Bradley’s Almanac

Remembering Burlingtonitus

Posted on April 15, 2004 at 11:20 am | No Comments

It was 10 years ago this weekend that my friend Colin and I put on the first annual Burlingtonitus independent music fest.

In April 1994, Burlington, Vermont was crawling with jam-band spawn (crunchy-hippy bands and the college kids who loved them), so our fest was really an excuse to bring indie bands we knew and loved to town, to share stages with ’em, and to have friends come out for a weekend-long party. More than a dozen bands over two days at 242 Main (the local non-profit teen center), all ages invited, and five bucks a show. It was strictly for fun, about as far from a money making venture as it coulda been. If we were lucky, the bands would get a little more than gas money… the further they drove, the more we tried to give ’em.

It was really a fest of necessity; doing it ourselves was the was the only way to see some of these bands without driving for hours. We naively hoped to kick off a trend, maybe bring some of the (imagined?) indie kids outta their rooms, get people motivated to put on their own shows, maybe get a few new bands to add our little town to future tour schedules. To a fairly minor degree, that actually happened for awhile.

Even though the people in the bands occasionally outnumbered the crowd, the first fest was such a success that we ended up hosting three more of ’em (in ’95, ’96, and ’98), growing a bit to include more invitees and other clubs. Friends were made, stories were shared, but mostly, lots of pretty great live music was played for receptive ears. We owe a lot of the fest’s success to the support of the staff at WRUV, the UVM radio station where you’d find me between classes, and to CKUT, the McGill station that helped spread the word to all the Montreal kids that drove an hour and a half south for our little indie experiment. We also couldn’t have pulled it off without the labels who sent bands our way (Sonic Bubblegum, Pop Narcotic, Harriet Records, the Proteen guys, Teenbeat), and all the bands who liked the thing enough to play more than once (the Stand GT, Chisel/Ted Leo, Tulips, the Van Pelt, Tizzy, Tugboat Annie, the Smiles, and more).

Here are the complete lineups for all four Burlingtonitus fests …

(Naturally, I couldn’t find links for all of these, so I tried to reference a related artist, a review, or another download)

Burlingtonitus One

Friday & Saturday, April 15th & 16th, 1994 at 242 Main

New Radiant Storm King, Tuscadero, Rollercoaster, Pest 5000, Driver UFO, Morning Glories, the Stand GT, Snowplow, Buddy Sevaris, Madelines, Chisel, the Smiles, Yum Yum Tree, Tulips, Green Magnet School, and other random guests

Burlingtonitus Two

Friday, April 21st, 1995 at Club Toast: the Stand GT, Tuscadero, Pest 5000, Eef, Tizzy

Saturday, April 22nd at 242 Main: Tulips, Yum Yum Tree, Blast Off Country Style, huffy, Tugboat Annie

Sunday, April 23rd at Club Metronome: Chisel, the Van Pelt, Radio to Saturn, Madelines, Buddy Sevaris, the Smiles, and Sleepcrash

Burlingtonitus Three

Friday, April 19th to 21st, 1996 at Club Toast

Sugar Plant, Pirate Jenny, Babe the Blue Ox, Saturnine, Lindy Pear, Daviess County Panthers, the Van Pelt, Tugboat Annie, Catapult, Me Jane, the Smiles, Tizzy, Starlight Conspiracy, Scrap Douglas, Soup Sandwich, The Stand GT, Goldfish, and Gladly

Burlingtonitus Four

Friday, April 24th, 1998 at 242 Main: Syrup USA, the Fan Modine, Sarge, the Wicked Farleys

Saturday, April 25th at Club Toast: the Stand GT, the Sin Eaters, the Four Color Manual, Pilot to Gunner, the Parcels

Sunday, April 26th at Club Metronome: My Own Sweet, Victory at Sea, the Swimmer, Stupid Club, Jumprope

To mark this little tenth anniversary, I’ve dusted off and digitized some old unreleased live recordings from the first two years. I tried to pick the best stuff, and though they vary quite a bit in quality, I hope some of the spirit behind them comes across. I had such a good time digging through ’em…

