Photo by Morgan Laurie-Day.
Nik Companion is jumping on crew to help with I.T., computer repairs, and genius-level projects the rest of us stare at blankly while drooling. “I’m Nick. Tech Lord and resident metal head.”
Nik Companion is jumping on crew to help with I.T., computer repairs, and genius-level projects the rest of us stare at blankly while drooling. “I’m Nick. Tech Lord and resident metal head.”
“Hi! I’m Thomson Gloudemans, I have been living in Burlington for the past five years, and have been studying art at Burlington College. The majority of my focus is with sound. I am a beat maker, sound artist, and aspiring studio engineer. For me, the best aspect of Burlington, Vermont is the vast community of like-minded creative individuals. I am proud to be a member of Big Heavy World, as they put out a tremendous effort to support and promote Vermont musicians and creators.”
Rutland Vermont’s homegrown hardcore-punk group Get a Grip is on its journey to legendary music festival South by Southwest (SXSW). With just a few weeks left before the festival, Get a Grip is hosting a fundraising show this Friday, February 27th. The “Texas or Bust!” benefit show features Get a Grip, Morning Comes Early, BE AGGRESSIVE, Jumanji X’s Riot Squad, and Reverser. This will be Get a Grip’s last hometown show before the festival, and all proceeds will go to the band’s travel and performance expenses for SXSW. Texas or Bust! begins at 7:00 pm, February 27 at Merchants Hall, 40-42 Merchants Row, Rutland, Vermont. See the Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1611154205780206/permalink/1626625950899698/
argonaut&wasp released the debut ‘Future Protocol‘ EP this week and played at Signal Kitchen, the second stop on a tour that takes Theo Klein and Trey Schibli with the band across NY, MA and out to Austin, TX.
WRUV 90.1 FM, the University of Vermont student-run radio station, is holding a pledge drive to raise money for equipment they need to remain Burlington’s better alternative. WRUV is family to The Radiator; they gave us encouragement, broadcasting gear, and even furniture when The Radiator first got going in 2007. ‘RUV will be holding their drive from February 15th to March 1st to raise $5,000 for new equipment. It’s ok to tune in to 90.1FM from February 15th – March 1st to learn more and to hear some great tunes from your favorite DJs — the Radiator loves and supports our radio family! To donate, call in to the station with your pledge at 802-656-4399 or visit wruv.org/donate and select “WRUV” as the gift fund. In return, they’ll be throwing a party to thank their donors and you will be entered in a raffle to win merch with the new WRUV logo on it. For more information visit the website at wruv.org or search them up on Facebook. Contact Karla at: firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
On Friday I met with Zero Circle, the up-and-coming Burlington-made rock band that packs a punch. Meet Matthew St. Gelais, Rafe Bouchard, TJ Maynard, and Tyler Gurwicz. These four have been playing together since their formation a year and a half ago. While they have been in previous groups together at one time or another, the planets aligned and the friends were finally all free to embark on a music project together. That project is Zero Circle.
Matt, Rafe, TJ, and Tyler are a playful bunch; during the photoshoot they did some goofy shots and played around. They seem close, and they confirmed this when they described how they all write the songs for Zero Circle. It’s a collaborative writing effort, fundamentally supported with the trust that they will all be honest about their ideas; more and more their styles are becoming “one sound.” Writing inspiration comes from themes of good vs. evil, forging your path, happiness, and everyday life. For him, Tyler says, “writing is cathartic.”
Zero Circle describe their style as “melodic rock,” a departure from what the band has played in the past, but in the same vein. They happily agree that they are still evolving. As for the future, the band says it’s mostly a secret, even from them. They want to do their own thing, form their own style. They don’t really know what’s going to happen, and they’re excited.
This will be the first time at SXSW for Zero Circle. On the horizon for them lie the inspiration of seeing other bands, and making musical connections. Though they admit there’s a pressure to representing the great state of Vermont when they travel to Texas in March, the band feels it’s an honor.
Here’s photos of the Wednesday night Big Heavy World Vermont Music Showcase concert, previewing the state’s delegation of bands to SXSW in Austin this March. It was broadcast on television to 80 towns across the state, streamed, and on the radio – it was a shark-mounted laser of giant musical talents. Big Heavy World sends thanks to our collaborators, RETN and Main Street Landing, and love to our sponsors, Advance Music, Moreau Theatrical Services, Lisaius Marketing, and the VT Dept. Tourism & Marketing!
