Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekend Picks: Friday Cheers w/Shakey Graves, XL102's Big Field Day, Sufjan Stevens, Sturgill Simpson, Ava Luna, Old Crow Medicine Show

This is the start of the crazy weeks of late spring/early summer here for RVA music. It's very busy this week so let's jump right in.

Rapper Big Sean is at The National Thursday night. Tix are $32.50 in advance, $37.50 at the door. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with Casey Veggies. Big Sean recently performed at a BET benefit for the United Negro College Fund. Putting his money where his mouth is, Big Sean donated $25K to a young man from Detroit to help him attend Miles College. Here's Big Sean's latest "Blessings" featuring Drake & Kanye West. Language is NSFW!

Major & The Monbacks celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album at The Broadberry on Thursday night. We'll have a review of the album coming up soon here in Handful of Brains. Doors open at 8, It's $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Sleepwalkers and Griff's Room Band open the show. Here's Major and the Monbacks performing at the 2014 Takoma Park Street Festival.

Trongone Band is at The Camel Thursday night. You can get in for FREE if you get there before 10 PM. It'll be $7 after that. Doors open at 8 and Barrelhouse will open. Here's Trongone Band doing "Shakedown Street" with some help from some friends:

No BS! Brass Band takes over Balliceaux on Thursday night. Show starts at 10 PM and there is an $8 cover. The band will be workshopping their new tunes so get over there and let them know how they are. Here they are performing in Miami earlier this month. Full show!

On Friday, finally, Friday Cheers is back! Does Friday Cheers charge $100 to be up front in Super Gold Platinum VIP seats, $75 to sit in Gold VIP seats or $50 for Regular Gold seats? NO! Your $5 (or occasionally $10) ticket price lets you sit anywhere on the island. You want to go up front, well, head right up front, mister. If you want to stretch out on a blanket on the grass, you can do so without getting jammed in. Do you need to get there 30 minutes before the gates open and line up in a hot parking lot to get a good spot? NO! Brown's Island is spacious and there are rarely any lines more than a few people long for anything; food, beer, bathrooms or entry. Is the view from the seating area some non-descript office buildings? NO! You have the Richmond skyline on one side, the sunset behind you setting over the VA War Memorial, a glorious view of the James River rapids, and a cool breeze off of the river. Are the bands generic pop-country and 70's and 80's bands with one original member left? NO! You get some of the best up-and-coming bands anywhere. Past Cheers alumni include Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Lake Street Dive, Lone Bellow, Head & The Heart, Drive-By Truckers, Shovels & Rope, Charles Bradley, Avers, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Neko Case, Zac Brown Band, Trombone Shorty, Black Joe Lewis and so much more.

This season's Friday Cheers starts with Texas alt-country Americana singer-songwriter Shakey Graves. It's just $5 to get in. Yarn will start the show at 6:30. Here's Shakey playing "Built to Roam". He's solo here but he should have his full band with him on Friday.

Over at Gallery 5 Friday, it's First Friday and you can check out their exhibit of VCU's  Communication Arts program senior's work while listening to the music of Ava Luna, Clair Morgan and Manatree. It's free to get in but a donation to the Gallery would be nice so they can continue their work promoting the arts in RVA. I'm just sayin'. Here's a new one from Ava Luna called "Steve Polyester" and very cool animated video:

Skydog, RVA's excellent Allman Brothers tribute band, are at The Broadberry, Friday night. This will be the band's 6th anniversary show. They'll play two sets so there will be no opener. They'll also have some friends sitting in on sax and harmonica so this one should be a doozy. Doors open at 8, tix are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Here they are doing "Statesboro Blues" a few years ago in VA Beach:

Southern Belles will be doing some jamming of their own at The Camel Friday. Tix are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Doors open at 8, show starts at 9 with opener Backup Planet from Nashville. Here's the Belles full show in C'ville on 3/4/15:

XL102's Big Field Day takes place at Richmond International Raceway Saturday and they've got a pretty good lineup this year. Doors will open at 11 AM and this one will run until 8 PM. The schedule is:
11:30 - Big Mama Shakes
12:15 - Catfish & The Boatmen
1:15 - Robert DeLong
2:15 - J. Roddy Walston & The Business
3:30 - Dirty Heads
5 - Passion Pit
6:30 - Incubus
It's all GA. Advance tix are $28.50. Tix will be $45 at the gate. If you can only catch a couple bands, be sure to see J. Roddy and Passion Pit. Here's one from Passion Pit's new album, "Kindred" called "Lifted Up (1985)":

Ben Folds is at The National Saturday. Tix are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8. Ben will be performing with yMusic, a classical sextet that has collaborated with other indie pop musicians so this should be a special and unique show. Here's a little video Ben put together to introduce yMusic and give you a little taste of the sounds they'll make together:

Sunday night at Altria Theatre, Old Crow Medicine Show is performing, with Sturgill Simpson opening the show. I'm really digging Sturgill's old school outlaw country right now. Tix run from $35 - $55. Show starts at 7:30. Let's do a video from each. Here's Old Crow with "Alabama High Test":

And here's Sturgill doing "Listening to the Rain" at Coachella a few weeks ago"

Wednesday night, Marilyn Manson brings his freak show to town, and I mean that in a good way. He'll be at The National. Tix are $49.50 in advance, $55 at the door. Doors open at 7 and show starts at 8 with Knee High Fox. Here's Marilyn's latest, "Deep Six", and as most things Marilyn Manson are, this is NSFW:

Also, Wednesday night at The Altria Theater is a man who writes some of the most beautiful, gentle and moving songs I've heard, Sufjan Stevens.Tix range from $32.50 - $40. No opener is listed so you may want to be there by the show time of 8 PM. His latest album, "Carrie & Lowell" is looking like an early contender for album of the year. Here's "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross" from that album:

Have a great weekend! I'll see you at Friday Cheers!

I'll leave you with this one from Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band. Saw these guys in Key West last Thursday night and they were a lot of fun. Trop Rock at it's finest. If you like Jimmy Buffett, you'll like this guy. Here's "The Smoking Song". Don't worry, it leaves that web cam looking shot about 30 seconds in.

Tony Jordan