RVA #29 SUMMER 2017

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FOUNDERS R. Anthony Harris + Jeremy Parker PUBLISHER Inkwell PRESIDENT John Reinhold PARTNER LANDON SHRODER PRINT EDITOR Doug Nunnally DESIGN R. Anthony Harris WEB EDITOR, RVAMAG.COM Amy David ADVERTISING John Reinhold & JOE VANDERHOLF WRITERS Shannon Cleary, Doug Nunnally, Cody Endres, MEGAN WILSON, Davy Jones, Jill Smith, Drew Necci, Amy David, James Miessler, Heather Hakimzadeh, Taylor Peterson & R. Anthony Harris PHOTOGRAPHY Joey Wharton, Drew Scott, Brandon Bishop, Landon Nordeman, Brooke Marsh, Aubree Roe Henry Archer, Velma Hairston, OUNO & Farrah Fox INTERNS Madelyne Ashworth, Jo Rozycki, Caley Sturgill, Ishan Bose, David Pettyjohn, Lana Ferguson & Mallory Campbell hello@rvamag.com GENERAL, EDITORIAL & DISTRIBUTION ADVERTISING JOHN REINHOLD 276 732 3410 // john@rvamag.com SUBMISSION POLICY RVA Magazine welcomes submissions but cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material. Send all submissions to hello@rvamag.com All submissions become property of Inkwell Ventures Inc. The entire content is a copyright of Inkwell Ventures Inc. and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without written authorization of the publisher. ONLINE Every issue of RVA Magazine can be viewed in its entirety anytime at rvamag.com/magazine. SOCIAL @RVAmag SUBSCRIPTION Log onto rvamag.com/magazine to have RVA Magazine sent to your home or office. DISTRIBUTION Thank you to our distribution partners Richmond limousine & QUICKNESS RVA HEADS UP! The advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinion and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. Reproduction in whole or part without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. RVA Magazine is published quarterly. Images are subject to being altered from their original format. All material within this magazine is protected. RVA Magazine is a registered trademark of Inkwell Ventures.

RVA Magazine is printed locally by Conquest Graphics cover Mickalene Thomas, Din, Une Tres Belle Negresse 1 , 2012 © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Credits page Breakaway, UNITED BLOOD FEST 2017 by KEN PENN SPECIAL THANKS to sorcerer supreme HUNTER HAGLUND





Plan 9 Records, Agee’s Bicycles, New York Deli, Portrait House, Don’t Look Back, Chop Suey Books, Heroes & Ghosts, Weezie’s Kitchen, Ellwoood Thompsons, Need Supply Co., World of Mirth, Bits N Pixels, Tobacco Club & Gifts, Venue Skateboards


Gallery 5, 1708 Gallery, Turnstyle Velocity Comics, Monument, Utmost Round Two, Steady Sounds/Bare Bones Vintage, Lift Coffee, Quirk Hotel, Sabai


Pasture, Barcode, Tobacco Company Bottom’s Up, Kulture, Alamo BBQ, Legends, Plant Zero Cafe, Cha Cha’s Cantina, Urban Farmhouse, Manchester Market, Union Market, Mbargo, Frame Nation


ALB Tech, Strange Matter, Lamplighter VCU, Kulture, 821 Cafe, Fan Guitar & Ukulele, Ipanema, The Village, Mojo’s, Rumors


VMFA, Bandito’s Burrito Lounge, Black Hand Coffee, The Franklin Inn, Cleveland Market, Patterson Express


Bellytimber, Commerical Taphouse, FW Sullivan’s, Lady Nawlins, Foo Dog, Cask Cafe, Harvest Market, Star-lite Lounge, Fan Noodle Bar, Deep Grooves, Capitol Mac, Katra Gala, Sticky Rice, Stikcy ToGo, Joe’s Inn, Strawberry Street Market, Little Mexico, The Camel, Lamplighter, Balliceaux, Helen’s, Metro Grill, Yesterday’s Heroes


NIssan Of Richmond, Su Casa, Mekong, Taboo, The Answer, Diamond Direct Guitar Center


The Broadberry, En Su Boca, Buz & Ned’s BBQ,, Smoke and Mirrors, Lunch.Supper, Ardent, Salon, Hardywood, The Veil


The MIll, Stir Crazy Coffee




SLEEP Follow us @RVAmag Top LEFT: alfred @_BrandenWilson TOP RIGHT: Happy birthday @meowplanetz SECOND LINE: @TBUZZ & @levarstoney THIRD Line: @nilsrva @a_detres_problem BOTTOM Line: @flacacarmella, @party_liberation_front OPPOSITE PAGE Top left: @vfma @highpointbarbershop TOP RIGHT: @Charlie_rock_badger by @joey_wharton Second Line: @jasonlough @virginiamoca @foulperalta Third Line: @tommygrams @nobsbrass by @weirdsailboat CONGRATS @poemsfordeadpeople DON’T SLEEP -- tag us @RVAmag 8



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ELIZABETH OWENS, "I LONG" GROWING PAINS, BANDCAMP The compelling quality of Elizabeth Owens’ songwriting is her ability to make the mundane interesting, the simple complex, and the ordinary extraordinary. Here, she takes a fundamental guitar part, one most guitarists have stumbled upon while noodling around one lazy afternoon, and turns it into an enchanting work of art, thanks in parts to the riveting auxiliary parts and her enthralling lyrics. The lyrics follow the same blueprint too -- fragmented thoughts, they’re all based off the beginning phrase “I long,” which Owens stretches into a five minute journey of selfexploration and catharsis. Simply brilliant, it’s by far the best song on the Growing Pains EP/demo, which serves as the precursor to her debut fulllength, Coming Of Age, due out later this year. -- Doug Nunnally

LARGE MARGIN, “SMOTHERED AND COVERED/EXECUTIVE ORDER” SINGLE, BANDCAMP “Executive Order” opens with crackling guitars until a thunderous beat erupts and guitarist/vocalist Chris Compton takes center stage. Lyrically playing out an all too common scene of police brutality before exploding into the first chorus, it’s quick to see that this is a hardcore band groomed for these times. It’s a band that could quickly find common brethren between the likes of Fugazi, Paint It Black or Strike Anywhere, but instead creates their own furious voice that never lets up over the course of an outstanding seven minute running time. This is a band to keep a close eye on and a band that could be leading the way towards adding a certain fervor to the current state of post-hardcore in town. -- Shannon Cleary


A simple yet resounding acoustic composition by the frontwoman of mathrockers Comrades, this tune serves as reassurance for those wrestling with self-doubt and anxiety, unaware of their own beauty and success that lies within. It conveys the depth of McElroy’s songwriting, something that has been evident for years in Comrades’ work as well as their entrancing sideproject Borrowed Spirit, but never really realized on a minimal, stripped down recording like this. It seems basic at first, akin to a campfire song written that day after arriving upon a random bloom while out on a hike, but as the swirling climax comes in, you can hear just how McElroy makes even the simplest sentiments deeply profound and effortlessly striking. --Doug Nunnally

SID KINGSLEY, "MOONSHINER" GOOD WAY HOME, AMERICAN PARADOX There’s no shortage of recorded versions of “Moonshiner,” a folk tune that you might call a traditional, given that its origins are fuzzy. I first fell for the version by an artist named Frank Hoier, though Bob Dylan’s is transcendent and Punch Brothers’ became a personal favorite when I got my hands on their Ahoy! EP. I have a new favorite version now, and I have Sid Kingsley to thank. Kingsley’s might be the first I’ve heard in which keys are the main accompaniment, and while solo guitar or mandolin arrangements complement the narrator’s loneliness, Kingsley’s version -- big and bold, complete with horns -- gives a new and fitting sense of depth to the profound sadness of drinking yourself to death in isolation. --Davy Jones



The latest release from the Subterranea Collective is a pithy, lively collection of rock songs that make up the self-titled EP from We Never, a project spearheaded by local musician Carter Burton. Above the six songs on the release, “A+” ranks highest -- unintendedly I’m sure -- as it encapsulates every remarkable quality of We Never in just under two and a half minutes. A simple, yet infectious guitar line drives the song as Burton unveils his greatest vocal performance on the EP while sharing a youthful anecdote in order to contextualize a current, pressing predicament. On top of that, the band supplements its lo-fi garage sound with an organ part, of all things, near the climax, something that only adds to the memorable nature of this puckish tale. -- Doug Nunnally 10

STUDIO NEWS The love affair between Canada's Zegema Beach Records and the Richmond collective known as Great Dismal continues! This relationship originated with the 2016 release of .gif From God's Defragmented... Reformatted EP on Zegema Beach. Then, earlier this year, Zegema Beach released the latest EP from local screamo vets Truman, Ma Doi. So what's next from this collaborative relationship? Well, during Swamp Fest 2016, Zegema Beach founder David Norman was blown away by local quartet Samarra--which, like Truman and .gif From God, features highlyactive scene lynchpin Mitchie Shue-and immediately signed them up for a release. This relatively new RVA group recently laid down six songs in the Ostraca practice room, supervised by Majorel's Thom Carney, three of which are slated for inclusion on a split with Canadians MRTEX, to be released on Zegema Beach later this year.

La Cocina Studios has only been a going concern for about six months now, but this space has produced some quality work already. A collaboration between Flavor Project majordomo/ funk bassist extraordinaire Gabriel Santamaria and Gallery 5 soundman/ guitar-slinging whiz kid James Seretis, La Cocina ("the kitchen" in Spanish) has given a home to various soulful experiments by the crew of musicians responsible for projects like KINGS and The Sam Reed Syndicate. Speaking of the Syndicate, a recent highlight from La Cocina has been a cover of revolutionary black poet Gil ScottHeron's "B Movie," which Scott-Heron wrote to protest the election of former B-movie actor Ronald Reagan to the office of President of the United States. The funky backing from the Syndicate sets the tone for La Cocina's upcoming productions, which is further replicated on a just-released original track from Gabriel Santamaria, featuring soulful lead vocals from Kenneka Cook. "More Bad News" may or may not be slated for inclusion on the upcoming Flavor Project album (for which Mighty Monde has been tracking vocals recently, so keep an ear out), but definitely features contributions from an all-star cast of local jazz/funk/soul greats: Kelli Strawbridge, Larri Branch, and Mark Ingraham, among others. A brand new local band called Roy Batty were recently to be found in session with Lance Koehler over at Minimum Wage Studios. Roy Batty is an all-star new project led by former Hot Dolphin frontwoman extraordinaire Lindsey Spurrier and featuring Mike Layne and Danny Trice, both of whom previously played in La Mere Vipere (Layne is also still in Hoboknife), along with drum legend Erik Larson. Three new Roy Batty songs from their Minimum Wage session hit Bandcamp recently, demonstrating a style somewhere between the posthardcore sound of local faves Brief Lives and the harder-hitting metallic crunch of fun-loving power-riffers Humungus. Of course, Spurrier's takeno-prisoners vocal approach continues to be a highlight as well. We can only hope that there are more songs to come from Roy Batty in the near future, but this sure is a great start for the group. -- Drew Necci







(XBLAME.BANDCAMP.COM) Blistering d-beat hardcore from a band of straight-edge punkers with an enthralling sense of melodicism. There are hints of metal in their songwriting foundation, maybe borrowed from Richmond’s vibrant scene, and it makes their songs a bit more engaging and a hundred times more searing, though the appeal is still in the way they build and execute their hooks, whether by shrieking vocals or shattering guitar lines. (DN)



