Radio Bean Birthday and Elvis Costello

Yeah, you read the title right. ELVIS COSTELLO! More on that later.

Every year, Radio Bean hosts a daylong bash to celebrate the anniversary of their opening. They’ve done 13 of them, and I for one am hoping for many, many, many more.

The Radio Bean has carved out a very special place in the Burlington music scene – they have live music pretty much every day and are willing to give just about anyone an opportunity to perform for an audience. While they can’t offer much in the way of cash to the folks that play, they offer a free drink and a serious discount on the food. They also have a “hat” for tips and if you plan it right, bring in a good crowd, and keep reminding folks, you can pull in enough for gas and dinner.

Anyway, I will personally be eternally grateful to them because they have single-handedly kept me performing live by setting me up with shows and asking me to their special events like The Precipice Festival and their birthday celebration. And it is quite the celebration. Two stages. 60-something different artists starting at 8AM and running until who knows when. They also serve free coffee and pancakes all day.

Because of the number of artists playing throughout the day, everyone gets about a 10-15 minute set. Mine was supposed to start at 2, but got pushed to around 2:30 because of delays earlier in the day. I played two songs, War Pigs and Mind This Mind. I played War Pigs to honor “Meistah” Mike Deutsch, who died earlier this year. He was a huge supporter of Radio Bean and an old friend from my Currently Nameless days (and he set me up with an apartment many years ago). He was also quite the metal-head with a special place in his heart for Black Sabbath. Radio Bean’s proprietor Lee Anderson had dedicated the celebration to him earlier that morning and seemed to appreciate my humble tribute. As for Mind This Mind, it’s a bluesy/jazzy number that generally plays really well in front of new audiences, thus the second song.

One of the really cool things about the Birthday Bash is that there are so many artists playing for such a short time that it ends up being something of a showcase where you can check out a bunch of different acts that perhaps you wouldn’t have taken the time to go see at their own show. The folks that went before me were all pretty great and I wish I had been able to stay after my set was over, but given how late I started, I had to leave.


What can I say? The man is an incredibly inventive songwriter, an excellent singer, and not too shabby on the guitar. It was a solo show and lasted about two hours. He didn’t play everything that I had hoped he would (I was really hoping for So Like Candy, Veronica, and Oliver’s Army) but he did Everyday I Write the Book, Alison, and Accidents Will Happen, among many others. The highlight for me was Beyond Belief. I love that song. Love it.

So after Elvis was done, I figured I would head back to Radio Bean to see who was playing and get some of that free coffee before heading home. I was stopped at the door. Radio Bean was at maximum capacity and you had to wait to get in.

Good for them. They deserve it.

I didn’t want to wait so I went home.

Pretty fantastic day.