Bradley’s Almanac

[30 Years Ago Today] Sub Pop’s Vermonstress Fest

Posted on October 10, 2022 at 12:45 pm | 5 Comments

 

 

A few weeks back, sporting a Pond t-shirt while watching the re-kindled Come play a blistering set at the venerable Middle East Upstairs, with Buffalo Tom‘s Bill Janovitz in the sold-out crowd off to my right and Green Magnet School‘s Chris Pearson somewhere behind me, I had a stray thought: “Well, this is certainly a very Vermonstress evening.” The first time I’d ever seen all four of those bands play was at the absolutely-stacked 2-day Sub Pop Vermonstress Festival in my relatively small hometown of Burlington, Vermont. My second thought: “Wait, that was October ’92… it’s now 2022. Whoa, the 30 year anniversary is comin’ right up.” So here we are.

After Come left the Middle East stage that night, I mentioned the impending anniversary date to longtime WMBR DJ Jon Bernhardt (who was also at the VT fest, at least a decade before we’d actually meet), and remarked that I should probably do some kind of anniversary post. I recalled a previous post at the 20-year mark when I’d shared the fest’s soundboard recordings, and lamented the absence of the Buffalo Tom set, which was on a cassette that had long ago disappeared. Cue Jon: “Y’know, I think I may have those original recordings somewhere on a server.” And he did!

So today, on the three-decade anniversary of that fabled Sub Pop Records fest, I not only rectify the glaring Buffalo Tom omission, but also add the band that was on the other side of that lost tape: The World According To Steve, teenagers from Bennington, VT who were invited by Sub Pop to represent the host state. Also missing from that original share, but only because I didn’t think their set was even recorded: First day openers Gravel. Turns out that was partly true… just a few songs from their performance were captured, so I’ve added them here.

I’ve taken this opportunity to use Jon’s files, which were sourced from the original DATs, to vastly improve the sound quality of some select sets, and re-encoded all the MP3s as larger files at a higher bitrate (remember when server space was pricey?). Those new files also allowed me to reconstruct the exact playing order of the weekend, unearth a few songs that were missing from the cassette dubs, and tweak some details on a few setlists. And there are so many more older releases on both Bandcamp and Spotify than there were a decade ago that I was even able to finally identify all the HP Zinker song names. As a stickler for details, that’s always nagged at me a bit.

It may be hyperbolic to say that weekend changed my life, but it certainly had a butterfly effect on my future. I not only became a lifelong fan of a handful of incredible bands, but met some genuinely great people I’m still in touch with, and was in the room with others I’d eventually call friends. The event even inspired my pal Colin and I to start our own derivatively-named yearly indie music fest, during which I’d solidify relationships that eventually led to my move to Boston. I could go on, but yeah… it was a pretty big deal in my personal world, and it’s been a blast re-listening to these sets while editing over the past couple weeks. Psyched to be able to shine a light on them again. Enjoy…
 
Download all 157 live MP3s here: Vermonstress ZIP file



Sub Pop’s Vermonstress Festival

 

Day 1
Saturday, October 10th, 1992
at Club Metronome, Burlington, Vermont
 
afternoon show…
 
Gravel
01. Sand In My Eyes (fades in)
02. Halfway
03. Over The Edge
 
Codeine
01. Realize
02. Jr.
03. Barely Real
04. Cave-In
05. Hard to Find
06. D
07. Broken-Hearted Wine
 
Beat Happening
01. Tiger Trap
02. Teenage Caveman
03. Sleepyhead
04. Dreamy
05. banter
06. Red Head Walking
07. Other Side
08. Revolution Come and Gone
09. Nancy Sin
10. Noise
11. Godsend
12. Left Behind
13. Cry For A Shadow
14. Me Untamed
15. Crashing Through
16. You Turn Me On
 
evening show…
 
Crow
01. Confection
02. Eyes Are Bruised
03. Railhead
04. Light
05. Prisoner
06. The Charley Horses
07. EJ
08. God-Fearing Shareholders of the World
 
Pond
01. Grinned
02. Young Splendor
03. Perfect Four
04. Wheel
05. Pretty Thing (Bo Diddley cover)
06. Spots
07. Agatha / Filler
 
Velocity Girl
01. Even Die
02. 57 Waltz
03. Copacetic
04. Pretty Sister
05. Stupid Thing
06. Warm/Crawl
07. My Forgotten Favorite
08. Creepy
09. Crazy Town
 
Drop Nineteens
01. Delaware
02. Mayfield
03. Winona
04. Astral
05. Happen
06. My Aquarium
07. Reberrymemberer
08. Angel (Madonna cover)
 
Come
01. Dead Molly
02. William
03. Submerge
04. Last Mistake
05. Fast Piss Blues
06. Bell
07. Car
08. S.V.K.