On one hand, this is straightforward pop punk as the five tracks on this EP could easily be inserted onto any mid-2000s CD-R. On the other, it's clear this plucky band has a lot more up their sleeves, utilizing blues and even doowop moments to make their music stand-out. Producer Alan Day of Four Year Strong helps streamlines the sound, but this EP still shows Flight Club off as an incredibly skilled rock band... who just so happens to like pop punk. (SC)



Above the amazing live shows, the fearless songwriting, the insightful lyrics, the gorgeous instrumentation -- above it all, the best thing about Lobo Marino is their ability to reliably grow as artists year to year. 2015’s We Hear The Ocean was a remarkable release, but the band has shot right past it with The Mulberry House, a full-length release that covers world music down to acoustic ballads. Enlightening as it is provoking, it’s yet another indelibly great mark Lobo Marino has left on Richmond’s local scene. (DN)




Though just an EP, Juice shows off the true depth of Camp Howard’s songwriting, as the group freely floats in and out of ‘80s structures and fuzz rock archetypes. Breezy rock is still the name of the game for Camp Howard though, a style that brought them to the forefront of the Richmond music scene last year, but Juice shows that the group has way more to offer within that confine, proving not only their impressive potential, but also the staggering skill they have available right now. (DN)

Ragtime/Dixieland folk music from a plucky band of musicians that can deliver plenty of fun moments (“Abigail”) as well as more striking and somber tunes (“Pack Your Bags”). Trey Hall’s old-timey yowl alone is worth the price of admission here, with the delightful horn arrangements and hoo-dum rhythms are just icing on the cake. Unlike so many other popular live acts, Dharma Bombs are able to capture the charm and spirit of their amazing performances, all available on this wonderful twelve-track album. (DN)









The first release in four years from the former Heavy Midgets is a welcome mélange of grunge malaise and power melodies, sprinkled with enough hardcore and shoegaze elements to make it stimulating for all rock fans. The band’s ability to cover all tempos and grooves is inspiring, but it’s really the slower compositions that reveal the towering power of their ability, as they seem just a tad bit more creative and infinitely captivating. (DN)



Local musician Kia Cavallaro offers up a special brand of porchtop folk, one that she freely contorts via production techniques both invigorating and astounding. Using delayed vocals at times, she offers a glimpse off a fractured mind, one that mends itself slightly over the runtime of the album. Bouncing between lo-fi and ethereal, the sounds Cavallaro has culled together are simply breathtaking, even if better observed as a musical tumbleweed slowly making its way through the valley. (DN)

Industrial music on its face seems outdated in 2017, but leave it to a performer like Gull to make it urgent and relevant by injecting it with a jolt of life and his own signature aplomb. While the longer compositions like “The Ancestral Knife” excel at pulling you into his world of Depeche Mode melodies and Skinny Puppy rhythms, it’s the shorter tracks like “Trichotillomania” that perfectly capture Gull’s essence of creative release that just builds and builds on itself until the climax. (DN)

A stunning EP that cements Brown as one of the area's most vibrant MCs through seven songs each designed to showcase not just his skill, but his curious charisma. Notable is Brown's ability to keep the flow from trackto-track airtight, as producer Wakeen passes thiongs off to Bince and Julien Earle for a song each. It reveals a solid sense of identity for the rapper, as he's comfortable unfolding lyrics on a lofty wave or bouncing his way through a party anthem. (DN)




An impeccable release that unwittingly raises the bar for any and all music coming out of Richmond. Soul overflows out of each track, whether from Sid Kingsley’s own bellow (that brings to mind the legendary Levon Helm) or the sharp instrumentation brought together by producer Scott Lane, and it’s a remarkable step-up from most Americana music released these days. All in all, this is one of, if not the, best Americana release to come out of Richmond, as well as one of 2017’s best records overall. (DN)

As this trio exudes time and time again, The Milkstains are virtuosos at creating a perfect balance between garage rock, surf jams, and spaghetti western barnburners. Punch The Sky is no different. Over the course of ten tracks, the band are quick to remind everyone that there is really no one quite like them in Richmond and their riley misfit attitudes will always find their spirited homes in poignant lyrical moments. “Young Scum” could easily be the jam of the summer! (SC)




Richmond’s brightest journeymen return for this bold EP, one that’s a remarkable step-up from their previous work. It offers a more matured take on their rock sound, one rooted in DIY spirit and emo concepts, but still showcases the band’s signature charm -- campy, tongue-in-cheek wit that’s endlessly endearing. Overlooking the EP’s impressive list of guest musicians, Tight is still just a riveting collection of melodies and hooks, only really bolstered by the strong messages the duo sings RVA MAGAZINE 24 | SPRING 2016 about. (DN)




The sophomore release by Saddle Creek's hottest new act, which sees the Brooklyn quartet improve on the sound of their 2016 debut with intense maturity, earnest emotion, and remarkably stout songwriting. For much of the record, Adrianne Lenker subtly demands the spotlight here with her towering presence, but it is the chemistry between the band members, stronger than ever, that really makes each song triumphantly soar. (DN)



Bubblegum vocals combines with blistering alt-rock and razor-sharp lyrics to create one of the year's, and maybe decade's, best records. Singer Eva Hendricks is without equal here, squealing and swooning away while delivering classic lines that are amazingly coy, witty, incisive, and empowering. The contrast between voice and music won't be for everyone, but for those willing to take in the affected, singular vocals of Hendricks, this is a record with true staying power. (DN)

A remarkably strong bounceback from the illconceived Views, More Life sees the Canadian rapper/crooner double-down on melodies and hooks, while fixing the pacing and lyrical problems of its predecessor. Unfortunately, it does little to mend the divide this artist has created over the years, but with songs like "Passionfruit" and "Portland," he has definitely notched another solid release in his impressive discography. (DN)

There is a subtle, yet noticeable haze that permeates all the tracks on this record by the former Dr. Dog drummer. It's different songto-song, twisting and adapting to fit each song's tone, but it gives the record a feeling of calm cohesion that pushes the listener to absorb the lyrical messages. Warm & delightful, introspective & affirming; it's a stellar debut for Slick as he confidently steps into the forefront. (DN)





The third release from folk musician Josh Tillman validates his reputation as one of the scene's most vibrant and clever songwriters today. It's a strong release, though it doesn't offer much outside of his previous two records, both highly regarded in their own right. What it does offer is the fact that Tillman's genuine character isn't a short-lived idea, as he shies away from pretentious observations and pompous declarations to deliver earnest, brilliant, and fascinating messages. (DN)

One of the most anticipated albums for this decade, Fleet Foxes return after a six-year hiatus with a gorgeously challenging take on their signature brand of indie, off-kilter folk. Elaborate in design and imposing in execution, Robin Pecknold has created an hour long opus of his folk vision, one that impeccably picks up where the last opus concluded and beautifully sets the stage for more to come. (DN)

The One Direction member clearly had big plans for his first record, plans that would wash away any preconceived notion of what his own music would sound like. The result is mixed, but still praiseworthy for the fearless leaps he makes. Perhaps doubling down on loud guitars wasn't the best idea, nor was invoking His Purple Majesty on the lead single, but showing off his musical depth & potential proved to be a strong gamble for this still-growing musician. (DN)



Moving further away from their pop-punk/ pop-emo origins, After Laughter finds Hayley Williams and company fully embracing the synth-heavy, hook-laden sound they flirted with on 2013's self-titled release. It may be hard to stomach for fans who discovered them on alt-rock radio stations in the mid-to-late 2000s, but their lyrical voice shows that this music is still coming from Paramore as they discover what else the sonic spectrum has to offer their music. (DN)

Liberating redemption seems to be the big takeaway from Mike Hadreas' latest work, and it's a concept beautifully examined with haunting instrumentation and ornate arrangements. Like his previous work, the end result is simply surreal, but genuine enough that raw emotion still shines through. Most importantly, it seems to move Hadreas away from the tortured artist persona he's cultivated over the last seven years and into a new role, still undefined but still just as transcendent and sublime. (DN)





Moving past the stony, caustic sound of her debut, Lorde has embraced a more dynamic sound, rooted in electropop and heartbreak that reveals the true strength of her ability. Aligning with Jack Antonoff (fun., Bleachers) proves to be Lorde's best career decision to date as the producer/songwriter is able to build lofty dancehalls and sonic cathedrals upon which Lorde unleashes her full melodic fury, something truly stunning to hear and truly inspiring to witness. (DN) 1010 YEARS YEARS OF RVAOF MAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015









Lamar has long been the world's greatest MC, something that felt destined to happen ever since his first mixtape in 2004. 2015's To Pimp A Butterfly moved him past greatest MC though, into a conversation for one of the world's leading artistic voices as he experimented with the boundaries of hip-hop in a glorious way. On DAMN., Lamar has moved back within those boundaries, comfortably proving he still the best MC alive, and also that we’ve yet to even see the limit to which he can lyrically push himself. (DN)



For their first release in over two decades, the shoegaze legends deftly walk the line between tarnishing and embracing their own legacy with eight brilliant tracks that feel like everything the band was moving towards all those years ago. It offers plenty of familiar moments, but also new twists and turns for their sound, and the genre itself. Instead of feeling like a revisit, the English legends have delivered a genre milestone, even if it did take them 22 years to get there. (DN)



RICHMOND, VA — The Peedmont, a Virginiabased satirical news site, announced today that it has been acquired by the Russian Times, a leading Russian media outlet, effective immediately. The sale was made following a night of heavy drinking among The Peedmont’s editorial staff at Penny Lane Pub early last week. “We’d been drinking for hours and we knew our tab was going to be a whopper,” said staff writer Heidi Hughes. “Suddenly this man in a trenchcoat shows up out of nowhere and says he can ‘make this all go away.’ It seemed strange, but we were pretty buzzed at that point so we just went with it.” The stranger, who later identified himself as Yuri “The Hammer” Petrovski, had offered to cover the group’s bar tab in return for ownership of The Peedmont. “The proposal just came at the right time,” Peedmont founder and editor-in-chief Anderson Tilley remarked. “We’ve seen a boost in web traffic recently, mostly out of Eastern Europe for some reason. We feel this is the right direction for The Peedmont. And, to be honest, there was no way we were going to be able to pay that bar tab ourselves.” Petrovski’s sole demand was for ownership of The Peedmont, and after some brief negotiating, a deal between the two was reached. The official documentation was then recorded on one of the restaurant’s beer coasters. 14

The purchase, which comes at a time of increased tension between the U.S. and Russian governments, has drawn concern from local and state officials. However, The Peedmont insists that their signature brand of local satire will not change. “The Peedmont will keep putting out the same fun, irreverent satire our readers love,” commented staff writer Archie Boderekson. “Sure, we now fully support the Putin regime and have changed our official stance on their claims to Crimea and Syrian intervention, but that’s just a formality. We’ll still make Richmond-based Tinder jokes, too.” According to Tilley, the acquisition will also bring technical improvements to The Peedmont’s website, which recently re-launched with a brand new layout. “The Russians have offered to let us use their servers so you might notice more cookies on your computer, but that’s totally normal and the site should load faster now.” While Petrovski did not return our requests for an interview, officials at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. have released the following statement: “The Russian Times has been eyeing acquisition that could create back-channel between Russia and the American peoples. We’ve been looking for reputable American news organization by searching ‘alternative facts’ in Bing and Peedmont kept showing up. This is unique opportunity to acquire trusted news organization in a mid-sized American city, just two hours drive from D.C. We know that together we can help bring truth to the American people.”

