This Week’s Compass

Local Music Spotlight

Who: Mark & Debbie Bond
What: Easy and classic rock, in a small package
Sounds like: Peter Gabriel, Vertical Horizon, Bon Jovi

A married couple playing a tasty blend of up-tempo rock and adult contemporary, they’re summer regulars at the Anchorage in Sunapee.   Recently, they began a residency at Ramunto’s in Claremont. “We want to be different, cater to our strengths, and take advantage of the technology we have on hand,” says Deb Bond. The result is a two-person band that sounds like four or five.

Mark and Debbie met in 1991, when both were members of Wildheart; a stint with alt-rockers Acid Bran led to a record deal and two songs in the film National Lampoon’s Last Resort. Later, they were original members of Last Kid Picked, and have played with several other area cover bands.

They cover other artists well (“Late In the Evening,” complete with horn track, is a standout), and play excellent originals. Broken, released in 2006, rocks on “Hot Day,” “All Along” and “One,” then cools down with the romantic ballad “Lipstick,” which builds to a crescendo, with Mark and Deb harmonizing and trading lead vocals.

Their union has also produced three children, and Debbie Bond says she’s “truly experienced it all: true love, incredible kids, artistic fulfillment and business success. What more can anyone ask for?” That’s sweet music, indeed.

Upcoming gigs:

Wednesday, Nov 4     7:00P    Ramunto’s, Claremont
Friday, Nov 6         7:30P    Gallery Walk – Adagio Trattoria, Brattleboro
Wednesday Nov 11     7:00P    Ramunto’s, Claremont
Saturday, Nov 14        9:30P    West Dover, Vermont (check web site for details)
Saturday, Nov 28        7:00P    Rick’s Tavern, Newfane, Vermont


Mark your calendar

Who: Susan Tedeschi
Where: Lebanon Opera House
When: Saturday, Nov 8, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30/$40/$50

To many cognoscenti, Tedeschi is the reigning queen of the blues, a guitarist who can play the chrome off a trailer hitch and sing like a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin. This show will rattle the walls of the old opera house, so you should be prepared for an earth-shaking experience. Oh, she has three Grammy nominations and a song on the Bug soundtrack, plus Allman Brothers lineage by her marriage to Derek Trucks. How cool is that?

She’s got brass as well. Asked about meeting the Rolling Stones a few years ago, she replied, “I’m not intimidated by a bunch of British rockers. I’d be intimidated by Howlin’ Wolf if I met him, but I’m not intimidated by those guys.” How about that?

Tedeschi recently sang the National Anthem at a Red Sox playoff game. In January, she appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and performed with her husband at one of Barack Obama’s inauguration balls. You decide which is more impressive.

Worth driving out of town

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Saturday, Nov. 14 – XL Center Hartford, CT (2 shows) – 132 miles
Sunday, Nov. 15 – Verizon Wireless Arena Manchester, NH (2 shows) – 70 miles
Wednesday, Nov 18 – Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence, RI (2 shows) – 169 miles
Thursday, Nov. 19 – DCU Center Worcester, MA – 105 miles
Sunday, Dec. 13 – Times Union Center Albany, NY (2 shows) – 126 miles
Tickets: $22-$68

For many, the holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving; for others, it starts when Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to town.

Some bands perform in an arena-sized venue at the expense of intimacy, but only a hockey rink can contain Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They combine Queen’s bombast with the orchestral rock of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the pageantry of Jesus Christ Superstar for a two hour-plus show replete with lasers, fire and a lighting system that looks like an escapee from Transformers.

A TSO show is typically divided into two parts. First, there’s a Christmas program featuring several different singers, most of them operatically trained and on loan from major Broadway productions. A 14-piece orchestra and seven-member rock band provide the music, with a James Earl Jones sound-alike narrating a story that’s equal parts piety and human warmth.

The rest is free form, combining non-holiday originals with arena rock staples like “Immigrant Song” and “Layla.” Since their just-released double album Night Castle is only the second without “Christmas” in the title, it will likely feature in much of the second set.

Local Rhythms – All Hail All Hallows

TimCurryRHPSIt falls on a Saturday; at the end of daylight savings time no less. So this column is all Hallows, all the time.

In my neighborhood, I have a reputation for serenading the trick or treat crowd. Here are a few tunes you’re likely to hear – thanks to my Facebook pals for their suggestions.