 


Sub Pop’s Vermonstress Festival

Day 2
Sunday, October 11th, 1992
at Club Metronome, Burlington, Vermont
 
afternoon show…
 
The World According To Steve
01. Spur of the Moment Song
02. Grey Eyes
03. Manufactured World
04. Here and Back
05. Beauty and Pain
06. Happy Hour
07. TWATS Theme
08. War Dreams
09. Funky
 
H.P. Zinker
01. Desperate Moves
02. A Million Sparks Are Riding In My Mind
03. Reason
04. Trapped
05. Our Precious Love
06. The Breed
07. Mirror
08. Sometimes I Just Don’t Feel Like Talking
09. Warzone City
10. Mysterious Girl
 
Eric’s Trip
01. Kiss Me Baby / Smother
02. Listen
03. Haze
04. Belong
05. Happens All The Time
06. Float
07. Belly
08. My Chest Is Empty (part 2)
09. Blinded
10. Bring Down the Rain
11. Easier Last Time
12. Open Your Heart (Madonna cover)
 
Green Magnet School
01. Sonic Exterminator
02. Noxin
03. Barmecide Room
04. Don’t Cry (Neil Young cover)
05. Singed
06. 12 Gauge
07. Penance
 
evening show…
 
Sloan
01. Sleepover
02. Lucky For Me
03. Shame Shame
04. Ill-Placed Trust
05. Underwhelmed
06. Amped
07. Take It In
08. Marcus Said
09. Pretty Voice
10. Rag Doll
 
Six Finger Satellite
01. Sex Transistor
02. Niponese National Anthem
03. Laughing Larry
04. Polish the Shine (Satchmo)
05. Home for the Holy Day
06. Crippled Monster Bearing Malice
 
Sub Pop says “Thanks!”
 
Chris Harford & the First Rays of the New Rising Sun
01. Swinging Bridge
02. Raise the Roof
03. Looking For Light
04. Road With You
05. If You Forget Me
06. Pop Life (Prince cover)
07. You Brains
08. The Living End
09. Sing, Breathe, and Be Merry
 
Giant Sand
01. Neon Filler
02. Sage Advice
03. Wearing the Robes of Bible Black
04. Solomon’s Ride
05. Stuck
06. Unwed and Well Sped
 
Barbara Manning
01. Never Park
02. Breathe Lies
03. Someone Wants You Dead
04. Don’t Rewind
05. Winter Song
06. Green
07. On On and One
08. Smoking Her Wings (The Bats cover)
09. Lock Yer Room
10. Scissors
 
Buffalo Tom
01. Walk Away
02. Staples
03. Enemy
04. Darl
05. Taillights Fade
06. Velvet Roof
07. Mineral
08. Sunflower Suit
09. I’m Not There
10. Bleeding Heart
11. Birdbrain

 


“um, thanks for coming, it’s 2 o’clock…
they gotta close… so it’s done.
c’mon, 18 bands, 36 hours…
you’ve had enough rock.”

– the final words from the Metronome stage,
spoken by WMBR DJ/Vermonstress emcee David Greene,
during unending encore applause at the 2am curfew
on Monday, October 12th, 2022

 

Comments

5 Responses to “[30 Years Ago Today] Sub Pop’s Vermonstress Fest”

  1. Kevy Nova
    October 11th, 2022 @ 8:25 pm

    Thank you for all your research and reporting on this, Brad! I was the guitarist for The World According To Steve and this was such a magical time, I’m glad you’re keeping it alive. We were aware that the show was recorded but never heard it until now! I thought the recording was lost forever.

  2. Dave Rosencrans
    October 16th, 2022 @ 8:42 pm

    Hello Bradley – As part of the Sub Pop crew lucky enough to attend 1992’s foliage fest in Burlington, I appreciated your post here ten years ago. When Jon B’s BOC episode broadcast on WMBR last Friday, I was blown away by the additional effort you’ve both put into documenting Vermonstress, and can’t thank you enough.

    I’d also like to give a heartfelt shoutout to Joyce Linehan, an author of the Declaration of Techno-Colonial Independence. While it is true that Sub Pop organized this event, Vermonstress was her idea and she was the driving force in making it actually happen.

    Vermonstress perhaps best exemplifies Joyce’s contribution to the label, which was incalculable. She drove a big shift in the A&R direction and a broadening of the label’s aesthetic, all of which was under-appreciated by many. Most importantly, she shifted the culture of the company, making it a far more FUN place to work.

    When I think back to my time there, a great percentage of my best memories involved Joyce, 10-A Burt St. in Dot, and the circle of talent for which she was a hub.

    Thanks again for prepping and sharing these tracks, all of which still sound great and are proof positive of those wonderful times. – Dave Rosencrans, Seattle

  3. Joyce Linehan
    October 19th, 2022 @ 9:47 am

    Dave- You are very kind. I mostly remember laughter and good music!

    Joyce

  4. Jamie Blondin
    October 20th, 2022 @ 8:59 pm

    I had a moment and looked up the name. Was your dad a policeman? I am just reminiscing but we could have been besties when we were very young.

    If not, no harm. Thanks!

  5. Brad Searles
    October 21st, 2022 @ 10:31 am

    Holy $#%^! Jamie! Yeah, it’s me. I still have the photographic evidence of our youngster hang-times. Crazy that you found me through here. And if I’d randomly seen your name somewhere, I’d have done the same thing. 🙂

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