On July 14 of last year, when I was speeding down Monument Avenue on the way to Gallery 5, the air in my Honda Fit was thick with suspense. I was eager to see The Snowy Owls, a band I’d been listening to but hadn’t seen live, and I was just as eager to get my first taste of “WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents.” Last year was the second for the Shannon Cleary-curated WRIR fundraiser, and it proved to be a dynamite day and night of music, with 10 local bands, multiple stages and perfectly staggered set times. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Richmond music scene better at last year’s event, and it’s become clear that this year’s is going to be even more rewarding.
If Volume 2′s format provided a steady stream of sets, this year’s is more like an angry river that’s going to crest on four consecutive nights at four different venues around Richmond. And while we know the where and when for WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3 — things kick off on Thursday, July 18 at Strange Matter, followed by Balliceaux on July 19, Gallery 5 on July 20 and Bandito’s on July 21 — the who has been kept secret until the last few days, whereupon RVA Playlist, Sounds of RVA and One Way Richmond began revealing the bands who have signed up to participate.
Today, I’m honored to announce three more puzzle pieces — Wolf//Goat, Way, Shape, or Form, and Heavy Midgets. The dates and venues are listed below, along with some sample tunes to get the anticipation flowing.
July 18 at Strange Matter
Wolf//Goat — “Lobocabra” [Bandcamp]
July 20 at Gallery 5
Way, Shape, or Form
Way, Shape, or Form — “Tenants” [Bandcamp]
July 21 at Bandito’s
Heavy Midgets — “Golden Cow” [Bandcamp]
Keep an eye out for more announcements, including information about a very special mystery artist who will be returning to Richmond to perform at Balliceaux on Friday, July 19.
Hope to see you there in July!
Between the high of No BS! Brass Band’s record release show on Friday and the low of the Toots & The Maytals incident on Saturday, I spent a fair amount of time this week talking about the Richmond music community. I still consider myself somewhat new to that community, and I definitely don’t make it out to as many shows as I’d like, but the musicians who call Richmond home have come to mean a great deal to me, as have the bloggers who work hard to shine a light on the city’s amazing pool of musical talent. This coming Wednesday, May 29, at The Camel, we’ll have an opportunity pause and say thank you and happy third blog birthday (Blirthday? Yeah? No?) to a blogger who truly understands the meaning of the word “community” — Andrew Cothern of RVA Playlist.
I snapped the picture above a little after 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night. A light rain was falling on Brown’s Island and Toots & The Maytals were a few minutes from performing their rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” having already made their way through “Pressure Drop,” “Reggae Got Soul” and a handful of other classics. About 15 minutes later, when “Country Roads” was winding down, someone in the audience threw an empty liquor bottle at the stage, striking frontman Frederick “Toots” Hibbert in the forehead. He was immediately taken to the hospital, and guitarist Carl Harvey announced that the show was over. A few paralyzed minutes later, Mrs. YHT and I started a long and quiet walk back to our car.
There were so many things that I wanted to say then, and there are so many things I want to say now.
Early Friday evening, Mrs. YHT and I met up with Bandmate 4eva Doug, his wife and guest poster Gormie outside the Squirrely Gates of The Diamond and headed inside to watch the Richmond Flying Squirrels do battle with the Altoona Curve.
For three of us, it was our first game of the year. But for Doug and his wife, who recently moved back to Richmond after a few years away, this was their first time seeing the Squirrels (and their spectacular marketing team) in action. I was practically giddy. OK, whatever, I was giddy. I get a huge kick out of showing newcomers the clever branding, squirrel puns and general silliness. Some of that has to do with being fond of bad jokes, some with the fact that my day job is in marketing, but mostly it’s because I derive a sense of pride from what baseball in Richmond has become. I like being able to say to people, essentially, “Look at what we have here! Isn’t this great?!?” It’s a flattering (I think) reflection of what our city looks like at its most creative and enthused, and I can’t help feeling lucky and proud.
I feel the exact same way about No BS! Brass Band.
According to the number of dangling inchworms I’ve been unsuccessfully dodging recently, spring has sprung in my neck of the woods, and I’m hoping that warmer temperatures thaw the horrendous live music freeze-out I’ve been experiencing over the past few months. I’ve let opportunity after opportunity pass me by, but I’m ready to get back in the game, and the night before last, with about an hour to go before The Trillions showed The Camel why they remain one of the most explosive acts in town, Bandmate 4eva Doug and I took in a fantastic opening set by a Bethlehem, PA-based surf rock group called The Great White Caps.
