The Future of Western Mass Music Is Here: Next Wave Stage at Green River Fest

Silhouettes of crowd at a rock concert

On July 14, attendees of the Green River Festival will get a taste of the future of music in the Valley. The Next Wave Stage will feature a five-band concert with local bands with members ages 18 and younger. As a bonus, anyone 18 and under gets into the festival for free that day.

During the spring, bands from Western Mass and Southern Vermont applied to get on the stage’s debut lineup. Jim Olsen, president of Signature Sounds and the festival’s director, says he added Next Wave to the festival this year to encourage up-coming artists to keep performing and making new music.

The Valley Advocate’s online concert series Sessions is sponsoring the stage for pretty much the same reasons: If you don’t promote young musicians, in a couple years, you won’t have any musicians and life will be bleak. You can also check out future Sessions episodes — posted every Friday afternoon — to see these five bands performing there on various dates throughout the year.

Performing artists will be …

Paper City Exile: 5:30-6 p.m. Alternative rock band from South Hadley, features Dan Conway on vocals and guitar, Zeno Quinn, bass, and Jackson Silverman on drums.

Kalliope Jones: 6:15-6:45 p.m. Vocally-driven, this soul-infused, indie rock trio is from Shelburne Falls. Alouette Batteau on vocals and drums, Amelia Nields Chalfant, vocals and bass, and Isabella DeHerdt on vocals and guitar.

Court Etiquette: 7-7:30 p.m. This indie-rock and roots outfit from Northampton includes Isaac Bond on bass, Gabe Brodeur on vocals and guitar, Ethan Grant on keyboards, Chris Raphael-Reily on drums, and Charlie Ryan on guitar.

Nomad vs. Settler: 7:45-8:15 p.m. Hailing from Brattleboro, Vermont, this indie-rock group’s lineup is Owen James on bass, Rei Kimura on vocals and guitar, Archer Parks on guitar, and Milou Rigollaud on drums.

Parlicium: 8:30-9 p.m. This indie rock band from Western Massachusetts features Kim Chin-Gibbons on guitar, drums and vocals; Tobias LaMontagne, vocals, guitar and drums; and Lane Moore on bass, guitar and piano.

— Kristin Palpini, editor

Rocking in exile

Paper City Exile is no stranger to the Valley Advocate. The South Hadley/ Holyoke-based trio that fuses R&B with bluesy alternative rock and surf music was featured on the Valley Advocate Sessions stage in December 2016.

The group consists of Dan Conway on vocals, guitar, and keyboard; Zeno Quinn on bass guitar; and Jack Silverman on drums. Quinn and Silverman graduated this year from Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley and Conway will be a senior at the school this fall.

There’s a great diversity of influences that factor into the band’s sound, Conway says. He’s a fan of Dinosaur Jr. and the band’s lead guitarist and singer, J. Mascis, while Quinn and Silverman are big fans of pop punk bands.

“Justin Pizzoferrato from Sonelab [in Easthampton] — J. Mascis’ engineer, we work with him a lot,” Conway said. “He said we sound halfway between Dinosaur Jr. and ZZ Top.”

Paper City Exile’s best known songs are “Still Smiling,” an upbeat raucous rock song with bluesy riffs, and “Song for Emily,” a distorted grunge-like confessional that sounds like Kurt Cobain meets Jack White. The band released its first self titled full length album in March, which was recorded at Sonelab.

Conway says the band didn’t take an experimental approach in the studio.

“We didn’t want to sound any different in the studio than we sound live,” he says. “It can get pretty empty if you sort of hype up all the tracks; if you have six guitar tracks on one song and then you go straight live with just one.”

The band is excited to play Green River Fest and “it’s up there” as one of the biggest shows they’ve ever played, Conway says.

“We’ve been wanting to play Green River for a really long time,” he says. “Every time it comes around we always hope that we’ll have a chance to get up there and this year we did.”

Conway said he’s uncertain about the band’s future once he starts college. “We’re going to figure that out as we go,” he says.

“I learned a lot from this project and I’m hoping to go to college for music and I think actually being in a semi-professional band is the best way to learn the business. Anybody who’s just starting out or is wary of gigging, there’s no better way to getting to know the business than actually being in it,” Conway says.