When we attempted to reach Peedmont staff writers Jenna Carley and Casey Stevnako for their comments, we were informed they were sequestered in the Russian Embassy, discussing topics for future articles. We were only allowed to pass written messages to them through official embassy channels. “This is really validating,” Carley wrote. “This just gives credence to the work we’ve been doing in the name of comedy and journalism.” When pressed for their feelings on the deal in the context of growing U.S.-Russian tensions, we received this message: “Well, quite frankly, we feel a little really validating. We feel like we’ve been shouting into the void to make good laugh and support Russian claims to crimea.” Equally excited about the acquisition is Ronald Glump, The Peedmont’s business manager. Speaking about the deal, he commented, “This deal is really tremendous. It’s so, so good. You’ve never seen a deal this good. And Richmond is … great things for us, amazing things.” When asked whether the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election and the role played by the false news stories from Eastern Europe was of any concern, Glump responded tersely, “This interview is over.” CHECK OUT MORE AT THEPEEDMONT.COM




THE PARTY IS ALIVE + WELL AT KABANA Less than a year ago, Kabana Rooftop opened its doors boasting an "elevated" experience that Richmonders can enjoy in every sense of the word. Whether you're sharing one of their Asian-inspired small plates, cooling off with a carefully crafted cocktail, jamming out to live music, or just admiring the breathtaking 20-story view of the river city, Kabana has a little bit of something for everyone.


"The whole atmosphere of putting a DJ 20-stories high, being able to see the James River, and being on this rooftop; it creates a whole different experience from a normal club atmosphere," owner Kunal Shah said. While Kabana features many different artists of various genres such as hip-hop and salsa, they have quickly become a staple for Electronic Dance Music, or EDM in Richmond. In a musical scene devoid of many EDM-specific venues, Shah said he wanted to curate a space that allowed Richmonders to experience artists anywhere from local up-and-comers to Grammy-award winners. For Shah, hosting EDM shows at Kabana has always been a major focus. "Prior to even building Kabana, we strategically worked with our architect and studied many venues out there to make sure we could basically sustain having EDM DJs perform on a rooftop," he explained. Equipped with a state-of-the-art Eastern Acoustic Works Avalon sound system, Shah said the technology Kabana uses is compatible to the equipment for most of the DJs who perform there, allowing them to put on the best shows possible. Because of this, Shah said he has experienced positive reactions to the EDM shows from locals. He attributes a lot of this success to the show's accessibility and affordability for Richmonders. "There's not many options in Richmond," Shah remarked. "So when people want to enjoy EDM music, you know, they either have to pay a ticket or they got to make a trip out to Echostage [a Washington, DC music venue], they might have to go to Virginia Beach. I wanted to give everyone an option that Richmond also has the capability of having EDM shows."



“The whole atmosphere of putting a DJ 20-stories high, being able to see the James River, and being on this rooftop; it creates a whole different experience from a normal club atmosphere." While Kabana hosts several events every week, guests are rarely charged with cover fees. By having a multi-faceted venue that also offers high-end cuisine and cocktails, Shah says that patrons don't have to shell out as much money for high-paying DJs. For Shah, this allows the Richmond community to come together and just enjoy the music. However, local folk aren't the only people enjoying these artists. Shah says that people have flown in from several states just to experience some of the DJs hosted at Kabana.

Even though Kabana has been able to attract internationally known artists to their venue, such as Grammy-award winning French DJ, Cedric Gervais, this has not stopped them from remembering their local roots. Shah said he always appreciate local sounds, and have plenty slots available for local acts, such as DJ Phenom, who spins every Thursday night. Ultimately, Shah stated he is hoping that the EDM scene will continue to grow in Richmond and beyond. Kabana has many major plans in the works including partnering up with Brown's Island for summer festivals and opening up a second undisclosed location further south. KABANAROOFTOP.COM



ARMANDO MUNOZ IS DOING THE MOST When I met up with Armando Muñoz and his world music. “Music that I grew up listening life partner Bibi Muñiz at Kuba Kuba for lunch, to in Puerto Rico with my mom and my dad,” there was lots to talk about, but I didn’t know Armando explained. where to start. “My idea with it was all these great producers That’s because Armando is everywhere. -- the RZA, Pete Rock, Premier, all these guys -Or as he puts it, “I do the most.” took their parents’ libraries and flipped it and made it into something that was fresh and new He’s a longtime collaborator of Devonne and hip hop. There’s no reason why I can’t do Harris’, cofounding Reeverb Entertainment in that with my parents’ library from Puerto Rico.” 2007 and contributing vocals to the fantastic KINGS album that came out in 2015. (Another For Armando, music is as personal as it is is currently in the works.) He’s in The Flavor traditional. “My mom’s side of the family are Project. He’s on Bandcamp rapping as Mighty all musicians,” he noted. His mom sang, his Monde on a pair of albums named Wylin' On uncle played saxophone in the Puerto Rican Brown Island and Belle Isle Asylum. And, as if symphony, and an uncle on his father’s side was that weren’t enough, he makes beats and spins a radio DJ in Puerto Rico. “They grew up in the records around town as OlNuBi. 1970s, so they were all on the Fania [Records] salsa kick. El Gran Combo, Tito Puente, Gilberto Armando released his first beat tape as OlNuBi Santa Rosa, all these Spanish salsa singers.” in 2016 and subtitled it “Raised in RVA,” referencing how he’s lived in the Richmond area The depth of Armando’s musical appreciation is since his family moved from Puerto Rico when Richmond’s gain, as his DJ gigs feature deeper, he was eight. His next tape, however, will be horizon-expanding international cuts. He got subtitled “Hecho en Puerto Rico,” and will lean his start at City Dogs, conspiring with Gabriel more heavily toward Latin, African, and other Santamaria, bassist for The Flavor Project, to 18

By Davy Jones Photo by Velma Hairston provide music for a Cinco de Mayo celebration via an unplugged turntable, Spotify, and a wealth of knowledge about Hispanic music. “We completely faked the funk on our very first DJ gig, but I got hooked.” These days, Armando and Bibi, who spins under the name Negrita, host events at City Dogs titled “Cold Cruel Swirl” in which the two DJs play off each other’s song choices. They’re also part of the Wax Museum collective, which pairs music and art for immersive audiovisual experiences held at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on First Fridays. You’ll also find OlNuBi at spots like Flora and Gallery 5, though his home in Manchester is where a new and exciting gig awaits -- spinning for his infant son. “It’s not a game anymore,” Armando affirmed. “It’s not a hobby. It’s not something I can casually do. This is something I’m doing for life. I want to teach this child the ways of music. It’s game time now.” FACEBOOK.COM/REEVERBENTERTAINMENT






Come check out our new permanent outdoor stage! A U N I Q U E S E L EC T I O N O F F R E S H S E A SO N A L D R A F T S G ROW L E R F I L L S , B OT T L E S A N D CA N S AVA I L A B L E TO G O T U E 4 - 9 | W E D 4 - 9 | T H U 4 - 10 | F RI 4 - 10 | SAT 1 - 10 | SU N 1 2 - 6 | H A R DY WO O D . C O M







"Here I am, the artist, the person, the black woman, and the stereotype. I'm using myself and it has nothing to do with my muses or other women. It has to do with me. You see parts of my body moving, very collage like, flashing, and not speaking, just laying on a couch, looking out at the viewer." -- Mickalene Thomas "Ms. Thomas is providing a unique voice and outlook to the dialogue surrounding race and women’s empowerment. I think we have a dawning awareness in western culture as a whole that issues surrounding race, sexuality, and feminism are inextricably entwined. I personally cannot know or fully understand the experiences and challenges of being a woman of color or a lesbian unless they are shared with me. Fortunately for all of us, Mickalene Thomas is willing to share her voice. The subjects of her images work collaboratively with the artist. They challenge concepts of “women as object” that have long plagued western art history. This subtle shift in power is demonstrated in the bold, direct gazes of the women who act as her muse. The image they project is not one of idealized perfection. Yet, this only serves to enhance the beauty and the power of the images. I think many women are over having their image regarded solely as “object,” whether it is one of beauty, grace, lust, etc. Instead, the subjects of Thomas’ work look at us through their own lens. Their own longings, ideas and desires are conveyed. The photos are powerful, moving and profoundly human, which is why they seem so radical." -- Heather Hakimzadeh, Virginia MOCA Curator MORE INFORMATION ON THIS EXHIBIT CAN BE FOUND AT VIRGNIA MOCA.ORG MICKALENE LA LEÇON D’AMOUR, 2008 © MICKALENE THOMAS. COURTESY THE ARTIST; 10 YEARS OF RVATHOMAS, MAGAZINE 2005-2015 LEHMANN MAUPIN, NEW YORK AND HONG KONG; AND ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK


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WELCOME TO THE COMMON HOUSE INTERVIEW By R. Anthony Harris STORY BY JILL SMITH Photos Brandon Bishop & Landon Nordeman

In a building which was established as a social club within the boundaries of what was once Charlottesville’s vibrant and predominantly African-American community of Vinegar Hill, Josh Rogers and Ben Pfinsgraff are attempting to breathe new life in a way which honors the history of the area as a cultural hub but also nods to the future by representing the diversity of the larger Charlottesville community. Common House, as the renewed space is called, is a membership-based social club for creative people in art and commerce in the area. The club defines a “creative” person as anyone “who makes something” and states the belief that each individual is the most qualified person to define him or herself in this way, citing members who are artists, scientists, craftsmen, musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs. Rogers and Pfinsgraff, along with a third co-founder, Derek Sieg, hope to provide a forum for bonding these creative people and ideas in ways which will ultimately advance the Charlottesville community. “Hopefully just having all those people together in one place, cool stuff will happen,” Pfinsgraff said. “Whether it’s just a conversation or a friendship or an art exhibit or a new mural or a startup, that’s all stuff that’s pushing this community forward.” The club, which includes space for both public membership use and private events, promotes itself as being highly-curated in every aspect. The building encompasses a beautiful rooftop terrace with great mountain views, a library, a billiards room, and multiple rooms and halls for socializing, eating, drinking, and playing games. It also contains a communal co-work area, called Vinegar Hall, designated for laptop use during business hours, private events at night, and which includes a chef’s counter for watching food preparation. The club boasts “high end, low pretension” food and drinks available during all meals and hours of the day. “The sole reason for everything we do here, whether it’s design here with the bar stools or whatever it is we do, is really just meant to 10 10YEARS YEARS OF RVA OFMAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015

attract a very diverse group of people and to bond them closer together as a community,” Rogers said. He says that the goal is not to artificially force members into making connections. “We’re just sort of like doing the thing, then standing back and welcoming people to the campfire and seeing what happens.” In fact, the business was partially co-founded by way of the colliding of minds the three are hoping to foster with Common House. As Rogers, U.Va. alum and former successful creative director in New York City, initially worked on the concept and brand of the club, he and Sieg invited a small group of creative people to be the core of the membership. Among the charter member invitees was Pfinsgraff. Pfinsgraff, an alum of U.Va.’s Darden School of Business, hit it off with Rogers, recognized the potential for business in the plan for the club, and soon joined as the third partner. He found himself asking and answering questions about the potential business model in a way which was not already being done. “Derek and Josh have very unique, creative backgrounds, and you know, Josh is a creative director and Derek is a filmmaker and writer, and Josh is a writer, as well. So obviously me as more of the business school finance operations guy, it was people who I had never really ever worked with before – definitely not this closely – and so I saw that as a unique opportunity,” Pfinsgraff said of the chance to combine his business skills with the other co-founders’ creative skills. “But for me, [I] was kind of a missing link to theirs. They had a great idea, but they didn’t know if it was a great idea,” he said.

filmmaker, were at one time both members at Soho House, which is a members-only creative club with locations in major cities across Europe and North America. While Sleg was a member in New York and Rogers in L.A., their experiences differed but the idea of a creative community with a clubhouse and programming for its members stuck with each of them. The two began looking at cities with a need in which they could start their own club and eventually landed on returning to Charlottesville to give it a shot over similar markets such as Charleston, South Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee. “All those people are here, but they don’t necessarily have a place to belong. So, we start seeing that kind of hole and market, and say ‘Okay, this place looks good,’” Rogers said. Rogers admits that starting up the business in his hometown of Charlottesville came with challenges up front, especially with push back from some of the city planners. Some people did not understand the concept or did not want to support the idea at first due to their skepticism of the model or the repurposing of the building with such a specific past use as an African-American social club. “You know, Charlottesville is a unique place. I think there [are] barriers to entry and just starting a business in Charlottesville whether it’s the city or other aspects that make it difficult,” Rogers said. “But once you get over those hurdles, Charlottesville can be your biggest fan.”

