“Stars-in-waiting,” “all you could want in a band,” and “gloriously shape-shifting” are how some of the 18 bands making their way to Bennington College this spring have been described by outlets like Rolling Stone, National Public Radio, and New York Magazine. The season is rounded out by the College’s annual 24-hour music festival SUNFEST, featuring a full day’s worth of outdoor music, food, and entertainment. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, March 29, 2008, 9:00 pm, Student Center
Math the Band and Lima Research Society
Math the Band, powered by two-minute electro-pop songs with titles like “everything ever is very very pretty,” joins the experimental New Jersey group Lima Research Society known for weaving together fun and eccentric lyrics with layer after layer of instruments.
Saturday, March 29, 2008, 4:00 pm, Deane Carriage Barn
Mick Moloney, an NEA National Heritage Award recipient, is both folklorist and musician and has recorded and produced more than 40 albums of traditional music, including one of the top Irish albums of 2006, McNally’s Row of Flats. Moloney has hosted three series of folk music on American Public Television and will give a lecture on traditional Irish music and Celtic culture, followed by a concert with fiddler Dana Lynn at 8:00 pm.
Monday, April 14, 2008, 8:00 pm, Deane Carriage Barn
When Otto met Vladimir: Emusic at Bennington 1952-1969
An exhibit and sound installation that traces the historic beginnings of electronic music in the United States to Bennington College. Electroacoustic music pioneer Pril Smiley ’62 will talk about her role in these early beginnings.
Tuesday, April 5, 2008 9:00 pm, Student Center
The Smittens’ unique, indie-pop tunes are born out of intense collaboration between all five band members, who frequently switch-up instruments, song writing, and singing to achieve their DIY-pop sound. Once called “relentlessly and huggably adorable” by the Boston Phoenix, the band delivers hyper-catchy music.
Friday, April 18, 2008, 9:00 pm, Student Center
Slavic Soul Party
Critically acclaimed Balkan music phenomenon Slavic Soul Party brings together fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, Gypsy accordion, and virtuoso jazz skills to create their truly one-of-a-kind sound. The nine-piece band is led by conservatory-trained Matt Moran who sees the group as “heart and feet” music, rather than formal “head” music. Although Slavic Soul Party doesn’t strain for any particular authenticity, The New York Times says “it plays its chosen music with skill and spirit.” SSP will conduct a Balkan music workshop and panel, followed by a performance in the evening.
Friday, April 18, 2008, 7:00 pm, Commons Lawn
Rock Plaza Central
Called “uniquely intoxicating” by The Independent (UK), Rock Plaza Central’s new album Are We Not Horses is a masterpiece of various musical styles brought together by evocative lyrics and powerful instrumentation. Josh Berquist of PopMatters declared Rock Plaza Central’s music “an outstanding fusion of alt-country earnestness and indie-rock absurdity.”
Saturday, May 10, 2008, 2:00 pm, The Secret Garden
Thurston Moore/Bill Nace (guitar duo)
Tatsuya Nakatani/Jake Meginsky MFA '08 (drum duo)
Best known for his shards of guitar/amp/file machinations, Bill Nace of Vampire Belt, will join the founder of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore in an experimental guitar duet.
Contemporary, international percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani will join Jake Meginsky MFA ’08, of the group X04, to headline this afternoon music extravaganza.
Saturday, May 10, 2008, 9:00 pm, Student Center
Parts & Labor
Brooklyn-based Parts & Labor roars “through the mental landscape of a post-9/11 New York,” according to The New York Times. Their most recent album, Mapmaker, has been applauded by Pitchfork for its “stunning use of space,” tight drum work, and an overall new and dynamic sound.
Sunday, May 11, 2008, 8:00 pm, Deane Carriage Barn
Art Lande, Bruce Williamson, Johannes Weidenmueller Jazz Concert
Concerts by long-time collaborators Art Lande—renowned Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and drummer—and music faculty member Bruce Williamson (sax, woodwinds) are anything but predictable. They will be joined by Johannes Weidenmueller, currently one of the most active and in-demand bassists in New York. Between the three of them, performing credits consist of a "Who's-who" list of important jazz artists and over 100 recordings.
Saturday, May 17, 2008, ALL DAY, Student Center
While open to the public, the fee for this event will be $15, which includes admittance to all performances.
Experimental rock-duo The Fiery Furnaces will be headlining this year’s Sunfest—Bennington’s highly anticipated, annual 24-hour music festival. Famous for making fascinating and idiosyncratic music, the band’s innovative style has earned them a spot on NPR’s list of Best Albums of 2007 for their most recent album Widow City. Other performers include Bishop Allen, The Boggs, The Postelles, The Kiss Off, Adventure, and comedian/performance artist Fancy Nancy.
There's more, check out Bennington's online calendar for a complete list of events.