RVA Rapper’s Delight, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong & Tight Rope: This Week’s Sound Check

by | Aug 6, 2023 | MUSIC

Oh my god, the scene is all over the place. On this week’s SOUND CHECK, Shockoe Records is hosting an event to honor the 50th anniversary of the creation of hip-hop with RVA Rapper’s Delight, some Richmond veterans are celebrating 20 years of playing in the city, while another rising star is leaving the country to further their education. On top of all of that, festivals abound with some big names in the jam band scene making their way to Richmond this coming weekend, and of course, some local bands can’t stop themselves from releasing more music. There’s something here for everyone this week. If you have new tunes, suggestions, or want to just reach out, send an email to Bones@RVAMag.com.

Local Festivals

8/11 @ The Hippodrome
Music: 6:30 – 9:00 PM

Richmond Music Week is going swimmingly, and what better way to cap it off than with a celebration of creation. It has been 50 years since DJ Kool Herc played his sister’s back-to-school party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx and is said to have extended a beat break that shook the world. It’s a good story, one that I will be covering in an in-depth piece coming up very soon, and Shockoe Records along with Ant The Symbol and TheMSQShop are bringing the heat to commemorate it.

A night filled with Hip Hop of all kinds, the whole evening will be hosted by Mike Street with music from some of Richmond’s most prominent artists throughout the years, including Nickelus F, Noah-O, and Radio B – the naming convention seems to be nothing but a coincidence. If you are even slightly interested in Richmond’s Hip Hop scene, this will be a veritable who’s who that you will not want to miss.


8/12 @ Brown’s Island
Doors: 3:00 PM

Five artists will be crowding into Brown’s Island to play a day’s worth of music next to the scenic James River. It’s going to be an incredible day with so many talented musicians taking the stage over the course of the whole afternoon, but there are just a few too many artists for me to list them all in detail here. In light of this, let me hit you with the two headliners.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong have one of those names that just make you want to ask questions. In reality, they are a groovy, psychedelic jam band hell-bent on providing you with a blissed-out concert-going experience. If you are craving that trippy sound or miss the sounds of the Grateful Dead but wish they had a little fire behind them, then you are going to absolutely love this psyched-out group of weirdos.

Circles Around The Sun have been cranking out tunes since 2015 and show no signs of stopping. Their most recent work, Language, is an album that they released in April of this year. This group employs a minimalist approach to their sound with a pad-like foundation surrounded by oscillating electronic noises while slowly changing beats back up a melodic synth leading many of the tracks. Evoking flying through space, as appears to be their intention, Circles Around The Sun are a trippy laid-back soar through the cosmos that will have listeners leaving their bodies by the banks of the James.

8/12 @ The Broadberry
Music: 10 PM

I’m gonna let you in on a super secret here: Kendall Street Company, who themselves have billed with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong earlier this year, is hosting an after party at The Broadberry on the night of August 12th. If you find that you haven’t gotten your fix yet, then head across town to hear the eclectic and energetic tunes of these Charlottesville/Richmond hot shots.


8/11 @ Hardywood Brewery (Ownby Lane)
Music: 6:30 – 9:00 PM

If you’ve been around Richmond long enough, then you’ve probably heard of The Atkinsons. Starting out as a duo in 2003, the group grew over time to be a full band, and then just never stopped. Now here they are 20 years later and looking to celebrate. The Atkinsons blend folk, rock, country, and just about anything that catches their eyes into a sound purely speaking the language of Americana. With two albums out, the band is currently working on a third in the studio right now, and who knows what to expect. Hosted by none other than Hardywood on Ownby Lane, I can think of no better way to spend a Friday evening than sitting around a fire pit, drinking craft beer, and listening to the smooth sounds of this grassroots band playing their hearts out in celebration of a milestone.

8/8 @ Bandito’s Burrito Lounge
Doors: 7:00 PM

I promise that I’ll stop talking about Jaylin Brown soon, but it’s only because she is heading off to Spain for her graduate studies, and this is the last time you will be able to catch her before she leaves. What is shaping up to be an absolutely packed evening will, for sure, be a great time. Joining Brown will be a plethora of Richmond musicians, including R&B powerhouse Kenneka Cook, Brown’s brother renowned singer/guitarist Jon Brown, as well as Sir Rome, Soulegacy, and Shera Shi. Come say goodbye to a truly great artist, and maybe get a burrito while you’re at it.


Single “Blood From Saints”

Originally called Blunt, now called Tight Rope, this Richmond group has changed their name and is releasing new music for the world to hear. The band’s newest track, “Blood From Saints,” is a propulsive powerhouse with well-toned guitars and a passionate performance from everyone, but with a particular standout for me being their singer. With a silky quality to their baritone and intense expression perforating their quick and well-enunciated lyrics, this short tune grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. You can check “Blood From Saints” everywhere you get your music, and check out the music video for their track below.

Top photo by Gabriela Barbieri

Andrew Bonieskie

Andrew Bonieskie

I'm a writer and musician living in Brooklyn, NY after having served as the Associate Editor of RVA Mag from 2023 - 2024. 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, recorded multiple albums of original music with my band Pebbles Palace and as a solo artist under the name Lawrence Bones.

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