By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
The top 10 live shows I attended in the region this past year
There were a lot of really good shows in the region in 2019. I narrowed the list down to my top 10 favorites and put them in chronological order.
We started Jan. 10 with a rocking Kung Fu show at the Pickle Barrel in Killington. Seeing this band indoors in an intimate setting is awesome. You get that rocking funk, right in your face. The band is so tight. Tim Palmieri is a monster guitar player who will melt your face with his solos. I really love watching Beau Sasser jam out on the keys. Rob Somerville funks it up with his saxophone and the rhythm section of Adrian Tramontano on drums/percussion and Chris DeAngelis on bass, ties it all together.
On Feb. 20, moe. crushed it at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. The place was packed and the people came to party. The band started out on the mellow side but after a few songs, they were en fuego. The entire band brought their “A” game.
Feb. 28, the Funky Dawgz Brass Band got you in the Mardi Gras spirit. These guys had the Pickle Barrel jumping. I love that New Orleans music and the Funky Dawgz made you think you were on Bourbon Street. It was a high energy, dance, funk and hip-hop infused party. These guys didn’t miss a beat.
The March 10 show that the Oak Ridge Boys played at the Paramount definitely did not disappoint anyone. It was one of my favorite interviews, too. It is truly a delight to see them perform. The show itself was so good. It will make my list of greatest concerts ever. The band said they continue playing cause they have so much fun doing this. That really shows on stage, plus their harmonies are incredible and the band is so tight.
July was the best month of 2019 for music. Studio Two kicked off the month on July 2 at the Castleton Pavilion which is a great place to see a show. Studio Two is an incredible Beatles tribute band that makes you think you’re back in the 60s. They dress like them, talk like them and perform like them. They are basically The Beatles.
After 23 years in town, 25 years of the Basin Bluegrass Festival in Brandon and I finally made it to one. This is the most affordable festival around and the friendliest. I was only able to go one night on July 12 but plan on going for the entire weekend next year. If you like bluegrass you’ll love this. If you don’t like bluegrass you’ll still like this. There was so much great music like Canan’s Land who did some Hee-Haw music and Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome who did that classic bluegrass twang. My favorite was the Kevin Prater Band who were some good ol’ boys from Kentucky.
The next day on July 13 was an awesome Cooler in the Mountains show in Killington. It was a double bill with Annie in the Water opening for Wild Adriatic. Both bands crushed it. Annie did some high energy jams and had the people up and dancing. This was my first time seeing Wild Adriatic and they are such a tight band. Some songs they jammed out and on one rock ‘n’ roll number, the lead guitarist absolutely shredded his guitar. They surprised me with a really sweet cover of Prince “Kiss.” Their whole rendition was original with jams mixed in with nice vocals.
The Samples came to Rutland on July 26 for an outdoor show on Center Street. They are one of my favorite bands and this was definitely one of my favorite shows. I like music that moves you and Sean Kelly’s vocals do just that. The show was like a greatest hits album with all favorites for me. This show had local favorite Jared Johnson on bass. The entire band was smiling throughout, showing how much fun they were having up there.
We jump to the winter for my favorite show of the 2019 Women’s World Cup and that was with DJ Logic on Nov. 30. I seen him before at some festivals but that was many years ago. We had a great interview that has now turned into a great friendship. He’s such a nice guy but his music and beats are sick. He had the entire crowd dancing, moshing and going crazy. He could’ve played for another hour and there would be no complaints. Everyone dug the show. I loved when he remixed “Stand by Me” and had the crowd singing along.
Lastly on Dec. 26 at the Pickle, I saw the Joey Leone trio with his longtime drummer Sparkie Sandler and new bass player Earl Irving. They were joined by 16-year-old guitar sensation Brandon “Taz” Niederaurer and special guest Beau Sasser on keys. Wow, what a great show this was. It was like a classic rock greatest hits show. Joey and Taz constantly shredded their guitars together. Sparkie’s drumming was awesome. Earl was having so much fun up there and he’s incredible on bass. As you previously read, I love Beau and he killed it again. They had another special guest performance with Kyle Howell aka Done Deal doing some freestyle rapping while they all rocked out. They ended with a sick version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store.