Monday, February 27, 2012

Revolution in the River City


WOW, I am pumped! I just got back from my first overnight out of town music trip. I had the honor and privilege to host WDCE 90.1 FM's Benefit the Beats concert at the University of Richmond. I felt like such a rockstar, checking into my hotel room, going to the show, getting back late...waking up, saying "WOW that is a mega TV! Oh wait, that's the wardrobe." Sleep deprivation does funny things. Just wait till a big tour happens!

Let me tell you, it was such a fun time. There were four main acts who donated their time and talent to the concert, allowing the station to raise funds for a new transmitter. First off, check these guys 'n gals out. Here they are, in the order that they played on Saturday:

William Rousseau - This fellow makes his guitar sound like a million bucks, and is a super nice guy. Good acoustic tone is a rarity, in my opinion, so I was quite enthused to hear how great he sounded. I got to try his guitar after the show, and unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to buy my way to his sound. It's all him! I learned a lot by watching how he turned a venue into his living room, and made everyone feel like they were guests in his home. I talked to him later, and he mentioned how he thinks musicians always take themselves too seriously. "We're just playing music, man, it should be fun and welcoming" he said. He certainly practices what he preaches, and everyone loved it. It's definitely something that I'll be working on incorporating into my shows. Check him out at:

Quango Almo
Man, these guys have an awesome, unique jazz-rock-maybe even a bit of Latin infused fusion tone...and Freddy, the guitar player, had the COOLEST guitar cable ever. Sure, it sounds geeky and industry-specific to mention, but let me tell you, this thing looked like a telephone cord's big brother that had been hitting the gym. The poor keyboard player, naturally a reserved fellow, had the misfortune of having ME on a wireless mic. I pounced on him while the band was setting up onstage, and interrogated him until he skillfully referred me to talk to the bass player. Kudos, sir! It's hard to break my grip! Haha! Their sound was smart, tight, and combined the intelligence of jazz with the snappiness of loud rock. Check 'em out at:

Cardinal Compass
If you think bass players don't jump around, drummers don't show up, and girls can't play guitar, check out this band to have all of your misconceptions sorted out. Not only did they jump around, show up, and play, but they ROCKED! The format of a power trio seems to allow great communication and super tight arrangements, and Cardinal Compass certainly used all of these qualities to their advantage. Their show was engaging, entertaining, and rockin'! They sang a song (and I'll probably mess up the lyrics) that went something like "I wanna be your house cat, so no more of that stray cat strut." Unfortunately for them, this tossed a pitch right over the Josh plate, as I was up next, with "Stray Cat Strut" already on my set list. Try as I might, I couldn't resist cracking the "Hey, so, do girl house cats make sandwiches?" joke. (I don't know why the "bring me a sandwich, woman" gag is so funny, but I always get a kick out of it.) Fortunately for me, I mumbled it, so all the women in the joint didn't rush the stage and beat me up. Hannah, the guitarist and singer, could certainly have stomped my toe pretty good with the way cool boots she had on. Anyways, they've got a new album due out soon, so check 'em out:

Money Cannot Be Eaten

There must be something about the water in Richmond...There are some GOOD musicians around here! Money Cannot Be Eaten wrapped up the show, and MAN, these guys tore it UP with some fusion, funk, rock, even a bit of blues...The guitar player hit a few notes in soundcheck, and I came running over to see what the heck he was playing through. His sound was off the charts. The keyboard player reminded me why the cheesy plugins in Cubase are no match for a guy who knows how to play and has really spent some time on his sound. The bass almost rumbled down the half-million dollar multi-colored wall in the next room. Bravo, sir! And Jake, the drummer (and later, guitar player), kept a fiery groove blazing by hitting that snare drum with the force and precision of a Hellfire drone. It proved his point that he made earlier at dinner: "Drumming is great for aggression." Something in the jazzosphere must have ticked him off, 'cause MAN did he hold it down like a boss! You've gotta check these guys out, and definitely get out to see them at a show.

After the bands were through, a few of the station DJ's hopped onstage and treated the crowd to a wide variety of music. Will, the soundman and a DJ, got up with program director Whitney, and played a great little unplugged set. I've got an inside joke with my dad about a Fleetwood Mac song following me around, so I chuckled when Whitney opened up with a great rendition of Landslide. Will then brought his rock band up, and they played three rockin' covers, my favorite being The General by Dispatch. It was cool to see how they remixed it for more of a rock format.

There was another acoustic set by a fella who's name I should know, but escapes me right now. He was cool enough to share some pizza with me earlier, and man, it was almost as good as his tunes! Thank you, buddy!

Last, but not least, DJ Black Liquid brought a few of his rhyming buddies onstage and William Rousseau joined 'em jammin' some rap tracks on his Taylor acoustic guitar. It was unique, and it was jammin'!

It was a memorable evening filled with top-notch music, and I left the River City knowing that the Revolution to Overthrow Bad Music is alive and well in Richmond.

- Josh

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