Higher Ground Celebrates 25 Years With an All-Star Local Music Event | Music News + Views | Seven Days

click to enlarge Bob Wagner - FILE: LUKE AWTRY ©️ SEVEN DAYS

  • File: Luke Awtry ©️ Seven Days
  • Bob Wagner

South Burlington music venue Higher Ground is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a show harkening back to its inception.

“Back in ’98 when the club opened in Winooski, they launched it with Trey’s first solo band,” said Burlington guitarist Bob Wagner (Kat Wright, Dark Side of the Mountain), referring to Phish guitarist and singer Trey Anastasio.

In April of that year, Anastasio brought together a band under the moniker 8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes,  including drummer Russ Lawton and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, to musically cut the ribbon on the brand new nightclub. That show was on Wagner’s mind when Higher Ground co-owner Alex Crothers asked him to put together something to celebrate the anniversary of the club’s opening.

“I’ve seen some of the best shows of my life at Higher Ground, and I’ve been lucky enough to play there often, so it meant a lot to me when Alex trusted me with this,” Wagner continued. “I wanted to do something that would honor the beginning of it all, as well as the spirit of it.”

A New Book Celebrates 25 Years of Higher Ground Concert Posters
Pages from <i>ECHO: A Survey at 25 Years of Sounds, Art and Ink on Paper</i>

A New Book Celebrates 25 Years of Higher Ground Concert Posters

By Amy Lilly

Visual Art

So Wagner reached out to some of his closest collaborators in the local music scene to form 4 Foot Phosphorescent Cubes, a tribute of sorts to the club’s first night in business. The all-star band plays the Higher Ground Ballroom on Thursday, April 13.


click to enlarge Kat Wright - MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS

  • Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • Kat Wright

“I wasn’t sure if it was a crazy idea or not, but I just thought it would be so cool to honor that show and try to re-create it, in our own way,” Wagner  said.

Joining the guitarist are his bandmates Josh Weinstein (bass) and vocalist Kat Wright, Corey Wilhelm (Bombino) on drums, percussionist Daiki Hirano (Grace Potter), Sad Turtle and Purple keyboardist Mike Fried, guitarist Matt Hagen (the High Breaks, Matt the Gnat), as well as a horn section composed of Dave Grippo, Jake Whitesell and Connor Young.

click to enlarge 4 Foot Phosphorescent Cubes - COURTESY OF ARTIST

  • courtesy of artist
  • 4 Foot Phosphorescent Cubes

“It’s so cool that we’ll have Dave [Grippo] there, considering he was part of Trey’s band that night,” Wagner pointed out.

Lawton and Paczkowsi will also return for the celebration, opening the show with their band Soule Monde.

The show will feature two sets of all-original music, much of it written for the occasion, according to Wagner, who also promises some surprise guest appearances.

Tickets are available at and at the box office.

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