Posted by: brad – Dec 02, 2014
“The bus leaves at 6pm SHARP,” was what I was told about our trip to Virginia Moonwalker for LadyGod’s EP release show. Little did I know, I was about to be swept up into a creative whirlwind for the rest of the night.
My date and I boarded the chartered bus parked out front of The Camel to find an array of familiar (and not so familiar) faces with the proper ammo for a crisp Fall night – bundled up warm with bourbon in tow.
It was a small crowd on the bus, with Cardboard Poncho, a six-piece with a loungey, bluesy feel, unloading their gear in the front seats of the bus. The bus driver, a friendly older gentleman, made a comment to one of the other guests about how he’d been driving a bus for years and had never experienced anything quite like what he was currently experiencing... and that was just the beginning.
Once everyone was loaded onto the bus, Russell Lacey, a local musician and the owner of Virginia Moonwalker, shared a few words. Rand Burgess tossed a couple of cases of PBR on board, and we were off on our adventure.
Cardboard Poncho crooned the whole way to Virginia Moonwalker – no small feat for their stand-up bassist, I might add - serenading us with some familiar songs we all sang along to, as well as some original works. The quality of Virginia roads was tested as we embarked along RVA streets and state highways and byways.
Onca O’Leary, one of the vocalists, wandered up and down the aisle, ensuring we were all earning our participation points. The cases of PBR were passed, as well as a couple of bottles of heavier stuff, and before we knew it, Cardboard Poncho was ending their last song.
As we stopped in the woods, a dimly lit path guided us toward the wailing of The Milkstains off in the distance. They were playing on a stage built on an old bus, backlit by the full moon coming up over the trees. We had arrived at Virginia Moonwalker.
In case you weren’t already aware, Virginia Moonwalker is a gorgeous recording studio located in Mechanicsville. Their location and setup is perfectly isolated in the woods, with help from some of the best heads in RVA's music scene. It is one of the few studios left in the city to offer analog recording.
Lady God, the main focus of the evening, was birthed at Virginia Moonwalker through creative brainstorming between Chrissie Griffith (bass, vocals), Skye Handler (guitar, vocals), and Trip Hill (drums).
This release show was an intimate event, with no more than 30-40 people. An event the previous year, Jordan Tarrant’s EP release, sparked this year’s event, which celebrated the release of their 7”, Lady God Presents: The Pebbles, produced by Russell Lacey.
Pebbles is Lady God’s first release and you can catch their demo for “Nervous Talk” on their Soundcloud.
This year’s event was crafted a bit differently, with fire stunts from Cody Beastman, Mr. Mud, Bitsy Buttons, and Natty G., as well as the incorporation of multiple musical acts. The night was a perfect amalgamation of Richmond creativity and circumstance, with the crisp weather driving great conversation and whiskey-sharing around the bonfire.
Lady God took the stage, greeting a crowd of euphoric fans. They brought us catchy hooks reminiscent of The Doors and ended the night perfectly. Then there was another bus ride full of excited (and loaded) folks back to The Camel, where we were dropped off in time to catch The Southern Belles’ set.
This show was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in Richmond. Every single person in attendance was genuinely excited about what was going on – from Virginia Moonwalker itself, to the music, to all of the various artists in attendance – and each band was a perfect complement to one another. If you were there that evening, you were in the finest of company.
Hopefully we’ll see this event, now in its second year, become an annual thing. It’s one you definitely don’t want to miss next time.
James River Punch also did a live, impromptu interview with Russell Lacey and Chrissie Griffith at the show, which you can listen to below:
Words by Cassie lynn, top image via Covington Imagery