Our localized version of the Grammys take place this week in Norfolk. The 4th Veer Magazine Local Music Awards will be held Wednesday night at the historic Attucks Theater with a musical theme of Black Music In America. Our good friends, The Fuzz Band will serve as the house band with a variety of singers and musicians joining them throughout the night. Among the guests performers are Anthony Rosano , Major and The Monbacks and Myra Smith.
Awards will be handed out in categories ranging from Album Of The Year to Best Musical Retailer and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Lenis Green, one of the biggest contributors to the Norfolk Sound. Bruce Gray of the Bartones will perform Lenis’ hit “Working For My Baby” with The Fuzz Band. The winners will be determined from 50% of the online votes from the public and 50% of votes from a panel of judges. Tickets are available for $10 at Belmont House of Smoke, Colley Cantina, Cogans and Cogans North. Doors open at 6p and the show starts at 7p. Official after parties will be held Belmont House of Smoke, Colley Cantina, Cogans and Cogans North immediately following the awards show.
Good morning Monday! It’s the start of a new week and if you’re any thing like me, you’re probably on your 3rd or 5th cup of coffee. So let’s get that caffeinated brain rolling with a little local music news.
The 57th Grammy Awards were held in LA last night and our hometown star, Pharrell Williams, took home three golden victrolas for Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video. Former Norfolk police officer turned record producer Mark Carman was nominated for his work on T. Graham Brown’s Forever Change in the Best Roots Gospel Album category but lost to Mike Farris’ Shine for All The People.
Our localized version of the Grammy Awards take place this week in Norfolk. The 4th Veer Magazine Local Music Awards will be held Wednesday night at the historic Attucks Theater. Awards will be handed out in categories ranging from Album Of The Year to Best Musical Retailer. The winners will be determined from 50% of the online votes from the public and 50% of votes from a panel of judges. Tickets are available for $10 at Belmont House of Smoke, Colley Cantina, Cogans and Cogans North. Doors open at 6p and the show starts at 7p. Official after parties will be held Belmont House of Smoke, Colley Cantina, Cogans and Cogans North immediately following the awards show.
Seth Stainback and Roosterfoot have just released a video for the song, Fire and Steel, off their fantastic record of the same name. The video was recorded during the recording of the album at Dockside Studios in Maurice, LA and at their release show this summer at the NorVa. The album was released in July and produced by the great Anders Osborne and is nominated for Album Of The Year in the Veer Magazine Local Music Awards.
You can Seth and the band perform this Saturday at Calypso in Virginia Beach.
How does the old saying go; “Out with the old and in with the new”. Well, we’re at Day 13 of 2015 and brand new music is already emerging with a lot more on the way. So let’s get started with a few of my favorites.
Following the breakup of Pawn Shop Lifters last summer, bassist Jeff Pierce wasted no time in starting a new venture. The Vir is a new Americana, coffee shop-style band that features Pierce on bass, Mike Lawson on vocals and guitar and William Swafford on drums. They self-recorded their debut EP which was mastered by local engineer Matt Katherman and will release the 3 song collection TODAY at Noon on iTunes. Click this link to get it. Trust me, you’ll want to add it to your collection.
Mae just completed a small run of shows celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their album, “The Everglow”. They are taking a little break before heading off to Australia and then on to a full US tour and in the meantime, two members are working on their new projects. Guitarist Zach Gehring has been working on Demons for the last year and it is in the middle of being pressed for vinyl. His Indigogo supporters get first dibs and the snippets I’ve heard on the Demons Instagram have been a great little tease of what’s to come.
Keyboardist Rob Sweitzer has been busy as well with his new project, My God It’s Full Of Stars. Rob spent a few weeks in Nashville at Dave Elkins studio tracking drums, keys and guitars. Dave is producing this EP titled, M29. Rob is currently tracking strings and will start mixing soon. This is going to be good….really good.
The 2015 Veer Magazine Local Music Awards nomination have been released and open for voting. The Hampton Roads Show has been honored once again for Best Media Program (Promoting Local Music) and the album I produced for the band, Revery, is nominated for Album Of The Year. A lot of fantastic artists have been selected and many our Live Music Friday members have been graced with nominations. Click this link to vote. The awards will be held at the historic Attucks Theater Wednesday, February 11.
It’s the time of year where family and friends get together for a feast, football and good times. It’s also the time for what’s becoming a new tradition: The Last Bison’s Gathering.
