Entertainment Highlights: Influenced by Punk, the Pilgrims Will Rock at Tupelo Music Hall
On Friday night, a group of four young musicians — a band of walking music encyclopedias with a relaxed air about them — will take the stage at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction. And then they’ll rock out.
It’ll be The Pilgrims’ album release show, where the group will be playing songs from their second full-length record, Buss, headlining a show that includes five Vermont bands, several of which make their home in the Upper Valley.
The through line of the show, said Brendan Dangelo, The Pilgrims’ bassist, is that all the bands identify with punk music. Sort of.
“The idea of rusty, dirty punks with big Mohawks isn’t the sound of the bands that are playing,” he said. “In my mind, it’s a bunch of people in their late 20s, early 30s that listened to punk when they were in their early teens.”
If there’s an anarchic moment on The Pilgrims’ latest single, Duck and Cover, it comes at the beginning of its final chorus. It’s a sudden switch from just bass and drums, an abrupt wall of guitar distortion punctuated by a ferociously yelled lyric.
But then, immediately after, the chorus proper kicks in, and the gritty voice at the center is suddenly backed by hand claps and bubblegum vocal harmonies.
The rest of the song, which trades off distorted choruses with softer, earworm verses (anchored by Dangelo’s bass, which sounds like a baritone saxophone), speaks to the band’s tight songwriting, which at first drew heavily from The Replacements, but has since wandered off into territory owned by David Bowie and 1980s alternative rock. As with the other bands playing the Tupelo bill, Dangelo said, “punk” is more the root of The Pilgrims’ music than its guiding principle. Roots, country and classic rock serve as some of the points of diversion.
All four members of The Pilgrims — Christopher Goulet, Davis McGraw, Chris Egner and Dangelo — are under 30. The band, which is part of Windsor’s What Doth Life music collective, has been playing together for three years.
“When you work with the same people long enough, you understand where the strengths are, and you learn to play off those,” Dangelo said.
But though the songs come easily, full of shredding guitar solos and explosive moments, Buss itself was recorded in a high-end studio in Connecticut. Duck and Cover, for all its raucous energy, is at its core a catchy pop song. The Pilgrims, Dangelo said, occupy a “lonely spot in the middle” when it comes to genre pigeonholing.
He mentioned that the Vermont alternative paper Seven Days once spoke of the band’s “torn-denim aesthetic,” but he figures that the band’s aesthetic is more carefully cut off jeans, taken apart with safety scissors.
“We’re just playing rock and roll music that we would like to listen to,” Dangelo said.
Tupelo’s “Summer Rumble,” featuring The Pilgrims, The Break Maids, Pariah Beat, Thompson Gunner and Chris Conquest, will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased from www.tupelohallvermont.com.
Johnny Bishop has something to say about his show this weekend, a five-person master class in the blues:
“This will disband Johnny B & The Goodes,” he said.
That, after a decade, is that. The blues harmonica player who has become something of an Upper Valley fixture since arriving from Charlottesville, Va., playing show after show both privately and in the region’s bars and clubs, is ending his Northeast run at Salt hill Lebanon on Saturday night.
The reason behind the breakup isn’t so dramatic, though; rather, it’s more circumstantial. Bishop is heading back down the East Coast, to the southern part of North Carolina. He has family there to whom he’d like to be closer.
“It feels, you know, odd,” Bishop said in an interview. “It’s unusual.”
It’ll be a big change for Bishop, 59, an accomplished harmonica player who became one of the few, if not the only, people in the valley to play a strict form of Chicago blues. It may be the same for him in the Carolinas, but he will also find himself in the middle of a fecund area of traditional and bluegrass music, genres that may compel him to expand his musical palette.
The move also offers a chance to drop the stage name that’s followed Bishop around since the 1970s. In North Carolina, he said, he’s going to be known as Johnny Bishop.
Saturday’s farewell show at Salt hill will feature a slightly bigger band than usual orbiting around Bishop’s harmonica, featuring local musicians Ted Mortimer, Ed Eastridge, Bobby Gagnier and Skip Truman, a group of five rather than four, a slightly larger roster to commemorate Bishop’s departure.
Bishop recalled a recent moment when he told a friend he was moving out of the Twin States. His friend’s first reaction:
“Who’s going to play harmonica now?”
Johnny B & The Goodes will play their final show in the Upper Valley on Saturday at the Salt hill Pub in Lebanon. Music begins at 9 p.m., and the show is 21 and over.
∎ Vermont vocal ensemble Counterpoint will perform one show in the Upper Valley during a four-day tour between Friday and Tuesday. The ensemble will bring the lighthearted summer show, “My Spirit Sang All Day,” to Hanover’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The next three days will see the group traveling to Waitsfield, Vt., Weston, Vt., and Burlington. Tickets for the Hanover show are $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $5 for students and the “financially challenged.” Go to www.counterpointchorus.org for more information.
