Top 9 Richmond bands you should go see

Let’s focus back on Richmond’s own wonderful music scene, shall we?

I’m all about being practical AND since we just had a meeting at the office where I stuffed my face with Papa John’s garlic sauce and prattled on to Last Level Boss Val about how RVANews should be filled with practicality, I thought I’d throw a little bit of no nonsense robot facts of my own into the mix.

Truthfully, I have felt a bit guilty because I spent the last two months documenting music from around the globe and have devoted pretty much zero words to Richmond’s own music community. Anyhow, since I do love the musicians around here with all my heart I thought I’d give some shout outs/props/dap to my top 9* bands.

Let me clarify. Although, I luvluvluvluv Eddie P’s Amazing Ghost, I sure as hell cant see them live anywhere (until September 15th when they blow the roof off the Eight Track Party). My point is, even though there are worthy projects that are floating around on myspaces everywhere, I am only listing bands I can actually go see. This list is totally analog, no digital infiltration (even the one DJ spins wax). Also, this list, of course, is only made up of bands that I have seen – there are, no doubt, super tight bands that I have not seen and should probably make this list. In fact, I could probably make another entire list of “top 9** bands whose myspaces I listen to all the time but have never seen live.” Anyhow, without further fuss and in no particular order…

Top 9*** bands that I like to go see (read: I highly recommend you go see)

1. Bio Ritmo

These bros and a sis are a total hidden treasure for some of us. Don’t get fooled by some sort of Salsa stigma; Bio Ritmo is a kick ass band – I mean seriously a super tight live band. They are masters of their craft, and their craft happens to be playing some serious Nuyorican beats that will, undoubtedly, recalculate your deep vibe scene. Also, just an FYI, their first record was a 7’ on Merge Records. Next Show: September 20th, CD Release Party at Capital Ale House.

2. Glows in the Dark

So, admittedly this list does lean a bit on the jazz side BUT thats only because Richmond is home to an extremely vibrant and kick ass Jazz community. Pound for pound, Richmond might have the best Jazz scene in the country….actually I don’t think that is too much of a stretch. Anyhow, somewhere at the head of the pack surely is Scott Burton’s Glows in the Dark. They call it a “a “full court press” assault on musical conventions, jazz and folk as seen through the forward-looking veil of the avant garde.” They aren’t kidding around either, these guys and all their Kung Fu nerdiness will ninja your mind into shape with shurikens of musical wisdom. Next Show: July 29th at The Camel.

3. No BS/Supa Fly Floosies/anything Reggie Pace does

Reggie, the trombone wielding member of G in the D, makes my list on like 8 different levels, so I have to stuff him into this one measly spot. Guys, if you haven’t seen Reggie spit hot fire from his trombone, you are missing out – he is an integral part of the Richmond experience. Please find him somewhere and pay to see his band, buy a CD, and then tell all your friends about him. Next Show: July 26th at The National.

4. Ombak

SPEAKING OF TROMBONE PLAYERS!!! Ombak, sick purveyors of the tightest robot beats you have ever witnessed have taken/are taking over Cous Cous for a few weeks this summer. Get out of the river, call all your friends, and come hear Richmond’s very latest and tightest jazz gem. Tunes straight from the caves of steel that we call Bryan Hooten’s mind make you move, but then maybe stop and think, but then move again…it can get complicated all that moving and thinking, but when you’re done, you’re satisfied. Next Show: August 20th at Cous Cous.

5. Nate Rappole

Ok, so I’ll be honest, I don’t know too much about this guy except that he is in Ultra Dolphins, and his solo work came highly recommended to me by both Andy Jenkins and Chris Ramming (if you knew both of those folks you would be fascinated too). Anyhow, I saw him this weekend and he tore my mind open, but not with any of his limbs – those are all busy. He plays guitar with one hand, drums with the other three limbs and sings into a mic that is attached to the inside of a hockey mask that he wears. I’m just saying – it was expert. I don’t know when his next show is. Help!?!?!

6. Josh Small

Josh is a fantastic person, a lovely guitar player, and a beautiful singer. Also, he drums up some truly unique and wonderful tunes that are informed and transformed by the preceding superlatives. Make sure and catch this dude whenever you can, you will not be disappointed. He don’t got no shows coming up, but thats because he’s on an epic national tour with Brainworms. Keep your eyes peeled.

7. Marty McCavitt

Perhaps the dark horse on the list, Marty is a truly unique individual. Bordering on that “this guy might be an effing genius” line, Marty invents instruments, plays noise on computers, and is also a beautiful piano player. ANYTIME!! you see that this guy might be playing out and about you should go track down a few of your friends (maybe those with more pro-noise ears) and make whatever he has his hands in a priority. Also, you should talk to him because he is a very charming conversationalist and will really learn you a thing or two. Next Show: maybe (fingers crossed) September 30th at Thanky Space.

