Basement Music Series returns

BENNINGTON — The Vermont Arts Exchange's Basement Music Series will return this month for its 14th season and third in downtown Bennington.

The series moved to Bennington's Masonic Hall prior to the 2016 season, after previously being hosted for its entire existence at the VAE's Sage Street Mill property in North Bennington, which the arts organization moved out of in 2015, after 21 years.

For each show in the series, doors will open at 7 p.m. and the performance will begin at 8 p.m. Ticket prices vary depending on the artist, but are typically between $15-20 in advance and $18-25 at the door. For more information, including the pricing for specific shows, visit The Masonic Hall is an accessible facility, but guests are encouraged to contact the VAE to discuss any specific accommodations.

The series will open on Saturday, Jan. 13 with the New England-based reggae group the Alchemystics. The five-part band describes itself as, "fueled by their passion to explore beyond the edges of traditional musical boundaries and their diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds, the Alchemystics blend reggae, politically infused hip-hop, gritty soul, hard-driving rock, and pulsing Jamaican, Cuban and Trinidadian rhythms into an utterly unique and distinctively original new sound. The result is modern-day roots music with global appeal - an alchemy of ancient musical traditions; intricate, intelligent wordplay; elementally raw soul; irresistible hooks; deep, driving rhythms; and old-school vocal harmonies - fired by the Alchemystic's unique blend of intensity, passion, and sheer artistic chemistry into a powerful, contemporary, and unmistakable sound." Learn more about them at

Coming to town on Saturday, Jan. 27 will be the Americana and bluegrass group Eastbound Jesus, which formed in a barn in Greenwich, N.Y. in 2010. "Their music draws from a diverse range of influences, from bluegrass to country to rock and roll and beyond," reads their online biography, which can be found at "They have developed a style that is distinctly their own, one they have dubbed "Northern Rock." Featuring shredding banjo and guitars, a thumping rhythm section and sweet sounding vocal harmonies, it's a sound that expresses what life is like in a small town, through all of it's changing seasons."

Just before Valentine's Day, on Thursday, Feb. 8 and Friday, Feb. 9, the Berkshires' Gypsy Layne Cabaret and Company will make their annual trip to Bennington. "Gypsy Layne's hallmark of bawdy humor, live singing, dynamic dance routines, and cheeky sex appeal are prominently featured in their sizzling shows," according to the Burlesque group's website, "Bigger, bolder, and better than ever, this tantalizing crew of saucy ladies and strapping gents will tease their way into your hearts (and other areas) with their outrageous artistry and vivacious charms." While there is no full nudity in the show, per se, this is still one best left for more mature audiences.

Also in February, Zydegroove will be rolling in on Sat. Feb. 17. "Zydegroove is a New York-based zydeco band with one prime directive — to deliver the most irresistible dance grooves possible," the group explains on their website, "Their signature country zydeco sound along with an unchained performance style sets this band in a category of its own. Started by Laren Droll on accordion, Zydegroove has been brewing for many years and has coalesced around a remarkable group of fine musicians who love rhythm and love to zydeco."

Zydeco, per Wikipedia, "is a musical genre that evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends blues, rhythm and blues, and music indigenous to the Louisiana Creoles and the Native people of Louisiana."

The shows will continue through March and April with performances by Aubrey Logan, Sean Rowe, Session Americana, The NEKtones, and The Mammals with Mike and Ruthy.

VAE Executive Director Matthew Perry said that a cash bar will be provided by Thyme Tables Catering of Shaftsbury, as will snacks by Bringing You Vermont Caf .

Perry said that this year's concert series, which typically features national and local artists from a variety of musical backgrounds, will be better than ever with the addition of a new speaker system.

For more information, or to learn about becoming a sponsor of the series, contact Perry at 802-442-5549 or

Derek Carson can be reached at, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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