Thursday, March 12, 2009

Toad's Place Troubles, We Love Wyatt Jam, St. Pat's Day Fun

The big news in the Richmond music scene this week was the temporary (we hope) closing of Toad's Place. Now before you naysayers chime in with your, "See, I told you Richmond couldn't support two mid-size music venues", this looks like a case of bad management, not lack of attendence. Here is a comment from a Times-Dispatch article by Bill Reid, owner of the National: ""Our business has been really good, but we attribute that to good decisions we've made along the line," he said. "This [venue] is our single focus. This is what we do, day in and day out.
"We have a lot of respect for everybody [at Toad's Place], but with a business with a lot of money on the line, it's about running the business as much as it is who is on stage."

Less cryptically was this quote in Style Weekly from David Bess, owner of Verbena, Cha Cha's Cantina & Lucky Buddha, who was contracted three weeks ago to reposition the Highwater restaurant on the property. "Past management just didn't have structure. There was a great team, but they didn't have goals; they didn't have budgets." Uh, doesn't sound like a very great team to me.

Here's the latest comments from Toad's owner:

The site owner is currently looking for new management for the club and will hopefully find someone soon. The couple shows I went to at Toad's were moderately (Grace Potter) to heavily (Zappa Plays Zappa) sold. They also had a sell out coming up in a couple weeks with Lady Gaga (dance pop) and a near sell out with Neko Case. The venue has great sound and sightlines and though not as asthetically pleasing as The National, still was a fine venue in which to see a band.

If someone puts up the money, I will be happy to manage the place. Please contact me through this blog.

If you were planning on going to any shows at Toad's this weekend, no luck as they have canceled the Busta Rhymes show on Friday, Oregon Hill Funk All Stars on Saturday and Maceo Parker (who puts on a great show) on Sunday.

On to happier news. Friend Wyatt Brewer is getting better after reconstructive heart surgery but like many these days, he doesn't have health insurance so his friends are getting together at Cary Street Cafe on Saturday from 1 PM - 8 PM to lend a hand. Here are all the details:

All Day Benefit Jam at Cary Street Café

On Saturday, March 14th
Street Café will be rockin thanks to some of Richmond’s finest
musicians and CSC
owner Robyn Chandler who will host the:


Wyatt Brewer, a fixture around the Richmond music scene for
many years,
underwent reconstructive heart surgery at MCV Hospital last
month. He is now
going through a somewhat lengthy recovery period and his
many friends have all
graciously agreed to help out. The party begins at
1:00 p.m. on March 14 and is
scheduled to run till 8:00 pm. Five bands are
on the bill and there may be other
guest appearances throughout the day. It
promises to be one helluva jam so mark
your calendars and get there early so
you won’t miss any of these featured acts.
In order of appearance the
scheduled bands are:


Katelyn Wyszynski of writes:

“The Spaceheaters,
a psychedelic jam band, has been firing up the streets of Richmond since 1997
the band's popularity really began to flare in 2005, booking more shows
in one
year than in all of the previous ones combined. With noticeable
influences drawn
from country, blues, metal, rock and techno, this band is
guaranteed to fire up
a fun time.”

If you like hard edged rock and
roll, this band will not
disappoint you!


Presidente’s sound has been
described as “a heavy guitar laden metal-rock,
flecked with gloom, doom, and
southern charm.”

Kate Bredimus of writes that despite
variations in musical tastes within the
band, they are all heavily influenced by
the “trinity that is beyond
reproach”: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Black

‘Nuff said.
These guys rock!!


renowned guitar pick-up
guru Lindy Fralin, his cousin Gary, Brad Tucker (Burnt
Taters), Charles
"Toby" Willing and Dan Roberts come together for what looks to be a great show.
musical influences ranging from rockabilly to zydeco these guys will
cook up a
musical stew that should not be missed!


Think, originally
formed in 2003, feature an interesting fusion
of jazz, funk, rock and blues with
a little Latin groove thrown in for good
measure. The band members Dylan Barrows
(guitar), Tommy Booker (keys), Bobby
Hudson (drums), and Zach Hudgins (bass)
come together for a hot sound and
infectious groove that is bound to rock the


The Harrison Deane Band has been
rockin' Richmond for over 10
years now. It all started in1995 when
singer/songwriter/guitarist Harrison
Deane joined up w/ lead guitarist John
Leedes to form an acoustic duo. Band
members came and went over the first 5
years but Harrison's consistent
songwriting and musical chemistry with Leedes
developed to near telepathic
levels. The band crystallized into its current form
at the onset of the new
millennium when Richmond music veterans Bobby
Jorgenson{bass} and Joe
Conner{keyboards} joined the band. With the most recent
addition of Rocky
Orndorff on drums, The HDB is on top of their game and
sounding better than
ever. The band has remained a fixture at the Cary St. cafe
and countless
other Richmond nightspots as well as playing at a wide variety of
parties and functions ranging from weddings to political rallies from
to the present time. In addition to the original material HDB plays scores
of familiar and obscure cover songs. Their extensive repertoire will take
listeners on a varied emotional ride and keep them dancing all the while.

Folks, this is going to be a great day of music and fun for a good
cause. Ten bucks will get you in the door for seven hours of primo music
some of the best musicians this area has to offer. Come on out. You’ll
be glad
you did and our friend Wyatt will too!!

Peace, love and
music to all!!!

Also on Saturday, there are many early St. Pat's day celebrations going on. Shamrock the Block will be happening from noon - 6 PM for FREE at the 17th St. Marketplace. Local bands E3, Against Grace, The Secret Cool, Boss Keen's Ditch, and Sludge's Build-A-Band will play. There will be a kids area, you can bring leashed pets and there will, of course, be beer. Proceeds will benefit SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now).

At Sine Irish Pub on Friday night, Richmond's own U2 cover band Even Better Than the Real Thing will play. I didn't even know we had our own U2 cover band, but there you go. The show starts at 9:45 and the cover charge is $2.

Saturday at Sine, there is more live music with William Walter & Company, Naughty Little Monkey, The Havers and Broken Monday. Rain or shine the party goes on inside and outside in the Patio Pub under the tent. The festivities start at 11:30 AM and go on until 2 AM. There is a $5 cover after 1 PM.

Saturday at the Richmond Coliseum its the Richmond Blues Fest. The starts at 8 PM and tix are $43.50 - 50.50. The show will feature featuring Mel Waiters, Roy C., Latimore, Marvin Sease, Sir Charles Jones, Clarence Carter (best known for "Strokin'") and Big G. Here's the article from the Times-Dispatch:

On Sunday, after all the partying you have done somewhere on Saturday, you can chill out, light up a big spliff mon and head to The National for The Wailers. Tix are just $5 in advance and $10 the day of show. Show starts at 8 PM. I caught The Wailers a couple years ago at the Canal Club and was pleasantly surprised. They were good. The dude who sang did his own thing and wasn't trying to imitate Bob Marley but wasn't completely doing his own thing so as not to sound like Marley. I don't know if that made sense. Perhaps I need to go smoke a big spliff myself. Here is a video so you can see for yourself: (Sorry, couldn't embed that one.)

Friday at The National, the king of mope, Morrissey. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and tix are $40.

Also on Friday & Saturday, Black Cash & The Bad Trips, the Johnny Cash tribute band, play at the Tobacco Company. Show starts at 9:30 both nights. No cover charge. Sweet.

That's a whole lot of music this weekend and I'm damn happy for that.

I leave you with the meeting of Ricky Gervais and Elmo. Don't show this one to the kids.

Have a great weekend and a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tony Jordan