High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants

Dedalus Wine & Eyes of the World welcome

High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants

Sat, Mar 26, 2016

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Higher Ground Ballroom

$18 advance | $20 day of show

This event is all ages

High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants
High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants
We are pleased to announce a very special evening honoring the artistry of The Pants, one of Burlington Vermont’s most locally renowned rock bands of the last 20 years.

The evening begins with the world premiere of High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants, the first feature-length documentary from award-winning Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon. A short Q&A with the director follows the screening.

Then it's a musical tribute to the band featuring interpretations of The Pants songbook by, Burlington’s own Swale featuring Tom Lawson (the Pants, Chainsaws of Babylon) and special guests: Ryan Miller (Guster), Heloise Williams (Heloise & The Savior Faire, Viperhouse), Casey Rae (Rocketsled), Ryan Ober (The Loose Ends, Invisible Jet), Craig Mitchell (The Orange Factory), Jason Cooley (The Blue Button, Led Loco, The Fags), Chris Ziter & Jeff Baron (Essex Green, Guppyboy) James Kochalka and other surprise performers.

Capping things off will be a bonus “Throwback Set” featuring: Construction Joe, Wide Wail, James Kochalka Superstar, Activist/Dictators & Factory Edge


The Pants ruled the Burlington, Vermont, music scene in the 1990s, combining the lo-fi underground aesthetic of bands such as Guided By Voices and Pavement with songwriting chops reminiscent of the Pixies and Weezer’s River Cuomo. The Pants played “indie rock” before it had a name. They could tear the roof off with crunching post-punk suffused with jazzy chords and rhythms. They could just as easily leave ladies swooning and guys crying in their beers with their bittersweet ballads. Their singular sound garnered the attention of music labels as well as the enduring admiration of BTV contemporaries such as Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, James Kochalka Superstar and Trey Anastasio of Phish.

But as the ’90s came to a close, this buzz band from Burlington seemed to burn out as quickly as it had blown up, leaving many to wonder what had happened. In 2006, nearly a decade after calling it quits, the band reunited for one triumphant, sold-out show at the Higher Ground Ballroom, the city’s largest rock venue.

Now, almost exactly 10 years after that show and as the band members have moved on to new bands, new careers, families, etc; the songs of the Pants still live on through a dedicated network (cult?) of fans and artists inspired by a band that few outside of northern Vermont have still ever heard of.

High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall of the Pants explores the band’s lasting footprint on Burlington's vibrant music scene and the intense, devoted fandom they've enjoyed. It chronicles their struggle to “make it” in the late 1990s, in the last days before the internet era would forever change the music industry. The film also asks hard questions about the personal toll of ambition and what can happen when a big fish tries to swim upstream to a larger pond. High Water Mark is a story that happened in Burlington. But it’s a tale that no doubt rings familiar in countless music scenes around the country.

Are the Pants “the best band you’ve never heard,” or one of thousands of talented acts that got caught up in the tumultuous shifting tides of the music biz? The answer might be both. Experience the story and music of the Pants, then, you decide.

There’s way more than just fire,
From which you can get burned,
That’s why I’m saying,

— 2000 by the Pants
Venue Information:
Higher Ground Ballroom
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403