Thursday, April 13, 2006

Neil Cleary | Langdon Street Cafe | Mar 8th

Last Saturday, I finally got a chance to see one of the kingpins of the Burlington scene, Neil Cleary. Cleary played drums in the now legendary Burlington band The Pants back in the 90's. Since then he's played with various bands such as The Essex Green and released a few solo albums. Plus, back in the 90's when he was living in NYC, he occasionally sat in as the drummer for Saturnine which featured bass player, Michael Donofrio who now lives in the area up here. See how Cleary runs through the Vermont music scene?

I've said this before but I love seeing shows at Langdon Street. It's right in town, easy to get to and has a fun relaxed vibe to the place. You feel like you're just hanging out in a friend's living room. Plus, they now serve Allagash's Belgian White which is my latest fave beer.

I got down there around 9pm and saw a bunch of police cars scattered all over School Street. It's kind of odd to see that much police activity in Montpelier but I had no idea what was going on. It was only on Monday that jds tipped me off that it involved a drunk driving road rage shooting at the intersection of State St. & Bailey St. That was kind of freaky to learn about because I had gone through that intersection right around that time on my way to the show. Certainly a peculiar event for Montpelier.

Before jds arrived, I had the chance to meet Cleary and Bill Simmon of Candleblog fame. I've been reading Candleblog for a while but had never met Bill. I'm glad I did though because he was a fun guy to watch the show with. He's a great resource for piecing together the history of the local music scene. Plus, he's a really nice guy. He was there filming parts of the show for a project he's working on. I hope his footage came out better than my photos.

So, after chatting about the local scene, the phenomenon that is The Pants and random Swedish pop bands, Cleary took the stage with his band (Herb & Frank from The Jazz Guys and Bill Mullins). It was a brief (40 minutes) but fun set consisting of a lot of his more rocking tunes such as the ones up on his myspace page. As Bobby Domino pointed out, it was just great to hear tight guitar melodies being knocked out in Langdon Street rather than some hippie jam drivel. The thing I didn't appreciate from listening to Cleary's studio versions was how much he reminded me of Elvis Costello; particularly on "Good Feeling".

Now, I'm even more interested in seeing The Pants in May. By the way, The Pants' album Eat Crow is available from emusic. I just realized that last week and grabbed it with my free introductory downloads.

Neil Cleary | Good Feeling
Neil Cleary | That Girl's In Love
The Pants | Never Too Late

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