— Chris Goudreau,  cgoudreau@valleyadvocate.com

All-female, all-awesome

Kalliope Jones has been together for five years, starting when members were 11, 11, and 13. They met at the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen, played their first gig at the Lady and the Amp Fest run through the institute, and shortly thereafter had their debut opening for And The Kids at the Iron Horse.

The trio is made up of Alouette Batteau, Amelia Nields Chalfant, and Isabella DeHerdt, now 15, 16, and 18 respectively. They play rock ’n’ roll and strive to write poetic lyrics. Some, like their song “Nightlight,” speak to wild times, while others, like “Raise Your Hand,” are aimed at political activists.

In an interview with the Advocate, Batteau — who plays the drums — says as an all-female rock group, the band is not what society expects from three teenage girls.

“Playing the drums, it is rough. People underestimate my abilities and skills and that is hard. A lot of females in the music industry face things like that and are seen as sex objects rather than highlighted for their musicianship,” she said.

Batteau got into music first by playing the piano, but had the confidence to learn the drums in part because that is what her mother plays.

“Just being able to hold the rhythm section and be the soul and the core of the song, it was grounding and helped me get to be a better musician,” she said.

The band is looking forward to its gig on the Next Wave Stage at the Green River Festival.

“It is always valuable to us when we are provided a space in which to perform with other youth musicians,” Batteau says. “Gigs during which we can build those ties and play in those settings are always the most fun for us.”

The group plans to play some of their established songs, but are also in the process of writing new material. Batteau isn’t saying too much, but notes the presidency changing hands to Donald Trump has affected what they are writing.

“We’ve been a band for years and most of that time we wrote songs that are not so political as we have been lately due to the current political situation,” she says. “There’s been a lot more emotion we can unleash through our song-writing about social and political issues.”

Batteau and Nields Chalfant just finished their sophomore years of high school, and DeHerdt graduated high school this year, and will be going to Wellesley College. The band plans to stay together.

“We’re going to keep on playing and see where our music takes us,” Batteau says.

— Dave Eisenstadter,  deisen@valleyadvocate.com

One album down, two to go

Court Etiquette is four-piece indie pop band from Northampton that doesn’t shy away from its variety of influences, including roots rock bands like Wilco and NRBQ, indie rock such as Pavement, and funk groups such as the Meters. The band is made up of Gabe Brodeur on vocals/guitar, Ethan Grant on keyboards, Chris Raphael-Reily on drums, and Charlie Ryan on guitar. All of the members of the band are 16 years old and are going to be juniors at Northampton High School in the fall. Court Etiquette will play the Next Wave Stage, 7-7:30 p.m.

Brodeur is the main songwriter and lyricist for Court Etiquette, but the song-writing process is collaborative between band members with each person writing their own parts.

All of the members of the band have attended Green River Fest in the past and hoped to play the festival, Brodeur says.

“It’s going to be really amazing because I’ve grown up with the Green River Festival. All the other bands on Friday night that we’re playing with are really good bands, too,” Raphael-Reily says.

The band is best known for originals such as , “Above Me,” a dream pop influenced song with airy vocals and jangly guitars.

Court Etiquette is in the process of recording a full length album, Brodeur says. They’ve recorded four songs with recording/ mastering engineer Mark Alan Miller at Sonelab in Easthampton.

“Now we’re in the process of getting the second third of the album at Spirithouse [in Northampton] with Danny Bernini and we should be finishing up soon,” Brodeur says.

The full length album doesn’t have a title yet, but the band is leaning towards a self-titled record, he said.

High school gym class isn’t an uncommon way to find a band name. 1970s southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd took their name from their high school basketball coach, Leonard Skinner, who told members of the band that they’re hair was too long. Court Etiquette’s name also has an unusual gym class story.

“We had gym class together and we were in a tennis unit and I think we got yelled at by the gym teacher for not having good court etiquette, so then we decided, ‘Oh, that would be a good band name,’” Brodeur says. “Three out of the four members; we all play on the Northampton High School tennis team now.”

Court Etiquette is determined to continue making music after high school, Brodeur says.

“We have plans to do a Northeast tour next year and possibly a Southeast tour and we were talking at least taking a gap year to tour and we’ll see what happens after that,” he says.

— Chris Goudreau,  cgoudreau@valleyadvocate.com

Shock and awe

Funky bass, jazz-tinged guitar, soulful vocals, and a penchant for indie rock experimentation. Brattleboro, Vermont-based Nomad vs Settler has all of these elements in their music and more that you’ll be able to witness firsthand as they play their set on the Next Wave Stage from 7:45 to 8:15 p.m.