Let’s start with the Top Five:

Without a doubt, number one is Bobby Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” with “Werewolves of London” from Warren Zevon and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” right behind. CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” makes the cut for all those werewolf/vampire movies. “Spooky” from Classics IV is in for being sweet and creepy.

Then there are songs that deserve the top, like the wonderfully ghoulish “Welcome to My Nightmare” by Alice Cooper, or “Dead Man’s Party” – merely the best Oingo Boingo song of many. No Halloween is complete without one hit wonder Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell on You.” For hip-hop fans, Will Smith as Fresh Prince on “Nightmare on My Street” is perfect. Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters” always helps me feel the spirit.

Want freakishly weird? Try the cannibalism-themed “Timothy,” made by Rupert Holmes before his Piña Colada days.  A couple of my more esoteric friends chimed in with “D.O.A.,” a Bloodrock song about a car crash and its macabre aftermath. Then there’s the Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” which I heard on a recent trip to Salem, Massachusetts, or the Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck,” which would be banned if folks knew what it was really about. Oh, and “It’s Halloween” by the Shaggs. They’re from New Hampshire, and the song is so awful it’s charming.

Without Facebook or my electronic music maven Rhapsody, I might have forgotten the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Hell,” which urges everyone to “get ready for a suit of flame,” or Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold,” the perfect background music for doing unspeakable thing to small animals. A couple of others sure to help the mood are “Zombie” from the Cranberries and John Entwistle’s grisly baritone on the Who’s “Boris the Spider.”

For some, only Rocky Horror Picture Show will do. So here’s a tip of the witch’s hat to Tim Curry’s “Time Warp.”

Finally, the left field award goes to Richard Shindell’s “Are You Happy Now,” a song about getting dumped, followed by the ex toilet papering the house, smashing pumpkins on the lawn and stealing the trick or treat candy.

And with that, here’s my all-Hallows list of possibilities:

Newport Opera House: Last Kid Picked – This band is synonymous with Halloween in Newport since their first All Hallows gig as Werewolves of London in 1996.  There’s a full bar for this full-on masquerade ball, so pick a designated driver. 21+ $16/8pm

Claremont Moose: Shredstock 2009 – The Agonist, a female-fronted metal band from Canada, top a bill that includes Hexerei, TranScenT, Hung, and Last Chance to Reason. A costume contest will undoubtedly include more than a few studs and chains. $15/5pm

Forester’s: Kelleyville Killer – Another metal show, this time in Newport, starring the Summoned, Kelleyville Killer, Wake the Sleeping, Your Chariot Awaits and We Met Aliens. There’s a 50/50 raffle, costume contests and other fun. $10/6pm 863-9824

Silver Fern: 360 – The downtown Claremont sports bar hosts its first annual costume ball with a band that plays the hits. Cash prize for best costume, food and drink specials 21+ $5/8pm 542-5747

East Buffet: Spectris – A trio with a strong repertoire of progressive rock, their recently released Industry is one of the best local CDs of the year. They also do a rave-up cover of “Ring of Fire.” 21+ No Cover/9pm 542-8880

Salt hill Pub Newport: Saylyn – Reggae music highlights the party upstairs in downtown Newport. This is the Claremont band’s first ShP appearance. Costumes strongly encouraged. 21+ No cover/9pm 863-7774

White River Junction: Gorey Daze – Pariah Beat perform amidst the Main Street Museum’s esoterica at 6pm, a DJ spins at Tip Top Café starting at 9. In between, costumed revelers march in the street, along with psychics and a monster petting zoo. Check for prices.

Westminster Meeting House: Jatoba – Barnaby’s Backwoods Jamboree with groove kings Jatoba, and Pleasant Valley Brewing volunteer taxis shuttle to the party from downtown Saxtons River. Costume contest, haunted trail. $15/6pm 802-869-4602

Everyday Inn: Ninja Monkey – Dubbed the Harvest Moon Halloween Smash, this Bellows Falls party features raucous music from a beloved local band. Costume party with cash prizes, and free taxi service provided by Pleasant Valley Brewing. 802-463-4536

Carmella’s: Hell Night – DJ dancing tonight, and if you want two days of dress-up, the downtown Claremont Italian restaurant is having a costume contest on Friday the 30th. 542-5005

Springfield Chamber of Commerce: The Illusion – The exact location is a mystery, but this Springfield party, featuring a band that’s been around since the 1960s, is sure to be fun if you can find it. 8pm 802-885-2779