Category: Live Reviews


Festival Review: Frendly Gathering 2014

2nd July

Published in the Bennington Banner on July 2, 2014
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/ci_26071889/frendly-gathering-3-parts-happy-1-part-rowdy

WINDHAM — “There ain’t no ‘I’ in Frends” sang Twiddle’s Mihali Savoulidis from his wooden platform in the Frendly Gathering’s DJ nest, about 15 feet from the forest floor. It was well after 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, and Twiddle had just come back for an encore at the end of their festival-closing set. In a moment of smiling convergence, Savoulidis and his band started their encore with “Frends Theme,” a song that the band wrote specifically for the group of snowboarding best fr(i)ends that initially conceived and now personally organize the festival every summer, using their creatively spelled motto as the song’s central lyric.

Clinging to the last few songs of the 2014 Gathering, the crowd responded like they weren’t tired and they definitely didn’t want to go home yet.

Pro snowboarders …



Feature: Guitar builder Steve Sauve

21st May

Published in Berkshires Week on May 21, 2014
Original article: http://www.manchesterjournal.com/ci_25806800/building-guitars-future-generations

NORTH ADAMS — The guitar goes back centuries before Elvis and The Beatles, and since the birth of rock and roll it has become one of the most recognizable objects in popular culture. Today, building high-end guitars has become an art form, and artisans, like Steve Sauve at Sauve Guitars, make masterful instruments that sound as beautiful as they look.

Sauve started his guitar-building career in 1976 as an apprentice in the Union Street workshop that now bears his name. He spent five years learning the craft from master instrument builder Bill Cumpiano before taking over the business himself. Sauve said he builds his guitars using most of the same techniques he learned almost four decades ago, even as the Internet changes the way many luthiers, or instrument builders, approach their craft.

While hobbyist …



Feature: Pubs of Troy, N.Y.

30th April

Published in Berkshires Week on April 30, 2014
Original article: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/berkshiresweek/ci_25666328/nightlife-heats-up-troy-n-y

TROY, N.Y. — Secret malt room? Chipotle mashed potato quesadilla?

Across the Hudson River and just north of Albany, the city of Troy offers vibrant and off-beat music and art venues, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Troy is also 30 miles from Bennington and Williamstown or 40 miles from North Adams and Pittsfield, making it an easy destination for a day trip, afternoon visit or evening of fun.

After a concert or show around the many venues in Troy and Albany or after a day of exploring, here are some popular spots to find food or drinks near Troy’s easily accessible waterfront.

Brown’s Brewery

Before it became a popular regional brand, Brown’s Brewing Co. started out as a brew pub on River Street in Troy, and although most of its brewing operations have moved to a larger …



Feature: North Bennington Walk

16th April

Published in Berkshires Week on April 16, 2014
Original article: http://www.manchesterjournal.com/berkshiresweek/ci_25577193/north-bennington-has-feel-its-own

NORTH BENNINGTON — Tucked in the northwest corner of Bennington and connected to the downtown area by both Route 67A and the Walloomsac River, the village of North Bennington has an unique culture and character of its own.

Once an industrial hotspot with its own railroad station, the village is now a quiet, largely residential area with an engaged local community and a growing art scene. The campus of Bennington College sits on the border of North Bennington, and the village is a common destination for the students’ off-campus excursions.

North Bennington’s casual, welcoming atmosphere make it a great place to spend an afternoon.

Powers Market

An imposing presence on Main Street, Powers Market once held North Bennington’s post office and has acted as a company and general story for more than a century. Local legend …



Live Preview: Howard Fishman

27th March

Published in Berkshires Week on March 27, 2013
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/ci_25432339/howard-fishman-experiencing-present-moment

As the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington celebrates its 25th year, as well as the 10th year of its popular Basement Music Series, it’s only natural that a few familiar faces have been invited back to perform, including Caravan of Thieves in February and now, exactly a month later, VAE favorite Howard Fishman.

Having played concerts at least yearly since the basement series started (and sometimes even more often than that), Fishman has cemented his place in Bennington’s cultural environment, with local music fans returning to the Sage Street Mill for each of concerts. Members of the local band Morning Breadth — who performed their own Basement Music Series concert in January — said they’ve all attended Fishman’s concerts together in the past.

Living up to his reputation for musical curiosity and genre …



Live Review: Something with Strings at Oldcastle Theatre

16th January

BENNINGTON — Barely a day after The Lost rocked the Oldcastle Theatre on Friday night, Jan. 10, the venue re-opened for another night of music, switching to acoustic mode for a concert with Something with Strings, a contemporary bluegrass-inspired country/folk quintet from the Burlington area.

