Archive for the ‘Caroline O’Connor’ Tag

Swaleoke at Radio Bean February 14, 2015   Leave a comment

Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis

Radio Bean picture by Tim Lewis

 

I had a great time seeing, and being a part of, music Saturday night at Radio Bean. Periodically, Swale play a night of cover songs and let people in the audience sign up to sing them. They call it Swaleoke and it’s always fun. Since it happens in Burlington, there are always a few great singers around, so there are some serious musical fireworks, but like a good karaoke, there are a lot a amateurs in the audience, so there is a huge element of random fun. A couple of times ago Eric Olsen said I had to come up and sing sometime and I reluctantly agreed. Saturday night, I fulfilled that promise.
Six days before the show I messaged Eric, since we had mentioned doing some Marillion, to see if they were up for Bitter Suite. The band learned it in a day, and I spent much of the week reciting the lyric, and trying to get to know exactly when to start it. I wasn’t at all nervous, until Saturday night after work. Then the terror struck. I listened to the song five times or so, then put on the black (with the bright Fish t-shirt under the dress shirt) and headed out the door.
I got in and got settled as the acoustic duo finished up their last two songs. I missed their name, but they were pretty solid. Swale’s instruments were all set up behind them, and the band came in and did some final set up stuff, passed around the song signup clipboard, then disappeared for a bit.
After a short while, Swale walked in dressed in green hats and clothes and were obviously intent on swapping the St Valentines Day holiday for St Patrick’s. They always do something fun like that. They got set up and started tuning, and the tuning turned into a drone like song that I did not know. Amanda had a cool weird vocal effect going on, and it was lots of fun. When they finished it, they started asking around to see who wanted to go first. A couple of people said no, and I said YES! I was hoping to go early and get through it so I could just enjoy the rest of the show. It was harder to find my starting queues than I realized, but Eric helped a lot and I gave it my all as it went from the spoken word part, to the softly sung part to the scream for my life part at the end. It was definitely more of a karaoke version of the song, than a pro version, but the band were amazing and hit it note for note.
Things went pro quickly after that as Pam Ant took the stage and put her wonderful vocal spin on Bowie’s Let’s Dance. She can do amazing things with her voice and really went for it.
I did not catch the next singer, from the earlier Facebook posts it might have been Kim Desjardins, but she sang a great version of Summer Breeze, and the band played it perfectly. I always think of that song as the breezy chorus, but the song as a whole it really good, and she sang it very well.
Up next Lily Sickles took the stage and just belted out a killer I Love Rock And Roll. I’m not sure which is her stronger, her voice or pure attitude, but both were at full force and made the song great.
Amanda Gustafson followed with a gorgeous and powerful version of Maybe I’m Amazed. It was very nice to just have Swale play a song, and it was a great version of it.
A couple named Melody and Greg got up next for I Got You Babe. It was a fun amateur version, and I forgot how many sections the song has. Eric was great about guiding them through it. It was classic and fun.
Eric Segalstad followed with an emotive Hello, I Love You. He physically threw himself into the lyrics and did a stunning job. I love that song and he put it over the top.
Up next Lily returned to the stage, accompanied by Caroline Marie on sax, and they did a breezy and beautiful version of Only The Lonely. Lily’s voice was great, and the sax just slid the song along.
Caroline stayed for the next one and sang and played sax on Careless Whisper. The song has such an iconic sax riff that it really struck a nerve with the full audience and had thunderous applause at the end.
She stayed up for the next one too as Joe Adler took the stage to sing The Power Of Love. His deep voice made it sound great, and the song is just lots of fun.
A guy named Andy, I missed his last name, did a killer version of What I Like About You. His singing was strong and precise and Lee Anderson joined in for the harmonica solo. Fun was had by all.
I missed the names of the two girls who came up next, but caught that they were joined by Greg who sang I Got You earlier. They did a fun version of Salt N Pepa’s Shoop.
A guy named Ben followed and sang a gentle version of The Commodores Easy. It was fun.
Jason Cooley followed and the band played hard on Public Enemy’s Fight The Power. He sang it strong and ferociously, and it was just great.
After that, Andy and Lily came back to the stage for a rousing 867-5309 (Jenny) that had the whole audience singing along with them. They were joined by someone named Mike, and it was nothing but fun.
The hour was late but Swale had one song left. They played a gentle and gorgeous version of Arthur Russel’s I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face.
Soon after they wrapped up, I said a few goodbyes and headed out the door. I chatted with Jeremy Frederick a bit, and thanked him for playing Marillion. I took the cold but easy walk home with love in my heart for all the pros and amateurs who took a swing at singing, and for everyone who braved the cold night and showed up to listen.

 

There is a video of the full show here.  There is a lot of empty space before it begins.  Swale’s first song is about 15 minutes in.