I know we’re not all the way to true beach weather yet, and I know that decent wave-riding in Richmond is at least a few decades’ worth of global warming away, but on Wednesday night, with the first Friday Cheers looming large and the hopefulness of spring coating the city like a fresh dusting of pollen, the Caps offered a frenetic and reverb-soaked performance that was every bit as invigorating as it would have been to hop in my temporarily yellow Honda Fit, drive to Virginia Beach and jump in a 58-degree, early-May Atlantic Ocean. Just as invigorating was the clarity of The Great White Caps’ approach, which I found myself thinking about for much of their set.
As a nonrecovering merch addict, I feel that it’s my responsibility to let you know when there’s an item that’s particularly deserving of your attention/consideration/money. Now is one of those times.
There is a t-shirt you need to buy. Like, immediately. It’s pictured above (on the left), it was
made printed for Richmond-based rock band The Trillions by Triple Stamp Press, and it features lyrics from the chorus of the band’s song “What When Where.” [Update: The shirt was created and designed by Austin Auandee.]
I’ve written about this song before, and my affinity for the quoted lyrics – ”Do what you can, when you can, where you are” — is such that learning this shirt existed made me feel a little like my mind had been read, or like someone had asked me what the perfect Trillions shirt would be and then got Will Smith to zap me with the Men in Black amnesia wand thing that the Internet tells me is called a “neuralyzer.” But that’s not why you should buy the shirt. You should buy it because it will make the lives of the people around you better.
(This is the third [and probably final] post-Record Store Day open letter. To read the first, An Open Letter To The People Who Lined Up Outside BK Music On Record Store Day, click here. To read the second, An Open Letter To The Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Album That Made Me Bleed On Record Store Day, click here.)
An Open Letter To People Who Don’t Buy Records Regarding The Hoax Hunters/Snowy Owls Split 7-Inch That Was Released On Record Store Day
There’s something I want you to see. I want you to hear it too, but I want you to see it first.
Before we get to that, some quick background information… Record Store Day is an annual event that’s been held on the third Saturday of each April since 2008. Artists help independently owned music stores buoy bottom lines by releasing hundreds of limited-edition titles on vinyl all at once, generating anticipation, long lines and a subsequent buying frenzy that’s as beneficial for these locally owned businesses as it is retrospectively embarrassing for the (usually) mild-mannered folk who get swept up in the excitement and push and shove their way through crowds to grab at treasured items before they sell out. Think of it like a big game of musical chairs for record collectors, one that gives a shot of vitality to an industry that’s still in the process of reinventing itself after being hit hard by the advent of .mp3s, file sharing and iTunes.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Well damn. I like supporting local businesses and all, but I listen to all my music on my iPhone, and I’m pretty sure iPhones don’t play records.” If you said that, you’d be both correct and completely justified. Between iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, you can enjoy a lifetime’s worth of amazing music without ever leaving the warm glow of your favorite Apple device. Listening has never been more convenient, and I count that as a net win for society. But if you’ve completely given up on physical media, you’re missing out. Big time. And I’m not just talking about the free donuts Jay at Deep Groove hands out to the people waiting in line on Record Store Day.
I want to show you exactly what I mean, so I cleared off my coffee table, disassembled the split 7-inch that was released on RSD by Hoax Hunters and The Snowy Owls, and took pictures of each of its components. I want you to see the kind of stuff you’re missing out on by living your musical life solely in the digital realm…
Filed under #features, #rva
About a month ago, when 2013 was a near-blank slate with nothing but a week’s worth of scribbling on it, I posted a song by Richmond-based musician Stephen Frost. It was called “Age Of Gold,” and its release was accompanied by a YouTube video in which Frost pulled back the curtain to reveal how and why the song was created. Being the backstory junkie that I am, I was more than a little intrigued by this formula. Hearing a bright and engaging song and immediately looking under the hood to find out what makes it work so well? That’s about as good as it gets, and it’s precisely the recipe for Frost’s nascent “Paris Métro” project, which recently saw its second installment — the considerably darker “Wimyn Redux” — hit the Internet. I was so excited that I asked Frost if he would answer a few questions via email about the new song, his approach to writing and recording, and his plans for the Paris Métro project going forward.
Positive feedback comes in many forms. A thumbs-up. A compliment. A vote of confidence. If you’re a dolphin performing tricks at SeaWorld, it comes in the form of a tasty, frozen fish. Yum!
But in certain situations, the best feedback of all is total silence. The Low Branches’ January 19 album release show at Gallery 5 is a wonderful example.