Since Something with Strings formed over six years ago they’ve been through a series of lineup changes, including some that have vastly altered their sound like eliminating drums from the band and adding harmonica player Collin Cope last summer, who adds some blues elements to their sound with his bold, raspy vocals.

Alongside Cope’s harmonica, the band includes the classic lineup of bluegrass string instruments with Adam Howard on guitar, Luke Fox on upright bass, Pete Kraus on 5-string, open-back banjo and Matt Francis on mandolin.

Currently based in Burlington and Winooski, many of the band’s members came …



Live Review: The Lost at Oldcastle Theatre

16th January

BENNINGTON — On Friday evening, Jan. 10, Oldcastle Theatre opened the doors for the first-ever rock concert at its Main Street venue, welcoming local powerhouse rock trio The Lost and their crowd of hometown fans.

Since they formed in July 2012, The Lost has been fronted by lead guitarist, vocalist and keyboard player Cody Myers alongside bass and saxophone player Jake Hill and drummer Kevin Breese. The three musicians were all born in Bennington before traveling elsewhere, and now, after touring throughout the northeast, they simply consider themselves to be based in New England.

After a year of rehearsing on their own, the band played their first concert — a benefit for an artist friend. They came out of the show with high spirits, but Myers says they “quickly found out that the local venues can be pretty sparse, especially for a …



Profile/Live Review: Neffy

9th January

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 30, 2013
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/artsweekend/ci_24813028/2013-an-artistic-year-review

BENNINGTON — He may not be famous yet, but it takes more than a blizzard and below-zero temperatures to stop Neffy. After all, he’s from Vermont.

On Friday night, just hours after Winter Storm Hercules dropped a thick blanket of snow on the town, the now-empty storefront at 445 Main St. unlocked its doors for one of the town’s first concerts of 2014 — a repeat performance by Brattleboro rappers Neffy and Yung Hass, who drew a big crowd to the former site of Doug’s On Main Street just a few weeks earlier on Nov. 30.

In a town of museums, art galleries and the Sage City Symphony, hip-hop might seem like a faraway art form, a music genre that exists on the radio and Internet — but not on Main Street. However, …



Live review: The Sacred Shakers at the Vermont Arts Exchange

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Dec. 12, 2013
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/news/ci_24706324/awakening-basement-eilen-jewell-and-sacred-shakers-bring

NORTH BENNINGTON — A respected songwriter in her own right, Eilen Jewell returned to the Vermont Arts Exchange’s basement on Saturday with her country-gospel project The Sacred Shakers for a night of energetic, old-fashioned spirituals.

Named not for the religious sect, as Jewell explained, but rather after the frontwoman’s trusty maraca-like rhythm instruments, the Sacred Shakers rolled into North Bennington seven strong, with the band featuring Jewell on lead vocals and guitar, Greg Glassman (of David Wax Museum) on backing vocals and acoustic guitar, Jerry Miller on electric guitar, Johnny Sciascia on double bass, Eric Royer on banjo, Daniel Kellar on violin and Jason Beek on drums.

Missing from the crowded stage was singer Daniel Fram, a regular member of the group who Jewell said was “off getting his Ph.D. or something.”

While Jewell …



Theater recap: “Urinetown” at MAUHS

17th December

Published in the Bennington Banner on Nov. 14, 2013
Original article: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/news/ci_24519188/mt-anthony-union-high-school-performs-lsquo-urinetown

BENNINGTON — Last weekend the Mount Anthony Union Drama Club staged their production of the hit Broadway show “Urinetown: The Musical,” bringing the satirical play to life with student talent.

Set during a 20-year drought, “Urinetown” tells the story of a struggling society where a corporation controls all toilet facilities, forcing the impoverished city-dwellers to pay a mandatory fee to use the public restrooms. While it admittedly contains a few bodily-function jokes, the play spends most of its time skewering corporate America and making fun of the musical theatre genre with witty self-conscious asides.

Some of the show’s funniest moments come from an unlikely pair of narrators: A young beggar named Little Sally, played by MAUHS senior Sarah Mattison, and a villainous police officer/corporate henchman named Officer Lockstock, played by senior Sachel Lefebvre. …



A list of things you really shouldn’t name your boat.

The following is a list of awful names that were actually taken from the BoatUS custom lettering website, which many boaters use to physically...

The songs that made my year

This year, in lieu of any categorical rankings or countdowns, I’ve simply decided to highlight my favorite music of 2014 by offering a smattering...