Commonwealth of Notions Vol. 6 offers two nights to see some of RVA’s best bands

by | Jul 8, 2016 | MUSIC

Few are as intrenched in RVA’s music scene like local man Shannon Cleary, so who better to put on a weekend shows featuring some of the best our town has to offer?

Few are as intrenched in RVA’s music scene like local man Shannon Cleary, so who better to put on a weekend shows featuring some of the best our town has to offer?

To that end, WRIR, Richmond’s Independent Radio at 97.3 FM, and Commonwealth of Notions will Volume Six, a 2-night music festival to benefit WRIR on July 22nd at Gallery 5 and July 23rd at Strange Matter.

Shannon Cleary is the host of “The Commonwealth of Notions,” the weekly radio show on WRIR which specializes in showcasing local and emerging musical artists. The annual live music festival is an extension of his show and WRIR’s commitment to providing opportunities to local musicians, while at the same time giving local artists a chance to give back to WRIR for promoting their work.

The festival was created six years ago by Cleary while he was acting as co-coordinator of the WRIR Events Committee.

“For the first three years, I think I really set out to try to make sure that I would get a different set of bands each time and thought that there was enough of an eclectic feel to the Richmond music scene that I didn’t need to always bounce back and forth and have the same people show up,” said Cleary. “After I got to year four I started realizing that three years is a long time when it comes to the music scene, bands can transform into a whole different entity that doesn’t necessarily represent who they were when they started out.”

In the past, the festival has spanned as many as four days, but according to Cleary it was shortened this year in an effort to avoid overtaxing the organizers, performers and hosts. With limited space and time available, Cleary had to be more selective this year about which artists would be invited to represent the Richmond art scene.

“I wanted to branch around and think about other artists that had been doing things in different sectors of the Richmond music scene,” Cleary said. “I’m looking forward to the idea that there can be something as atmospheric as Shy Low or something as straightforward as the rock of Imaginary Sons.”

The itinerary for the festival is deliberately diverse and features 13 distinct bands including the otherworldly beats of Nelly Kate, punk rock by Get In The Car, and indie rock by Cleary’s own band, Clair Morgan. Clair Morgan has played Volumes 3 and 4 of the festival, and are returning to showcase their new band member and their new album “New Lions and The Not Good Night”.

“Maybe the entire reason I’m in the band is me and Clair reconnecting through this festival ” said Cleary. “This year is commemorating the whole idea that we have this new record so we have a whole new set of songs and even the way the band feels and the way that we operate is completely different.

Brian Dove is the creator, vocalist and guitar player for The Antiphons, a soft rock band that will be performing at Commonwealth of Notions for the first time this year. The Antiphons were originally a solo project by Dove and was transformed into a band in 2013. They recently became popular after releasing an EP called “demos” last spring.

“We just finished recording our first full-length album, it’s called ‘Groan’, and we’ll be playing stuff off of that,” Dove said. “We’ve been kind of using the phrase half-rock [to describe ‘Groan’] jokingly in the sense that we’re getting kind of loud but not quite hard rock by any means. It’s emotional and dramatic, but also self-aware.”

The Commonwealth of Notions festival series not only benefits WRIR, it also fosters connections and a sense of community amongst the Richmond musical community.

“The whole lineup is pretty diverse and that in it of itself is bringing together bands that might now play together on a normal Friday or Saturday and also a larger quantity of bands that normally play,” Dove said.

The festival is free, but there will be a suggested door donation of $5 at Gallery 5 and $7 at Strange Matter. The money collected from the event will go to support WRIR, the nonprofit and listener-supported low frequency radio station that is hosting the event.

Find out more details via the event’s facebook page here.

Friday, July 22nd – Gallery 5, 200 West Marshall Street
Doors: 6:30PM, Show: 7:30PM.
Music Line-up:

Saturday, July 23rd – Strange Matter, 929 West Grace Street
Doors: 6PM, Show: 7M. Music Line-up:

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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