  • Blast Off Country StyleButtercup / Cutie Pie – Probably the only Burlingtonitus band with coordinated rock-wear, B.O.C.S. brought their Teenbeat bounce-pop all the way from D.C. just for us. Even though Cutie Pie is a little loose, I put it up here just for Colin. You’ll hear why.
  • Buddy SevarisMy Girlfriend is an Astronaut – Along with Driver UFO, these guys were Philly’s ambassadors to Burlingtonitus, part of the Proteen records crew. (note: unfortunately this song has some really nasty, super-loud digital fuzz in a bunch of spots, so i’ll spare you the ear damage… if i can find the original, i’ll post it later on.)
  • ChiselHip Straights – Wow, was I ever blown away by these guys. Ted Leo, Chris Norborg, & John Dugan. Colin would always say, about random bands he’d invite, “I’m friends with them and they’ll totally play and they’re great!”, but I’d take that last bit with a grain of rock-salt. Well, Colin was never more right than he was with Chisel. I’ve been a fan of Ted’s since the first time I saw him on stage, and this song is just one of the reasons why.
  • HuffyCarry – Tim, Jeff, & Nate. These guys, along with our own bands, happily played for free, hoping to help bring in more kids so we could pay the travellers. Not that we were huge draws, right? It’s the thought that counts.
  • Lindy PearI Could Say Anything – At least I think that’s the name of that song. I’d have to dig out my old tapes to be sure. For the ongoing adventures of singer Craig Gurwich, check out Summer at Shatter Creek.
  • MadelinesBlemishColin, Kurt, Pat, & Scott, batting cleanup at Burlingtonitus 2. Ah, the early days. “Wooden Lips with a Kickstand.” This recording is so damn good. Glad I found it.
  • New Radiant Storm KingPhone Call – What a great band. I’m really psyched to find out they got a singles/rarities collection coming out later this month. Peyton now plays with the Pernice Brothers.
  • Pest 5000Cold Feet – I’m such a sucker for violin in my pop-rock. Across the border from Montreal, Pest played the first and second Burlingtonitus fests. This recording is from the second one.
  • Radio to Saturn(We’re Sorry) – I actually don’t know the name of this one, but the made-up title fits once you get to the end. It’s ok, RtS, we forgive you.
  • the Stand GTMary’s Favorite Number – Straight outta Ontario, my Canadian pals, Chris, Doug, Colin, Wally, & eternal roadie Johnny McBean. Had some of the best times ever hangin’ with these genuinely great guys. Thankfully, Chris is still making music, so give a look and listen. We really have to get together one-a these days, Chris.
  • TizzyA-4 – Jen, Joel, and Teri, three of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and this was my favorite song of theirs. According to their website, Jen just brought a baby, little Josephine, into the world a couple weeks back. Congrats, Jen! She’s gonna be the best rock n’ roll mom.
  • Tugboat AnnieAdaptor – From Buffalo, then Boston. Singer Mike gave it all during this set, and by the time this song came around, his voice was a little wrecked. I’ll share the song anyway, ‘cuz it’s a good one.
  • TulipsCatch the Cradle – I don’t know what was more fun… watching Suzette prowl the stage, or watching fixated fanboys watch Suzette prowl the stage. Drummer Chris is the nicest guy to ever scare the hell outta me. One night, after a set was cut short and Chris hadn’t yet released all his pent up drumming agression, he just started chucking his set off the stage onto the floor, piece by piece. Tulips became the Daviess County Panthers, then Chris and Mike went on to be in the Takers.
  • TuscaderoMt. Pleasant – Long drive from D.C. up to Burlington, but I’m so glad they made it. I hadn’t heard them before, and was smitten by this then-new Teenbeat band.
  • the Van PeltTurning 20 into 2 – Chris Leo and Co. Such a great songwriter, I owe Colin muchly for turning me onto them. Chris eventually formed the Lapse, but I’m not quite sure what he’s up to now. Colin?
  • Yum Yum TreeGrey Day – Messy, snot-nosed girl-fronted punk outta NYC. There’s hardly any online evidence of their having existed, which would probably suit them just fine.I could ramble all day about the people I met, the bands I loved, the post-show parties, all the memories that came out of months of planning and weekends of payoff. I’ll spare you that, though.

    And yes, we made way too many t-shirts… ya want one?


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    Tuesday, December 5th
    Pussy Riot
    @ the Paradise

    Tuesday, December 5th
    Eric Andre
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, December 5th
    Bar Italia
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, December 7th
    Wesley Stace
    @ the Charles River Museum

    Saturday, December 9th
    Hilken & Winston (of Fuzzy)
    Chris Colbourn (of Buffalo Tom)
    Kayde Hazel
    @ Streetcar in JP

    Saturday, December 9th
    Will Dailey & his band
    Hayley Reardon
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Saturday, December 9th
    Urian Hackney
    @ Deep Cuts

    Tuesday, December 12th
    (Keanu Reeves' band)
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, December 13th
    A 40th Anniversary Tribute
    to the music from "Valley Girl"
    with Josie Cotton,
    the Plimsouls &
    Kurt Baker of the Leftovers
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, December 14th
    Weakened Friends
    Radio Compass
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Friday, December 15th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Eldridge Rodriguez
    Aaron & the Lord
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 16th
    Bird Streets
    @ the Village Social Club

    Saturday, December 16th
    @ Gallery X, New Bedford

    Saturday, December 16th
    Evelyn Pope
    @ the Haven in JP

    Saturday, December 16th
    A John Waters Christmas
    @ Berklee Performance Center

