With Friday Cheers gone until next year, music junkies are going to have to do a little heavy lifting to find their consistent Summertime afternoon jams. In the last few years a variety of independently run festivals have been making their way into the limelight, and it seems like they never end, so I’ll be doing my best to point you in the right direction as they come my way. On this week’s SOUND CHECK we’ll be talking about an underground festival happening on the 4th of July at “Daddy’s Grotto”, two rock powerhouse’s in the form of Starbenders and Skating Polly coming into the city to play their throwback tunes, Oh He Dead out of D.C. on tour and Palmyra with yet another new song.
If you’re a band and want your music featured, have thoughts or suggestions, or want to just say hi, email Bones@Rvamag.com with what you’re got on your mind.
LOCAL & REGIONAL FESTIVALS
4TH OF JULY AT DADDY’S GROTTO
This week, if you’re looking for something to do on the 4th of July, then look no further. A local day long festival with music from 12pm-8pm featuring some of the best Richmond has to offer with names like Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers, Destructo Disk and Camp Werewolf among many others. Like many events in the underground house show scene in Richmond the address is by ask only, so reach out to the right people if you want to find this interesting affair for an increasingly complex holiday.
OUT OF TOWN ACTS TO SEE
Punk music is one of the oldest riffs on classic rock and roll, and yet still manages to be one of the most vibrant and plentiful genres around the country. It has certainly evolved with a number of subgenres in itself, with musicians riffing on the classic form turning it into pop punk, alternative rock and post-punk among numerous others. Lucky for us, Oklahoma City’s Skating Polly are bringing Richmond some modern punk music with some extra flavor. The group just released their second album Chaos County Line on June 23 and are on tour promoting their new music. A double album at over an hour long, Chaos County Line is a triumph of a record jam packed with 18 songs covering topics from sex and love to obsession and dissociation and ranging from songs verging on post-hardcore like “Singalong” to light ballads like “Tiger At The Drugstore,” all without losing that core energy that defines their punkness. Otherwise irreverent lyrics emerge deeply imbued as the songs progress, and the fun and energy oozing from every track is impossible to ignore. This is going to be a show you don’t want to miss.
The strangest things happen down at Shockoe Bottom, and this week at The Canal Club Richmond will be visited by a stellar act known as Starbenders. Lying just next to Triple Crossing the noise is often abhorrent, so band’s must be able to compete with the railway noise, not to mention the highways criss crossing overhead, and as such The Canal Club often plays host to some very heavy and loud music – Atlanta based Starbenders are no exception. Reminiscent of 80’s hair metal, but with a variety of other influences thrown in, Starbenders take their act more seriously than groups like Steel Panther, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have fun. With two albums to their name and a series of performances in Japan under their belt, who knows what’s next for an act as retro and powerful as this outfit.
LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE
This DC based sextet has been playing together since they formed in 2015 and they have developed a mature sound for an eclectic age. Drawing on influences dominated by funk and rock, but with a touch of soul and r&b thrown in make this a group to groove and vibe too. In unusual contrast to the smooth music, lead singer CJ “Bowlin” Johnson’s voice is full of harsh rasp and reminiscent of a laid back Janis Joplin. They’re making the rounds right now on tour before they drop their second album Pretty later this year, and who knows what to expect. If their most recent singles “Nikki’s Song” and “Night Shift (9-5)” are anything to go by, then listeners can expect a bit of a turn in dreamier pop territory and even more laid back vibes.
The group will be joined by Richmonder’s JayWhit and On The Spot. Providing a spectrum of sound with JayWhit bringing the r&b and hip hop, while On The Spot offer up some bass centric alternative rock, sounding like if the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a more melodic singer. This is sure to be an interesting show full of twists and turns, so if you want to support your local & regional artists for a high profile Saturday night show, then by all means head on out to The Broadberry.
LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES
I can’t stop talking about Palmyra, but when you’re on a roll people take notice. The group recently released the single “Big City Baby” on June 30th, and it’s everything you want from this band; their signature tongue-in-cheek attitude, thoughtful lyrics with tight harmonies and energy oozing from every pore. I have heard Palmyra perform this song many times, and it’s so exciting to hear a tight studio version. You can stream this track just about anywhere you get your music, so go for a drive down a country road and blast this modern country marvel.
Top photo by Travis Trautt @travistrautt