For a while there in 2001 Gladtree had the opportunity to put on a series of events at AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH. The idea was to bring in new musical forms to the (slightly isolated) community, a sort of mind expander. Ah, life.

June 7, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Joshua Burkett, Aaron Rosenblum, Brendan Whittaker

Brendan started off the evening with a bit of his own version of funk-folk. A sort of jammed out series of songs both traditional and original. The crowd easily absorbed this hometown boy's offerings, giving him encouragement and pushing him along through his set. This is the first I've seen of his solo work, and Brendan sure didn't disappoint.

Sandwiched in this bill was Aaron Rosenblum, hailing from New York state. He brought with him CRAZY ideas about song structure and instrumentation. Lebanites, living in a farm-based community, did not let this city boy impress them one stitch. In fact, they seemed to have it in for him, populating his opening piece with talk of 'tuning' versus 'playing'. Aaron, perhaps not ready for this intellectual banter, nevertheless dogged on and finished his set (rambling, rumbling improvisations on guitars and clatter material), remaining upbeat about the experience.

Joshua finished out the night in fine fashion. His marvelous guitar playing soared, powered along by his whispering voice and quavering whistle. Each song flew around the gallery with ease and majesty, before being sucked into the minds of those present. The audience stirred and bent under a collective emotion, taking cue from the man before them. One of the best performances I've seen.

June 22, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Phloyd Starpoli and Matt Krefting Solos + Duo

Matt and Phloyd each performed a solo set, then wrapped up the evening with a roaring duo.

Phloyd Starpoli is a master musician. His control of his instrument (trombone) and his poise in front of an audience are of the kind everyone else is striving for. Tonight Phloyd dragged incredible sounds out of his horn. Bellowing and squakking, buzzing and twittering, he marched around the gallery and amongst the audience, forcing even the lazy into some kind of recognition.

Wrestling guitar on this outing, Matt stunned and shunned the crowd with layers of raunch-fuzz and a cherry on top. True translations of the mind and emotion came leaping and crawling from his beleagered amp, only pausing for a second to catch their bearings before tearing through the gallery walls and running wild in the streets. Too bad you missed this one.

July 12, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Dredd Foole, Willie Lane

A sculpture exhibit in the main gallery meant that we were moved to the teaching studio for this show. Still a nice big room, and still with character. As the darkness moved in on the day, Willie Lane kicked off the evening with guitar improvisations. Did his playing come straight from the history of rural Maine? Did it come from the Greater Conscience? It came from a man. And who's to say that this man wasn't plugged into something big and right. Three pieces: one accoustic and two electric. All three captivating the audience, who sat silenced with awe. They knew they were witnessing something great. Dredd Foole (pronounced "Dreadful Foole" by one concert-goer) came on next and came on strong. Playing songs for guitar and vocals, both heavy on reverb, he blasted through any defenses that may have been up. His wailing vocals climbed into shrill feedback loops, causing some audience members to cringe. Others smiled. Dredd Foole smiled.

July 27, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Marc Bisson and Walter Wright

I hadn't heard anything by or about these two fellows before the show. They came out of the Boston area improvisors' scene. Marc played prepared guitar and Walter manipulated video in real-time using a program he wrote. Once again, we were in the teaching studio, with a fair turnout. The show began, the guitar brought on drone and clashing noise. The videos scrambled and mated in their own time. It was nice having the visual effect to give the show more accessibility and attraction. Marc and Walter asked me to join in after a break for refreshments. After a run home for gear (thanks Dennis) I obliged. Marc and I both played guitars and it seemed to go well, playing off each other. We even got to have one of those parts where you play the guitar really fast and loud and noisy.


September 15, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Phi Phenomena

The Phi Phenomena was once a yearly event that showcased ten bands, each playing for five minutes with one minute breaks (Click here to view their website). This year they decided to take the fun on the road, and Lebanon ended up on the itinerary. They rolled into town in their RV plus a side car or two. We decided to make it a bit of a challenge, to see if they could really pull everything off like they planned. The clock was set and the whistle blew. The bands ran through their finish without a hitch - the whole thing was over with time to spare. Content included noise, performance art, indie pop, and destruction, as well as various combinations.

The rest is from Blastitude #16 (January 2004):

...Next we play the small town of Lebanon, New Hampshire at the AVA Gallery. One of the guys from Son of Earth/Flesh on Bone set this show up. He's also made a giant taco salad for everyone. You could see the fear in his eyes as everyone descended on the free food like a pack of jackles and devoured the grub in what seemed like seconds flat. This show probably had the most mellow vibe. There were little kids and parents in attendance. The show opener is Frosting which is Tanya and Stephenia acting out a light hearted psycho-drama. I sell a lot of merchandise to my amazement. Some one gives us cookies and lemonade at the end of the night. Everyone seems to have had a lot of fun tonight. The locals seemed real receptive and generally enthused by our performances. Later on I find out that the gallery owners tell the promoter he's no longer welcome to book shows there.

Show #12
Sunday, September 16
Lebanon, NH

Lebanon :
tra la poca gente ci sono dei bambini, cosa avranno pensato?
gran concerto degli UL : tributo ai Cock ESP il posto ci d da mangiare, la prima volta.

Sunday 9/16/01 We found a place to dump on the way to Lebanon, NH. We also refilled our holding tank from a faucet labeled, "Danger, unsafe water." A journey through the wilderness brought us to Lebanon's AVA gallery. On the second floor, John Shaw had prepared a meal of chips and dips that we devoured before the show. Tanya sang from Die Fleidermaus while Stephania used paint and a scissors to try to kill her in a performance called Frosting to open the evening. Proportionally to Lebanon's size (population 12,000) our audience was tremendous, possibly in part due to our coverage on the front page of the entertainment section of the local paper, which included an encouragement for us to play funky music. The Phi-Phenomena lasted long enough and Unconditional Loathing used their five minute set to do two tributes to Cock ESP, one mime and one acapella, with a one minute intermission for cookies and juice in between. After the show we drove to Boston, where we stayed with Sam and Tim at Infrasound. Sam made a great breakfast featuring grits and potatos and we headed out to explore Cambridge...

October 5, 2001 @ Ava Gallery, Lebanon, NH
Sunburned Hand of the Man, Joy Scouts, Jeff Patlingrao


Try as we might, we never could find another venue for this show. This was at a crux position in Gladtree's development in the Upper Valley. This show was not the only one to meet this fate. Many others slated for the coming months were eventually scrapped as well. The sad thing about this show in particular was that all the press had already gone out, donations were secured, and the bands were ready to go. I hated to see Gladtree's series in Lebanon end on such a sour note. Are we to believe it was meant to be?