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Band creates genre harmony

Burlington’s Second Agenda fuses hip-hop and rock

Published: Thursday, October 6, 2011

Updated: Friday, October 7, 2011 15:10

Second Agenda

The Vermont Cynic SARAH STICKLE

Second Agenda performs at the Radio Bean in downtown Burlington on Sept. 24. Second Agenda's CD titled "Hope is a Must" was released in July.

Things were running behind schedule, yet smoothly, on Sept. 24 at the Radio Bean as Michael Plante, DJ for Burlington hip-hop/rock band Second Agenda, put out a mailing list sign-up sheet that read "Extended Family" at the top.

In a world saturated with mediocre DJs, Plante is an exception. Spinning everything from "Star Wars" quotes to dynamic sound effects, he does nothing but add to Second Agenda's sound, which otherwise consists of two vocalists, an electric guitar, an electric bass and a drum kit.

With any one of the members missing, the band would sound thin and incomplete, but together they create an undeniable wall of sound and energy.

Second Agenda's "Hope is a Must" was released in July and is an interesting album in the best ways possible.

From the kickoff title track that features many local greats, such as Tim Swanson on violin, the album presents excitement to the listener.

"You can't stop evolution, let your heart beat the solution … I can't wait ‘til the day when there's not hate," Andy Lugo, the primary writer in the band, sings.

Politically and socially aware and angry, Second Agenda is all about hope, compassion and standing up for what they believe in.

Now, the band's lyrics are amazing. The turntables are exceptional. Plante does a phenomenal job treating them as an instrument.

Lugo's guitar playing is a weird cross between simple folk chords and Jimi Hendrix that no one else on the planet could likely have dreamed up and made sound good — seriously though, Hendrix lovers: check out "Liez in Diskyz" on "Hope is a Must." You will dig it.

Joshua Cleaver's bass lines are perfect and his harmonies on Lugo's leads are to die for.

In seeing Second Agenda live, however, what stood out most was the drumming. Drummer Trevor Jewett is an artist. While he is not the songwriter or the front man, he holds the band together like Gorilla Glue.

Practically dancing from his drum stool, Jewett smiled, laughed and pumped out some amazing beats.

Jewett leads the band in a way that many drummers cannot do from the back of the stage, but he drives the energy that lives in all the members like turning a spark into a flame. He doesn't over-do or under-do anything, which is rare in a drummer.

Second Agenda is the perfect combination of people in everything from instrumental to intellectual compatibility. No member is, in any way, replaceable.

 

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