The word on the street — by which I of course mean Facebook — is that Ke$ha  was seen hanging out at Radio Bean following her show at the Champlain Valley Fair last Saturday night. Yes, really. We even have photographic proof of her arm-in-arm with the Bean’s music manager Joe Adler, who tells us that he and the pop superstar had a brief dance party that night in an apartment upstairs from the Bean. Care to guess which song they danced to? (Trust me, you can’t.)
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco.
(This is one of those times I really wish this was a celebrity gossip column, if only so that I could start rumors about Adler and Ke$ha dating and come up with an awesome celebrity couple names like Ke$hJo or Jo$ha.)
Clearly, it’s gonna be a weird week. So it only makes sense for a thoroughly random, funnel-cake addled, rapid-fire edition of Soundbites. Strap in.
I was this close to dropping by the Bean last Saturday night, mostly just to see how Spit Jack would try and get kicked out of their own show again, since that’s kind of their thing. (I imagine the degree of difficulty in getting booted out of the Bean is pretty high.) But I decided to stick it out at Nectar’s after the High Breaks ’ set to catch Barbacoa . I stand by that decision. The David Lynch-inspired High Breaks were as absurdist as advertised. They kind of remind me of the Mermen, but with more ferocious drums. And Barbacoa, the de facto godfathers of Green Mountain surf music, were their usual super-tight selves. I don’t know if the recent rise of surf bands in Vermont is really a trend, but I’m sure enjoying it.
Here’s a question I would have asked Ke$ha if given the chance, possibly whilst brushing my teeth with Jack Daniel’s. In your hit song, “Tik Tok,” you sing that you roll up to parties, “Drop-topping, playing our favorite CDs.” Really? CDs? I know “Drop-topping, playing our favorite MP3s” doesn’t have quite the same ring. But do the kids in your target demographic even know what CDs are? Just wondering…
It’s too bad Ke$ha wasn’t hanging at the Bean this weekend, cuz there’s a lot going on at the little coffee shop that could. Like, for example, the debut of a new psychedelic band led by Squid City’s Thomas Pearo called Quiet Battles  on Saturday, August 31. In addition to the always-provocative Pearo on guitar and loops, the group features Bearquarium’s Daiki Hirano on drums, Dr. Green guitarist Dave DeCristo, and Ari Abedon and Forest Keys on keyboards and bass, respectively. According to the band’s website, QB use dynamics and tone as the foundation for their musical explorations, rather than melodies or rhythmic changes, painting musical portraits of “vast landscapes from an alien world.” I’m not entirely sure what all that means, but it sure sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
Back to the Ke$ha thing for a sec … sort of. If Toby Keith  were going to hang out somewhere after his show at the fair this Sunday, September 1, where do you suppose it would be? I know both the Park Place Tavern and Backstage Pub in Essex Junction are closer. But my money would be on Franny O’s in South Burlington, because every time I walk into that joint — more often than you might think, especially since they started featuring new local bands on Tuesdays — I find myself humming the melody to “I Love This Bar.” If only they served their beer in Mason jars…
I like this game. So let’s say Damian  and Stephen Marley  are looking to chill out after their CVF set on Saturday, August 31. Or perhaps they’d like to pre-game because maybe, like me, they find the gimmicky reimagining of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Dub Side of the Moon, which openers the Easy Star All-Stars  are playing in its entirety, to be a capital crime against rock and roll. And reggae. Where would they go? The always-irie confines of Nectar’s is the obvious choice, if only to check out the large mural of dear old dad. But I say they end up at the Other Place. In particular, Junior Gong (that would be Damian) has been known to get down to a variety of sounds, reggae and otherwise — like his recent genre-mashing single with Cypress Hill and dubstep producer Rusko, “Can’t Keep Me Down.” And there’s almost always something interesting, and loud, on the hi-fi at the OP. Also, there’s free popcorn for when you get the mun … er, hungry.
On second thought, maybe the Marley brothers would come down to Nectar’s a night early to catch Justin Levinson and the Valcours ’ set on Friday, August 30. There’s no real reason they would do this, but I needed a segue to mention that the show will be Levinson’s last with a full band until the group’s 2014 release. Or maybe they’d take a trip to Montpelier that same night to see the capital-city debuts of both Vedora  and Swale  at Charlie O’s World Famous. Though, come to think of it, that bar really is more likely a Toby Keith kind of place. And I mean that in a good way. Toby Keith is awesome.
If you happen to tune in to see the Boston Red Sox play the Chicago White Sox this Sunday, September 1, be sure to turn on NESN before the 1:35 p.m. first pitch — or if you’re going to the game, get back from the beer stand early. Because local roots-soul duo Dwight & Nicole  will be performing the national anthem prior to the game, which makes me insanely jealous.
Last week, I gently poked fun at Vermont Music Fest’s bland moniker . In hindsight, I probably should have saved some ammo for Songwriters Playing Each Other’s Songs at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction this Friday, August 30, which features songwriters, um, playing each other’s songs. (Deep breath, Bolles.) Personally, I would have gone with something like “Gotcha Covered” or “Playing Favorites” or, I dunno, anything else. But I digress.
Branding quibbles aside, the show should be a good one, as it features four talented local songwriters in Bow Thayer , Joey Leone , Rick Redington  and Tony Lee Thomas  playing the songs of Bow Thayer, Joey Leo — well, you get the idea.
This just in from the Dept. of Corrections: Last week’s adieu to Doll Fight! front woman Christine Mathias in this column erroneously stated that the band’s final show at Radio Bean would be the first with new drummer Amanda Astheimer. It wasn’t. I’m told Astheimer had previously played some gigs with DF!. I have to check the official records, but I believe that may mean she’s no longer the record holder for “briefest tenure by a new drummer before the band breaks up.”
Last but not least, here’s the real story with Ke$ha. She was the guest of Guster’s Ryan Miller, who lives in Williston. According to Joe Adler, Miller took her around to some favorite local spots over the weekend, including the Bean and — gasp! — Huntington Gorge. She also apparently shot some scenes for her MTV show, “My Crazy Beautiful Life,” in the Bean’s back room, aka the Tavern of Eternity. So that’s that. In a related story, if Ryan Miller knows Toby Keith, meet me at Franny’s around 11 p.m. this Sunday.