Punk rock lore had taught me that if you wanted the most energetic shows, you had to get out of the city. Apparently, small, middle-of-nowhere crowds were more appreciative of shows, because they didn’t have access to weekly, or even monthly, live music. I always thought about this as such a heavy compromise. Would you rather have every show be out-of-this-world awesome, but rarely get the pleasure, or have constant mediocre shows (most likely, with some really great ones every once in a while)? It seems like a Truth or Dare question or something you need to talk about with your partner before making any long-term commitments. Well, this major life decision was made for me when I decided to move from the shows-every-night glory of Los Angeles to a town in Southern Vermont called Brattleboro. The decision seemed to happen so fast that I didn’t even get to consider the DIY live music situation!
Embarrassingly, I have to admit that I did not make the transition very well. I spent too much time in the first few months bewildered at why everyone in Brattleboro was so stoked on such boring bands. My shows-every-night discretion/snobbery was still in place and being awkwardly applied to the every-so-often DIY shows of Brattleboro. I can’t even count how many shows I listened to from the front yard, but then a shift started to happen. The deficiency started to get to me. I started off by standing in the back of the room while watching a lot of bands that I had earlier written off. I started really getting into the local scene and getting stoked to see Brattleboro bands at every (rare) opportunity.
In larger towns, it’s very easy to ignore the music in the scenes that initially turns you off, but if they want to see live music, small-town folks don’t have the luxury (To be fair, you can probably see a live reggae, bluegrass, or funk band every night of the week in Brattleboro, but it’s a rough scene). Since moving to Brattleboro, my musical taste has really widened, and generally, I am able to enjoy myself while watching most any band these days. It took me some time, but eventually I realized that having shows be a rare event has an even larger effect on the musicians of Brattleboro than it has on the audiences. Musicians are down to get weird when they want to, because there’s no need to worry about fitting into certain categories.
Regardless, this podcast is a quick guide to the DIY scene in Brattleboro for the past few years and now! It gets pretty out there, but I think you’ll probably enjoy it if you take some time with it and really give it a chance.
–Willie & Julie
If Not I Than Who Then, “Parking Lot”
Loud Sext, “Sleepin Thru High School”
Ker Westerlund, “Orion”
The Great Valley, “Bloody Shirt”
Son of Salami, “Bread of Man”
Secret Lover, “What Nature Gave”
Shots Fired, “Austin 3:16 Suck It”
Happy Jawbone Family Band, “Book of Fire”
Happy Birthday, “Zit”
Big Kids, “Still Livin in my Truck”
Phased Out, “No Hasslin’ No Husslin’”
Sam Gas Can and the Reprobates, “Spaghetti Zombie”
Nam Buddies, “I’m with the Band”
Ice Cream, “So Unreal (My Life Support)”
Jean Trapezoid, “Advice Column”
Allison Appell, “Fickle Chest of Flames”
Christina Schneider, “Rain of Fire”
Blanche Blanche Blanche, “Fireworks”
Chris Weisman, “Working on my Skateboarding”
James “Opie” Millett and the Weekend Reformers, “Indian Love Call”