    Thursday, December 21st
    NOISE FOR TOYS, presented by
    The Ash Gray Proclamation
    bring a toy, hear some noise
    with Dyr Faser, Andy Cohen,
    and Strange Pains
    @ O'Brien's

    Thursday, December 28th
    The Felice Brothers
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 30th
    Spirit Ghost
    Black Beach
    Regal Seagull
    @ O'Brien's

    Thursday, January 11th
    Rick Maguire (from Pile)
    @ the Rockwell

    Saturday, January 13th
    Dark Spring Boston presents...
    The Veldt
    Dead Leaf Echo
    The Spearmint Sea
    @ O'Brien's

    Sunday, January 14th
    Lupo Citta
    Hidden Fountain
    Killer Motorcycle
    Pledge Pins
    @ O'Brien's

    Friday, January 19th
    O Positive (O+)
    "With A Little Help
    From My Friends" Benefit show
    @ the Paradise

    Monday, January 22nd
    The Salt Collective
    featuring Stéphane Schück &
    Fred Quentin (of Salt), with
    Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Mitch
    Easter (Let's Active), Chris
    Stamey & Gene Holder (the dB's)
    Lynn Blakey (Tres Chicas), and
    Rob Ladd (The Connells)
    with openers Sneakers (!)
    featuring Chris & Mitch
    @ City Winery Boston

    Saturday, January 27th
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, January 29th
    Juliana Hatfield
    @ City Winery

    Tuesday, February 13th
    Michael Shannon, Jason Narducy,
    Jon Wurster & friends perform
    R.E.M.'s "Murmur" and more
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday & Friday
    February 15th & 16th
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, February 16th
    Militarie Gun
    Pool Kids
    Spiritual Cramp
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, February 17th
    Cat Power sings Dylan
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Wednesday, February 21st
    Rival Schools
    Many Eyes
    @ the Paradise

    Thursday, February 22nd
    Portugal. The Man.
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, February 23rd
    Matt Pond PA
    Alexa Rose
    @ Club Passim

    Friday, February 23rd
    The Kills
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, February 27th
    Two Door Cinema Club
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, February 28th
    Mike Viola
    @ Club Passim

    Saturday, March 2nd
    Mary Timony
    Birthday Girl DC
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, March 5th
    Porno For Pyros
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, March 8th
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 8th
    The Beaches
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, March 12th
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, March 13th
    Cherry Glazerr
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 15th
    Chelsea Wolfe
    Divide and Dissolve
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, March 17th
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, March 17th
    Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
    Singer Mali
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, March 18th
    Gary Numan
    Front Line Assembly
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, March 21st
    Laetitia Sadier
    (of Stereolab)
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Friday, March 22nd
    Fog Lake
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Monday, March 25th
    Unwound (!)
    @ the Paradise

    Monday, March 25th
    Andy Shauf (solo)
    @ First Church Cambridge

    Thursday, March 28th
    Arlo Parks
    Chloe George
    @ the Royale

    Friday, March 29th
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, March 29th
    The Rolling Stones
    @ Gillette

    Saturday, April 6th
    Destroyer (solo)
    Lightning Dust
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, April 6th
    Colin Hay (Men at Work)
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, April 13th
    with Korine, House of Harm,
    Widow Rings, Allie Frost,
    Hemlock for Socrates,
    Midnight Psychic, the
    Spearmint Sea, and more
    @ the Middle East

    Wednesday, April 17th
    Real Estate
    Marina Allen
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 19th
    Drop Nineteens
    Greg Mendez
    @ the Paradise

    Friday & Saturday
    April 26th & 27th
    The Town & the City Festival
    @ various venues in Lowell, MA

    Saturday, April 27th
    Belle and Sebastian
    The Weather Station
    @ the Orpheum

    Wednesday, May 1st
    Ty Segall
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, May 8th
    Chastity Belt
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 10th
    @ the Royale

    Monday & Tuesday
    May 13th & May 14th
    Mannequin Pussy
    Soul Glo
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    May 16th, 17th, & 18th
    Jukebox the Ghost
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 17th
    Buck Meek (of Big Thief)
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Monday, May 20th
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, June 4th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Wilbur

    Monday, June 10th
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Sunday, July 16th
    Los Campesinos!
    @ the Paradise

    Tuesday, July 9th
    Alanis Morissette
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Morgan Wade
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Sunday, July 21st
    Foo Fighters
    The Hives
    Amyl and the Sniffers
    @ Fenway Park

    Friday, August 2nd
    John Waite
    @ Xfinity Center

    Wednesday, August 7th
    Green Day
    Smashing Pumpkins
    The Linda Lindas
    @ Fenway Park

    Monday, August 19th
    King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
    @ the Stage at Suffolk Downs

    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Peter Hook & the Light
    doing both the Joy Division
    & New Order "Substance" LPs
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, September 13th
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, September 24th
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, October 23rd
    @ the Royale