90s Metal Band Rocketsled Reunite in Honor of 242 Main

Published: January 18, 2017
When iconic Burlington venue 242 Main closed late last year, it was a huge blow. The area is still packed full of venues, of course, but 242 Main was something special. First and foremost, for more than 30 years it was a substance-free, youth-friendly safe space that focused on inclusion more than profit. And for that, it was beloved by generations of punk rockers and hardcore kids, its dingy walls rich with sweaty history, and hailed as America's oldest all-ages punk venue. Though its doors remain closed, the club's legacy lives on. This Saturday, January 21, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge in South Burlington, one of Burlington's best metal bands, Rocketsled, will reunite for a celebration of 242 Main alongside fellow distinguished BTV alumni Jesus Nut, From the Ground Up and Hemlock Verdict. It promises to be a memorable night, reuniting not just a band but a community — many of these fans and musicians haven't seen each other in 20 or more years. Rocketsled were a dominant presence in the first half of the 1990s Queen City music scene. The band's seriously talented young members went on to make huge contributions to music, locally and beyond. Post-'Sled, guitarist Daryl Rabidoux and drummer Greg Beadle founded prog-rock instrumental powerhouse the Cancer Conspiracy. Guitarist Matt Roy was a founding member of Burlington hardcore legends Drowningman. Vocalist Casey Rea did a stint on guitar with power-pop outfit the Halogens before becoming the music editor of Seven Days from 2004 to '07. Along with bassist Eric Kennison, Rocketsled left behind a remarkably forward-thinking body of work. While Rocketsled started as a four-piece, things really got rolling when they connected with a young Rabidoux, who filled out the guitar section and helped cohere the group. "Until we found him, we were like children lost in a vast sea of emptiness and despair," Roy says by phone. "He's probably been regretting it ever since." Their 1995 debut (and only) EP, '71 Nova, sounds like it was recorded a full decade later. Full of atonal math-rock intricacy laid over Beadle's crushing, primal grooves — not to mention Rea's careful balance of melody and menace — it was like Rocketsled were tuned into a whole different planet. (Especially when you consider that the charts back then were topped by the likes of Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots and ... Bush.) "We were always sort of…
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