Daaaang! How can it be time for the South End Art Hop already? And how can it be this paper’s 15th birthday, to boot? Where, oh where, does the time go? (Answer: Into the Nothing from The Neverending Story. True story.)
The Art Hop is, bar none, my favorite local annual music(ish) event. It sounds super cheesy, but there really is something truly unique about the way the Pine Street district — can I call it a district? — comes alive, especially on Friday night. It may lack the marquee value of, say, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, or the Justin Bieber value of the Champlain Valley Fair, or the beer value of the Vermont Brewers Festival. But for sheer energy and atmosphere, you can’t touch the Art Hop. It’s just special.
However, all of these events do have something in common — schmaltz alert! They require a willingness to explore and a joy in discovery. Yes, even the fair does, in its own way. There is far more going on at Art Hop than I have room to relate in this tiny column — and we’re only talking music. So, it is incumbent upon you, dear reader, to do some of the legwork yourself. Use the handful of shows mentioned here as a starting point. Then keep your ears open, because you never know what you’ll find around the next corner.
This first show is a yearly staple and an obvious highlight: the Friday-night throwdown at Speaking Volumes. This year’s lineup includes showgazers Maga, acoustic pop songwriter Andrew Parker-Renga and whiskeygrass hotshots Gold Town.
Moving south on Pine, I’d strongly suggest dropping by the Green Door Studio to catch Villanelles and the Vacant Lots. The former have received plenty of ink lately — including a CD review in this issue. But it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the latter. In a typically cryptic series of emails, lighting engineer/vocalist Jared Artaud hints at some big news on the horizon, and whispers of another recording project have been on the wind around town. Stay tuned.
I tend to focus on the rock music in Soundbites, but I do love me some jazz and country, too. So, I might find myself hopping over to the Maltex Building to catch rambling Rick Norcross with jazz-country hybrid Blue Gardenias, a local supergroup featuring vocalists Juliet McVicker, Taryn Noelle and Amber deLaurentis.
And last, we have a new entrant, the Art Hop After Party at Signal Kitchen recording studio on Main Street — formerly Strangeways Recording. The lineup features up-and-coming blog sensation tooth ache., My Dearest Darling offshoot Errands, Maga (again), Sai U Drom and the indefatigable DJ Disco Phantom.
- Following up on last week’s puzzling Neko Case disappearing act, it seems we’ve got an answer as to why she — and Dan Bejar — were no-shows at the New Pornographers’ Higher Ground gig. Maybe. After some Wikipedia Brown-style sleuthing — an email to the club — 7D has learned that Ms. Case was stricken with food posioning. Of course, that explanation hasn’t sat well with certain disgruntled concertgoers, who have questioned the veracity of her excuse — mostly with pissy rants and demands for refunds on my blog. Look, I get it. People were upset Neko wasn’t there. And I agree, it sucks. And maybe, just maybe, the food poisoning thing is BS. But maybe it’s not. Regardless, knowing how private she is, if there is some other reason for her absence, we’re not gonna find out what it is. But I do know — because I asked her about it when we spoke earlier this year — that she was genuinely excited for the NPs to play in VT for all her new neighbors. I have a hard time believing Case would miss that show unless there were a very, very good reason. (Note to Neko: Call me!)
Listening In (1995 Remix)
And finally, a bit of a change from the normal routine here, in honor of 7D’s big one-five. Instead of passing along what was on my iPod, etc., this past week, I’m digging deeply into the vault and offering a choice selection of local music representing what was (most likely) in the tape deck of my 1992 Honda Accord this week in 1995. Enjoy. And tune into my blog, Solid State, for more throwback fun all this week.
- The Pants, Fred Sex
- Envy, Distorted Greetings
- Chin Ho!, Exhaust
- Various Artists, Good Citizen The Soundtrack to the Zine, Vol. 1
- Huffy, Sunny Drive Time
- Eef, Three Minute Kings
- Madelines, Madelines EP
- The Fags, No Fleas Lunch Money and Gold Teeth