Now in it’s third year, The Last Bison will takeover The NorVa Saturday, November 29 for an evening of good music and good will. Presented by 96X, The Gathering is a musical fundraiser for The Foodbank of Southeastern Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore that will feature The Last Bison along with special guests Esbern Snare and Swear and Shake. Each concert goer should bring a non-perishable food item for The Foodbank. You can also make a contribution online at this link. This is an important cause as The Foodbank provides canned, fresh, frozen goods to thousands of individuals and this time is a time when The Foodbank runs low of items in their pantry. Recently, The Last Bison held a volunteer night there where the band and fans sorted 4000 lbs of food and packaged over 300 backpacks with food to distribute as part of The Foodbank’s BackPack Program.
The Last Bison just got back from their east coast tour in support of their latest record, VA. The record is simply superb as well as their current live show. They have added a drum kit and Amos slaps on the electric bass – where it adds a great dynamic to their folkestral tunes of Quill that we love. I saw their show in Philadelphia last month and it was nothing short of excellent. Bottom Line: Go to the show!
Joining them are Esbern Snare, who appeared on Live Music Friday earlier this year and released their debut record, A Violent Peace. A great band with an intense sound and song craftsmanship that doesn’t leave your head for awhile. Also joining the bill is New York Americana band, Swear and Shake. This band is another great gem with very catchy tunes. Check out their video below.
The year was 1994 and five guys from Detroit took the US of A by storm with their debut record, Rotting Pinata. Fast forward 20 years later and hits from that record, Plowed and Molly (16 Candles), are still getting radio airplay and the band is hitting the road to celebrate that amazing album. The band will be in Virginia Beach Sunday at Shaka’s with Solemn Flight, 710 Oil and Revery. I had the pleasure of talking to lead singer and founding member Vinnie Dombroski as they headed down to Greensboro, NC for the opening night of the tour. ”We have and always had a bar band mentality, whether it’s playing a club or an arena, we want to interact with the crowd as much as possible and make them feel like they’re part of the band.” This is exactly what you’ll hear in their latest release, Rotting Alive, which is a live record of Rotting Pinata performed in it’s entirety recorded earlier this year in Detroit. ”We didn’t go out there intending to record an album but a friend had a mobile recorder and we had him record it and the energy the crowd had the night was so magical that we knew we had to put it out.”
Sunday night’s show at Shaka’s is one you can’t miss – not only because of Sponge – but you’re getting a lineup that has three of the best rock bands this area has and all for $15 ($20 at the door). Solemn Flight, 710 Oil and Revery, who will be playing tonight at Hoss’ Deli in Newport News. ”I’m really looking forward to this show.”
My weekend are usually reserved for family time and time spent to re-energize from the work week – so this weekend I packed the family into the SUV and drove up Rt. 13 up to The City Of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia is special to me because I lived there for several years in my youth and my love for many things came from that city – sports, music, attitude and soft pretzels – so I couldn’t think of a better city to see one of our favorite bands in.
The Last Bison are in the midst of a tour around the country in support of their new album, “VA” (Virginia), and after spending the last two nights in NYC and Conn., they made the trek down I-95 to Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live. The cafe is two venues in one; a larger club setting downstairs and a more intimate cafe setting upstairs – where The Last Bison was to perform.
After dinner with the family at Nodding Head Brewery, I walked down Chestnut and across the Schuylkill River to 3025 Walnut St. I was warmly greeted by Ben as soon as I walked in and he was excited about this evening’s show. There were only 20 tickets remaining and they were all gone by the time they started. Norwegian singer Monica Heldal opened the show with accompanying guitarist Oyvind Blomstorm and set the tone for the night with her sweet bluesy voice and a great harmonic sound between hers and Oyvind’s guitar.
After a 15 minute break, The Last Bison hit the stage. The Philly crowd were eagerly awaiting this moment as it’s been a year since they last met. The band didn’t disappoint and played 90 minute set consisting of a great mix of VA, Inheritance and Quill. They even treated us to a couple of tunes that didn’t make ‘VA’ but said they would be on a future release “real soon”. The ended their set with Every Time and with a healthy crowd participation of the “Ohh Whoa Ohh Whoa Ohh” after the chorus. As they band exited stage left – the crowd filled the room with that chant to bring them back for an encore. They closed out the evening with their Switzerland and it just left everyone wanting more. Simply a fantastic show.
If you’ve never seen them before live then you must make it a priority to see them and if you have seen them before, then you must see them again. Their sound is more refined then before especially with the added full drum kit and the addition of Amos playing an electric bass.
They will end this leg of the tour in at the NorVa for their annual Gathering Saturday, November 29. Mark it on you calendar and make sure you get out there.
The big music news making the rounds yesterday was the sale of The NorVa to entertainment giant AEG Live. The application of sale was submitted by Rising Tide Holdings and Mid-Atlantic Propco LLC – whose parent company is AEG Live – on August 7 to the City of Norfolk and the sale was approved September 25. The adjacent FM Restaurant was also included in the sale.
