Most in Hampton Roads consider the unofficial start of Summer Memorial Weekend but in Norfolk, it’s always the first weekend in June – Harborfest Weekend.
Tall ships from around the World sail down the Elizabeth River and dock at Town Point Park for a weekend filled with activities, fun, food and , of course, music. Two stages are setup in the park – the Boat House stage and the Main Stage. Headliners for the Main Stage include the electric Langhorne Slim, the southern rock of Blackberry Smoke and our very own The Last Bison. Ben and the gang have been busy in the studio recording their follow up to Inheritance, so I can bet that they’ll be testing out some new songs Saturday afternoon.
Local musicians fill up the Boat House stage including Live Music Friday alums Bobby Blackhat and Major and the Monbacks. Every genre of music is pretty much covered from the folk of Narissa Bond and Jacob Vanko, the Motown sounds of The Spinners and the indie roots of Apache Relay. Grab the family and get out and enjoy some great music!
This week is Mae week or , more appropriately, #maeweek. It marks the 10th anniversary of their ground-breaking album, Destination: Beautiful and Destination: B-Sides. To commemorate this event, Spartan Records – their label- has been releasing very limited special vinyl editions every day. Each day, 100 copies of different color varieties have been released and quickly snapped up. As of right now, Thursday’s edition has yet to go on sale but when it does, it will sell out quick! So keep up with Spartan Records at this link to get yours and if you miss out, no worries – there is always Friday.
The band - Dave Elkins, Zach Gehring, Jacob Marshall, Mark Padgett and Rob Sweitzer – will be performing a live StageIt show Saturday, June 7 at 9p EST. This will be there first time performing together since their trio of anniversary shows last year. They have been keeping themselves busy on their own respective projects. Dave has a new project called Schematic and released Color (n.) Inside The Lines. Zach started a new band called Demons and they are currently recording an EP. Jacob has been busy managing The Last Bison and Jake Clemons as well as starting the incredible Global Citizen project. Mark has been working behind the board, producing, engineering and mixing. He recently engineered and mixed Revery’s new album, Adora De Phonicand Rob is a member of Logan Vath’s band, The Vacant.
The Virginia Reggae community is a strong one. With many talented, original musicians such as EVER-G, United Souls, RastaMiles and many more – it’s no wonder that they hold an all-day festival and awards show. Last year, I was honored by receiving their media award – which I display proudly on my desk at work.
This year’s festival is scheduled for this Sunday but yesterday they were hit with some news. Due to the incidents at a last week’s Reggae festival (which was put on by a different organization) at Buckroe Beach, the Hampton Police Department informed the Virginia Reggae Festival that they would be required to pay the cost of 16 officers at the event at $10,000, with $5000 due by Friday afternoon. This is a big blow to this event – which is family, friendly festival – that doesn’t have the monetary funds to the provide the Hampton PD. They want this event to go on and they need your help.
Last year, Jennifer Hope released her debut LP, Velvet Fire – an instantly hooked album that makes you want to permanently repeat it. Most artists take a little breather before their next venture but not Jennifer. She’s back at it with her new 3 song EP, X-Tremities, and it doesn’t miss a beat where Velvet Fire left off.
It starts off with The Fine Line, a tune penned by Jennifer that gives off a great mystical vibe between the fine line of love and hate. The next two tracks are Jennifer’s take on The Police’s Every Breath You Take. A cool, dark yet moving rendition that could easily be played over and over in your head. The second version is an acoustic version that features the guitar and bass of Pete Strobl.
Another great offering from Jennifer that is a must have. Like Velvet Fire, it is produced by Warren Huart (Aerosmith) and sponsored by my personal hero and greatest influence, Eddie Van Halen. The EP is available on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.com. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy now!
The day that you’ve been waiting for is finally here: FRIDAY! Yes, it’s Friday and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the weekend then by heading down to the NorVa and for some good, local blues.
Nothin’ But The Blues features some of the best blues the 757 has to offer. Our good buddy, Anthony Rosano and The Conqueroos will join MIMSY, Soulshine, Evan Button and last week’s Live Music Friday featured artist, Jessica Doran. Tickets are still available at the NorVa box office for just 12 bones and doors open at 7p with the show kicking off at 8p. To give you a little preview of tonight’s shindig, here are Live Music Friday performances from Anthony and The Jess Doran Band.
This Saturday at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach, The Boss and his Hall Of Fame E Street Band will blow the roof of the joint with a show packed with classics and new cuts from their latest album High Hopes and a unique cover or two that you wouldn’t expect from Bruce. During his Australian tour, they cranked out INXS and AC/DC and last night in Dallas, they opened up with Van Halen’s Jump. Who knows what he has in store for us. One thing that is going to make that show extra special is that our own Jake Clemons will be making his Virginia Beach debut as a member of The E Street Band.