In the end, however, Rogers and the other cofounders won over much of the area’s support when they took on the renovation of the historic Vinegar Hill building which included rebuilding the roof which had almost collapsed entirely. They have since won sustainability awards from the city for the renovation of the building, which would have otherwise been torn down, Rogers’ and Sieg’s great idea came to them in using the original materials to rebuild. Rogers stages, Rogers says. He and Sieg, another U.Va. says that now that the neighbors and the city graduate and a worldwide travel writer and


have seen the boost in memberships and are happy with the building restoration, they are pleased with what has been done with the location which was most recently functioning as a yoga studio. Once the building restoration was completed, the co-founders faced the challenge of finding a way to decorate such a large venue and still maintain the balance between what a commercial space requires, such as sprinklers, exit signs, and a full staff, while preserving the feel of a shared “home away from home” atmosphere for their members. They chose art from some local artists, such as Sharon Shapiro, and had help from an interior designer and several others to find the right nuances for the club. Pfinsgraff says that seeing the murals for the first time is especially a bit of a shock to the system and a source of awe upon entering the building and walking up the stairs, particularly for those like him who do not necessarily have a background in art. “So I think the trick to the art was to pick each one out and say, ‘Does that do it?’” Rogers said. “But I think the whole of it makes it feel like, in a way, there’s something in this house that you all want, and you want to share it together.” Pfinsgraff feels that the interior designer was especially crucial to the process of making the club feel less commercial. “For our space, 24

we wanted to make it softer, to make it more homey for people working there every day, so it doesn’t just feel like an event space, and she’s helped with that,” he said. Both Rogers and Pfinsgraff praise all of the people who came together to get the concept and building up and running as one of the first of many collective experiences to come within the walls of the club. “And that’s kind of the whole idea of Common House. It’s almost kind of hard to say when did it happen, or say who was sort of responsible for it, you just kind of get these people together and good things happen,” Rogers said. The co-founders are excited to see the club open and bustling after so much hard work but cannot help but to reflect on how tough it can be to start up a business with the long hours, sleepless nights thinking about the company, and being exhausted at times. “Yeah, it’s like raising a baby. You can’t imagine your life without it, and you get these thrills which are euphoric and unlike anything else, but it’s hard as shit,” Rogers, who also likens the experience to the time he moved to New York City, said. “It was so draining and so rejuvenating. At the same time, you couldn’t imagine anything else. That’s definitely how I feel, just watching these first things happen, and it was just like, ‘Man, that’s exactly what we wanted to happen.’”

Common House, while distinguishing itself from traditional men’s clubs or country clubs by rejecting the idea of membership being limited to a certain type of person, does hark back to the pre-digital era by prohibiting phone and laptop use in the social areas in order to break down barriers between people and to promote natural conversation. For activities outside of daily socializing, the organization hosts the Common Knowledge Series, monthly interactive showcases and workshops through which craftsmen and artists can demonstrate their skills and expertise to members, as well as the Bridge Room Sessions concerts, which are stripped-down performances with no amps and little advance notice of who will be playing. There is also a Movie Night each month with a showing of an unannounced classic or unreleased film with only a themed cocktail in advance as a hint for which movie may be presented that night. For the co-founders, the thrill since their grand opening in May has not yet worn off. Pfinsgraff says he has recently seen, on just one day, the chairman of the Arts Council meeting with a local nonprofit, an entrepreneur meeting with staff planning local family offices, and the cowork hall filling up more than the day before as new start-ups begin their planning and development at the club. Both he and Rogers find it very exciting to witness the day-to-day activities there spreading to the surrounding RVA MAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 29 | SUMMER 24 | SPRING2017 2016

community after talking about the idea for at least the past two years. “There’s like the microcosmic idea of this place and the membership, and then there’s the community at large, and we want them to be connected I think in terms of [the] Common House community,” Rogers said. The good news for the Richmond area is that the co-founders are also excited at the prospect of expanding Common House to other secondary and tertiary markets in the southeast similar to Charlottesville, including Richmond, which they are currently looking at and in which they are narrowing down options for a club location. “I think the next one in Richmond is going to be much bigger than Charlottesville,” Rogers said. Pfinsgraff says he believes the change in cities like Richmond, Nashville, Durham, New Orleans, and Charleston have been incredible in recent years with the influx of young people. “We want to be there waiting as this young generation continues to move to these secondary and tertiary markets, primarily [in] the south, and that are living in the cities,” he said. He believes the millennials moving to these areas do not want to give up on living in cities and move to the suburbs just because they are not living in larger markets like New York City. “They want to be [in the city] to belong, to engage,” he said. “New things will happen, you know? New ideas will happen, new relationships will happen, new things will happen that in some ways we can’t totally predict, and we’ll move this whole community forward,” Rogers said. “That’s what kind of gives us chills about this place and this town, and then being able to do that in other places.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CLUB AND HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER (THEY EVEN HAVE AN OUT-OF-TOWN MEMBERSHIP OPTION), VISIT COMMONHOUSE.COM





Kenny Brown & Jesse Smith present


Sept. 29th - Oct. 1st, 2017 WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT Street Art Festival • Miss Pin Up RVA Live Music • Tattoo Competitions Fire Performances • Airsex Competition Burlesque & Variety Shows Beard Competition DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTEL RICHMOND - MIDLOTHIAN 1021 Koger Center Blvd. Richmond, VA 23235





UNITED BLOOD XI As a hardcore kid that grew up going to shows in the mid-‘80s, having a fest like United Blood in my hometown makes this city very special to me and by the looks of it, it appears a good amount of people, both young and old, feel the same way. Now in its eleventh year, United Blood has become one of the most anticipated events of the year for hardcore fans not just in the area, but across the country, and for good reason. Promoters David Foster and Ryan Wall (of local band Bracewar) worked tirelessly to put together a powerful show full of diverse hardcore bands that proudly added to United Blood’s growing legend within the hardcore community. This year’s festivities kicked-off on Thursday night, April 6th, with a pre-fest show featuring bands Redvision, Mindforce, Unified Right, Queensway, and Richmond natives Break Away. This “soft” opening for United Blood was intense across the board with every band doing their best to set the crowd off, and it all set the tone perfectly for the rest of the weekend. Packed full of singalongs, stage dives, and moshing moments, Break Away headlined the 28


night with the high-energy hardcore that they are well-known for. During the show, I took a step back and looked at just what type of people this event brings out. There were a lot of younger faces in the crowd from local areas as well as from out of town, all integrating into a chaotic pit scene that also spoke to the spirit of the event. Time and time again, I witnessed kids -- male, female, Asian, black, white, Hispanic – diving around, kicking and punching their hearts out to show the support for the bands that play the music that they love. From a distance, you could see people go down after getting knocked hard, even the women. It must be a strange feeling to be so into the moment, flailing your arms or legs in the pit, and then suddenly realizing you just bashed some young lady in the head. But here at United Blood, that is not a typical young lady. Not only is she not phased about what just happened, but she just did the same thing to someone twice her size five seconds earlier. And there was no reckless abandon here either. Strangers helped up strangers, as well as their closest friends, just to make sure no one was

really hurt. It’s didn't matter where you came from, who you knew or didn’t know -- it was all about having fun here. The next day saw the United Blood festival officially begin as even more people crammed into the Canal Club for a jam-packed day that would feature fourteen bands starting promptly at 1 PM. The majority of people were staunch supporters of the scene, with many clamoring around the downstairs of the venue looking to get their fix on the latest hardcore releases, gear, and merch from bands and labels, like New York’s Reaper Records. Unfortunately for most people (and sadly myself), the most popular item, a Trail Of Lies t-shirt, sold out within minutes of doors opening, but there was still plenty of great swag left such as an exclusive festival t-shirt by Integrity. The diversity of the festival really took center stage on Friday, something that was just heartwarming to see in person. The fans and many of the bands that played such as Krust, Bracewar, Faze, Terror, and Dead & Dreaming were prime examples of how welcoming the





“integrating into a chaotic pit scene that also spoke to the spirit of the event. Time and time again, I witnessed kids -- male, female, Asian, black, white, Hispanic – diving around, kicking and punching their hearts out to show the support for the bands that play the music that they love."

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scene has become today, representing the community growth of the subcultures that my favorite older bands sang about in the early ‘80s. It went further than just the bands playing though. Hip-hop of all things played between bands each time the stage was reset, and it’s definitely something special to see people dancing around to trap music right after stage diving to live punk bands.

Friday unfolded better than anyone could have imagined. Richmond’s Division Of Mind made their United Blood debut with a blistering set, while RVA veterans Friend Or Foe, Lost Souls, and Naysayer all had incredible sets. The harder-than-hard God’s Hate had me moshing on stage with camera in hand, while New York's King Nine keep the pit brutal with every song. Terror returned to United Blood with another iconic show featuring a couple songs with I observed what seemed to be even more guest vocals from former bassist and front man women in the crowd and within the pit during for Richmond’s own Down To Nothing, David the shows. Even more so, I noticed more women Wood as well as Rashod Jackson, drummer for of color attending the fest, something that Bracewar. was extremely rare to see in the late ‘80s. As far as Virginia shows around that time, I could Closing out the fest on Friday night at the Canal confidently say that the amount of women of Club was Cleveland’s infamous and legendary color at these shows could be counted on one band Integrity, a band I had not seen since the hand, if any at some shows. early ‘90s who did not leave me or the crowd hanging one bit. The band was on point and Growing up, there were times when random the crowd let them know it. When frontman Nazi skinheads might show up to cause some Dwid Hellion screamed the first word of one trouble at a local show, to quickly be turned of Integrity’s most memorable songs “Micha: away whether it be by a quick adolescent fist or Those Who Fear Tomorrow,” the crowd well-placed brick. Richmond’s scene is far from exploded into utter chaos. The energy lasted perfect, but has never tolerated racial ignorance right up until the band played their last note. within the scene and continues to grow in so many ways as the years pass. In my experience, Yet, the night was not over. other than my group of friends, people back then were less eclectic in what music they Everyone quickly left the Canal Club to catch the would listen to. There were fans of only rock, “Midnight Mosh” after-show where new band or only rap and so on, so there was very little Candy, featuring members of the former band crossover even when it came to social groups. Malfunction, Richmond veterans Bracewar, In fact, some would go so far as to treat people and Atlanta’s Criminal Instinct, kept an already as weird or freaks just because of the music you exhausted crowd screaming for more. I think I listened to or how you dressed. This is how punk heard 300 plus people showed up for the after scenes became the tight families that there are show. Three. Hundred. People. After a full day or today, but obviously the times have changed. hardcore. At Midnight! And people still showed up early for the start of the final day!

