Charlottesville

TO DO LIST: Sons of Bill @ The State Theater TONIGHT!!

Sometimes a band name doesn’t attempt to be funny, even though it ends up that way. Take Charlottesville’s Sons of Bill, for example. Three of the five members are, in fact, the sons of a guy named Bill. Through three albums and one EP (as well as a new 7” released for last month’s Record Store Day) Sons of Bill have ripped high quality, high energy Son Volt-esque alt-country. Last year’s Sirens, produced by Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven guru David Lowery (who adds his own fantastic drawl here and there), was a glorious amalgamation of old school outlaw country and southern rock but with notable added depth. In short, if there were a band that summed up the intellectual/southern/hippy feel of Charlottesville, Sons of Bill are probably it. They rarely stray outside their comfort zone, but that’s a good thing – any odd asides in the midst of the wonderful Americana they’ve mastered would seem forced.

They’re an amazing live band, honing their talents during a seemingly relentless touring schedule. All five members are extremely talented, and their extended live jams are the stuff of legend. The brothers’ familiarity continually shows as they trade riffs and solos. And the band always seems to kick it up a few notches higher when playing in their home state, so tonight’s show at the State Theater should be a damn good one.

Central Virginia is well represented tonight as the Dericks – also from Charlottesville – will open the show. The Dericks have a more pure country sound and some damn good melodies (think of early Whiskeytown). It’ll be a night of music that will make you want to fire up the barbecue and let summer roll in.


LIVE: Roadkill Ghost Choir @ The Box (Charlottesville, VA) - 10/7/12

There are many firsts when you are in a band. The first EP you release, the first tour, the first night you all sleep in the van together, and the first time you see and hear someone singing along to your songs thousands of miles from home. These are just a few of the firsts Roadkill Ghost Choir has been checking off over the last few weeks, and a couple of weeks ago they got the chance to check off their first show in Charlottesville Virginia.

Opening the set with a monster 11+ minute performance which blended two new songs “I Could See Everything” and “Dead Friend” into a single musical piece, the Ghost Choir provided the intimate audience with a great introduction and foreshadowing of the dynamic cosmic soundscapes and range they would explore throughout the evening. Starting with a simple strummed guitar, the band built the groundwork of long shimmering pedal steel lines, Wurlitzer backdrops, and Brian Eno inspired ambient tones that intertwined beautifully with Andrew Shepard’s dynamic and powerful lead vocal range. “There’s no meaning to the words left on the lips of an old dead friend,” he sang as he bent and shifted between a brooding country twang, Tom Petty croon, and aching grunge yelp in a single line. All the while the band fluidly phased from a mellow country ballad to straight up indie rocker, only to end on an ambient piece that sounded like a pulsating neutron star whose gravity had enveloped everything that had just happened.

As a listener, these ambient transitional pieces provided a space to reflect on what they had just experienced. In this case, it also provided a perfect launch pad for the next tune, a straight up rocker that is still “Untitled”. Turning up the grungy guitar, bass, drum and vocal lines on a dime, the inclusion of non-traditional drawn out pedal steel and vintage electric piano gave it an overall fresh and new feeling. 


Never Get Away From The Sprawl: The Arcade Fire @ nTelos Pavilion 6/8/11 (Charlottesville, VA)

The Arcade Fire played a 5,000 seat venue in Charlottesville, Virgina last week and it couldn't have been a better place for them to deliver their songs about the perils of suburban life and the modern world. Sure, C'ville is home to UVA, and that part of town is a gorgeous hamlet full of kudzu covered Jeffersonian architecture. But head to the North and there's nothing but shopping malls framed on all sides by the Blue Ridge mountains. "Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains and there's no end in sight" indeed. The band was thinking about Houston, TX when they wrote The Suburbs, but the messages contained within it's songs could just as easily been about this smallish Virginia college town.

Now, on to the show...


Photos: The Arcade Fire @ nTelos Pavilion - 6/8/11

The Arcade Fire played in Charlottesville this past Wednesday and we were there to cover the show. Our inital review of "HOLY F@$$ IS IT HOT!" didn't quite make it past editorial, so we had to go back to the drawing board, but never fear a full review of The Arcade Fire's fantastic performance will be up tomorrow. In the meantime check out the fantastic shots that Ryan scored, as well as the completely amateur in comparison shots by Andre and myself if your feeling brave.

Check out Ryan's shots here

Check out the rest here (We're not worthy! We're not worthy!)


TV On The Radio - Live @ The Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA

TV On The Radio playing the Jefferson Theater this past Saturday in Charlottesville, VA

 

Well I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that thanks to some new friends at Red Light Management, we were able to get in a position to make this piece FULL of fantastic and stunning imagery to record the night. The bad news? Our camera totally s!@# the bed, so while we were able to get some OK shots off of our digitals we are ensaddened by what could have been. Next time will be different though. I promise.

Now that that's out of the way.

TV On The Radio, despite or maybe because of their punkish roots have never quite seemed comfortable on the stage. That isn't to say they haven't been good, because they are. Insanely good in fact. But when you have to live up to the ridiculously high bar that they set with their records well...you can see where I'm coming from. Having seen the band once before on the Dear Science tour I knew pretty much what to expect going in...and I also had my hopes up for what I wanted to see them do. The question then is did they deliver? The answer?

A resounding "holymotherofgod" yes.


Review: TV On The Radio - Nine Types of Light

 

With any new release from TV On The Radio you have to talk about two things. The first is the ridiculously high expectations that the band has put upon them by being one of the most consistently great acts in recent memory. The second is the fact that despite that consistency, you have no idea just what a new TV On The Radio record is going to sound like.

This band doesn’t necessarily push boundaries in the same way that say, Radiohead has in the past. Instead they push the boundaries of their identity as a band, never straying too far from some unidentifiable core that is TV On The Radio, yet managing to sound like a completely new band each and every time.