8. Brian Jones

I try to throw this guy all the free publicity I can because he is a true musical giant – plus he literally looks like a grizzly bear. SO, I apologize if I keep harping about the same old thing, but if you haven’t seen this dude play – I mean it can be with anyone anywhere or by himself – you really need to. He is the father of that best pound for pound jazz scene I was talking about. When they write the book about how awesome the Richmond music scene was, his name will have like a million page numbers in the index. Again, I’m just saying I highly suggest you make his music a priority in your life. Next Show: August 6th at Cous Cous.

9. SoulPower RVA

DJ’s count!! Lets be honest they barely count but I’m all in for sneaking them in the door. These guys bring the party hard. Not with any smoke and mirrors but with a good old fashioned dance dance dance music. Nothing heals your emotional, spiritual or physical aches and pains like old soul and funk tunes – go out and have a good tim will ya. Next Show: August 2nd at Cous Cous.

Side note: Fight the Big Bull and The Great White Jenkins would top out this list in my opinion, but I’m clearly biased so I’ll leave those losers out.

Ok, that’s it. I just spat all that out and I’m satisfied. All those bands rule, and if you pair this calender with Tess Dixon’s, your Richmond experience will level up a million levels…maybe then you will get to play Last Level Boss Val. You will lose.

Be kind to people and keep your ears oiled,

*Last Level Boss Val’s note: This was supposed to be MattWhite’s Top 10 bands. I’m assuming he got so exicted about the concept of writing this article that he got carried away. Or he’s a big dummy.
**Last Level Boss Val’s note: See above note about being a big dummy.
***Last Level Boss Val’s note: See above note about being a big dummy again.

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Matthew E. White

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. mattwhite on said:

    damn! looking at my notes…totally skipped number 7. its bc thats God’s number. eff!! I always lose to last level boss val – she is unbeatable like that kill screen in pacman

  2. Oh well. Everyone does top 10. Top 9 could be considered “edgy,” I suppose. Plus, I love any opportunity to call someone a big dummy.

  3. oh word. josh small plays tonight at the camel.

  4. What about Prabir and The Substitutes?

  5. mattwhite on said:

    maybe they should fill the 10th spot

  6. RPG’s new record is awesome…

  7. Jeff on said:

    Josh plays tonight and tomorrow at The Camel.

    Nate Rappole’s solo work is called “Gull” and should be findable on Myspace.

  8. lindsey on said:

    to those who suggest other bands that should be on the list: consider that it’s the list of bands that matt would go see. richmond has an infinitely deep pool of rockin musicians to pick from, this list could easily be a top 20.

    i would suggest feasting your ears on anything and everything you can hear around town, be it a little house show or picking a restaurant for dinner where you’ll hear live music or heading to the modlin center or the singleton center for something a bit more academic. this list may not be the list for you, but if you go hear all the city has to offer, you’re guaranteed to find what is. brian jones will be on your list, no matter what you like…in fact, you’ve probably already heard him because he played drums on jason mraz’s first album, so he’s pretty much super famous. i think the list is more like a jumping off point, and quite a good one at that.

  9. here, here…

  10. anon on said:

    seriously, no GWAR or Lamb of God?

  11. mattwhite on said:

    yea i guess man. i mean if it were Friday night and all nine of these bands were playing as well as GWAR and Lamb of God I would see each of the bands on the list before those two. I understand that each of those groups(GWAR/LOG) has a major following in the community and I’m sure they would appear on several peoples lists, including yours presumably, but they dont make mine – i hope thats ok. My boss on the other hand…that guy is a LOG/GWAR fanatic…and my RVANews co-contributor, he was actually in GWAR…really Lindsay’s comment sums it all up – she seems to be quite wise.

  12. This is a list of great Richmond bands that don’t go by the names Lamb of God (I always liked their first name Burn the Priest better than their current moniker) or GWAR. God knows, there are thousands of them…

  13. andy jenkins on said:

    Nate is also a member of Ultra Dolphins ( and Snack Truck ( both of which are thoroughly excellent.

  14. NRG Krysys…the late Bryan Harvey’s spoof 60s/70s band now commandeered by Coby Batty (of the famous Fugs) and friends…yes, it’s a cover band but it’s by far the most fun you can have on a dance floor because these guys are hilarious!!!!!

  15. Chef on said:

    YOur CRAZY for not putting David Shultz and the Skyline on the top 9 bands. There the best band richmond has and will every see. Get this corrected ASAP. Thank you!!!

  16. David on said:

    No Prabir and No Calpurnia?

    Wow, no love at all for the Rock and Roll scene. The title of this article should be “Top 9 Non-rock Richmond Bands You Should See.”

  17. mattwhite on said:

    i keep having to say this…if it were friday night and prabir and calpurnia were playing as well as the rest of the bands on the list i would attend every other concert before i would attend prabir’s or calpurnia. thats just me. also, i think there is positive mention of 5 different “rock bands” in the article so maybe we just have different “rock music” aesthetics.

  18. T-Dog on said:

    I don’t know how you can talk about the best bands of the city without mentioning Hamburger James. I’ve seen them three times this year and they’ve rocked every show – and I mean freakin’ rocked.

  19. SAGE on said:

    Anything on CNP Records. The only originnal music in Richmond….

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