Saturday’s event began at noon with another smattering of amazing and brutal performances. Among all the other great bands, some crowd pleasers were Midnight Sons, Dead & Dreaming, and Protester from Washington D.C. Hailing for the Jersey shore, Blind Justice had a set that just has to be seen on video. Blow up dolls, people getting thrown through tables, flying paint cans, and pool noodle moshing is just a small touch of what went on. The whole day saw an eclectic mix of talent performing. Richmond favorites Fire & Ice, California’s Nails, New York hardcore legends Agnostic Front, and Canada’s No Warning all capped off an amazing weekend with some of the most powerful sets of the year, leaving United Blood XI as yet another unforgettable weekend of hardcore celebration. But above all the bands, my mind comes back to how much the scene has grown since I first learned of it all those years ago. Throughout the weekend, the stage and dance floor was a chaotic battleground of women and men of all backgrounds taking out all of their aggression through the music they love. I saw groups of friends hanging out that weren’t stereotypical displays of what punk rock would be, proving punk and hardcore’s immeasurable reach within today’s society. People were stage diving, moshing, and walking on heads with the biggest smiles on their faces, filled with energy from the music as well as the sense of community around them. Richmond’s United Blood fest was what hardcore is about in 2017. People of all types coming together just for their love of hardcore. No one left out. Everyone united. FACEBOOK.COM/UNITEDBLOODFEST



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Everything is tight. As mottoes go, it’s not a bad one. However, while the RVA duo known as The Weak Days may lead with a sense of goofy positivity, it would be a bad idea to write them off as shallow. Guitarist Tommy McPhail and drummer/programmer Dustin Reinink (both of whom sing) deal with a variety of intense emotions and difficult situations in their driving, melodic music. At the same time, the fact that these two young musicians are funloving sweethearts trying to get the most out of life can’t help but spill over into silliness on occasion. It’s a big part of what makes them so charming. And with the upcoming release of their first 12 inch EP, they’re prepared to win over a lot of people. McPhail and Reinink were friends before they started playing music together. At the time, Reinink was playing in another duo, Winning The Loser’s Bracket. McPhail and Reinink began jamming together on the side. “It was super informal, nothing serious,” Reinink says. But then, WTLB came to an abrupt end. “We put out an LP in summer 2014, then immediately decided it wasn't gonna do anything anymore. That happened in a night,” Reinink explains. Following that eventful night, Reinink (who uses they/their pronouns) immediately sought out McPhail. “I went over to see Tommy where he was working as an RA,” they said. “I said, ‘Hey, this Weak Days thing -- I'm taking it seriously now. I need to know if you're in on this, because I have opportunities.’” McPhail was just as ready as Reinink was, so the duo started writing the songs that became their first EP, A Week’s Daze. Towards the end of that process, Reinink met Anastasia Rivera through Tinder, a fact that they find somewhat amusing in hindsight. Rivera soon joined the band on keyboards and vocals. With no bass player in the band, Rivera helped fill out the low end of the sound. “We essentially had her play an organ tone the entire time to fill in for bass,” Reinink says. “That added a whole new texture.” As soon as she joined, Rivera had quite a bit of creative input to offer. The band’s next release after A Week’s Daze was a three-song tour demo, on which Rivera wrote all of the songs. Touring quickly became a way of life for the trio, as Reinink had made quite a few connections during their time in Winning The Loser’s Bracket and was eager to pick up where that band had left off. The band began heading out of town every few months, having success from the beginning. “We've never not made money on tour,” Reinink says, attributing the band’s consistent success to a conscientious application of DIY principles. “I keep merch cheap,” they say. “I keep shirts at $5, I keep tapes at $5, I keep CDs at $5. We sell vinyl for like $7 now because... whatever, vinyl should be more expensive than it is, everywhere. That's just pure economics.” 34






By vinyl, Reinink means The Weak Days’ first EP, Drowsy. This five-song EP, released in September 2015 on Reinink’s label, Running Around Records, really solidified the band’s sound. Crunchy guitars, driving midtempo songs with an upbeat spirit, and multi-layered melodies communicating a variety of emotions added up to an appealing, memorable sound. The interplay between Rivera’s higher, clearer tones and the rougher voices of McPhail and Reinink is another appealing factor that distinguishes the songs on Drowsy. The trio was finding their unified voice, working closely together, and it showed. However, this EP would be the final Weak Days release featuring Rivera.

It was like ‘No hard feelings, we've done this once before.’” But once McPhail and Reinink returned from tour, they knew they needed to figure things out once and for all. “We still all wanted to make music together,” Reinink says. “So we were like, ‘Let's go over money, and if you can afford to go in May, then let's keep doing it. But if you can't, I don't want to keep lying to ourselves.’"

Rivera’s departure happened gradually. “We did a ten-day tour, which was fantastic. We were already thinking about recording a new EP,” McPhail says. “Then right before [the next] tour, she had to drop out.” McPhail and Reinink went ahead on that January 2016 tour as a two-piece. “The vocals became different, the songs became different,” McPhail says. “I ran my guitar through a guitar and bass amps. We were like, ‘We can do this.’”

so you can afford to live and do other things.’ It was amicable in the end.” Rather than search for a permanent replacement, the band chose to continue as a duo, but keep an open mind towards playing with other interested collaborators. “If somebody wants to be a member, then come practice, and play some shows with us!” Reinink says.

However, the way forward was not as clear at the time. “Anastasia was still in the band,” Reinink says. “We played some local shows with her, but then the March tour came up and she had to drop off that because of money. 36

Ultimately, Rivera chose to leave the band, playing her last show with the group in April 2016. “Long story short, she was in school and working a job, and just couldn't make the band happen,” Reinink explains. “We were like, ‘You living comes first, so quit the band

guitar. “We play with bass out of a sampler right now,” Reinink explains. “We have a Roland 404, and I sample the bass, then play to a click. So we're gonna continue to do that in May, and Brad's just gonna add guitar on top of that. Two guitars, no bass, who cares.” Brad’s presence is somewhat of a necessity; while The Weak Days continues to tour quite often, neither McPhail nor Reinink owns a car these days. “Brad saved us last-minute in March,” Reinink says. “We literally we had four rides drop through on going to SXSW.” “And that's OK -- they're all friends of ours and they weren't trying to be flaky,” McPhail quickly adds. “We were just trying to see if we could

make it happen at all. It was like, ‘if we can get down there and back and make any money, cool, but if not, we'll just go to say we did it.’” Where lineup expansions are concerned, Tuck’s involvement is by no means the end of the story. “In July, we're playing as at least a four-piece, if not a five-piece,” Reinink says. “A friend or two of ours from Columbus are gonna come down and practice with Brad again, and we'll do that tour with them. [Then] we're trying to do a show as a nine-piece in August. So we're doing a lot.”

This isn’t an idle offer, either. McPhail and Reinink are absolutely prepared to perform as a duo, and have done so locally on several occasions since Rivera’s departure. However, at least two upcoming tours will also include the presence of Buffalo, NY resident Brad Tuck The most important thing The Weak Days (also of Buffalo’s Subtle Words) on second are doing in the summer of 2017 has nothing RVA MAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 29 | SUMMER 24 | SPRING2017 2016

to do with auxiliary members, though. It is, instead, the release of a 7 song 12-inch EP. The EP, entitled Tight, is a quantum leap beyond the band’s previous sound, featuring what is undoubtedly the most assured, inspired, and all-around excellent music of the band’s career thus far. More than a mere collection of songs, this release presents itself as a strong, unified whole. Unsurprisingly, it was conceived with exactly this sort of approach in mind. “Tommy had an idea,” Reinink says. “He wanted to name a project Tight. I was like, ‘Well then that's the name of the next record. We have no songs written for it, but whatever.’” McPhail traces some of the inspiration for the record to the way Rivera’s departure from the group played out. “I don't want to say it was the catalyst for Tight, but it's more like... how loaded us saying that [phrase] is. It’s not just a super-posi thing. It's more like, ‘Here's something that has a lot of emotional baggage, but it's fine.’”

“We’ve gotten called pop-Punk, or emo, but getting lumped into those categories doesn’t define us. We're not like, here's four chords, some misogyny, and getting pizza with my friends."

having a breakdown on the roof of a parking There’s a lot of very serious subject matter garage while we were there.” that shows up on Tight. However, they also recognize that this isn’t the entirety of the story. McPhail expresses concern that the band’s “There's an inherent silliness to everything tendencies toward silliness might make such we do, because we're both very serious and serious topics come off as disingenuous. very silly people,” Reinink continues. “It's so “We’ve gotten called pop-punk, or emo, but genuinely who we are. In a moment, either one getting lumped into those categories doesn’t of us can have an entirely serious conversation, define us. We're not like, here's four chords, but cut that seriousness with something to some misogyny, and getting pizza with my take you out of it and remember that it's cool, friends. We never wanna be that.” Reinink vehemently agrees. “We go to the furthest it's tight.” extent when we're playing a set to make sure Indeed, the album’s one-word title shows up we don't come across that way. Two songs in every single song on the album, becoming we wrote are about dealing with depression, somewhat of an album-long refrain, always anxiety, and suicide. We like to say that very acting as a humorous aside to leaven some particularly, so that people know where we're very serious subject matter. It’s a distinctive coming from.” signature that sets this release apart from almost any album one could compare it to. However, there are many common points in The Weak Days music that demonstrate their kinship with seemingly more serious bands like The Hotelier, or Into It. Over It. The seven songs on Tight tread the same emotional ground as those bands tend to, dealing with the sort of intense personal shit that everyone goes through during the endless process of learning how to survive adulthood. Opener “National Harbor, MD” begins with McPhail declaring “Everything is tight, we’re fine right here tonight despite constant panic attacks and uncertainty in our lives.” The song’s title comes from its setting, a “fake-ass town” outside Washington, DC with a busy convention center. “There are a lot of anime conventions there, a lot of business conventions,” says McPhail. “It's so manufactured, with an overpriced ferris wheel that's just neon in the background.” Both laugh, but then Reinink gets more serious. “I go to a lot of cons, and so I wound up there,” they say. “That entire song is about a friend of mine 10 YEARS 10 YEARS OF RVA OFMAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015

That said, there are some obviously silly aspects to the way Tight is assembled. “In the early stages of writing this record, we were toying with doing a song called ‘Tight, feat. Everyone,’” McPhail says. “There are bands that put this killer feature on a song, and that's it. But with this song, there’d be a paragraph long list of [everyone who's on the song].” However, the way those people would appear was not the traditional method of contributing a verse, or some backing vocals. Instead, the band would pull from a huge collection of iPhone voice memos. “That was an idea we had early on, to get a bunch of people to do that,” Reinink says.

