dance music, didn’t compel me. The audience danced happily as I slowly walked towards the exit. At the top of the hill, as I was heading out, I could hear them playing See Me On My Way. It seemed perfectly appropriate, as I took the slow walk home.