“Stop! You had me at gazebo.”

That’s right, I said gazebo. As in octagonal, open-air and usually reserved for oompa-pa brass quintets with handlebar mustaches while kids frolic on the lawn on a dusky summer night, their faces sticky with blue popsicle juice. When we heard we were going to be rocking in one, a first for all of us, Jesse‘s first words were something to that effect. But make no mistake, that thing was bleeding sap and trace amounts of arsenic (they build ’em with pressure treated lumber, you know) by the time we finished having our way with it.

Our latest foray out of town was to get up to New Hampshire for the 9th annual Keene Music Festival, and it was as picturesque a drive to a show as I’ve ever been on, traveling two hours through quaint New England farmland to get there. Did you know that butter and sugar corn is still in season, for example? Well, we didn’t either. But we didn’t have time to stop at any of a dozen roadside farmstands, and they were going to feed us when we got there anyway. Kudos to Kevin and the rest of the small but dedicated festival staff for a nice perk, along with the BEER. You know we feel about this golden libatious ambrosia how any self respecting indie band does: it’s like cigarettes in jail, or in other words, a very valuable alternate currency in our weird little Shakes the Clown style bizarro world. On learning that Magic Hat was onboard to float the festival (and us) on a wave of Burlington-brewed goodness, those last few miles were extra-thirsty. So we roll into town, pass two or three other stages set up along the way with music going on, and find the aforementioned gazebo (I just love saying that word) in the middle of a rotary in Central Square, and check in. Then we met up with Zach from Keene State, who came to interview us for the Keene Equinox, and who also turned out to be a good dude with his own band in the area. So we’re talking the same language, and he and his buddy wound up hanging out with us for the better part of an hour, just talking shop.

And of course, the show itself. Well, we’re getting better at putting on a show all the time, and this was another great opportunity to see how that translates to a bunch of people who have no idea whatsoever who we are prior to seeing us hit the stage at nine. But like Adam said, we rocked that gazebo like it was the Orpheum in Boston! The sun was still setting about half way through the set, and so we could see the most beautiful sight of all: a stream of people coming across the street to find out just what in tarnation was happening over there. It was a real “if you build it they will come” moment; very encouraging. We were gratified to see everyone paying real attention throughout our hour long set, and even more so to talk to a lot of excellent music fans after we finished. And yes, there were even a couple of cute little kids running around on the lawn while we played, to complete the Rockwellian scene.

Back at festival headquarters, they plied us with all the extra beer we could handle. By the way, how could that be? A music festival with beer LEFT OVER?! Well, we did our part. It was good to hang out with Kevin a bit more, and to hear some war stories from some of the other staff about their band days. Kevin asked us on the way out if there was anything we would recommend to improve the experience, and would we like to come back next year. Respectively the answers to those questions are no and yes! A great time, put on by people who really care about making a great time happen, in a smoking little town out in the country. Sounds worthy of a repeat performance to me. Thanks guys!

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