Dollar Signs, Dylan Wachman. “Dylan was a good friend of ours before all of this, but then he loved the record so much, he was like, ‘I want to put this out,’” McPhail says. Tight will be released jointly by Running Around Records and Wachman’s label, Possum Heart. The “feat. Everyone” joke lives on in the title of one of Tight’s songs, “Featuring Evan Thomas Weiss.” The Into It. Over It. leader does appear on the song, but of course, only in the form of an iPhone voice memo. The song’s title is not just a joke, though -- the main riff was somewhat inspired by Weiss’s playing style. “I was thinking about how Evan Weiss would write a guitar part,” McPhail says. “We were playing around with weird tuning, and I was just like, ‘Let me just fuck around and make a ton of demos.’ So that's where that lead initially came from, but it wasn't like ‘Let me think of Evan Thomas Weiss. Here's a tasty lick!’ It was a derivative of a derivative of a derivative.” The song that carries this ironic title is based on a very serious subject. “A friend of ours passed away,” McPhail says. “She'd just graduated. She'd been out of school for maybe a month. She'd just gotten a teaching job at a middle school. And people were like ‘What a loss to those kids.’ I was like, ‘Hold up, first of all, somebody died. Second of all, you can mourn the loss of a great person, a great educator, a great daughter, whoever, but let's take a step back for a second.’ Some people's first reaction was that it was a waste of talent or potential, as if she owed somebody something. But I’m thinking that I’ll never get to hang out with her again. And isn’t that her worth?” “The whole time I was just coming back to [the question], what does success mean?” says Reinink. “Do we have to qualify her life?” McPhail and Reinink do not shy away from discussing difficult subjects like these. But at the same time, both still enjoy having fun. Recently, they blew off some steam by throwing together an internet-only EP, Breakin’ Da Rules, which consisted entirely of cartoon show theme song covers. Meanwhile, McPhail carries on his streak of having tweeted at Michael Jordan once a day for over two years now. The contrast between these elements is what makes The Weak Days the band and the people they are, and they celebrate this reality. “We released a cover EP today of songs from cartoons. That's the silliness we can't escape from,” says Reinink. “But that's juxtaposed with a record that's mostly about not feeling safe in spaces, friends passing away, and trying to deal with the monotony of being a very anxious person every single day.” It’s cool, though. Everything is tight.

Indeed, voice memos pepper the record -nearly two dozen, all told. Some are barely audible, while others take prominent positions in the quiet spaces between individual tracks. Guest stars include everyone from Chris Farren (Fake Problems/Antarctigo Vespucci) THEWEAKDAYS.COM and Evan Thomas Weiss (Into It. Over It.) to former Weak Days member Anastasia Rivera and McPhail’s bandmate in Charlotte NC’s




FALL EXHIBITIONS: SEP 16 - FEB 11, 2018 O P E N I N G R E C E P TI O N F R I , S E P 1 5

Wayne White Monitorium | Small Works, Tall Tales Wayne White explores a unique perspective on the 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads through gigantic props, masks, and puppets. Small Works, Tall Tales features seven Virginia artists who infuse their work with sharp wit and a complex interpretation of our world. TOP: Wayne White. Courtesy Joshua Liner Gallery | L-R: Kranitzky & Overstreet. Watchface 6, 2015 | Aggie Zed. you go to war with the army you have (detail), 2011. Mixed media. Courtesy of the Artist. Photograph: Bill Moretz.


VirginiaMOCA.org | 757-425-0000 | Virginia Beach 39

There are few bands like Camp Howard that have left such an impression on the city of Richmond. In the span of two short years, the band has received unanimous acclaim within the scene and beyond with their smart approach for writing eclectic indie rock numbers. In their work, they display a penchant for understanding and focusing on their influences, and truly excel in creating a dynamic voice that is unequivocally Camp Howard. With the substantial buzz they’ve built for themselves so far and the strong reception to their EP Juice, out now via Egghunt Records, there is no denying that Camp Howard could become the next name that we hear mentioned when conversations are steered towards discussing what’s great in Richmond music.

CAMP HOWARD By SHANNON CLEARY MAIN PHOTO by Henry Archer PHOTOs by Drew Scott & Farrah Fox

As songwriter Nic Perea was playing gigs around town, the early formations of Camp Howard began to take shape. Guitarist Matthew Benson had just moved back to Richmond and began to play with Perea as well as drummer Brian Noble Larson. It wasn’t long until the trio began to turn ears and gained a bit of momentum behind the project. It would be the meeting of the minds between songwriters Perea and Wes Parker that would lead to Camp Howard playing their first show during the summer of 2015. These early shows showed a quick sonic change for the group. “When we started out playing in high school, we were playing mainly Fleet Foxes-like acoustic songs, Perea recalls. “It wasn’t until we got to college and we started seeing bands playing these loud, shreddy songs that made us want to start playing loud rock music.” Some of these early shows would also show waves of influences for the band. “There were some shows that we just ended up playing really loud, punk sets and that’s something I love about playing music,” Perea adds. “We pull from so much that it seems like a disservice to not pursue any weird songwriting idea you have and just see what happens. A lot of those basement shows were pretty crazy, but it was pretty rewarding to just play whatever we felt like and maybe be a different version of Camp Howard at every show.” The band are quick to mention that it was their adoption into the house show scene that definitely left the largest impact on the group. “We would play shows over at Emilio’s and see guys like Devon Hammer from HEADLESSMANTIS and we were thinking that he couldn’t care less about us and our band,” Larson jokes. “After we went over and started chatting with Devon and eventually other people from Ashes and Lance Bangs, we started getting invited to play house shows and that’s where I think we really hit this cool stride of feeling like we were connecting with crowds around town.” Perea himself was surprised by the scene, which had a level of attentiveness he wasn’t anticipating. “When we started 40


playing at houses around town, we started to notice this trend happening where it would be a party atmosphere up until a band would start playing,” he remarks. “It’s as if someone would go around the house, make the announcement that someone was starting and they would all stop what they were doing to pay attention and listen to whomever was playing.” The time arrived where the band began to start thinking about recording and they certainly weren’t hurting for selecting songs to be featured on their self-titled debut. “We are constantly writing songs,” Parker explains. “Even at this point, there are songs that aren’t on the full-length or this upcoming EP that we have been playing out for quite a while. One of the big things that we end up doing is writing songs pretty quickly and wanting to work them out live to see how they work in that environment.” In this exercise, the band has easily road tested dozen of songs that may have come to fruition in one of their respective writing sessions days earlier. As they were continuing to write, one chance encounter would lead to the band meeting an excited engineer that was quick to offer their services with capturing the band’s songs.

“We pull from so much that it seems like a disservice to not pursue any weird songwriting idea you have and just see what happens." “After one of our shows, Russell Lacy came up to us and mentioned that he really loved the set and wanted to record us,” Parker remembers. The group ventured to the Virginia Moonwalker in Mechanicsville for a series of weekends writing and recording songs that would eventually end up being Camp Howard’s self-titled debut full-length. The band had also heard stories of how Pete Curry had recorded his debut full-length, Advice On Love, out there and Curry’s rave appraisal of the process left a strong impact with the band. On top of that, the opportunity to record straight to tape seemed like an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. “The vibe out there was great with just going in, recording, Russell making us food, and feeling like we could just get lost in recording,” Parker says. “I know we definitely butted heads a bit over which songs that we wanted to include and in hindsight, I was opposed to putting ‘She Doesn’t Mind’ on the record and now, I stand corrected.” 10 YEARS OF RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015


Every Camp Howard song feels like it nails a musical reveal and this is certainly the case on their debut release. “Heavy Blow” captures the listener with floating guitars that live within a lazy, psych dream. As the energetic blasts hit you half way through the song, listeners question if they are even listening to the same song. “Llorando Y Furnando” is a quaint crescendo of flamenco spirit and caressing romantic verses that evoke memories of journeying through any exciting terrain. “Dog” trails confidently with the finesse of garage rock with estimable wit and charming guitar interplay. The aforementioned “She Doesn’t Mind” delivers on what might be one of the strongest choruses on the entire album. And “You’ve Been Misled” feels like a perfect pop song that is contagious with every listen. As they were wrapping up with the debut, the band began to wonder about how they were going to release it. The solutions for this problem came quick though and left the band feeling inspired by the support they

Camp Howard also found themselves in a position where they were being invited to play bigger shows as a result of garnering quite a bit of attention. “When we first started and we were playing under my name, we would more times than not play to maybe five people,” Perea reveals. “That would sometimes include the other bands performing. After a while, we started playing to larger audiences that kept growing and growing. If that’s the case, I figure we’re doing it right.” In this case, these bands would include the likes of White Laces, Avers, and Manatree. A common thread between these three were being affiliated with local label Egghunt Records and this would inevitably lead to a relationship with the label. “I think it may have actually been the article in RVA Magazine where we saw that Egghunt wanted to do an EP series and we just reached out to them to see if they had decided on which bands they were going to work with,” Benson says. The band had more than enough material to record a follow-up. After a few short conversations, Egghunt owner Adam


One of the truly fascinating stories from the recording process was working on the title track. “Juice” is a pop lullaby that shows the range of the group and also led to them working with someone close to Camp Howard. “That song started as this weird electronic thing that I put together,” Parker says. “When I showed it to the band, they were really into it and I had to figure out how to play it with actual instruments. What was really great was getting to work with my brother Jonathan Parker, who helped develop the melody for that tune. I’m hoping that he can join us for a few live performances down the line.” And to make matters even crazier for the band, the release of “Juice” would be through the online music publication Consequence Of Sound. In what felt like an overnight occurrence, the band would wake to the song having been streamed more than 30,000 times on Spotify.

were receiving from the local music scene. “When we talked about releasing it, a few close friends that we had met through playing out offered to help almost immediately,” Perea says. Citrus City, Crystal Pistol, and Trrrash Records had all reached out to the band to assist. As a result, the band released their debut fulllength in March of 2016. This was a little under a year from when the band played their first show as Camp Howard in the basement of friend Colin Thibodeauxxx’s house in the summer of 2015. Before the record had been recorded and released, the band saw tremendous amounts of support from a number of regional acts. One in particular would be the experimental indie rock duo Illiterate Light that hails from Harrisonburg, Virginia. “We went on a short tour with them when we first started out and it felt like we got a good impression for what we needed to do to efficiently tour,” Perea says. “They’ve been really good to us by having us over at their house in Harrisonburg whenever we are passing through and just being huge support,” Parker adds. Along with this genuine camaraderie, Illiterate Light began to cover one of Camp Howard’s tunes. “They started playing ‘Dog’ live and incorporating a Led Zeppelin bridge and it sounds crazy to us and it’s really flattering too,” Benson mentions. Perea agreed, adding “it’s fun to hear our friends play some of our tunes, because we’ve definitely done the same thing. We used to play one of Pete Curry’s tunes around a lot too.”

band first started and by the time we started working on these songs, we had figured out how to write together and I think Juice is a good example of that.”

As the band gears to release their new EP and contemplates their next set of songs, they see nothing but positive opportunities ahead. “We are just going to keep operating as we have up to this point and keep touring and writing and see where this can lead to,” Perea says. “Even though we still play songs like ‘Dog’ because people request it all the time, we are still constantly writing. It’s this means of self-expression that only songwriting can Henceroth was quickly on board to include the band in the “Hatched” EP series that would see releases coming out throughout 2017 with Big Baby, Dazeases, Doll Baby, and Camp Howard themselves. Another tie would be getting to work with Adrian Olsen of Avers at his studio Montrose for the recording of the Juice EP. “It was cool to get the chance to work with Russell and Adrian and have two pretty, different, unique experiences,” Larson says. “We were able to track everything and finish up in three days which Adrian said was pretty impressive to him.” The six-song EP covers a lot of new ground for the band. “Mismo” is the group’s attempt at channeling The Kinks and doing so impressively. “Fucked Up” is an ode to the earlier days of the band diving right into the heavier version of their musical selves. “The difference with this EP and the fulllength is that a lot of these songs felt more collaborative,” Larson adds. “Nic or Wes would bring in mostly finished songs when the

provide that works for all of us,” Parker adds. When asked if the band feels like all of these streamlined successes might be leading to them “making it” in a sense, Parker is quick to mention what made him feel like that they were initially on the right track. “My older brother, Alan, was back from tour and he came up to me and mentioned that people were talking about our band and he was hearing good things,” he explains. “My brothers never really talk about my band at all and the fact that they were hearing about us from others seemed like a good sign that we were doing alright.” With the triumphs of Camp Howard and the much-hyped Juice EP, it would come as no shock that the band would continue to be the center of conversations for the remainder of 2017. And at this rate, who’s to say that we won’t have more music from the band by this time next year. CAMPHOWARD.BANDCAMP.COM RVA MAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 29 | SUMMER 24 | SPRING2017 2016



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IRON REAGAN With Iron Reagan’s third full-length album Crossover Ministry having dropped in February, church is once again in session. Don’t let the title fool you, though -- the 18-track monster is every bit as critical of religion as their previous albums, and the sounds are just as aggressive and bludgeoning to the ear drums. In Iron Reagan’s faith, the only church is the pit, and with their third full-length release carrying on the crossover thrash debauchery of the first two albums, there’s plenty of reason for Richmond metalheads to congregate.

and bassist Land Phil (also of Cannabis Corpse) hail from local legends Municipal Waste; drummer Ryan Parrish and bassist Paul Burnette came from the acclaimed Darkest Hour; and guitarist Mark Bronzino joined after leaving A.N.S. Burnette was later replaced with bassist Rob Skotis, also a member of Hellbear, who rounded out the current lineup. They decided to form Iron Reagan as a way to expend their creative energies when they weren’t on the road with their respective bands; Iron Reagan’s success was actually unexpected.

