Live music lives outside Burlington

Music enthusiasts peeved by Burlington’s unfriendly restrictions on all those under 21 may have a haven: the Monkey House. Located just outside of Burlington in the Winooski Circle, this bar and, lately, ramped up music venue has been hosting a slew of alternative and local bands. But the real kicker is the 18+ designation for many shows, even those on weekends. On Saturday, March 12, the Monkey House was host to four up-and-coming bands, covering a wide array of genres and styles. The night was headed off by local two-piece Cloud Eyes, who pounded the audience with throbbing distorted guitar riffs and relentless drum beats. Cloud Eyes played for about half an hour, blasting eardrums with a surprisingly pleasant amorphous sound that can only be quantified as instrumental jam-metal. “I really like Cloud Eyes,” Fugue bassist Matt Lobo said, “Not many people up here are doing anything like that, and to hear them is refreshing.” Next on the bill was another local band, Teleport. This four-piece could not have contrasted more with the prior band, beginning their set with a catchy piano intro. Their music shifted from jazzy to hard rock to emo and back over the course of their set, which featured songs from their new self-released EP “Lost In Space.” Though their instrumentation was tight, the vocals were a little raw and off-kilter. Overall, these guys seemed to skirt many genre boundaries without fully succeeding in any. The third band Fugue, however, washed away all doubts as to the quality of music for the evening. A six-piece instrumental band hailing from Connecticut, they played a set pulsing with energy, ingenuity and skill. Ranging in ages from 17 to 23, all members are masterful players of their instruments, from the tight fingerwork of Peter Katz on the guitar, to the mystifying “sorcery” of Mike DiCrescenzo. Thanks to DiCrescenzo’s impressive array of soundboards and equipment, including a homemade optical theremin he has taken to playing with a Bic lighter, the band could not even fit onto the Monkey House’s tiny stage, but that did not stop them from playing ferociously. This was Fugue’s third stint in Burlington, and all were clearly excited to be returning, expressing their approval of the changes taking place at the Monkey House. “The venue itself seems more open to shows,” DiCrescenzo said. “It seems like a place people are actually going to come to see music now.” After stating that this had been the best bar show they had ever played, Lobo continued to back up his band mate’s sentiments. “An especially good sign is [that] they’re doing 18+ shows, and I think tonight was a perfect example of why that works,” he said. But Fugue was not solely responsible for getting people moving that night. Headlining band Lymbyc Systym’s dense and complex sound was incredibly impressive, building up ethereal moods and wallowing in them before bringing it all crashing down onto the listener. Lymbyc Systym, originally from Texas, creates a larger and more powerful sound with a keyboard and a drumset than most bands do with much more. Though all four bands were disparate in style, they shared the ability to fill the bar with their presence and played their hearts out. Those looking to hear some impressive alternative acts, or simply bored of the downtown scene, I urge you to check out the Monkey House’s calendar of events.