“My sweet Summer is gone” were the lyrics sung by one of two lead singers of Dirty Heads, Jared Watson. Vermont weather suggested otherwise, at temps of a high of 90 with hardly a cloud in the sky.
Woodchuck Cider hosted another year of Ciderstock with headliners Sublime with Rome and Dirty Heads, along with Wild Adriatic and VILLANELLES. This was my second year attending, and like all good things, this event only gets better with age.
VILLANELLES kicked off the event with a little local music love. With bluegrass and “lizard music” influences, they eased the crowd into an evening full of sweet dance moves, fun beats, and some of the best audience interaction. Before their final song, they mentioned that they will be performing at Nectar’s (you know that band Phish? Yeah, where they started) come Halloween weekend.
Next up, Wild Adriatic took over. And holy shit, they sure were wild. Bassist Rich Derbyshire has dance moves as funky as the bassline he provided, with his buoyant hair with a balance of bounce and flow, much like their setlist. The guitar and vocals provided by Travis Gray were so fierce you could shred a block of Cabot cheddar on it, with his voice carrying over the mountains equally as smooth. Drums were played by Mateo Vosganian, who formed a beat so badass you couldn’t help but strut on the way to the cider line.
After a very solid build up by both opening bands, Dirty Heads claimed the stage. Watson came out, starting in a squat for the opening rap to”Burn Slow.” From then on, there was a mix of reggae, hip-hop, and acoustic alternative that only the Dirty Heads have mastered. They summoned Rome to the stage for “Lay Me Down” which could have convinced anyone that the romantic life of outlaws was for them (myself included). As the set came to a close, “That’s All I Need” rippled waves of camaraderie between everyone there. Did we all become best friends? Quite possibly. Only the majestic storytelling of the Dirty Heads could provide such a sexy mix of happiness, love, and badassery.
The sun set down on the mountains, the hot air suddenly became cool, and there was a new tone to the evening. Sublime with Rome was about to take over, everyone could feel it. Lights poured over the audience, and the aggressive “Date Rape” got everyone on their feet. From “April 26, 1992” to “40 oz. to Freedom” there wasn’t a single moment when the crowd wasn’t on fire. To see one band that has brought together multiple generations is unreal. Which makes the whole point of Ciderstock, gathering people to one place for the love of cider and music.
Myself and all the friends, new, old, and unknown, have been waiting for this weekend all Summer. Wild Adriatic and VILLANELLES could not have started out the day any better. Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome were an alternative-cross-reggae dream come true. All my love to Woodchuck, Higher Ground, and those who create events that come only once a year, but make that day beyond worth it.