Tickets On Sale NOW at FlynnTix and 802-86-FLYNN!
Donate to Indiegogo Campaign to Support VT Bands’ Travel Costs to TX! Vermont will be uniquely represented at the nation’s largest music festival in March when six of our bands showcase our homegrown music at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Waylon Speed, The DuPont Brothers, Lowell Thompson, Zero Circle, Get A Grip, and The Snaz will demonstrate the state’s powerful musical talent from the same stage, rising from cooperation between the SXSW producers and Big Heavy World, Vermont’s independent, volunteer-run music office, with additional support from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
SXSW (South by Southwest), the legendary music festival presented annually in Austin, Texas, is the country’s most potent and prominent opportunity for musicians to interact with the music industry. For the artists who apply to perform, acceptance is an authentication of their talent and a gateway to exposure and opportunity.
Big Heavy World’s SXSW Vermont Music Showcase is a project to stake an aggressive claim for the State of Vermont on behalf of its singular, deeply artful, identity.
The SXSW showcase date during the music track of the festival which runs March 17-22, will be far away but Vermonters can enjoy a live concert preview at the Main Street Landing Black Box on Wednesday, February 18, 7-10:30pm. The showcase preview concert is being co-produced by Big Heavy World, The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, and RETN with support from Advance Music Center and Moreau Theatrical Services. All proceeds from admissions and a silent auction during the concert will subsidize the cost for Vermont bands to travel to Texas to show the United States how good Vermont’s original music is. Tickets are $25 general admission and $100 for Gold Circle seating, on sale now at FlynnTix.org or charge by phone at 86-FLYNN. The concert is all ages and accessible.
For Vermonters who are too far from Burlington to make it to the show or who find the fundraising event’s admission cost to be a challenge, there will be a live simultaneous broadcast on radio and television stations across the state and video will stream online in HD at bigheavyworld.com and broadcast partner web sites. Stations, channels and frequencies are below, and range in location from Manchester to Montpelier to Burlington.
ORCA – Montpelier, Berlin, Bethel, Braintree, Calais, Duxbury, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown, Randolph, Rochester, Waterbury, Worcester
MMCTV – Richmond, Jericho, Underhill
CAT-TV – Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, Woodford
RETN – Burlington, Charlotte, Colchester, Essex, Ferrisburg, Hinesburg, Shelburne, South Burlington, St. George, Vergennes, Waltham, Williston, Winooski
KATV – St. Johnsbury, Barnet, Bradford, Burke, Concord, Danville, Groton, Kirby, Lyndon, Newbury, Peacham, Ryegate, Sheffield, Sutton, Waterford, Wheelock
MRVTV – Waitsfield, Warren, Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown
105.9FM WOMM-LP The Radiator, Burlington, Plattsburgh
LPCTV – Ludlow, Plymouth, Cavendish, Mount Holly
CVTV – Barre, Barre Town, Cabot, Chelsea, Marshfield, Orange, Plainfield, Royalton, Tunbridge, Washington, Williamstown
HD video stream: bigheavyworld.com, RETN.org, & many more!
Music is a key cultural resource: It’s portable, understandable, inspiring, marketable, and accessible. It’s nearly miraculous in its ability to proclaim ‘specialness’ and define a region. Vermont’ music community is also a fertile environment for building community, drawing it together in support of local musicians, cheerleading their cultural champions — and performances are an engine for expanding social capital.
Vermont’s showcase bands all applied to perform at SXSW, making the immense personal investment of traveling to Texas to share their art. Vermonters can support their efforts by contributing to their travel expenses at bigheavyworld.com where there are links to a PayPal donation page and Indiegogo campaign.
