Twisted Pine, Fighting Gravity & Lobby Boy: this Week’s Sound Check

by | Aug 13, 2023 | MUSIC

While the Summer weather persists for another month or so around Richmond, the school children and college students will be venturing back into the classrooms in about a week. Worry not, for there’s plenty to do around Richmond for young families and undergrads looking to grab one last bit of Summer vacation before the school year starts back up again. On this week’s SOUND CHECK we’ve got some great acts for everybody from pop junkies looking for a the next polished group with a fresh sound, to 90s ska enthusiast who might want to get a visit from a band you haven’t had the chance to see in decades, and Bostonians Twisted Pine bring their new grass chops. On top of all of that some Richmond legends are on the up and up again with their new track and a familiar sound.

If you want to reach out, send an email to Bones@rvamag.com with your new tunes or suggestions.

OUT OF TOWN ACTS TO SEE

TWISTED PINE
8/15 @ The Camel
Doors: 7pm

What started out as a quasi-bluegrass band has turned into something completely different as Twisted Pine brings their unique newgrass to Richmond this Tuesday. This group out of Boston that started with a traditional bluegrass sound has evolved in their instrumentation, yet have held onto the bluegrass ethic of quick tempos and virtuosic soloing. With three albums to their name, their most recent from 2020, entitled Right Now, is their most mature and sonically complex. Almost like a bluegrass band with the attitude of an indie-rock group, the delightful instrumentation with the inclusion of a flute adds a much-needed freshness to this genre that, though richly historic, desperately needs young new blood to liven it up. With their green eyes, Twisted Pine might be exactly what modern string bands need to revitalize the scene. Make your way down to The Camel this Tuesday night for a group that is sure to bring the string-like thunder. You don’t have to be a bluegrass fan, but it sure doesn’t hurt either.

LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE

FIGHTING GRAVITY, CRACKER & EVERYTHING
8/19 @ Brown’s Island
Doors: 6pm

It’s a night of throwbacks down at Brown’s Island this Saturday. If you’ve been around the scene since the 90s, you are sure to remember these three groups gracing the stage to celebrate some anniversaries. I’ll touch on them each individually:

Fighting Gravity formed in the 80s when the members all met as students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Originally called Boy O Boy, they got caught up in the ska craze and found success touring the country, playing hundreds of shows a year. Though it’s been a while and they won’t have the full original lineup, this group is sure to rock this show full of Richmond 90’s staples.

Cracker is silently one of the biggest groups to come out of Richmond. Though the group hasn’t released a record since 2014, they still manage to pull huge crowds around the country and regularly attract more than 700,000 monthly listeners on streaming platforms. The group is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their hit record “Kerosene Hat,” featuring their hit single “Low,” which reached #64 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the summer of 1994. Their lineup has changed dramatically over the years, but originals David Lowry and Johnny Hickman are sure to be there.

Everything formed in the late 80s from a group of students at James Madison University. The group has been steadily playing since their formation and has been releasing records, though sporadically, the whole time up to 2019 with the release of Supernatural. Everything was perhaps at their height, however, in the mid-2000s with “In The Juju Underworld” in 2006, which featured the track “Hooch.” Making it near the top of some of Billboard’s more specific charts, the real kicker for the success of “Hooch” was its inclusion in the Adam Sandler flick “The Waterboy.”

A who’s who of Richmond 90s bands, it’s going to be a fun night full of good old days and recollections. Who knows, you might find your newest obsession.

LOBBY BOY
8/19 @ The Camel
Doors: 8pm

If your tastes are a bit more contemporary for a Saturday night out on the town, then by all means, look no further than The Camel again this weekend. Lobby Boy represents a sect of music of this city of electronic pop-oriented sound, which can be seen in bands like Drook and Deau Eyes in her newer music. Lobby Boy, however, heavily embraces the electronic aspects. Their most recent record, “PURE POP,” wouldn’t sound out of place among euro pop or dance music at a nightclub. Utilizing the often-forgotten technique of autotune and exploring sonic landscapes slowly oscillating between punchy and repetitive melody vocal lines mixed with mechanical rhythms and electronic instrumentation, they can be a real shock to Richmond music lovers who are used to the punk/alternative or southern influenced scenes around town.

LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES

TIM & NEKO
“Orbiting The Block” (Single)

Featuring numerous feel and tempo changes, something of a theme in their music, Tim & Neko verge on the progressive in this propulsive and high-velocity track. Consisting of Tim Beavers II and Nekoro Williams, this duo is fresh and ready to rock. A hard-hitting song, Beavers can’t help himself with the melodic guitar licks that magnetically attach themselves to the mind and refuse to let go, prompting numerous relistens. The group is also experimenting with horn lines, adding a degree of scale to their music that wasn’t there despite the lengthy track times. Lyrically, “Orbiting The Block” evokes the quiet dread often prevalent in Beavers’ music, and the music echoes it with its melancholy melody and trumpet solos often running in tandem, yet in slight dissonance, to Beavers’ guitar. Williams remains a technical if manic talent that would likely fly out of his drum throne if he didn’t have the slower moments to pull him back down. There are few who can challenge Williams in the city in terms of pure skill and versatility on the kit. I could go on, but I’ll let the music speak for the rest.

Top photo by Blake Hannahson

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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