Entertainment Highlights: A Very Slambovian Christmas in Bradford, Vt.
Founding band members left to right:
Tony Zuzulo, Tink Lloyd, Joziah Longo, Sharkey McEwen
Thelma Picard Follensbee met her husband Wayne in school and later while they both worked at H.W. Carter and Sons. They married in 1941. Wayne Follensbee spent 42 years at Carter, pressing garments, maintaining the building’s heating system and finally working as a receiving clerk.(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
At 94, Thelma Picard Follensbee of Lebanon still sews clothes like these jackets made from heavy fabric samples. She also creates applique pictures and has begun working with a computer-operated embroidery machine. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
It’s not often that a high school band has the chance to perform with a national touring group — but then, few bands have a bond with a town like The Grand Slambovians have with their fan base in Bradford. Vt.
What began as an invitation from Oxbow music teacher and Slambovians fan Cindy Hall to play for her students back when the group were regulars at the now-closed Middle Earth Music Hall, evolved into an opportunity for school band members to rock out onstage with Slambovians. It’s a tradition that the Slambovians, formerly known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, will continue tomorrow night, when they roll into town for “A Very Slambovian Christmas” concert at Bradford Academy. Though performing with seasoned rockers might faze younger musicians, the Oxbow students have risen to the occasion each time, said lead singer Joziah Longo.
“I think it’s a good experience for a young player to be in front of a large audience and overcome that fear of doing that,” he said in a phone interview this week. “Once you do it, you’re never afraid again. I think it’s really cool for them, and for us. They work so hard to do it right, and they usually do an amazing job.”
That the Slambovians, a group based in New York’s Hudson Valley that has created its own blend of high-energy folk-punk-rock — or what Longo once termed “a country prison music meets British invasion type of thing” — would serve as musical mentors to Vermont high school students speaks to the band’s eclectic endeavors and strong independent streak.
Since forming 14 years ago from the remnants of the progressive rock band The Ancestors, the Slambovians have been approached multiple times by major record labels, according to Longo. Each time, they have turned down the offer, preferring to retain artistic control and avoid becoming pawns of a large corporation. Not that the attention hasn’t been flattering, or tempting.
“Yeah, absolutely, because it’s tempting to be able to pay rent,” Longo said, laughing. Like other thriving independent groups, the Slambovians have seized upon the power of the Internet to market themselves and build their following.
As a musician, “You can do just about anything (with the Internet). And your presence online can be as powerful as Sony or any other label,” Longo aid. “It’s a great time for independent artists, if they learn how to do things, especially if they learn how to record themselves, the technology is there.”
Tomorrow night’s show is seasonal in nature. Longo predicted that the group will perform familiar Christmas songs with “a slight Slambovian flair to them,” but they also will present some Slambovian-penned holiday songs.
“Mostly, it really is an immersive Christmas show. It gets into the whole heart of that season, which I think really is a season that brings out the best and most generous parts of people,” he said.
The Grand Slambovians perform at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Bradford Academy; doors open at 7. ($20 advance; $25 at the door; $10 students; purchase tickets at www.smarttix.com.)
Whether or not the world comes to an apocalyptic end tomorrow, where better to spend it than at Tupelo Music Hall, starting at 8 p.m., as The Conniption Fits, Pariah Beat, The Pilgrims and The River City Rebels take over the White River Junction venue tomorrow night. It’s a show fittingly titled “La Fin Du Monde (The End of the World)” ($8). If you survive tomorrow, return to nearby Tupelo on Saturday night for the End of the World Survival Party, with DJ Exodus and others spinning tunes to an 18 & up crowd starting at 10 p.m. ($10-$15, before 11 p.m.; $15-$20 after 11; 10 percent of proceeds will be donated toward the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts).
∎ The Full Circle choral group, led by Jennifer Yocum, will give their annual holiday concert tomorrow evening at the Bradford Congregational Church and Saturday at the Lyme Congregational Church. The group’s eclectic concert program includes sacred music from de Victoria and Malcolm Williamson and traditional holiday carols paired with Hannukah songs and selections from A Charlie Brown Christmas. There will also be tap dancing from Sam Chapin and a special choral piece written for the group’s women by Thomas Chapin. Both shows start at 7:30 p.m. (free, but donations are welcome).
∎ At 4 p.m. Sunday, alto saxophonist Richie Cole performs in the second installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon (JOSA) series, held every other Sunday from December to early April at the Center at Eastman in Grantham. Trained at the Berklee College of Music, Cole has released more than 50 albums, shared stages with Manhattan Transfer, Eddie Jefferson and Tom Waits, and performed for the Queen of England ($16-$18; reserve tickets by calling 603-763-8732).
A family contradance and potluck supper will be held tomorrow at The Little Theater in Woodstock. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., followed by the family contradance at 6 and the evening dance at 8 ($8; free for children younger than 18).
The Stevens High School Concert Band and Chorus perform a holiday concert at 7 tonight at the high school, located at 175 Broad Street in Claremont ($2 donation suggested; proceeds will benefit the school’s choral and band programs).
∎ The Firehouse Six put a Dixieland spin on holiday favorites in a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Union Church in West Claremont (free, but donations suggested).
Peter Pan, the classic tale of a boy from Never Land who won’t grow up and the children who fall under his spell, continues its run at Northern Stage in White River Junction this week, with performances at 7:30 tonight through Sunday, and again on Wednesday, and at 2 p.m. tomorrow through Sunday and Wednesday. Visit www.northernstage.org to purchase tickets.
Bar and Club Circuit
Jason Cann plays his weekly set tonight at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, starting at 6.
∎ Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock hosts a performance from Jim Yeager tonight at 9.
∎ The Clear River Band from Bridgewater brings their roots rock sound to Salt hill Pub in Lebanon at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Saturday night at 9, acoustic rocker Dan Walker stops by the pub for a solo set (he’ll also stop by Salt hill in Newport at 9 p.m. tomorrow).
∎ Tonight at 8:30, Salt hill Pub in Newport hosts Enfield’s own singer-songwriter Brooks Hubbard. The pub will follow Dan Walker’s performance tomorrow with a show from bluesman Arthur James at 9 p.m. Saturday.
∎ Second Wind, the guitar-and vocal duo of Suzi Hastings and Terry Ray Gould, perform at Salt hill Pub in Hanover at 9 p.m. tomorrow. On Saturday night at 9, the Americana and roots rock group Juke Joynt plays a show at the pub.
∎ Jim Roberts and Doug Morse perform for diners at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover tomorrow at 6 p.m.
∎ Upper Valley dance band Dr. Burma come to Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland for a 9 p.m. show tomorrow.
∎ The Wheelers play Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 9 p.m. tomorrow.
∎ These musicians perform at Canoe Club in Hanover: tonight, jazz guitarist and vocalist Ted Mortimer; tomorrow, the guitar duo of Putnam and Pirozzoli; Saturday, guitarist Phil Singer; Sunday, classical guitarist Joshua Hall; and Wednesday, folk and blues pianist Jonathan Kaplan.
Open Mics, Jams
Jim Abbott leads a Friday night jam starting at 6:30 at the Building A Local Economy (BALE) office on the South Royalton green.
∎ Join Gregory Brown for Skunk Hollow Tavern’s open mic at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
∎ Anthony Furnari of The Wheelers hosts an open mic at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon.
∎ The Dusty Bottle in Bradford has an open mic and karaoke on Wednesdays, starting at 8 p.m.
∎ Lil Red Baron in Newport has an open mic night on Wednesdays at 7:30.
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