Archive for the ‘Swaleoke’ 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

 

 

The Precipice Day 2 Saturday August 2, 2014 in the field behind Burlington College   Leave a comment

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!