BRATTLEBORO >> Back in 2003, Fancy Trash performed their first Brattleboro gig, which had been scheduled for a Saturday night at the now defunct Common Ground on Elliot St.
Unfortunately, the venue was in the midst of some hard financial times, and an unpaid utility bill led to the vegetarian club offering a re-schedule for the rock trio. They could now choose to play a 5 p.m. dinner show- unamplified while customers munched on tofu by candlelight, since the place had their electricity shut off.
This writer happened to interview the rock band's lead singer/guitarist Dave Houghton for a preview of the show right after he got the somewhat disappointing news. "It will be interesting", he said. "It's how the band started, unplugged."
The undaunted Houghton was game also citing his experience busking on the streets and subways of New York. "In a stripped down environment I have to sing a little louder. It was good to project through the mayhem."
Thirteen years later, Houghton and his comrades will be returning to Elliot Street this Saturday night for an amplified show at the Metropolis Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge.
I asked the singer about the Band's journey since those early days. "The vision was and still is to be the most bad ass acoustic trio there is. My former Keene High friend, Jason Smith, joined as drummer and Paul Kochanski joined us on bass eight years ago. We've made five albums but love the experience of performing live. As Paul said, "It's different everytime".
So what can attendees expect from the group this time around? "We throw in an element of psychedelic experimentation and sonic resonance," added Houghton. "We've become less folky and more punk influenced because the local scene has become saturated with Americana. You can still hear folk in the melodies and songs but the overall delivery is something else entirely. Let's just say it's never boring for the audience. We want people to feel moved and taken on a journey with us. I think it's easy to see and feel the chemistry of the trio and people are able to tap into that with us during each show."
Before forming Fancy Trash, Houghton fronted the Colorado-based band The Reejers for nearly a decade. That group made a splash, touring the country opening for the likes Neil Young, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Violent Femmes. Eventually, Houghton burned-out and quit The Reejers to relocate to the Pioneer Valley to be near his family in Spofford, N.H.. (Mom was born in Brattleboro).
His family was integral in igniting and nourishing Houghton's passion for making music. "My dad played piano and banjo and his mother played piano. My dad was a traveling salesman and he wasn't around very much. But I remember a few times when he sat down and played boogie-woogie until the morning. He also gave me my first guitar when I was 17".
Houghton also cited his oldest brother as key opening the door to rock n' roll, though like many siblings there were some differences in taste. "He loved the Stones. My first record was The Beatles' Yellow Submarine and he hated it. He even scratched it so I'd stop playing it. He handed me Sticky Fingers and I was a convert."
Houghton got huge support from his folks to follow his muse. "I wrote my first song after a friend died and my dad let me have the day off from school to write it. My mom said the guitar has always been my salvation".
Fancy Trash is set to appear Saturday 9 p.m. at Metropolis Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge 55 Elliot St., Brattleboro. For more information call 802-490-2255.