Thursday, October 11, 2007

Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER!

Yes, this is the Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER! However, I will probably be lucky just to catch a few hours of the National Folk Fest. Baby Will is not ready for big crowds yet. You're not supposed to take infants out in big crowds for six weeks or so because of germs, germs, germs! And he's still not sleeping enough at night that I can bail out and go to the shows at Toad's. I take some consolation in the fact that all the acts at Toad's are road horses and will probably be back in the spring now that Toad's and Richmond are on their touring radar.

Let's get right into things with the National Folk Festival in downtown Richmond. The weather will be absolutely perfect. This is the last of the three years in Richmond and it has been a lot of fun having it here. Richmond is planning to continue their own festival in years to come. The variety of music that falls under the "folk" category is huge and includes bluegrass, zydeco, gospel, Eastern European and Celtic, blues, old-time country, Chinese, and Native American. Its a great sampler and you are bound to find something you like. This is also a family event, with a crafts area and stage for the young ones and VA Folklife craft demonstrations to check out too. If Kathy needs a break, I'm hoping to drag Zach down for a few hours on Saturday or Sunday.

At night this week, I could live at Toad's Place Thursday through Sunday night. Thursday night, Michael Franti & Spearhead bring their reggae/punk/folk/funk revolutionary music to Toad's. Doors at 8 PM, show starts at 9 PM with Blue King Brown opening. Tix are $25. "Power to the Peaceful!" I also saw a large banner up yesterday at the corner of Ellwood and Thompson, put up by Ellwood Thompson's Market, that reference one of their songs, saying "All The Freaky People Make the Music Of the World". And ain't it true.

Friday night, my pick of the weekend is at Toads and that is moe. moe. is at the peak of their powers right now. Here is how their web site describes them:
"moe. is...
Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan and Gram Parsons...from hard rock to
melodic country, moe can write songs and they can play the bejesus out of them
live. They can deliver live energy to a studio recording and are equally
comfortable playing textural musical landscapes or balls to the wall guitar
solos. By not limiting their songwriting to preconceived genres, moe. are a
rarity in today's pop music culture. Their latest studio album, "The Conch", has
already received 4 out of 5 stars from Rolling Stone, and 3.5 out of 4 stars
from Paste. The Buffalo News calls "The Conch" "A Masterpiece". See them live,
Buy their album, or live an unfulfilled life."
Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30 with the PMG opening. Tix are $27 in advance, $30 the day of the show.

Tower of Power plays at Toad's on Saturday night. Tower of Power horns are most famous in my book for playing on the greatest live album of all time, Little Feat's "Waiting For Columbus". The horn section has also played on albums by Santana, Elton John, Mickey Hart, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Sammy Hagar, The Meters, Heart, Molly Hatchet, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Eurythmics, Phish, Fishbone, Aerosmith and more. They are the go-to horn section for the best musicians. The band plays great soul music and has been doing it going back to 1970. Doors open at 7 PM, show starts at 8 PM. General Admission is $25, Gold Circle is $40.

On Saturday night at the Charlottesville Pavilion is Phil Lesh (of the Grateful Dead) and Friends. Phil's latest version of his friends includes young blues singer Jackie Greene, Steve Molitz (keyboard player from Particle) and Larry Campbell, who was the guitarist and fiddle player for Dylan's band for a number of years. The shows with this version of the friends have been getting mixed reviews so far on philzone.com, with some weak first sets but usually killer second sets. The reviews are getting more positive as the band moves along its tour so it looks like things may be starting to gel just in time for this show. Doors are at 6 PM and show at 7 PM. Tix should be in the $40 range and may still be available but the Pavilion web site was not pulling up so I can't be sure.

On Sunday night back at Toad's, Gov't Mule plays, who I've never been a huge fan of, but I am becoming a big fan of the opening act, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. If you go for Mule, make sure you get there early to see Grace. Doors are at 7 PM and show starts at 8 PM. Tix are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. BTW, many of the shows at Toad's are all ages shows so those of you with teens who may be interested can bring them along. And if you go for Grace, stick around for the Mule. Last Saturday and Sunday, Potter jammed with Gov’t Mule during the final selection of its first set. On Saturday Grace & the Nocturnals joined Gov’t Mule for a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” at Upper Darby, PA’s Tower Theatre and on Sunday Potter performed with Mule on a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” at Schenectady, NY’s Proctor's Theater.

Finally, at Toad's on Tuesday night are up and coming jam banders, Umphrey's McGee who hail from Notre Dame. (You Notre Dame people need something to cheer about since your football team sucks this year.) Doors at 8 PM, show at 9 PM, $20 in advance, $22 day of show.

If you go to any of these shows or have comments, please post reviews or comments in the Comments section of the blog. That way we can all share and I can comment back to you in the blog.

Have fun this weekend and I hope to see you at the Folk Festival!

Tony Jordan