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Monday, June 16, 2008

Pop in Winooski


I've been meaning to write about my Wednesday night for . . . well . . . three days now, but with various other projects in the works, I've been booked. Luckily, working a table at the Vermont Culinary Classic comes with the blessing of the Stowe Mountain Lodge wireless signal. So here we go!

I had known from my Tick Tick updates that The Smittens would be playing with Seattle-based indie pop outfit Tullycraft at the Monkey. And I had also known that seeing as the Monkey is my haunt, Wednesday means free wings — and The Smittens mean smiles all around — that I would likely be there.

What I didn't know was that The 500s, friends of mine from back in Maine, would also be there.

The text message came at noon from my Portland-based gossip connection, Amanda. "ISAAC AND SAMMIE WILL BE AT THE MONKEY TONIGHT!" My response? "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!"

Apparently The Smittens invited them to town. And with that, my decision to attend was finalized.

The 500s opened the show and the Winooski crowd welcomed them with open arms. Their pop sound, matching "500" tee-shirts, and sharp dance moves completely wooed the bar. And I don't know if any of the other girls in the room caught on, but Sammie's M&Ms scattered across his keyboard was totally reminiscent of Robert Schwartzman in The Princess Diaries, and in that, awesome.

Next up were The Smittens, who we all know consistently put on a good show. Their friends, The 500s were right up front, and the locals who had held back for the unfamiliar opener, moved up from the back, and came in from outside. Former Seven Dayser Brooke Dooley even had a guest spot on backing vocals.

By the time Tullycraft took the stage, the bar was packed and frankly, sweaty. I was "glistening" in my sundress (That's right. I'm a lady, so I glisten.), while the band's Jenny Mears sported a polyester dress with tights. I don't know how she did it, but their performance certainly didn't suffer, and the banter between her and lead vocalist / bassist Sean Tollefson stayed lively through their entire set.

Also lively throughout the entire set were my boys The 500s, who took over the front row with their Maine dancing that I miss so much about shows in Portland. I jumped right in and joined them, in a style that can only be described as seizure-like. I am sorry, Vermont, but you have SO got to man up on the dance moves. The Tullycraft set was the first time in a long time that I actually broke a sweat from rocking out.

While I loved their pop sound, smiling faces and constant background of 'oohs' and 'aahs', my favorite part of seeing Tullycraft was hearing what they did during their day in Vermont. No, seriously. Apparently while Jenny took two of the other band members for a ride on the bike path (all the way out the Colchester Causeway!), Sean and one other member opted for an Ethan Allen lunch cruise. This not only made the entire bar laugh, it also made me want to be their best friend. Because I swear to God, the next time I swing by Higher Ground in the afternoon and see that night's featured band hanging out in the parking lot — as if Williston Road is really all Vermont has to offer — I am going to walk right over and slap them.

Overall, the night was the perfect pop summer evening, with everyone overly-polite to each other, and smiling way more than Winooski usually warrents. And that's why I love pop shows to begin with! Sammie of The 500s lamented that Maine doesn't seem to appreciate pop quite the way Vermont does, so I guess we can count ourselves lucky in that respect. In fact, the boys will be back later this summer, and once details are finalized, I will be sure to fill you all in. Because I honestly think we can all use a little more pop in our lives. And certainly more dancing.



Another show that is coming this summer that warrants people knowing about is Brooklyn Zu performing with Topher Mohr Band. Brooklyn Zu (formerly known as the men behind Ol' Dirty Bastard of Wu-Tang Clan) will be performing at Higher Ground on June 25th with another amazing artist named Topher Mohr. This is one of the first of the 50 show tour and should not be missed!

pine street confessional

Tullycraft needs to come back! They were way too much fun. I didn't know what to expect but they were more than I could have hoped for. The Monkey needs to have more concerts like this!


i agree. we need more nights like this in burlington.

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