There’s also plenty of reason to worship Reagan’s new release, especially when you realize just how busy they’ve been, both with Iron Reagan and with other established metal bands. Formed in 2012, their lineup is something of a thrash metal supergroup: vocalist Tony Foresta

“It was kind of a band that me and Ryan and Phil wanted to do as something for fun, for something between touring and working with our other bands,” said Foresta. “We just wanted to have something like a creative outlet to have between tours.”






Despite belonging to other active bands, when the demand for Iron Reagan as a live act skyrocketed they seized the opportunity to go on tour. Many tours, actually. “Honestly, [the album] took a little longer this time,” Foresta admitted. “The demand for Iron Reagan to play live got pretty big, and we weren’t expecting it, so we just kind of rode that out a little bit and all of a sudden we were getting crazy tour offers. One just fell right after the other, and it just kept happening.” For Iron Reagan, those crazy offers began coming in earnest in 2015, a very busy year for the band. Starting in January, Iron Reagan toured vigorously across the United States and Canada in support of Napalm Death and Voivod, 31 dates in total. After that, the summer found them heading overseas to Europe for the first time, playing big festivals -- including Hellfest -- and opening up for a legendary band.

“... nobody really knew if Hillary was gonna win or if Trump was gonna win,” said Foresta. “So that’s kind of why the record has a whole, we’re just fucked either way. It just was kinda dark. The future was dark no matter which way you looked at it, and that’s kind of the mindset we were going with on that album." “Europe was amazing. The first tour we did over there was incredible,” said Foresta. “We opened for Motorhead a couple shows, we played some really big festivals, we played mainstage at Hellfest, which for our first European tour is pretty impressive.” The experience was a new one for Iron Reagan, one that left a big impression on their vocalist. “We got good responses, and crowds were coming out and supporting us,” said Foresta. “It was overwhelming, I guess. We’ve been in bands before and kind of know, but to go out there for the first time and get a response like that is incredible. It’s cool.” When you realize they also toured throughout 2016, squeezing in a second visit to Europe as well, you’ve got to ask: where the hell did these guys find the time and energy to write and record their third full-length album? 48


“The next thing we knew, finally we were like, ‘Shit, we gotta write an album,’” Foresta recounted. “So we were actually writing the album in those short breaks that we had between tours, and tried to get as much done as possible between all those tours, so it took a little longer. The recording process went a little longer as well just because all our schedules with our other bands, too, so it’s a lot of stuff to juggle around at once. Eventually, it worked out.” Considering some of the writing and recording went on during the tumultuous 2016 presidential primaries, you’d think that might have been a source of angry inspiration for Crossover Ministry, especially for a band as politically reproachful as Iron Reagan (just look at the cover and content of Tyranny Of Will). It turns out that wasn’t the case, according to Foresta. “It was weird writing the record because it was between the election times, so nobody really knew if Hillary was gonna win or if Trump was gonna win,” said Foresta. “So that’s kind of why the record has a whole, we’re just fucked either way. It just was kinda dark. The future was dark no matter which way you looked at it, and that’s kind of the mindset we were going with on that album. We didn’t wanna really throw around too many political ideas or opinions because we really didn’t know how things were going to pan out in the next few months after.” And that’s important to know in order to appreciate the album, because Crossover Ministry isn’t a political statement, nor a platform for one. It’s the third offering from a band who have been nonstop at hitting the road, chasing success as seemingly endless tour offers present themselves and putting their noses to the grind. On this album, Iron Reagan embraces the uncertainty of the future by throwing down and delivering straight up, in your face tracks, a pummeling soundtrack solely made for the mosh pit. It also doesn’t find them deviating from the sound that garnered them their fans in the first place. There are no tired third album clichés here, where bands change their sound for the hell of it; Crossover Ministry is familiar, surefooted territory for metalheads who have followed them up until this point, a to-the-point continuation of the face melting riffage and pissed off lyrics that Iron Reagan is known for, delivered raw and uncut. Much like their fastpaced albums, Iron Reagan shows no signs of slowing down, hauling ass like a freight train into the uncertain future. If this album is any indication, it’s going to be a wild ride. IRONREAGAN.BANDCAMP.COM











RIDING A WAVE OF ENLIGHTENMENT WITH MINOR POET Imagine all of the music you’ll never hear that’s being recorded as you’re reading this sentence. All of the poetry and art coming to life right now that you’ll never lay eyes on. That’s something Andrew Carter thinks about, which makes sense, given that he’s created oceans of material that will never see the light of day.

“I’ve been trying to make records since I was a teenager,” Carter told me recently at Black Hand Coffee Company after he finished a morning shift. “I’ve probably made like 50 records, but they were all terrible. I think it was always in the back of my mind, this idea that someday I might be able to make a record that rescued me from my terrible existence… ‘If I just make this one record maybe something magical will happen.” That idea is no longer in the back of his mind, because in 2016, Carter leaned into the idea of making music purely for the sake of creation, and ended up singlehandedly crafting And How!, an album that’s connecting his detailed, melodic songwriting to more ears than ever. The fact that And How! has kicked Carter’s music career into a higher gear is laced with a beautiful irony, given that the album’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of what it’s like to feel stuck. The band he was fronting, The Mad Extras, had generated momentum around town with energetic live shows, but the exercise ended up feeling hollow. “At first it was really cool,” Carter described, “because you felt like a rock star. You were on stage, and you had your mic, you were doing your performance, and you kind of weren’t yourself for 30 or 45 minutes... Then that wears off. At a certain point, it feels like the more fake elements of the performance catch up with you, and [you think] ‘Now I feel like I’m just doing this character, and I don’t like it anymore, and I can’t change it because everyone’s expecting to see me do that.’” While all this was happening, he was watching as other Richmond artists gained national notoriety. When The Mad Extras set their sights on recording a new album, Carter felt pressure to make the city’s next breakthrough album.


BY DAVY JONES Photos Joey Wharton

“I wanted to make better songs,” he said, “and I wanted them to stand on their own as songs. It didn’t matter if the song was fast enough that everybody would dance. It didn’t matter if the song was this or that or how would it sound live. I just wanted to make a record, and I wanted the record to be really good.”

It says a lot about Carter that his chosen method of escape from the frustration of a stalled recording project was... more recording. “The whole point behind making [And How!] was to just make something for fun, just for me,” he said. He spent his free afternoons in the same self-styled basement studio The Mad Extras was working in. “I’d get off at noon and have all day. I was looking for a chance to blow off steam… Everything was still set up — all the mics and the recording stuff and the drums — and I had all my bandmates’ instruments lying around.” You hear that sense of leisure all over And How!, most pointedly on “Sudoku, An Enlightenment,” which reads like a guide to idleness. “What was it I said I’d do today? I’ve already forgot,” he asks, not 30 seconds into the song. A few tracks earlier, “River Days” provides an ambivalent depiction of a season in life when time is cheap, days are wasted in more ways than one, and simply remembering names is an accomplishment. “All the songs on the record are just whatever I was feeling at that given moment, he affirmed, “being brutally honest about how mundane my life was.”

“...it was always in the back of my mind, this idea that someday I might be able to make a record that rescued me from my terrible existence… ‘If I just make this one record maybe something magical will happen." “Somewhere between six to eight months we were tracking this record,” Carter estimated. “We were just rerecording the same things over and over again. I think it was one of those situations where different band members had different ideas, and it was this whole struggle to get something together.” Those sessions, like so much of the work Carter had done to that point, will likely not be released.

Carter is originally from a small town near Albany, New York. His father was a pastor, and while the younger Carter didn’t start listening to canonical secular artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles until he was a teenager, he showed an early interest in instruments and performing. “My parents have all these photos of me holding toy brooms when I was three or four, holding concerts in the living room for my cousins. It was clearly something I was obsessed with. They told me I watched Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl performance from the 1990s and we taped it, and I watched it over and over again and memorized the moves.” He eventually taught himself to play guitar and piano, taking an experiential approach to learning and letting the music he loved guide him. “Rather than studying music theory, I studied records. If I liked a sound I heard or a song I heard,” he said, “I wanted to know how it was made. The nuts and bolts.”

That curiosity led to years of experimenting with the recording process, and if there’s one thing And How! makes perfectly clear, it’s that Andrew Carter loves to record. You can hear it in the album’s opening moments -- his knack for molding off-kilter sounds by manipulating sub-par equipment. “[In] that first song, ‘Plot Devices,’ there’s that weird, lo-fi stringy sound. It’s this little toy Casio run through a shit-ton of weird effects. That was part of the fun of making it. ‘What cool sound can I make that doesn’t exist?’” There’s also the sheer amount of sound he puts into each song. Double-tracked guitars. Layered vocals, with songs containing as many as 30 vocal tracks. It’s a devotion you either have or you don’t, and Carter is inspired by the artists who have exhibited that same dedication. 53

“All that sound, the double tracking -- [those are] my little DIY, amateur Pet Sounds moments. When I was 15 or 16, I heard that record for the first time… I think ‘God Only Knows’ was the first song I heard on it, and I had an actually life changing moment, like ‘I think I just heard something that’s going to change everything I’ve ever thought about music.’ It was somehow everything I didn’t know I loved about music in one album. I listen to that record almost every day.”

what followed was a frenzied exploration of label interest that resulted in Carter inking a deal with hometown imprint EggHunt.

