This week at the magazine, we’re setting our sights squarely on RVA Music Night for Friday Cheers. It’s only right that we shine the spotlight on the vibrant, pulsating heart of Richmond, Virginia’s eclectic music scene. Known as a breeding ground for talent that burns with unquenchable creativity and diversity, Richmond has blessed the global music industry with big names like D’Angelo and Lucy Dacus.
Yet, let’s not overlook the unsung heroes of the local scene, the bands who might not have hit the international stage but are nonetheless grinding away, honing their craft at every opportunity in this dynamic city. They’re the real backbone of the city’s music scene, contributing to the soulful energy that is Richmond.
In this week’s Sound Check, we’re going to dive into the familiar faces gracing the Friday Cheers lineup, casting our eyes and ears on the spirited performances of Richmond’s own indie outfits at The Camel. Not forgetting, of course, a curated selection of recent releases that have been making waves in the Richmond scene this month. So, stick with us as we venture into this sonic exploration of one of the most vibrant music cities on the East Coast.
If you’re an artist who’s got new tunes, press releases, or suggestions, send them our way. Send an email to Bones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, May 26 @ Brown’s Island
Doors: 6 PM
BUTCHER BROWN, CELLAR DWELLERS & CASSIDY SNIDER & THE WRANGLERS
Friday Cheers is back this week, highlighting three Richmond based groups that are on the rise. Butcher Brown, Cellar Dwellers, and Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers are all powerhouses, and absolutely worth the trip down to Brown’s Island.
Cassidy Snider deserves some public attention, and what better way than to get on the stage at Brown’s Island for Friday Cheers. Though she played last year, as festival and music venue attendance continues to rise following our recovery from the pandemic, one can only hope the crowd is even bigger. Hopefully a packed crowd can give Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers the ability to find a foothold and propel themselves to some larger notoriety.
Cellar Dwellers are rising fast. They started dropping music in 2020 as unknown indies playing in dirty basements, next thing you know they’re playing the Broadberry supporting Sun Room on tour. Cellar Dwellers are a perfect example of how supportive and active the Richmond music scene is. In this town if you stick to guns and care about your music, the people of Richmond will notice you.
We all know Butcher Brown. Hot off their release last year of Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey, Butcher Brown have gone all over the country playing with international acts like Hiatus Kaiyote, not to mention all the members have their own side projects that they’re working on in the meantime. Butcher Brown keep no rules to their sound, but their common laid back grooves, and now that they’ve got Tennishu rapping regularly, their newest fusion of jazz and hip-hop make for a chill time.
LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE
MISC., MERCIFUL ZERO & ORBWEAVER
Saturday, May 27 @ The Camel
Somedays the urge to bang one’s head all night becomes too great, and the feeling must be indulged. If you find yourself in such a circumstance then by all means head on out The Camel this Saturday for the lineup of positively heavy music.
Opening up the show is Orbweaver, an unknown to me who have just one album out called “Rot” from 2020. This Richmond three-piece have extreme control over their sound with the album ranging from a strummed acoustic ballad, “Grin Miles Wide,” to the title track where the vocalist screams his heart out over pounding drums and overdriven dropped guitars. A brutal and energetic way to start the evening for sure.
Next up on this bill is Merciful Zero, a name I’ve been hearing around for quite some time now. Merciful Zero serves as the perfect transition from the opener to the headliner as they are heavy, but without the harsh vocals prominent in Orbweaver’s music. Their debut self-titled album came out in January of this year, and it is a cavalcade of riff-based alternative rock that hammers the listener for 45 straight minutes without once letting up. A must have for a night of constant head banging.
This next one is a complete mystery to me, and with the band MISC. topping the bill, I have no idea what to expect. Up until I saw the poster I had never heard of MISC. or their music. As of right now they have one single self-titled single out on streaming services, and it just goes to show that you don’t have everyone know who you are to make some incredible music. Reminiscent of a more reserved Rage Against The Machine, recognizable riffs bounce off against rap rock to provide a heavy yet not particularly aggressive sound that will be interesting to hear as this band progresses in their career.
TYLER MEACHAM, MARIE-CLAIRE EVANS & BETH TURNER
Tuesday, May 23 @ The Camel
As the sun shines longer and the weather warms, the compulsion to take to the streets on weekday nights looking for local music might increase. Sometimes though a standing room can be a little much. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and take it in. Well this Tuesday at The Camel you can do just that, as a night of indie music brings the cocktail crowd out to lounge around tables and take in the chill tunes.
Though not local to Richmond, she is a native of Virginia Beach, and she’s on a bill with two Richmonders. Beth Turner has an interesting story: opting to take her act on the road, Turner is traveling the country with her guitar for six months playing shows wherever she can. Her mellow acoustic guitar songs blended with her crystal clear and delicate voice leave her skills completely exposed, and she’s got the vocal chops to back it up.
Marie-Claire Evans has been putting in the work. She can be seen all over town strumming her guitar and singing her soft pop tunes any night of the week. Playing The Camel again Evans brings her nimble voice to these expressive flower child tunes.
Topping the bill is another Richmond favorite, Tyler Meacham. Last year she put out her Into The Fray, and back in March she celebrated the anniversary by releasing a special edition with a bunch of alternate takes. It’s an interesting look at her songs, and a unique turn that not a lot of local artists do. Her brand of music leans heavily into indie rock with pop sensibilities, and is an easy listening experience for either pop or rock fans. Perfect for a chill Tuesday night out on the town.
LOCAL & REGIONAL MUSIC RELEASES
TENNISHU – Forward EP
Marcus Tenny, otherwise known as Tennishu, has a thriving solo career outside of Butcher Brown, and continues to drop tunes under his alias. His most recent endeavor ,Forward EP out May 12th, is chock full of awesome tracks. Some stripped down funky beats mixed with Tennishu’s ebbing and accelerating flow, not to mention the catchy hooks, all add up to a chill hip-hop experience. If you want to catch sight of him then just head on down to Brown Island where this MC will most certainly take up the mic and lay down a few lines with Butcher Brown.
THE SATURN DEATH CULT – “Shai-Hulud”
I’ve seen this group a few times around town while scurrying around the house show scene, and they are well known for bringing the house down. Their newest track “Shai-Hulud,” out May 5th, is a continuation of their doom metal brought to us by an illusive group of cultists intent on telling Richmond music listeners that the world will end. Through shouted lyrics and downtuned guitars it is hard to make out the words being said, but they can be felt. With one album down that came out last year, it looks like The Saturn Death Cult intend on continuing their project. One can only hope that they stand the test of time.
Top photo by Danielle Barbieri