∎ The Swing Peepers, a Starksboro, Vt.-based duo focused on music for children, will perform at the Wilder Club and Library at 7 p.m. on Friday. Matt Witten and John Hadden will perform songs largely about gardening and farming, and will tell tall tales in music form. The free show is part of the Quechee and Wilder Libraries’ “Dig Into Reading” summer series.
∎ Blue Coupe is a rock supergroup featuring members of both Blue Oyster Cult and the Alice Cooper group. Brothers Joe and Albert Brouchard from the former, plus bassist Dennis Dunaway from the latter make up the core of the band. They’ll perform at Tupelo on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.
∎ Local singer-songwriter Jason Cann will perform on Wednesday as part of Windsor’s Concerts on the Common series. The show will go from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
∎ First Friday in White River Junction will welcome Upper Valley elder statespeople Yvonne and the Reverbs to a performance at Lyman Point Park. The music begins at 6:30 p.m.
∎ Blues artist John Lackard will perform on the Quechee Green at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
∎ The Lyme Town Band will give a free concert on the Fairlee Common at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There will also be a make-your-own sundae stand for $3, with proceedings benefitting the Fairlee Community Church.
∎ PuppeTree, a Thetford-based troupe, will put on its version of the kid’s book Caps for Sale at the Rosa Tyson Gym in South Strafford at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. The 45-minute show will feature ventures into several different styles of puppetry, including hand puppets and hand- and-rod puppets. The show is free.
∎ The New York Theatre Workshop will perform its first two works-in-progress of its 22nd consecutive residency at Dartmouth College. The first play is Another Medea, written and directed by Aaron Mark and performed by Tom Hewitt, who takes on multiple parts. The second is Really Really Really Really Really, written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and directed by Eric Ting. Both performances are on Saturday, the first at 5 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $6.50 to $13, and can be purchased at www.hop.dartmouth.edu.
∎ Children’s Theatre will present the penultimate play of its summer series on Monday with two Upper Valley performances of Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 collection Just So Stories. The troupe, which is based in Lincoln, N.H., will perform at the Claremont Opera House at 10 a.m. ($6 at the door) and at the Plainfield Town Hall at 1 p.m. ($7 at the door, and $25 for a four-pack). The shows are about a half-hour long, and are targeted for ages 3 and up.
∎ A Legendary Romance continues through the weekend at the New London Barn Playhouse, with shows at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, and a show at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.nlbarn.org.
∎e_STnSThe Hopkins Center will show two recently released movies this weekend. The first, at 7 p.m. on Friday, is Ginger and Rosa, starring Elle Fanning, Alice Englert and Christina Hendricks. The next night at the same time, Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, will be shown. Tickets for both shows range from $5 to $8.
∎ On Sunday, the Dartmouth Film Society will present a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The show is at 4 p.m. in the Loew Auditorium, Black Family Visual Arts Center. Tickets range from $5 to $8.
∎ The year’s final Meetinghouse Reading in Canaan will take place tonight, and feature authors Joseph A. Citro and Ivy Pochoda. Citro, who wrote Weird New England and other books, specializes in ghosts and spirits in the Northeast. Pochoda’s most recent novel, Visitation Street , came out in July. The reading series will return in July 2014.
Bar and Club Circuit
∎ Heartfire, or Lori and Robin Lull, are a musical grab bag of influences, playing a mellow group of originals based around guitar and keyboards. The band will perform at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday. Music starts at 5 p.m.
∎ Girls, Guns & Glory, a Boston-based four-piece specializing in rock, Americana and country, will play at the Salt hill Pub in Lebanon at 9 p.m. on Friday. The show is 21 and over. Johnny B & The Goodes will play the next night.
∎ Carlos O’Casio, the frontman of Frydaddy, will perform at Salt hill’s Newport location on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. The show is also 21 and over.
∎ On Friday, the bluesy duo Malicious Brothers will hit the Salt hill Pub in Hanover. The next night, acoustic rocker Sean Wyatt will perform. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. and are 21 and over.
∎ Hartland-based jazz musician Peter Concilio will play at his hometown’s Skunk Hollow Tavern on the month’s first Friday. Music starts at 9 p.m.
∎ Gregory Brown will perform at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock tonight at 8 p.m. He’ll also play the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Friday at 8 p.m.
∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic, hosted by Chad Gibbs, on Mondays at 9 p.m.
∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.
∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.
∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.
∎ The Wheelers run an open mic night at the Seven Barrel Brewery on Wednesday, beginning at 8 p.m.
∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Jon Wolper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3242. Send Highlights to Highlights@vnews.com.