For more information about the bands, visit their web sites:
Waylon Speed, waylonspeed.com
The DuPont Brothers, dupontbrothersmusic.com
Lowell Thompson, lowellthompson.com
Zero Circle, zerocirclemusic.bandcamp.com
Get a Grip, facebook.com/getagripvt
The Snaz, reverbnation.com/thesnaz
Vermont’s music showcase delegation to SXSW was selected by a panel of individuals who have invested time and purpose in the success of Vermont’s arts and culture, and created a lineup of artists that represented strengths in their originality and dedication to making the best of an opportunity like this, for all of Vermont’ s music community. The panelists were Kari Anderson, Managing Producer for VPR Classical, Vermont Public Radio; Dan Bolles, Music Editor, Seven Days; Alex Budney, President, Nectar’s Presents & Partner, Nectar’s Entertainment Group; Steve Cook, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism, VT Dept. Tourism & Marketing; Brent Hallenbeck, Arts & Entertainment Writer, Burlington Free Press; Meg Hammond, Events Manager, Goddard College; and James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World.
Outlaw dirt rock from Vermont: While Waylon Speed is not influenced by mainstream music, they integrate each members individual influences to achieve a truly unique genre that’s all their own. They’ve won awards from both the New England Music Awards for “Vermont’s Best Band”, and Seven Days newspaper’s annual Daisy Award for “Best Americana Band”. Waylon Speed released their second full-length record Kin in 2014, followed by a national tour.
“Waylon Speed is a cross between Metallica and the Lumineers, with an unnecessary dash of Prince showmanship.” — Washington Post
Two brothers reunite after years of geographical separation by a fortified collaboration in music. Blending the contemplative winters of the northeast with the solitary beauty of southwestern desert, Sam and Zack DuPont are now coconspirators in a shared passion that runs deep in their family. This Burlington Vermont duo has hit the ground running since the formation of the group in March of 2013. The brothers have recently shared the stage with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Ben Sollee, Gin Wigmore, Chris Thomas King, Langhorne Slim, Howie Day and The Lone Bellow to name a few. Lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation. The sound is Vermont made Folk-Americana.
“Together the duPont Brothers resonate at just the right frequency. There were moments that honestly gave me chills.” — Dan Bolles, Seven Days
Dark winters up north, an encyclopedic knowledge of Americana mixed with punk rock sensibilities, and a heart easily broken (and re-broken) make for songs and shows that are crushing and redemptive.
It’s easy to understand why Lowell Thompson and his band Crown Pilot are getting hailed as the “next big thing” for the alt-country set. It’s hard to find a review that doesn’t include favorable comparisons to the likes of Gram Parsons, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, vintage Rolling Stones, and the various Americana revivalists that used to grace the cover of No Depression. While there’s truth to the hype, the fact is that Thompson’s music is informed as much by the names above as it is by less expected sources like Fugazi and Elvis Costello.
Thompson’s latest album entitled “Lowell Thompson and Crown Pilot” features volunteered contributions by local Vermonter’s like Phish’s Page McConnell (piano), Grace Potter (backing vocals) and Son Volt’s Mark Spencer (lap steel). The record has been garnering positive media attention at home, nationally (including Rolling Stone) and in the press across the Atlantic.
“Inspired Alt-Country.” — Rolling Stone
Fresh off the release of their self-titled debut, Zero Circle have already begun to make a name for themselves in the Vermont music scene. Performing with such notable acts as Drowningman, Rough Francis, and Swale, Zero Circle continue to challenge audiences and themselves, finding as much inspiration from their hardcore and punk roots as they do from R&B, rock and pop. Boasting former members of Burlington’s own Alive & Well and The Urgency, Zero Circle have brought everything they’ve learned to the table, honing their abilities as songwriters and performers. Inspired by Rumi’s poem of the same name, Zero Circle has no agenda, no genre, and no limits.
“Vocalist Tyler Gurwicz has chops on top of chops…he is always in control, delivering soaring lines with seeming ease.” — Dan Bolles, Seven Days
Formed in early 2011 in Rutland, Vermont, Get A Grip has proven to be a major player in the Vermont and New England hardcore and punk scene. Through their hard work and dedication and a D.I.Y. outlook, the band has been playing shows with iconic acts such as Bad Religion, the Offspring, Pennywise, the Vandals, Bane, Trial and more. The band has a clear stance against bullying, injustice of all kinds, and self destruction amongst many other things. Get A Grip has proven that the Green Mountain State has more to offer than just jam bands and maple syrup.
