Higher Ground kicked off its 2021 summer outdoors live concert series at Backside 405 over Memorial Day weekend with Quiltro and Barbacoa.
The venue is Backside 405 located at 405 Pine Street in Burlington, Vermont. It is outdoors with one stage, food trucks, and a bar – it is a lot like a mini-festival set-up. Open air music is planned for every Friday and Saturday through August.
The first live bands played on Saturday, May 29th. They are both three-piece instrumental rock bands but they play very different music.
Quiltro is a space rock band, laying down laid back, ethereal lines meant to envelope you and send you on a journey, Their first album came out last year and you can get it at the Bandcamp link below. The band is Mark Taylor (guitar and keys), J. D. Hoffmann (drums), and Mike McKinley (bass).
Barbacoa is often described as a surf rock band. They do play in that vein, and also rockabilly along with other recognizable stylings. The music is upbeat and peppy – great for summer nights. Their latest album is Pharoah’s Camaro which came a couple weeks ago (link below). The band is Bill Mullins (guitar), Jeremy Fredericks (drums), and Kirk Flanagan (bass).
For now the crowd is limited to 500 people but could grow as the summer warms and the limits start to melt away. Backside 405 is a great place to spend Friday and Saturday nights – I’ll be there most every weekend.
You can get tickets at the Higher Ground link below, including a season pass to all the shows.
I don’t have to tell you about 2020 – you were there, too. Usually, at the end of the year, I spend December choosing some photos to repost for good vibes and great memories, but this year I didn’t take a single photograph of a live show. Yeah. So, I am going to post a few photos from 2019 that did not see that light of day then, just for fun. I am keeping the cameras warm for 2021 because hope springs eternal.
There was a lot of excellent music released this year. We published 188 reviews in 2020, a lot more than we thought we would. There are so many “Best of 2020” lists out there that I decided not to do one for FFMB. Instead, I am throwing up a couple of covers from albums we didn’t review this year that were really good – just couldn’t get to everything. We’ll try to do better in 2021.
Thanks to everybody involved with Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog and the Shardik Media Cabal. Deep gratitude and thanks to all the bands, record labels, venues, publicists, and promoters keeping music alive for all of us.
We’re still here and we are carrying on in 2021. See you out there.
Corpse rolled into South Burlington, Vermont Sunday night on their Red Before
Black Tour. Their show at Higher Ground was a Fall highlight for North Country Metalheads
looking for a night of extreme music.
The opening band was Perdition Temple, a three-piece Death Metal act featuring Gene Palubicki on guitar and vocals with Ronnie Parmer on drums and Alex Blume working the bass. Fast and aggressive, the riff-heavy, driving guitar broke the ice and set the tone for evening. Palubicki’s coarse voice and precision fretting filled the room with energy and threat. Wrapping up a tight 30 minutes in a blistering frenzy, Perdition Temple surely made the list for a lot of new fans in the audience.
middle act was Thy Art Is Murder, an Australian band whose music is usually
placed in the deathcore category. I heard many fans in the crowd saying they’d
come specifically to see Thy Art Is Murder and that didn’t surprise me at all –
they have a big following and they don’t tour the US all the time. The band
puts up a powerful wall of sound with two guitars via Andy Marsh and Sean
Delander that surround frontman CJ McMahon. The bass backing by Kevin Butler
and clinical drumming by Jesse Beahler complete the scene.
McMahon was suffering from a respiratory infection which caused him obvious
discomfort but his performance didn’t seem to suffer at all. Leaning into
material from their new album Human
Target (Nuclear Blast), Thy Art Is Murder shook the room and played to
their strengths, not neglecting fan favorites. In fact, the only time the crowd
was actually singing punchlines was during the Thy Art Is Murder set. McMahon
talked the crowd into greater participation by reflecting on how wild the show
in Montreal the night before had been. Burlington, he told us, was great, but
Montreal was unmatchable. The circle pits were going in force, presaging the
vortex they would become with the headliner. There were no disappointments with
their solid heavy work.
main event was Cannibal Corpse, rounding out the tail end of their Red Before Black (Metal Blade) tour. Standing
in the pit in the dark after the band had taken the stage but before they began
playing, I could see vocalist George Fisher, Corpsegrinder. He stood with his
back to the crowd taking deep, fierce breaths, filling his lungs to ready himself
for the auditory assault he and the band were about to perpetrate. Hit the
lights, hit the sound, and the crowd erupted to “Code of the Slashers.” Moshing
started almost immediately and within a few minutes, an enormous circle pit had
formed in the Higher Ground Ballroom with a pulsing jagged edge. Metal was
band lead with three songs from the latest album then took a tour through their
long catalogue of music. Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan brought the riffs and
shreds with veteran accuracy while founding members Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz steadied the songs with an unbreachable
foundation. Fisher did not disappoint with his signature hair whipping head snaps,
his face completely covered by the result when he sang. This is a band that
never makes any excuses and always delivers the fury.
slowing down, Cannibal Corpse announced in October that they would begin
working on a new album, their 15th full-length release, as soon as
the current tour wraps up. See the show while you can. Cannibal Corpse, Thy Art
Is Murder, and Perdition Temple is a great lineup. They are three bands that
complement each other by employing similar musical themes while maintaining
unique identities and performance styles.