Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This past weekend, The Mitch and I trekked down to Waitsfield, Vermont in the Mad River Valley where our destination was the Bundy Center for the Arts for the First Annual Liberate Music and Arts Festival. There's something really cool about going to the first annual anything - especially if it really continues and you go to every one. I sure wish I had gone to the first several moe.downs instead of jumping on the band wagon like a n00b after Phish was done. (All I can think about is moe.down because I leave tomorrow and it's the best weekend of the year for me!)

Liberate was a relaxing pre-game to the craziest festival of the year. It was very, very green, family friendly, and not at all typical of a music festival scene - definitely a zero sketch factor. On the other hand, it wasn't uberliciously annoying Vermont either. This is probably due to the healthy mix of vending artists, holistic activities, and live music. While on the one hand this was pleasant because you weren't over inundated with too much of one thing, the concept of trying to be everything to everyone can also cost you participants. While this certainly doesn't affect the crowd experience, it does affect the financial situation and my guess is it will play a factor in the second annual.

My favorite part of the festival was watching the Dead Sessions. I love seeing this fantastic collaborative project of Vermont musicians. The core members are Ben Yurco and Adam King of Turkey Bouillon Mafia with a rotating cast of players, with this performance including Dave Hyman of Blues for Breakfast, guitar prodigy Seth Yacavone, and Trevor Ainworth of Liquid Dead - to name a few.

I also enjoyed catching up with Vermont friends in the Magic Hat beer tent. I have to admit while Magic Hat is not my favorite tasting beer, I give it up to them for their overgenerous support of Vermont events, musicians, artists, etc. Way to go Magic Hat! I certainly pay to drink it when it's the sponsor.

And kudos to Liberate founders and organizers, Jane Jarecki and Ben Lanza of Eclectic Music Productions. This was a very well run event and I think the Vermont music scene can look forward to many more great musical outcroppings from this partnership.

My good friend Taraleigh of the Healthy Hippie Magazine was not only a vendor and magazine distributor, but also made the festival T-shirts (as seen on Jane and Ben) into tank dresses (as seen on Taraleigh with me).

I look forward to returning next year and for now - time to get .down!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hot Neon Magic

I was at a friend's birthday party this weekend and as part of the fun I brought my Band on the Run kit - otherwise known as the blow up instruments of the Shwilly Spunions and the Blow Up Band - we blow it up! (This is a fun little side project of myself and moe.rons where we play blow up instruments at moe. shows and other impromptu performances.)

Anyway, one of these impromptu performances took place this weekend at my friend's party. As the stereo blasted a fantastic live version of a favorite moe. tune, all us "Shwilly Spunions" were in total rock out mode playing our instruments to the song, laughing, dancing, and enjoying a great moment in musical fun. Right as the song was building to a most bodacious guitar release, some late night bar honey shut off the song and put in some late night bar honey dumbness. The whole lot of us wilted like deflated keytars, each feeling like we had just been abruptly stopped prior to an explosive orgasm.

This experience led me to ponder how people are so clueless - especially when it comes to music. I live in a world where music is the most important pleasure in my life (which can be proven if looking over the past ten years of what built credit card debt). But, I have definitely learned the world does not revolve around me, no matter how much I wish it would! However, it still blows my mind that with so much exceptional, diverse, and easily accessible music out there in the world, there is such a high compilation of provincial, uninterested, and quite frankly boring twits. These are the folks who say "I like all kinds of music." Or when asked if they go out to see music respond with "I love 80's night."

A few of my blow up band members pondered these same questions and one asked the girl and her cloned friends what kind of music they liked and her response was an unbelievable, "I don't really like music." I am so glad I did not hear this conversation in the flesh. Apparently they had just come from 80's night.

Now I am certainly not one who does not enjoy my share of 80's music - especially at a dance party following a great live concert. But as a fan of live music, the 80's just does not have a home...until now.

Hot Neon Magic, a Burlington-based Vermont band is the area's premier (and only as far as I know) live 80's band. They have a full on list of the 80's songs they currently play on their website - They are also willing to learn specific songs for shows not currently on their setlist. Stemming from a well rounded background in pop, funk, and rock music as well as skilled in the level of shenanigans required of a live 80's band, these guys (and gal) put on one live, neon, and fun show - and help people who like 80's music actually enjoy something live - this is, in my opinion, their biggest contribution to the Vermont music scene.

They have a great start with gigs around the state this fall, kicking off with a show at The Monkey House this Friday - featuring a Rick Springfield toast in honor of the guitar swinging fellow's birthday.

Once again, they are Hot Neon Magic, playing 80's covers for 80's lovers - live!!! Visit them at and check out a show near you - or book them for your own live 80's night - no dumb broads can change the music then!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Your own Music Room

Hey All! This is the Mitch. How many of us who love music have always wanted their very own music room? I know for myself, I have always had a need to have a space dedicated to music. For those who love music, a music room of some sort is a great thing to have. I have recently made my music room in my new farmhouse. I do not have a huge space, but do have enough room for my drums, a couple of guitars, a keyboard, and a xylophone. I also made everything in the music room about music (posters, old play bills, sheet music, or anything having to do with music). It is absolutely understandable that not everyone will have the space to do this. Even if you are not a musician, and do not have any instruments but love to sit and listen to music, you can turn any available space, big or small, into a music room. I am finding out that it is the coolest thing to have. One of the greatest things about a music room, is it can serve as a time machine taking you through all of your musical escapades. Depending on the size of the room, you can also double it as a guest bedroom. So if you can, gather some old ticket stubs, records, posters, or anything musical you have, and create a nice space for yourself. We all need a sanctuary now and then!! Peace, the Mitch