Nomad vs. Settler consists of 14-year-old Rei Kimura on lead vocals, 16-year-old Archer Parks on guitar, 13-year-old Owen James on bass, all from Brattleboro; and 17-year-old Milou Rigollaud, of Greenfield, on drums.

The band’s influences include contemporary female vocalist-driven artists such as Lake Street Dive (who is playing Green River this year!), Rubblebucket, and tUnE-yArDs as well as The Strokes, Wilco, Arctic Monkeys, and Northampton-based rock band LuxDeluxe. However, each band member brings something unique to the group, Kimura says.

“I am extremely excited to be playing the Green River Fest. I’ve gone to the festival for the past two years watching in awe of the musicians playing, such as Rubblebucket and Shakey Graves hoping that I’d get a chance to be apart of the fest in upcoming years, so I’m honored to have been given this opportunity to play at the Next Wave Stage,” Kimura says.

Parks says the band is trying to get as many practices in as they can before the show next weekend.

“We understand it’s a big deal … We have been working on a couple new songs now. We might debut a few new songs possibly,” he says.

Nomad vs Settler released a self titled five-song EP in September, 2016, that includes the upbeat catchy disco-funk/soul hybrid “Bumblebee Song” and the haunting jazz tune, “Dust to Dust.”

Right now the band is making lo-fi home recordings, but hope to record a full album in the future, Parks says.

“We’re trying to save up some money from gigs for studio time,” he says. “It’s definitely a goal that we want to get to.”

— Chris Goudreau,  cgoudreau@valleyadvocate.com

Talking can be terrifying, but singing is freedom

Parlicium lead guitarist Kim Chin-Gibbons speaks in a soft voice that is hard to hear over the busy clanking and grinding going on at the Haymarket cafe in Northampton. I tuck my hair behind my ear and lean in to find out what a “Parlicium” is.

“We were looking for a name for months and months and nothing was right. So, we took out an old dictionary, flipped it open and pointed to a word,” she says. “And this is what we found: Parlicium (par-liss-ee-um), a constellation of stars that has disappeared. It felt fitting for our band.”

Chin-Gibbons, 16, of Amherst, is lead guitarist in Parlicium, one of the five Next Wave Stage bands playing Green River Fest — they go on at 8:30 p.m., July 14, Friday. We’re at Haymarket with her mother as well as bandmate/singer Tobias LaMontagne, 17, of Ashfield, to talk about the band and their debut before such a large audience — and I’m regretting the choice of such a packed place with a juice blender to do this interview.

Talking, LaMontagne notes, isn’t really his thing. The members of Parlicium prefer to express themselves through their music.

“I’ve never been a talkative person, but when stuff’s going on, I pick up a guitar and write a song and say the things you could never talk about to people,” LaMontagne says. “You can write a song and sing it and no one knows it’s you. It’s great.”

Parlicium’s music is laced with tender emotions that may waver, but never falter. On the band’s single, “Emily,” a slow guitar strum that hints at pain does a duet with LaMontagne’s soft voice, which, at times, is reminiscent of Elliott Smith, but more pop. The music is dreamy and catchy. You can hear the breathiness of LaMontagne’s father, Grammy-winning folk singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne, in his voice.

Parlicium is a trio, but bassist Lanie Moore, 15, of Sunderland, couldn’t make it today. LaMontagne and Moore have been jamming together for two years, but Chin-Gibbons didn’t join until the fall.

“Our shows are kind of calm,” Chin-Gibbons says, “but there are certain times we’ve just got to be bold and electric.”

The band has played shows around Ashfield and Goshen, Chin-Gibbons and LaMontagne say, but have never played anything on the scale of Green River Festival, which attracts about 14,000 people. Parlicium is working on a cover of Joe Cocker’s classic “Feelin’ Alright” for the fest as well as putting some more polish on their own tunes. And after Green River, it’s on to playing the the Institute for the Musical Arts Lady and the Amp Fest, Aug. 19, in Goshen.

“It’s so welcoming to upcoming artists to do this,” Chin-Gibbons says of the Next Wave Stage. “I’m just happy that we can be a part of this. It’s great.”

— Kristin Palpini,  editor@valleyadvocate.com

Author: Advocate Staff

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