High Water Mark: The Rise & Fall Of The Pants


Somerville Theatre - Screen 4 Fri, Apr 29, 2016 10:00 PM
Film Info
Runtime:60 minutes
Web Site:http://candleboy.com/thepants/
Additional Info


Expected to be in attendance: Director Bill Simmon

The Pants ruled the Burlington, VT, music scene in the 1990s, combining the lo-fi underground aesthetic of bands like Guided by Voices and Pavement with songwriting chops reminiscent of Pixies and Weezer’s River Cuomo. The Pants played indie rock before it had a name. They could tear the roof off with crunching postpunk noise suffused with jazzy chords and rhythms, or tug at the heartstrings with bittersweet ballads. Their singular sound garnered the attention of music labels, as well as the enduring admiration of Vermont 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.

In 2006, The Pants reunited for one triumphant, sold-out show at the Higher Ground Ballroom, Burlington’s largest rock venue. Now, though the band members have moved on to new lives, their songs live on through a dedicated network (cult?) of fans and artists. Ten years in the making, HIGH WATER MARK explores the band’s history, its lasting footprint on Burlington’s vibrant music scene, and the intense, devoted fandom it has inspired. Vermont filmmaker and Pants fan Bill Simmon has compiled interviews, photos, documents, and hundreds of hours of concert audio and video to tell the band's story.

But 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. Are The Pants “the best band you’ve never heard,” or one of thousands of talented acts that got caught up in the shifting tides of the music biz? You decide.