 

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/58827892

 

 

Quick snapshot of tonight   Leave a comment

I just got home from seeing music tonight. Radio Bean did not have a drummer or bass player. But ,I got to hear a lot of cool George Harrison songs, like Aaron Flinn doing a solo acoustic version of Beware of Darkness, Joe Adler singing a killer Give Me Love (Peace on Earth), the guys on uke’s, 12 stings, and 12 string ukes doing Isn’t it a Pity. Wow. The wrap up with most everyone, including Linda Bassick doing a Subterranean Homesick Blues impression, pulling back the lyric cards, for the various Eastern Gods referenced in My Sweet Lord. Hmm, so many great performances! Aaron’s solo on While My Guitar, will stay with me for a while.

Ryan Ober opened solo electric with a song I did not catch, the Roll Over Beethoven
Nowa Crosby and Franky Andreas used ukelele’s, a 12 string acoustic, and something that looked like a large 12 string mandolin. They played If not for you, Isn’t it a Pity, and Wah Wah
Josh Glass on keys, Linda Bassick on backing vocals and guitar at times, Kirk Flanagan, and Aaron Flinn played Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (with a killer solo from Aaron).
Joe Adler came up for Handle with Care, a couple from Revolver including a really tight version of Taxman. Give Me Love (Peace on Earth) sounded great with Joe’s deep voice.

There was lots more too

Vedora Manhattan Pizza May 3, 2013

Vedora Manhattan Pizza May 3, 2013

I walked into Manhattan Pizza to the closing strains of Terrarium. Vedora killed it, and played four new songs. They previewed a song for the Fleetwood Mac cover night, but it was their songs that really shone.

Terrarium
New song
Dragnet
Maria
To Send You
Basalt Anchor
Promises
Get on Board

Set 2
Sober
All in the Room
Jump Back
Solution
Ritual
New song
Careless Whisper with Caroline on SAX
Fleetwood Mac cover
True Blue
New song – the feeling?
In the Pines->The Chain
Let’s go for a Ride
New song
Newish instrumental

After, I popped into WBKM. I set up Basalt, Terrarium, In the Pines, and a bunch of George Harrison songs. Why not? Tonight, that was Burlington’s Kind of Music.

Hair Down and Steady Betty February 22, 2013   Leave a comment

I almost did not make it to this show. With Steady Betty set to go on at 11:30, and having to work at 9 the next morning, the numbers were against me. Knowing the sheer talent in the band, and that they would play a style of music that is out of my comfort zone, left me conflicted. Joe Adler and Samara Lark were on before them, so that was a plus. I almost faded, after a long day at work, but pulled off a last minute rally and headed to Radio Bean.

I got there just as Hair Down down was getting set to play. With my hair was already down, I got a beer, then Joe Adler and Samara Lark started up. He played a plugged in acoustic and both sang. They caught a nice groove right off and sounded great. They played a bunch of covers, including a joyous Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. At one point Samara whistled along and was pitch perfect. They played an elegant version of Atlantic City. An acoustic treatment to ’80’s pop song Sweet Dreams was very cool, and Samara drove home the vocal. They did a very casual Burning Down the House with a fun jazz/blues ending. Hungry like the Wolf started relaxed, but soared when it hit the chorus. How can you not let loose when it’s playing?

While the covers were fun, it was Joe’s songs that stole the show. One song about twirling was pretty fun. The song about the wicked witch of the west is one I need to get to know. The closer, with the tag line let’s relax for a while, was a beautiful way to wrap up their set.

During the break, I chatted a bit with Jeff and Matt from Vedora, and with Johnnie Day Durand from Wee Folkestra. It’s so great when fellow band mates show up for support!

On time, or close to it, Steady Betty, if that is their name, took the stage. Their rocksteady music was a bit slow for my taste, but the playing was so precise and the vocals so large, that I really enjoyed them. Miriam Bernardo and Kat Wright handled most of the vocals, but at times Linda Bassick and Caroline O’Connor chimed in, and their combined voice filled the room. Caroline, on bass, seemed completely locked in with Sara Grace on drums. Linda kept the rhythm on guitar and Christine Mathias was precise on sax all night long. The Caribbean music was light and fun, contrasting with the poignant lyrics about justice.

The crowd mostly filled Radio Bean and Betty had us dancing for the whole set. I was pretty tired from the beginning, but stood as long as I could. At one point my beer was empty. I looked at the clock and it was 12:35, and I knew I had to go. I slipped out the Duino! (Duende) door, and took the slow walk home. I could hear them play for about a block or so, then it just faded away. I probably shouldn’t have gone out, but I’m so glad I did.

Article about me in 7 Days   3 comments

7 Days photo of Tim and Vedora

 

http://www.7dvt.com/2013burlington-music-superfan-tim-lewis-makes-scene

Dan Bolles:

Scan the room at most local rock shows, and you’ll observe various types of concertgoers. There are the average fans, generally attentive people who form the majority of most crowds and tend to clump together in a semicircle in front of the stage. There are the cool kids, typically identified by hipsterer-than-thou detachment as they hang near the back of the room or by the bar, the occasional head nod or absentminded clap the only clues that they’re paying attention to the music onstage. There are the talkers, people whose constant babble suggests they’re oblivious to the performance at hand — or are just total assholes. There are social butterflies and wallflowers, hardcore fans and obvious noobs, players and prudes, drunks and teetotalers, cheerleaders and critics.