So what does this mean for the future of the venue? AEG Live owns 345 clubs/theaters around the world including Club Nokia and The El Rey Theater in LA, Hammersmith Apollo in London, Royal Oak Theater in Detroit and The Joint at The Hard Rock in Las Vegas – so they are no strangers to running major concert facilities. Yes, the NorVa will stay as a concert venue – I’ve heard a lot of rumblings that they might not keep it as that but several people I’ve talked to who are in the know have stated that The NorVa will remain a concert venue.
The ability of local bands playing the venue might change with the change of ownership. With AEG coming to town, they plan on filling the calendar with more national touring acts which will leave open dates for local showcases sparse but they are big supporters of locals musicians as opening support. Royal Oak Theater in Detroit regularly offers an additional support slot for local acts.
As I mentioned above, the big thing I see happening with this new ownership is the increase of national acts coming down 64. AEG is also a big concert promoter that book their touring acts to AEG-owned venues. The National will benefit from this at a much great capacity since they are right off of I-95 (touring acts like to book cities along major interstates) but I do anticipate a heavier lineup for The NorVa.
More details will emerge as the transition moves forward, so I’ll keep my eye on all of the latest developments.
Formerly known as Localpalooza, Artistree will takeover downtown Norfolk October 23 -25. Hosted at several downtown venues including The NorVa, Granby Theater, The Plot, FM Restaurant, The Parlor on Granby, The Naro and many more, Artistree will feature more than a hundred local, national and regional musician and artists.
Many Live Music Friday alums will take part including Bria Kelly, RastaMiles, Corbin Dallas, The Dahus, The Wet Boys, SicMan of VA, The Muckrakes and Traprock Misfit. Headliners include Biz Markie and Darkest Hour and the much-anticipated reunion of Left Wing Fascists.
Music will not be the only thing you can see and hear – you can check out the several independent films that will be screened and take part in education panels that will cover music industry-related topics. Panelist include Dave Ravikoff of Warner Brothers Records, Bill Reid of The NorVa and Nick Chappell of 96X.
The Festival will also be working with Music 4 More to raise funds and collect instruments to school and community music programs. Chesterfield Elementary, Blair Middle School and Granby High School will benefit from this year’s donations.
It’s not everyday you meet a band that truly understands the passion and work ethic it takes to make it in this crazy business. It’s not everyday that you meet a band that has a true connection with their fans, that take the time to talk, hangout and listen to every single fan. Today was a day that I met that band – The Raskins.
Comprised of twin New York born and raised brothers, Logan and Roger Raskin were born in this business. Their father, Tony Raskin, was a Broadway actor starring in feature roles in South Pacific, Oklahoma, and Damn Yankees just to name a few and their mother, Judy Lee Raskin, an accomplished jazz singer. “Watching my dad perform and watching the audience react to him – that’s what grabbed me into the entertainment business” said Roger Raskin (guitar), who as a kid would sit at the high end of the piano playing while brother Logan (lead vocals) would sit at the low end playing. “We didn’t have any TVs in the house but we didn’t need that, music filled the house.” Influenced not just from their parents but also from the NYC rock scene with Blondie, The Ramones, and the New York Dolls, the brothers knew this is exactly what they wanted to do. And they have certainly done it well.
This past May, The Raskins released their debut album and it’s good – really good (click here for my review) but it’s not just the music itself that makes it good, it’s the passion in it that you hear past the chords that really makes this record special. “This records is ours, we recorded, we mixed it – it wasn’t easy but it’s our”. Roger and Logan played all the instruments, recorded it themselves and mixed the record themselves – and that’s not an easy task to tackle. “We wanted to do it our way”. The record is raw and organic – no autotune, no funky modulating effects – just pure rock ‘n’ roll. Plug and play. They took what they did in the studio and applied it to their live show.
Backed by an incredible team of musicians (Johnny Martin – bass, Jet Lopez – guitar, Troy Patrick Farrell – drums), The Raskins are in the midst of touring the country opening up for Motley Crue’s Farewell tour. They are gaining new fans by the thousands at every show they open and it’s not just from the live performance but the interaction and relationships they have with their fans. After their set, they go out and meet everyone at their merch booth and spend the rest of the show signing autographs taking pictures and, more importantly, taking to them. Roger: “We understand the importance the connection between the band and the audience is.” Logan: “We answer every email, every tweet and fans know that they can reach us and that is what it is about.”
That really is what it is about – connecting with the fans. The Raskins are truly great band and even better people. They have a work ethic that’s like no other and they put 110% on that stage every night. Do yourself a favor and see The Raskins perform as soon as possible and buy their record now. They have a long and successful future ahead of them.