The Snaz are four Vermont teenagers, Dharma Ramirez (16, singer, guitarist and songwriter), Mavis Eaton (16, keyboardist), Zack James (14, drums) and Nina Singleton-Spencer (15, bass). The band started in 2011 with a bunch of songs and few local gigs. In the fall of 2012, the Snaz gained the attention of Grammy award winning music producer, Peter Solley, who has been working with them ever since. When the Snaz won the Brattleboro Battle of the Bands, their prize was recording time at the world-class Guilford Sound studio in Guilford, Vermont. The resulting CD in the spring of 2013 produced a hit tune, “Anna”, which was the #2 song on Northampton’s WRSI 93.9 “Top 93 songs of 2013” and is still played regularly on 93.9 The River. The “Anna” youtube video got over 7,000 views. The Snaz were featured on VPR’s Vermont Edition radio program and the VPR 2013 Annual Music Show and gained national attention as finalists in the NPR Studio 360 Battle of the High School Bands. They were interviewed by Joan Holliday on The River Sound Café and twice by Phish on WTSA’s In the Morning show. Notable gigs included the Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), Radio Bean (Burlington, VT), Next Stage (Putney, VT), Upper Valley Music Festival (Turners Falls, MA), Keene Music Festival (Keene, NH), and The WRSI River Block Party (Amherst, MA). In short time, the Snaz have evolved into an all-original, super solid, indie-rock band.
“It’s every disc jockey’s dream to pop in an unknown record by an unknown band and then hear something that makes you believe that you may have discovered the next big thing. You like it so much you rush to the radio to play it for everyone. That’s what happened when I heard The Snaz’s “Anna.”” — Monty Belmonte – WRSI The River
Last week I sat down with Lowell Thompson, the enigmatic songster who sings “Junkie Blues” and “Rose Petals.” He will join five bands to perform at our SXSW Music Showcase on Wednesday here in Burlington, and at SXSW in Texas this March. Lowell grew up going to local Burlington music venue 242 Main and began playing after winning a songwriting contest as a young adult. Subsequently, his group of musically talented friends organically evolved in and out of different groups until it reached a peak with his current band. The four have been playing together now for eight years, have put out three albums, and played all over the country. With confidence and humility, Lowell described how lucky he was to have had the “great musical experience” he’s had with these “great players.” He’s played mostly in the Northeast with the band; in the South and out West as a solo artist. Particular fondness was paid to The Basement, a cozy music venue in Nashville, and The Living Room in Lower Manhattan. One might say that Lowell could make a home out of any stage he plays.
Lowell has been writing his songs since before “Lowell Thompson” the musical force was born. Describing his writing style as fairly intuitive, he admits that while he trusts the band to understand his vision for songs, it can be “a scary thing to give up your baby, to set it free and see where it goes.” Lowell writes mostly about love and relationships, although he was quick to point out that they’re not necessarily born that way, or autobiographical. His approach to song material is more fluid than that. His motto is “if it happens it happens;” if it sounds good, it’s good.
He draws from a lot of different influences, giving his style the spur-of-the-moment all-encompassing demi-label of “all-country, steel, classical, folky, late 60s, Americana vibe, with punk and soul influences. Rock n’ Roll.” One might say he does it all, but he’s happy as long as rock n’ roll is still the heart of it. Over the years, he says his music grows and gets better. There are always new things to learn and new ways to explore things he grew up with. After fifteen years of ups and downs in the music industry, Lowell says his goal is always to make music he can look back on as having been true to himself.
Lowell has been to SXSW, the music, film, and technology festival before, as he used to live in Austin. He says it’s crazy to see how it’s grown; “It’s a wild scene, a lot of people. It’s special.” He joked that he is most excited for the authentic Mexican food he loved when he lived there. He’s looking forward to seeing friends, and talked about how as an artist at SXSW you always end up talking with like-minded musicians, and stumble upon things you didn’t know you were going to hear. It’s a truly supportive environment for artists. “Everyone’s going down the same rabbit hole,” he mused.
Lowell says it’s an honor and inspiring to be a part of the group of bands representing Vermont this year at SXSW. In two words, Lowell describes his sentiments about the opportunity: “really cool.” Just like Lowell, himself.
“I’m Sandra, 23, from Boston, and just finding my way in Burlington after college. My passions are people and music so I’m pursuing a career in Public Relations within the music industry but right now, I’m writing copy for car dealerships. In my spare time you can find me playing with my pitbull, cooking, reading, or writing about my observations of the world. I offer my knowledge in events, social media, and campaigning at Big Heavy World, which I’m pretty psyched about.”