Posted by: Necci – Jul 16, 2012
A funny thing happened to me on the way back from my last Lemuria show. As I met up with a few friends, I received a text from my girlfriend at the time. As you can imagine, one thing lead to another, conversations were had, and the relationship was no more. It never tarnished my ability to listen to Lemuria, but you can imagine that it might make me a bit worried about what could follow my next chance to catch the band live. Would new love be discovered? Would tragedy strike? Would I just end up going home and watching old episodes of Veronica Mars? As it turned out, none of the above occurred. Instead, I was content to merely see Lemuria play one of their strongest sets I have caught yet.
Volunteer was already underway by the time I arrived at Gallery 5. Considering that this was one of their first shows, the four-piece Richmond punk outfit showed immediate promise. Therefore it came as no surprise that Volunteer featured members of Brainworms and Landmines. An inspired cover of The Weakerthans “Aside” helped to declare the group's immediate influences, and they had a good rapport with the audience. Bands like this are a further testament as to why it’s so important for new bands to hit the ground running. It’s sets like these that leave impressions with audiences, and will hopefully cement the reputation of Volunteer as a band to watch as they get better and better.
Out of the three openers, the one that stuck out to me was Family Cat. Every aspect of the group triggered ideas of genres and sounds that tremendously appeal to me. There were instances of post-hardcore as well as moments that seemed to be taken from the heydays of Hot Water Music and Leatherface. Their kinetic style seemed unmatched. It was a delight to witness a sound like this re-emerging in such an unexpected way. It's a shame that guitarist/singer Tyler Walker will be moving to Austin soon. The band plans to figure out a way to carry on, though, especially in light of a respectable and prolific set of releases that they have on the way for the rest of the year.
Hold Tight! was the last of the local openers, and their reputation certainly preceded them. With their phenomenal sing-a-longs and frantic energy, it’s no wonder that they continue to prevail as one of the best punk outfits Richmond has to offer. Their set was quick and succinct, and showed how effective a tight set can be when the songs stand on their own and mesh well with the rest of the group’s ever-expanding catalog. It’s always a pleasure to see what they have been up to. if I’m looking for something cool to do, a Hold Tight! show always means good times for everyone.
What really set Lemuria apart this evening was their approach. The trio burst into song after song with constant, genuine enthusiasm that was joyous for everyone there. Whether it was the three-tune punch of “Dogs,” “Get Some Sleep,” and “Wise People” or the always-welcome inclusion of “Lipstick” and “Pants,” the band were having a blast, and you could tell in their effervescent stage presences. Out of many of the rising female stars of the outer rings of the music world, Sheena Ozzella seems like a bit of an unsung hero. Her prowess as a guitarist is remarkable and her penchant for songwriting is a fitting counterpart. The way that Ozzella and drummer Alex Kerns play off one another’s very distinct vocal approaches works well. Her craft is deserving of celebration and the best proof of this is at Lemuria shows.
Their set ended with “Mechanical” and crystallized the idea of the entire evening: when it comes to delivering a solid set, sometimes it’s not a matter of quantity. It’s a lot better to rely on quality. I could easily have remained at Gallery 5, hearing Lemuria go through more of their catalog, for a lot longer, but I am always content with wanting more, and anticipating their next visit through Richmond.
Words by Shannon Cleary
Images by Jake Cunningham