It's A-Dog Week!
BY DAN BOLLES [02.06.13]
It is A-Dog Week here in the Queen City. Well, unofficially, at least. Sadly, I’m told I don’t have the power to officially designate special, citywide holidays — see my ill-fated attempts at “Ed Bemis Day,” “Trey Look-alike Week” and “Dan Bolles Appreciation Month.” I’m told it has something to do with my not being the mayor. Well played, Miro.
Anyway, if I did wield such power, my first act would be to designate the upcoming seven days as A-Dog Week, since we’ll have not one, not two, but three blowout bashes raising money to help the estimable local DJ — aka Andy Williams — offset the cost of his ongoing treatment for leukemia.
The first such benefit is this Wednesday, February 6, at Nectar’s and features Williams’ old hip-hop group, Tha VT Union, reuniting for their first show since 2010 — see last week’s Soundbites for the full story.
Bennie number two is the following night, Thursday, February 7, at Red Square, where A-Dog has been a fixture since … well, as long as I can remember. I’ve been sneaking into that joint since I was, like, 19, so let’s just say it’s been a while. (Note from the 7D legal team: Sorry! Please don’t arrest Dan.)
The Red Square show will feature a smorgasbord of local DJ talent including Cre8, Mashtodon, Kata & Con Yay, Stavros, Dee Jay Baron, Robbie J, Bonjour-Hi!’s Vidi Vici, Dakota, Mario and the godfather of BTV house DJs, Craig Mitchell.
Completing the Fitid hat trick, Higher Ground will host a massive blowout on Monday, February 11, with DJs spinning in both rooms, including Baron, Vidi Vici and Cousin Dave in the Showcase Lounge. Meanwhile, in the Ballroom, highlights include Lazerdisk Party Sex, Nexus Artist’s Chris Pattison and another reunion of local hip-hop royalty, Eye Oh You, which featured post-Belizbeha Fattie B and Konflik on the mics and A-Dog on the ones and twos, and was an evolutionary precursor to the aforementioned VT Union.
Oh, yeah, the show also features the legendary DJ Z-Trip, who is among the most revered live-performance DJs on the planet and an incomparable producer — just ask Public Enemy, who tabbed him on their last record. He’s also a personal friend of A-Dog, dating back to their days rocking parties for Burton and Gravis. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, he’s kind of a big deal.
I think most of us expected an exceptional outpouring of support for A-Dog, who is not only one of the region’s finest turntablist but one of the friendliest and most likable people you could ever meet. But even I didn’t anticipate the community rallying around him to this degree. It’s been astonishing. The Higher Ground show will be at least the fifth major benefit in Williams’ honor since his diagnosis in December. And each has been very successful. I don’t see that trend changing this week.
I had the chance to chat with Williams over the weekend. We spoke by phone — his immune system is still recovering from two rounds of chemotherapy, so visitors are kept at a minimum to decrease the risk of infection.
Anyone who has experienced chemotherapy or watched a loved one go through it knows how debilitating it can be. And it can take weeks, or months, to recover even a fraction of that lost energy. But chatting with Andy, I was struck by how normal he seemed. During our 20-minute conversation, I never once got the sense that I was speaking to a gravely ill man. Maybe a little bored — hospitals don’t offer much in the way of entertainment, though he has been making remixes on his laptop, enlightening younger nurses on the finer points of A Tribe Called Quest and catching up on TV. But not sick. He sounded like his usual, upbeat self.
Perhaps it’s because Andy is hopefully on the back nine with his in-patient treatment and is physically recovering. But — at the risk of being maudlin — I think a lot of it has to do with the support the local music community has sent his way.
It’s a cliché that the power of positive thinking can affect healing. But as someone who has recently seen a family member battle cancer (which has, against very long odds, gone into remission), I can tell you it’s absolutely true. This stuff matters.
Williams declined to answer questions about his prognosis and when he might begin outpatient treatment, mostly because he doesn’t really know and he doesn’t want to give false hope.
But he did say he’s deeply moved by the community support, and that he hadn’t quite realized how many lives he has touched.
“The support has been unbelievable,” said Williams. “But I had a feeling Burlington would be there for me. It always has been.”