Monday, 26 July 2010

416 THE GIGOLO AUNTS, WEBK "Mountain Jam", Pico, Killington, WT USA, Sunday 8 August 1999

I wake up with a hangover following "Pit Day", and try to get rid by hitting Brookline Lunch on Mass Ave for breakfast. Briefly check out the Caribbean street carnival on Mass Ave, looking for small wooden ethnic toys for my young son Evan and coming out with a pair of sunglasses. How’d that happen? Time’s running short, and my head hurts way too much for loud reggae, so move swiftly on (or at least as swiftly as my alcohol-battered form will allow).

Carol Hurley picks me up from Ed’s at 2, a confident ginger haired woman resembling her little brother Steve. Head off North to Vermont. The journey is long but easy as Carol is very gregarious, and the conversation deviates considerably from the initial rock music subject as I slowly but surely start feeling human again. We zoom up to Woodstock (yes, the real one) in short order – Carol is a serious lady leadfoot – then hit the “real” Vermont through the mountainous sideroads. Listen into WEBK, the radio station sponsoring the “Mountain Jam” event we’re heading for, but they’re no help. Pass through lots of deliberately “quaint” Vermont tourist trap towns, and discuss the fakeness of it all.

Arrive at Pico, where the “WEBK Mountain Jam” is being held. It’s a small festival in the grounds of a huge (at least 4 floors) ski chalet, at the foot of a hugely imposing ski slope, which looks awesome without snow. The festival itself is in its closing stages, and the thousand or so brave souls, that have stuck it out in the cold and wet, look totally fed up. Many are sat on foldaway chairs wrapped in blankets, and my decision to wear shorts looks foolhardy.

Meet up with the Gigolo Aunts, and grab an “All Access” pass. Cool! Roam around the backstage area with impunity before the Aunts sort out minor technical difficulties and hit the stage at ¼ to 6. Their set is full of their trademarks; optimism, charm, superb harmonies and great melodies, and that wonderful middle eight during “Everything is Wrong”, and despite the poor sound, they project very well. Dave then asks whether there are any requests, and they subsequently drag a vociferous heckler onstage to sing “Sweet Home Alabama” to a rapturous reception. Odd, these mountain folk. This actually turns out to be a good move as the rest of the set is met with an enthusiastic response, particularly “Where I Find My Heaven” which is great.

Wander around the site and pick up an event shirt immediately afterwards, and totally forget to pick up the Aunts set-list. Wow. Sieve-head. I think this was the Aunts set;

“Half A Chance”, “Everything Is Wrong”, “The Big Lie”, “Everyone Can Fly”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Where I Find My Heaven”, “Rest Assured”, “Super Ultra Wicked Mega Love”

Head through backstage again, and a chipmunk scoots across my path as I wander to the chalet. I suddenly realise I’m totally in the back of beyond here.

The Aunts have a designated room on the 4th floor of the chalet, so we hang there, chat and chill out while the Aunts get slightly tanned (we’re up in the mountains and there’s no sun; it’s not that type of “tanned”, OK?), totally ignoring the background noise from festival headliners Cake (although John comes out with an amusing line, “I’m going to get baked and watch Cake”). They admire my gig book and scribble messages in it, which gives me an idea; I’m going to ask other people I’ve met to also scribble messages. I said it was just an idea, I didn’t say it was a great one.

We hit the road at 8 as Cake bring their nondescript countrified rock set to a close. The Aunts tour manager shuffles them out to a nearby hotel, and Carol and I split ahead of the traffic, getting back to Ed’s at 11ish after another speedy journey enlivened by a burning car on the roadside, and talk of urban moose and falcons. Cool! Carol refuses my offer to chip in for petrol money, but this is not a surprise as “gasoline” is about £1 a gallon in the US! Thank her for her fine company, and head for the sack at midnight; that’s an early night for this vacation so far!

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