Last year was one heck of a ride for Jake. In addition to the duties with the Asbury Park crew, he finished and released his fantastic EP, Embracing Light, and toured the World with his exceptional band (which features Norfolk native Jake Hull). He was our Live Music Friday featured artist in August and then performed with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed his single, You Must Be Crazy, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. This year, Jake is juggling double duty with touring with his band and performing with Bruce and this weekend is no exception. After picking up the pieces of the roof with Springsteen Saturday night, he and his band will head to The Naro and perform a special benefit show Sunday night at 7:30 for the Sinkinson Dyslexia Foundation.
The Virginia Beach-based foundation was formed to help children and adults with dyslexia from lower middle income families. Specialized care is not cheap and the foundation provide free diagnostic services and tutoring programs that address dyslexia. 100% of the proceeds from the show will go directly to the foundation and you’ll want to get your tickets now because this show will sellout.
I’m back at the LMF offices aka my desk after a very needed and restful week off. Of course, with any time off, I come back to work with the virtual stack of emails and voicemails. Today, I have a couple of items that will make your day a little better.
Brian Grilli and his band of outlaws have been playing their you-know-whats off the past year promoting Brian’s solo album, A Damn Good Day, and it’s a damn good one too. He just released a video for his song, “Letter From An Outlaw“, which is in contention to be featured in an upcoming episode of Sons Of Anarchy. The video was viewed some several thousand times over on YouTube but some dictator of anything not awesome reported it as being offensive and it was taken down. So, Brian has re-posted it and you need to watch it. Check out the video below and make sure you catch Brian at one of his shows. Click here to check out his website.
Our good friend, Jake Clemons is in the middle of a tour supporting his latest EP, Embracing Light. Jake will be splitting his time between his solo tour and touring with The Boss, which will be happening the weekend of April 12-13. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be performing at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach Saturday, April 12 (tickets are still available via LiveNation.com) and, just announced, Jake and his awesome band will be performing the very next night at the Naro in Ghent. This show will be a benefit for the Sinkinson Dyslexia Foundation and will start at 7:30p. You can click this link to get your tickets but get them now as this show will sellout.
That’s all for me today. I’ll check back in later this week. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC
It was an absolute pleasure to have the talented Esbern Snare in the studio today as our Live Music Friday featured artist. Created a year ago by brothers Adam and Luke Jones, they enlisted the talents of Joseph Brockman, Eric Dryfka, Josiah Crumrine and Andrew Micheal Montgomery. You might recognize Andrew as the six-string slinger for Logan Vath’s The Vacant. Esbern Snare have been in the studio the past year working on their debut album, A Violent Peace, that is scheduled to be released at the end of this month. You can catch them tonight at the Belmont House of Smoke in Norfolk with The Janks and Levi Kerr.
Speaking of new music, The Last Bison is in the studio working on their second full length release under Republic Records. They are working with the extraordinary Jim Parroco, who worked with them on Quill. The release should happen later this year.
That’s all for me today. Stay dry and I’ll catch up with you next week. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC
Last night was the premier of Season 6 of The Voice and an alum of Live Music Friday, Bria Kelly, closed out the show with a thunderous rendition of James Taylor’s Steamroller Blues. Bria had her choice of coach as all four judges (Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Usher and Shakira) and decided on Usher. Round two airs tonight.
Bria performed on The Hampton Roads Show back in December of 2012 after she was a semifinalist on America’s Got Talent and we knew that we would be hearing more from her. I’m happy to say that our little Live Music Friday family is growing more and more on the national stage. The first big taste was when Kishi Bashi performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and then The Last Bison signed a major deal with Republic Records. Jake Clemons performed on both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He will be performing with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at Farm Bureau Live April 12. Who knows who will be the next one!
Check out Bria’s performance on The Hampton Roads Show:
If you have been living under a rock yesterday then you probably missed the news that Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be Racing In The Street (required Bruce song mention) to Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach Saturday, April 12. This is not good news. This is great news. For those who have yet to experience a Springsteen show, you are in for a treat but for those who haven’t experienced a full-on E Street Shuffle, you are in for a real treat. The last time Bruce was in the 757 was back in 2005 at the Ted during the his solo Devil & Dust tour but you’ll have to go way back to January 4th and 5th of 1985 since the last time Bruce and The E Street Band were in the then 804. They played two sold-out shows at the Hampton Coliseum. This time around Bruce will be accompanied on the sax by our good friend and Live Music Friday alum, Jake Clemons. This will be a great homecoming for Jake and a great chance for his fellow residents to see what a great talent he is. Tickets go on-sale Friday, February 21st.
One the best new bands to come out of this area has set a release date for their much-anticipated debut. Esbern Snare will release , “A Violent Peace”, March 28 and will have their release show the same night at the Jewish Mother with some guy named Logan Vath. This is going to be a great show and a great album that is sure to get stuck in your head. You can download their latest single, War When You Wake, here.
That’s all for me today. Stay warm and turn on your favorite local tunes.