And then there is Tim Lewis.

Lewis is something of a Burlington institution, a fixture at local shows for close to 30 years. The general consensus is that he’s attended more rock concerts than anyone else around — though no one really knows.

Without hesitation, Lewis can recall the names and lineups of long-departed Queen City bands that most have never heard of, or have long forgotten. Save for the occasional political remark, his Facebook page is like the Yelp of local music, composed of reviews of shows he’s recently seen. And, of course, Lewis has a blog, Tim’s Triangle Tribune, on which he faithfully documents his live-music adventures. Like, all of them. Rare is the concert, whether at a club, café or basement party, that Lewis attends without posting at least some acknowledgment, along with what he thought of it.

“I think he deserves an award,” says Vedora’s Caroline O’Connor. “I swear he’s been to more shows than anyone in this town.”

(Cut to the town’s professional music writers slinking away in embarrassment.)

Lewis is not a paid music journalist. He’s not an A&R rep scouting for the next big thing — the guy works in the call center at Gardener’s Supply. He is, quite simply, a fan. And, in the realm of local-music fandom, Lewis stands alone. Sometimes literally.

At concerts, he can usually be found planted in front of the front row, notepad in hand, taking in the show with his signature fidgety enthusiasm.

It starts with a quick nod, imperceptible if not for the shimmy of the straight hair cascading past his shoulders. From there, the tremor progresses down his body, maybe punctuated by a jerky elbow burst from otherwise straight arms, a subtle, air-guitar-y flick of the wrist, or rapid foot taps. When a band is really rocking, Lewis’ entire body becomes a twitchy, rhythmic bustle, culminating in a sort of head-banging seizure.

“I’m kind of awkward,” Lewis confesses recently over coffee. “But music has always had a very powerful effect on me.” Indeed.

When those movements are coupled with his long, classic-rock mane — OK, it’s kind of a mullet — Lewis cuts a curious figure. To the untutored onlooker, his manic energy may seem strange, bordering on comical. But that’s not the perception from the stage. To at least one local band, Tim Lewis may be something of a muse.

“Lendway told me once that they can tell if a new song is any good by how much I react to it,” Lewis says, grinning.

“Tim epitomizes the guy that you want to be playing for,” says Lendway’s Matt Hagen. He doesn’t specifically recall telling Lewis he’s a human rock-and-roll barometer, but concedes he “probably did” at some point.

The average fan can lose track of the subtleties of a great performance amid catchy hooks or flashy solos. It takes a particular kind of listener to pick up on those nuances, or to care. Hagen thinks Lewis appreciates music on a genuine, profound level, so it resonates in him.

“When he’s in the audience, it’s an affirmation,” Hagen continues. “He’s that one guy who is absolutely going to appreciate the kinds of things that you, as a musician, are having conversations with yourself about.”

Lewis, 48, was born and raised in Shelburne. He shared a first musical love with legions of other teenagers in the late 1970s and early ’80s: Kiss.

“Ace Frehley’s guitar … those notes just always seemed to be in the right place,” he recalls wistfully.

Lewis is soft-spoken with a shy, genuinely sweet demeanor. He clams up a bit when pressed about his personal life. But he grows increasingly animated when the subject turns to music.

His first show was the Ramones at the Flynn Theatre in 1981 — with Burlington New-Wave band the Decentz opening. Lewis says Def Leppard are the “the most pyro” band he’s ever seen live, Iron Maiden the loudest. But it was Ninja Custodian in the early ’90s that turned him on to local music.

“I was never quite a Phish fan,” Lewis says. “They were kind of OK, I guess. But Ninja was just this furious energy … a funky, metal sort of thing that didn’t sound like anything else.”

Lewis says he was hooked immediately and has made local music a priority ever since.

How many shows does he see per year? Lewis isn’t sure. “Maybe one a week,” he ventures. “Sometimes two?”

That’s a lowball estimate.

In a blog post from December 2008, Lewis tallied the number of bands he’d seen that year. The number was 172, spread over a total of 72 shows at 23 venues. According to O’Connor and others, he hasn’t stopped being ubiquitous in the years since. Dude is simply always at a show.

“He honestly feels like a band member to me,” says O’Connor. “It’s a comforting feeling to have him [at a show], like, ‘OK, Tim’s here. We can start now.’”

O’Connor says she’s known Lewis since her days in then-local psych-rock band the Cush — an all-time Lewis favorite. As he has done with a number of local acts — including Lendway — Lewis has followed O’Connor’s career closely, from her early work as a solo artist to her stint in the duo Tapis Bleu through her current project, Vedora.

“He knows our songs and our development almost as well as us,” O’Connor says. “It’s a really amazing feeling to have someone who listens so intently. I don’t think anyone listens better than he does.”

Hagen agrees. He likens Lewis to an overeager student at the head of the class, absorbing everything, hand raised, anxiously poised to answer a teacher’s next question.

“And that’s what makes him so genuine and so receptive to what we as musicians do,” Hagen says. “To have someone recognize what we’re trying to do and be passionate about it is huge. And Tim is that guy.”