a great Festival in Richmond, and some good shows here in town

April 28th, 2012 · 2 Comments · By

I don’t often take the time to write about events in Richmond, partly because it’s enough work just to cover what’s happening here in town, but also because I spend  embarrassingly little time there myself, and am largely ignorant of the week-to-week goings-on. But this event happening today seems too good to pass up, and I’m excited about it and planning to attend it, so I thought I’d mention it here.

It’s the first-ever Shadrock Festival, put together by my friend Don Harrison, whom you hopefully might recognize as the host of WTJU’s wonderful “Radio Wowsville” program. I’m not usually a fan of festivals, whether large or medium-sized, but I have to admit that this one has a line-up that is both short and amazing. For starters, the headliners are De La Soul and Yo La Tengo, two of the greatest, most consistent, and most enduring groups of the past 20~25 years. I’d feel a little silly even explaining who either of those groups are, but let me just say that not only are “3 Feet High and Rising” and “I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One” two staples that should appear in every household, but both groups have managed the incredible feat of still being great well into their careers. YLT seemingly get better with every album, which is pretty rare for a widely-adored indie-rock group, especially an eclectic and unpredictable one. And De La have managed the near-impossible feat of being a hip-hop group that didn’t abruptly become terrible after one or two good albums (or singles), and I can name the number of other hip-hop groups that have done that on one hand. Also on the bill are the Dum Dum Girls, who put out two of my favorite records last year, and whom I’ve been dying to see live. There’s also Shabazz Palaces, whom I had been ignoring like I ignore all contemporary rappers, until I realize that that was the same guy as “Butterfly” from Digible Planets; so, awesome that that guy is still around, and reportedly doing solid work, which I now need to actually check out.

The other acts on the bill are all Invisible Hand (it’s hardly a secret that I’m a big fan of those guys), and some other VA groups whose names I recognize but whom I’m not familiar with: Kepone (Don sez: “fabled ‘80’s Richmond punk group, reforming for Shadrock”), Kid is Qual (“popular Hampton Roads band with weird low-end sound”), and Photosynthesizers (“Richmond band – awesome funk/rap group.”) That’s right, only 8 acts; four killer National acts and four well-liked locals. Seems like the right amount of music to me.

Don continues to explain: “I hope you all will consider coming out. Seriously, I kind of designed the lineup to be something of a dream show for WTJU Rock-ers, listeners and the like-minded. the price is oh-so-right (you’d pay $30 [the Festival cover charge is $35] just to see ONE of these national acts somewhere else) and Brown’s Island – situated along the James River — is a wonderful place to spend a Saturday and to take in great musical events. Just ask anyone who has ever attended a Richmond Folk Festival performance. So this could be the start of something pretty cool if this first year is a success.” Like Don says, it’s $30, it’s happening on Brown’s Island, and it’s going on from around Noon until late-ish (locals in the afternoon, Dum Dums at 5:30, YLT at 7:30, De La at 9:30). More info, and tickets, are on the Festival’s website.

If you don’t feel like traveling to Richmond, there’s plenty of good stuff here in town; Mister Baby are having a “listening party” for their new album at the Blue Moon DinerI wrote about it in the C-Ville this week, it’s actually a pretty cool idea: instead of just playing the CD, they’ll have a ton of their friends and contemporaries performing the songs from the soon-to-be-released album (the proper release is at The Southern, on June 2nd — pushed back from the original date, in May.)
The Falsies are having a DVD release at the Southern tonight; I haven’t heard anything from Falsies-world in a while, but apparently this is what they’ve been up to. Lance explains: “As you may already know, we performed for Adult Swim Network a few months ago and our set was filmed in HD by local filmmakers Brian Wimer and Rich Tarbell. […] Join us Saturday for both the world premiere screening of The Falsies “Cock Rock Block Party” DVD and a rare two hour celebratory blowout performance by The Falsies themselves! Additionally, a bevy of special musical guests will be serving as Satan’s Choir! Look out and say your prayers for some of your favorite local musicians as they do the dark one’s evil bidding! The first 50 people through the door will get a FREE “Sing Along with The Falsies” lyric booklet complete with a foldout “motivational” poster.”
There’s also a benefit for PACEM at the First United Methodist Church, on the corner of 10th and Grady; that’s the Chuch with the totally awesome live band that plays with their Gospel choir; you can hear them playing every Sunday, and they’ll do fun stuff like set up on the street and play for all the Charlottesville Marathon runners every spring. They were featured in the recent documentary “Preacher,” about the Bishop from that Church, which played at the Film Fest last fall (actually, we had a smaller version of the band performing inside Vinegar Hill, which was a lot of fun). It’s fun music, it’s for a good cause, and it’s at 6:00pm.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // May 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    so, I’ll admit that I did not actually make it to the Shadrock festival as planned. we were in the car heading to Richmond, stopped to get lunch during the thunderous downpour, and… something about the prospect of spending 5+ hours standing outside in 50° weather in the rain was just too much. our spirits were defeated.

    sad to miss those bands, though. any reports on how it went?

  • 2 baconfat // May 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

    despite the miserable conditions and nearly nonexistent crowd, we were treated to fantastic sets by dum dum girls, yo la tengo, and de la soul. if it had been warmer and sunny, it would’ve been nearly perfect – it was a great venue with plenty of accommodations (taco truck!) on hand. we arrived around 3:30, toward the end of kepone’s very loud set. the rain was on and off until about 5, when shabazz palaces was finishing up his set. his stuff sounded fine, but there was very little stage presence from him and his lone stage partner, a hand percussionist/co-rhymer. the sun even peeked through around 6 or so, but only briefly. we left during de la’s set, but they were trying their best to keep the crowd pumped.