A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Wrapup: farm @ Monkey House 9/25/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Monday September 27, 2010

farm - Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36 F, 10:44 p.m.farm put on an impressive performance Saturday night to mark the launch of their latest album, Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m.

The show was well attended, with about 50-60 people there when farm took the stage. As a quick aside, it was great to see a show at the Monkey House that well attended. The last couple shows I saw there (Givers, Drink Up Buttercup) were all but empty, so it was a nice change in energy, and brought a much more intimate feel to the bar. It was also nice to see Maryse Smith — who recently opened for The New Pornographers — in attendance, supporting fellow VT musicians.

The band — who records as a 3-piece — was joined by their friends Sam Boutin and Brennan Mangan for this show. Even with 5 people on stage, they managed to make the constant trading of instruments look almost effortless. At least three of them took a turn on lead vocals, and duties were shared on the drums, keys, guitars and a variety of other instruments. While it would be pretty easy for this to become a distraction to the audience, they were quick and seemingly practiced enough to make it interesting.

Most of their set was from their new album, though they also played 3 or 4 songs I hadn’t heard before. My favorites were “anticipating snow” and “hotel manners” though really there were many highlights. The only thing that felt out of place to me was opening with “is it wrong?”, a sleepy, spacy, stripped-down song that, while beautiful, didn’t really pull me into the show right away.

I found myself drawing comparisons between Port O’Brien (particularly the vocals on “getting cold” which sound remarkably similar to Van Pierszalowski’s voice) and Wild Sweet Orange, though farm definitely has a sound all their own. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing farm again, and recommend that Burlington indie music fans check these guys out soon.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Wrapup: Givers @ Monkey House 5/9/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Monday May 10, 2010

Well it finally happened last night – for the first time since I started regularly going to rock shows six years ago, I think that an audience (or lack thereof) may have actually killed a show. Not that Givers didn’t give it their all, but there was no mistaking the lack of energy all around – it ended up feeling like I was watching them practice in their garage.

I’ve been to many other sparsely attended shows here, but that sparseness and lack of true interest was nothing compared to last night.

It was another solo show for me, and started with the bouncer essentially begging the guy in front of me to come in after he initially rejected the $8 cover charge. Not generally a good sign, but he ended up forking over $5 in a compromise and headed in.

The opening act, Burlington’s own Maga (soft ‘g’), was on when I walked in. Not all of their songs spoke to me, but the couple that did were really impressive (particularly their final song). Assuming it’ll be a fairly unique item for a while, I bought one of their t-shirts after the show (threadless shirts are everywhere these days, so I’m beginning to look for new sources). I definitely look forward to catching Maga again.

While they prepped the stage and got themselves ready to perform, Givers stood in an alcove between the bar and the windows and had what seemed to be an amazing freestyle rap session. Had I been a little bolder it would have been fun to jump in; alas, I’m not. So at least they had some fun. When they got started, I’d say there were maybe 20 people there, and half of those people never left the bar.

Givers @ Monkey House 5/9/2010

The music itself wasn’t bad – the vocal mix was a bit off for the first song, but once corrected I thought that both lead singers sounded great. You could feel them trying to drum up the energy to keep going, but you could also feel that energy being drained from them faster than they could keep up with. And I have to say, I don’t blame them. Not even Teddy Lamson’s frenetic pounding of the drums was enough to bring people up to the front to dance.

The area in front of the stage consisted of me and three seemingly wasted 30-something women who slurred “I fucking love you guys” or “you guys are soooo fucking awesome” as they sashayed (literally) across the dance floor after every song (and not in that really endearing way, but in that terribly obnoxious way). Taylor Guarisco’s eyes roll back in his head when he sings, so it’s tough to really tell, but I’m pretty sure I caught a couple of “yikes” type of eye rolls in there.

Givers @ Monkey House 5/9/2010

I really appreciate a band that can make it all the way through a show like that without saying “this is just awful,” but they didn’t really have to say that. After watching videos of their shows elsewhere and hearing fantastic things from my friend Aaron, I’m so disappointed that Burlington couldn’t turn out a crowd to really get the best out of Givers. As it is, I still got to listen to some good music, and it was well worth the $8 and drive to Winooski, but I need to see Givers again to get a better taste of the energy and excitement that they bring to the stage.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow’s Drink Up Buttercup show can get me out of the funk that last night’s show left me in.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Coming soon to Burlington

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday April 28, 2010

I hope anyone in the Burlington area can appreciate with me what amazing music our local venues are bringing to town these days. It’s actually bordering on too much good music at once (ok, that’s not technically possible, unless two shows overlap and I have to miss one).

There’s a handy Google calendar over there on the left that lists good upcoming shows in Burlington and Montreal, but I really feel the need to share with you the plethora of good acts that’ll be in the area over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 28
White Rabbits @ Petit Campus, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Saturday, May 1
k-os @ Higher Ground
Listen | Tickets

Sunday, May 2
Yeasayer @ Le National, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Wednesday, May 5
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Friday, May 7
Shout Out Louds @ Cabaret Juste Pour Rire, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Sunday, May 9
Givers @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Tuesday, May 11
Drink Up Buttercup @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Thursday, May 20
Midlake @ Le National, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Unfortunately, it’s looking like I’m going to miss at least 2 of the Montreal shows. I wonder how much a cab costs…

Anyhow, thanks to Monkey House and Higher Ground for continuing to bring good music through the Burlington area – I really feel like this is the best the national indie scene has been represented since I moved here a little over 3 years ago. Keep up the good work!

[as a side note, I wanted to acknowledge my hatred for myspace, while still giving the site credit for being the easiest way to hear a few songs from any given band. sorry for including so many links there, but I think you'll find it as useful as I do for pure music sampling purposes. unlike iTunes, Amie St. or emusic, myspace lets you hear full songs, which I think is really important in judging the merits of a band.]

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.