Galactic Empire, Ionna & League of Space Pilots: Sound Check

by | Oct 16, 2023 | MUSIC

In a unique twist on how I thought this week would be going, for this week’s SOUND CHECK the theme is heavy space centric bands. Not one, but two space themed groups are dominating Richmond this week, with Galactic Empire playing at The Canal Club, and a local group releasing their new tunes and gearing up for a new chapter. On the pop side of the scene Californians Trousdale is coming through to The Broadberry with their powerful harmonies and catchy hooks, for their weekly Tuesday broadcast Shockoe Sessions Live is bringing on local synth-pop up-and-comer IONNA, and later I’ll talk about Olivia Rodrigo’s new album GUTS.

Got new music or suggestions? Reach out to

out of town acts to see

Thursday 10/19 @ The Canal Club
Doors: 6:00 pm

Blast off for what is positively sure to be a simultaneously bewildering and epic time. If the idea of heavy metal covers of John Williams’ iconic score to Star Wars doesn’t appeal to you… I get it. However, if that sounds like exactly the kind of thing that you’d be in to, then allow me to introduce you to Galactic Empire. Is there any nuance? No. What you see is that you get, and what you’ll see is five dudes dressed as Darth Vader, Boba Fett and accompanying storm troopers playing all your favorite pieces from the entire Star Wars saga with overdriven guitars and double bass pedals. I really don’t know if I can sell it better than that. Come to this Thursday night show dressed as your favorite science fiction character, and bring the whole family because this show is for all ages.

Galactic Empire at the Canal Club

Tuesday 10/17 @ The Broadberry
Doors: 7:00 pm

I first saw Trousdale open for Cory Wong at The National earlier this year, and was shocked by their incredible performance. Defined by their towering harmonies and catchy hooks, this California trio is an up and coming powerhouse that seemingly can not be stopped. In the time since I’ve last listened to them they have released a studio album, and it is nothing less than an absolute triumph. Full of dynamic contrast, with huge and loud emotional highs full of harmonies spanning multiple octaves like “Bad Blood,” to low and quiet romantic depths such as “Movie Star” where, in a welcome rarity, all three women sing in unison that lends the track a bare nakedness and vulnerability. The next big pop group might be sitting right under our noses, so go catch them before they explode.

My favorite tracks from Out Of My Mind

  • “Bad Blood”
  • “If I’m Honest”
  • “If You’re Hurting”

Local & Regional Acts to see

Tuesday 10/17 @ Shockoe Sessions Live
Doors: 7:00 pm

IONNA is killing it. The synth-pop project of Soraya Silene, she has been on the singles grind since April of 2022 and has released four tracks to date. A blend of ambient trance style tunes to full on dance numbers IONNA has something for everybody that’s a fan of synth driven pop music. Her appearance this Tuesday on Shockoe Sessions Live is only another indicator of her status as a staple of the Richmond music scene, and one that I can only hope will make her way to a full album soon for a chance to experience what she can do with 30 minutes of music instead of just three. You can go HERE to find the livestream, and check out her singles in the meantime while you’re waiting for a performance that could, and should, go anywhere.

Local & Regional Releases

“Robot Love Pilot” (Single)

I didn’t think that I would discussing two different space themed bands this week, but here I am. This new single “Robot Love Pilot” by League of Space Pirates is a perfect execution of their wild trip of a schtick. Describing themselves as “a band of rock-n-roll outlaws from the future” who have come here to fight the evil Übercorp and broadcast from their tourship along the way, they are an act that need to be seen in order to be believed. They will be on Shockoe Sessions live next Tuesday 10/24 if you need proof of their over the top exterior, but until then you can satiate yourself by listening to their tunes on Spotify or checking out the music video below. (P.S. Their website is truly amazing and you should check it out.)

League of Space Pirates – Robot Love Plot (Official Video)



Not that she needs my help, because at 62,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify Olivia Rodrigo is the 19th most listened to artist on the platform and one of the biggest in the world right now. But, in all honesty, this is the album I’ve had on repeat this week. A unique entry into the pop catalogue, Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS is defined by dichotomy. The opening track “all-american bitch,” perhaps the most interesting song on the record, begins benignly enough with a picked acoustic guitar intro and verse, before descending into pop-punk angst in the choruses immediately transporting listeners back to the early 2000s. The very thesis of the record is contained in this track, as in the chorus Rodrigo declares “I know my age and I act like it,” and act like it she does. What makes GUTS interesting is the same thing that makes Rodrigo frustrating. At 19 as of the recording of the record she is insanely young for her level of fame, how quickly she achieved it, and she seems to have little idea of where her music is going; much like a teenager might have little idea of their life’s direction. For after the upbeat punk attitudes that define her first two tracks, Rodrigo collapses into “vampire,” a dark and harrowing piano-led journey through an unhealthy — and possibly unethical — romantic relationship. On this topic the record remains during the pop sections, all the while interpolated by these punk attitudes in songs like “ballad of a homeschool girl,” that seem to be who Rodrigo really is, expressing that perhaps a greater and deeper artist is lurking just beneath the surface. Confusing? Yes. A truly great pop record? Yes. At just 20 years old now Rodrigo has time to outgrow her producers, and follow a path that could lead to a wonderful and healthy career making the music she wants to.

My favorite tracks from GUTS

  • “all-american bitch”
  • “vampire”
Andrew Bonieskie

Andrew Bonieskie

But you may call me Bones. I'm the Associate Editor of RVA Mag, and a writer and musician living in Richmond, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in creative writing I have gone on to score feature and short films, released a book of poetry, an album of original music, and perform lead vocals with the band Pebbles Palace.

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