Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friday Cheers=$5, Umphrey's McGee, Lotus, Crossroads from Richmond to Nashville

Saw THIS ARTICLE in the Times-Dispatch on Saturday (OK, actually Mike L. brought it to my attention) about the admission cost of Friday Cheers going up to $5 this year and maybe even $10 for select shows.  A bit of a gamble by Cheers.  On the one hand, this will allow them to book better acts which is a plus.  This may also eliminate some of the crowd that would just come down to drink and talk which sometimes socialized to the point that it distracted from the music.  On the other hand, that crowd that was coming down just to drink was buying a lot of those oh-so-profitable $5 beers ($4.50 profit?) so Cheers is taking a gamble that the better acts will pull in more people at the higher admission and offset, if not surpass, what they were making on the socializers. 

This change may have been in response to last year when the first couple Cheers I attended (Grace Potter/Robert Randolph @ Dominion Riverrock (5/14 & 15) and Railroad Earth (5/21)) were packed.  By the time, I got to the last two with Deer Tick (6/18) and The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker (6/25), the combination of the novelty of Cheers wearing off, the heat and lesser-known bands let to very sparsely attended Cheers.  So perhaps if they load the best-known bands at the end of the Cheers season and book better bands in general, they'll keep steady attendence despite the weather.  I know $5 is still cheap enough for me to go take a chance on a band that has a good reputation that I may not necessarily be familiar with.  So far the only bands confirmed for Cheers this year (thanks to Pollstar) is New Orleans band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue on 5/20, who should be a lot of fun and definitely worth your $5, and Corey Smith on 6/3, who I don't know too much about but seems to fall into that amiable, acoustic Jack Johnson category that makes me go "meh".

Onto this weekend in Richmond.  Yacht rock superstars Three Sheets to the Wind will be doing their regular gig at The Republic on Thursday night.  The show starts at 10 PM and its FREE.  Ok, maybe superstars is too strong a word but if you likes you some Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins and the like, this band is for you.  They'll be debuting two new yacht rock tunes at this show which is called the Love Boat Luau.

At The National on Friday night, The Velvet Marias, The Venture Rays and The Word Brown will perform for your pleasure and also to benefit Commonwealth Parenting, whose mission "is to build a stronger community by teaching proactive parenting skills to parents and caregivers in central Virginia through quality education, communication, and support".  Per their web site, "The Velvet Marias play classic country from Patsy Cline to Steve Earle, rock covers from Buddy Holly to the Band, and deep R&B cuts from Dr. John to Sly Stone, and back again.
Their original songs are hook oriented snapshots that tell a story while everyone sings along."
Here's Velvet Marias doing Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues":


Also on Friday night, The Hot Seats (formerly known as Special Ed & The Shortbus) will be at Poe's Pub (which has its own theme song on their web site).  The show starts at 10 PM and its $5 to get in.  Here they are playing their brand of bluegrass at the Music City Roots show on Groundhog Day this year:


On Saturday night at The Canal Club there will be a whole bunch of Richmond Americana with the "Crossroads from Richmond to Nashville" show featuring Barrelhouse, Allen Thompson Band, The Atkinsons, and Relacksachian.  Doors open at 8, tix are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.  Here are the Atkinsons performing "Her Mind's On Other Things" at Ashland Coffee & Tea in December:


On Saturday night at The National , Lotus will play with doors opening at 8 and the show starting at 9 with opener Daedelus.  Tix are $20 in advance, $22 day of show.  Lotus is an up and coming jamtronica band.  Here's a sample of Lotus playing "Blacklight Sunflare" at Roseland Ballroom in NYC in August:

Through the Mirror Episode 10 from LotusVibes on Vimeo.

Sunday at The National, Umphrey's McGee will jam your face off starting at 7:00 (doors) with opener Zach Deputy hitting the stage at 8. Tix are $20.  You'll dig the Umph, who lean more toward the prog-rock side of jam bandia, if you like Phish, Zappa, moe., Yes, Dream Theater, or Genesis (pre-Invisible Touch).  Here they are performing "Much Obliged - Bridgeless" on 12/29/10:


Out next installment in the 25 Best Music Videos of 2010 as chosen by Paste Magazine leads us this week to the David Crowder Band's "SMS [Shine]".  Paste says that "With a LITE-BRITE board and 700,000 pegs, this self-made video took 2,150 man hours from 83 of the band’s friends."  All I know is I was never able to make anything quite this heartbreaking with my Lite-Brite.  But then again I didn't have 83 friends to help me.


All the big summer festivals are beginning to announce their lineups. Coachella and Sasquatch festivals out on the West Coast sold out in one day each. Here is the lineup for Coachella. Sort of. Look closely.

That's it.  I'm outta here.  Have a great weekend.

Tony Jordan