“It’s hard to wrap my head around that there are all these people out there who are stoked on this and want to be a part of it or want to While Carter cites “God Only Knows” as a jumping-off point, I can’t help seeing his story help out with it.” in “In My Room.” The solace in having a space that’s all your own. Being yourself with zero outside judgement. It made for a fertile creative ground, and it makes the album’s success It would be easy to read that kind of even more rewarding. “Feeling like ‘Wow, I played all these instruments, and I made all the disbelief as pro forma humbleness, but creative choices, and I did all of the recording, and at no point did anyone lay their finger on Carter wears humility comfortably. Maybe this project until we were doing final mixing,’ there’s nothing like it, feeling that validated.” too comfortably. “My mom particularly hates how self-deprecating I can be about Interest in the album developed quickly, despite the fact that Carter initially envisioned a my music,” he confessed at one point. small listening party as the project’s logical conclusion. As I was getting ready for our interview, “When I finished it,” Carter described, “I had about 10 of my friends come over, we sat I noticed that the liner notes for the Mad in my living room, and they were really awesome about it. They were really respectful. Extras’ ironically titled Best New Artist They just sat, and we listened to it, and I even printed out some lyrics... and we had a little album contain this snippet: “The Mad Extras are not trying to be the next big thing, they're moment together. And I [said to myself] ‘Yeah, this is it.’” just trying to put on a good show. ‘Best New Cue Ron Howard’s disembodied narration from Arrested Development -- “That wasn’t it.” Artist’ isn't about reinventing the wheel, it's about keeping it spinning.” That description Things escalated when he shared the album with Brandon Crowe of Lights Out Management, struck a chord, given that he’s settled on and his partner Tyler Williams, also drummer of The Head And The Heart. He also shared it Minor Poet as this project’s name. Still, in with Noma Illmensee of Manatree and EggHunt Records -- all parties were impressed, and terms of self-deprecation, neither example 54


holds a candle to the stage name he recently “There’s a poet -- Frank O’Hara -- who was a huge influence on the writing of these lyrics,” abandoned, or as Carter put it, “the whole Carter said. “He was the curator at the MoMA, and everybody knew him as the art guy, the curator guy. He wrote these poems for fun, and he turned out to be this incredible, Tony Jabroni thing.” legendary poet. He wasn’t really taken seriously by other poets in his day -- they just knew him as the art guy -- but it turns out his poems were really good.” “I think I was undercutting myself -psychologically undercutting the possibility of this being a real thing. Then it became Carter expressed admiration for how O’Hara’s writing is “very direct, literal” but gives way a funny joke when Tyler and Brandon got to bursts of abstraction and connection. “[You see] meaning in what he’s experiencing, involved, and it started to look like we were even though it’s a very mundane experience.” sending this to labels... I was just waiting for “Sudoku, An Enlightenment” makes even more sense after hearing about O’Hara’s influence, somebody to tell me to stop.” and while the song typifies the album’s leisurely lyrics, another line from the song now strikes me as the most profound: “Enlightenment is the realization on my cigarette break In addition to pressure from labels, one piece of advice helped him ultimately decide that nothing ever changes.” In other contexts, that thought would register as pure cynicism, against calling himself Tony Jabroni: “Think but from Carter’s lips it sounds more like a deal he made with the universe, not knowing he about it this way,” Carter paraphrased, was creating the very thing that would prove those lyrics wrong. “What if this really did become successful, and you have kids someday, and this is the “I’m already way beyond what I ever thought I was going to achieve,” Carter confessed. album that pays your bills. Do you want to “Everything from here on out, I’m just riding it. I’m just riding a wave.” explain to your kids that they have food on All this reminds me of a metaphor that comes to my mind often, and while I’m not sure it’s the table because of Tony Jabroni?’” backed up by physics, there’s a zen-like logic to it. It’s the idea that squeezing a handful of sand tightly will let more grains out than if you held that same handful with a balanced, “Minor Poet” offers a milder, more meaningful reflection of Carter’s modesty, intuitive looseness. Talking to Andrew Carter about it makes me think his intuition has led as well as a connection to one of the major him to exactly that balancing point. inspirations for Carter’s lyrical approach to And How! SOUNDCLOUD.COM/MINORPOETMUSIC 10 YEARS 10 YEARS OF RVA OFMAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015



EATSRVA MUNCHIES. Follow us @RVAmag Main: fighting fish sushi Top: Boka tacos virginia bbq Hyderabad Biryani House Second Line: THE CAMEl Bottom: LEE's FAMOUS CHICKEN Brenner Pass GOOD EATS RVA -- tag us @RVAmag




Veteran restaurateur Jessica Wilson plans to open Grace, a seasonal, sustainable farmhouse restaurant on Chimborazo in the fall. “It’s something I wanted almost my entire life,” Wilson said of the venture. “I have old blueprints from when I was younger of putting a restaurant together.” Wilson checked out spots in Brooklyn and Charleston before deciding to visit Richmond in January. “I had a friend down here and I just started falling in love with Richmond,” she said. She started looking at locations and stumbled across a property on Chimborazo Boulevard on a local food blog. “I looked it up and got butterflies, I was like, ‘that’s my place, that’s my restaurant,” Wilson said. The space was originally a confectionary shop opened by Hiram H. Herbert in the early 1900s and eventually became a grocery store. Wilson will close on the property at the beginning of June and start renovations in the summer. She also plans to live in the space upstairs. The restaurant will focus on old farmhouse techniques such as curing, preserving and pickling according to Wilson, and have a wine cellar. “We’ll do a really good bar program from vegetable based juices for the mixtures, fermentations of different tonics and thinks like that,” she said. “I’m going to do as much inhouse as we can.” In addition to a market and garden, Wilson hopes to offer programs for kids, such as cooking and educational classes once she opens. “I want it to be a place where I can give us as much back to the community, but also be a really good place to eat. Every day of the week,” she said. Until Grace gets up and running sometime in the fall, eager patrons can get a taste of what Wilson will bring to the table with her east coast pop up dinner series, Gather for Grace, which will launch in June. INSTAGRAM.COM/CHEFKESSICAWILSON

A TASTE OF THE ALPS The culinary creative minds behind Metzger Bar and Butchery in Church Hill have been toiling away on their latest project, and this time, Richmonders will get a little taste of what the Alpine region has to offer. Chef Brittanny Anderson, Pastry Chef Olivia Wilson, Brad Hemp, Nathan Conway, and James Kohler will open Brenner Pass in Scott’s Addition, a restaurant with a focus on the cuisine of Switzerland, France and Italy.


at home. We’re all so busy, when you have this awesome condiment that’s really good for you in the fridge, you can add it to whatever you’ve been cooking.” “There’s fondue from Switzerland, a really traditional vibe from the Piedmont of Italy and But the two also sell other items such as [the] Chamonix and Haute-Savoie region of hot sauce, eggplant spread, chow chow France,” said Anderson. “And then we’re taking all those traditional things and updating them (jalapenos, onions, green tomatoes and with a modern vibe and making them a little carrots), kimchi, and a Mexi-Cali street corn more of what the modern diner is looking for.” which is made with spicy corn and jalapenos. Anderson, Hemp and Conway opened Metzger “It’s a super hit,” said Collier referring to the in 2014, which has since carved out its own street corn. “It’s the most healthy, fermented delicious thing for tacos.” niche in Richmond’s foodie town with its rustic, seasonal menu of German-inspired fare, wine and cocktails. But the crew didn’t want to stop Wild Earth Farm’s two hot sauces are sure there, so last year they look a trip to Europe in to please anyone with a need for heat. The “Green Queen” is a smokey, Salsa Verde sauce search of their next inspiration. boasting flavors of garlic, lemon and brown “For me... I cooked a lot with Italian chefs, and Sugar with green peppers & tomatoes. “Wild was really looking for an outlet, and a place to Fire” uses orange habaneros and red sweet explore that cuisine a little bit more so I went peppers for a great flavor and balanced heat. to the Alps last year and it was such a beautiful Collier’s passion for sustainable agriculture region and great culture,” Anderson said. “The started back when we he was a student at food is really different and fun and I think a lot James Madison University. “I was involved of people aren’t used to, or don’t know much with environmental advocacy in college and doing farm internships,” he said. about it so we were excited to bring that to Richmond.” What cemented Collier and his girlfriend’s Anderson will be at the helm as chef, Wilson interest in sustainability and launching their will head up the pastry program at Brenner own venture was in the summer of 2015, when Pass, Conway will oversee the wine program, the two quit their jobs after college and went and James Kohler, formerly of Saison, will on a bike tour of the country. “We spent six months on bicycles and we visited a lot of oversee the bar program. farms and volunteered through that WWOOF The restaurant and bar, which is located at program,” he said. WWOOF, or World Wide 3200 Rockbridge St. in Scott’s Addition, has Opportunities on Organic Farms, links been under construction for over a year and volunteers with organic farmers and growers is slated to open in June. The Metzger owners for hands-on learning experiences in exchange for room and board. also plan to open a bakery and coffee shop in the space of their restaurant next door called “We learned more about farms and the Chairlift, slated to open shortly after challenges of farm businesses so that drew Brenner Pass. some more interest in how we can make farms more profitable and doing something with FACEBOOK.COM/BRENNERPASSRVA their produce,” Collier said. BY AMY DAVID


The two started out on a farm in Mechanicsville, but moved their operation to a kitchen off Horsepen Road near The Answer Brewpub last summer. For now, Wild Earth Farms is getting its produce from Tompkin, Dragonfly Farm, Cumberland, Community Food Collaborative, and Frank Community Farm, but Collier hopes to expand beyond that. “We couldn’t do what we do without the farms and local agriculture,” he said. Launched in January of 2016, Wild Earth Farms makes and sells raw, naturally-fermented Their line of fermented products is sold at vegetables in Richmond using produce from Good Foods Grocery, the monthly Brunch Virginia farms. Market in Scott’s Addition, South of the And it’s not plain old canned sauerkraut you James Farmer’s Market, and Saint Stephens get off the shelf at your local grocery store, Episcopal Church. Being a budding business, Collier and his girlfriend Bri McCarthy have Collier said the focus now is to expand their come up with some creative recipes such as line of products and customer base within the next year. Garden Spice Kraut (Celery, Garlic, Cumin, and Black Pepper), a Lemon Rosemary Kraut, “We’re addicted to coming out with new and “Smokey Sauerruben” (fermented turnips, things, it’s really fun. We get such good carrots and sea salt). responses from customers at markets,” Collier “Everything we do is lacto-fermented,” Collier said. “I want to be a Richmond brand; I’m said. “We partner with these farms and support not focused on major distribution I want to these local farmers and show people another get known really well here and develop our partnerships with the farms.” dimension of healthy food that’s fun, that’s exciting, that really encourages people to cook Fermenting may not be the current hipsterfoodie trend right now like deconstructed coffee, smoothie bowls or drinking vinegars, but the process is not only flavorful, but good for your digestion and overall health. Just ask Grant Collier who spends his days running Wild Earth Farms.



waiting in line for us on a Friday night after work, Ardent would bring them beers in line, and the lines started getting longer and longer and we were selling out quicker and quicker.” Fultz, born in Austin, grew up outside of Dallas eating the same barbecue he now so warmly and pridefully cooks and serves to Richmonders. For those who’ve never tasted it, Central Texas barbecue differs from North and South Carolina and Virginia styles. “Texas-style barbecue started with German and Czech immigrants in and around Central Texas,” he said. “It was kind of an off-shoot of a butcher or meat market, one of the least desirable cuts is brisket because it’s such a tough muscle.”

ZZQ BRINGS A TASTE OF CENTRAL TEXAS TO SCOTT’S ADDITION If you’ve driven through Scott’s Addition on a Friday night, chances are the alluring aroma of smoked brisket in the air has piqued your interest. You may have also seen the giant wood-burning smoker being hauled into Ardent Craft Ales every other week with nothing but a line of people as far as the eye can see. For four years, local truck ZZQ has provided barbecue to Richmonders, catering weddings and other private gigs, and for the last two they’ve parked their smoker, dubbed “Mabel,” at Ardent to serve up Central Texasinspired smoked beef barbecue. In the fall, the husband and wife team will launch their business into the next phase with their own restaurant on West Moore Street, just behind the brewery that fueled their success. “The thing about Ardent was, that environment was exactly the kind of place, culture that we envisioned for ourselves and it fit the model of what inspires us in terms of barbecue, which is Central Texas barbecue,” said co-owner of ZZQ Chris Fultz. “If you think of barbecue joints in Austin, there’s always a really cool comfortable place to hang out and eat your barbecue at a picnic table or some lights. That was a hand and glove kind of fit.” Served up on one big heaping tray lined with butcher paper, customers can order anything from beef brisket, beef short ribs, pulled pork shoulder, pork spare ribs, and bone-in pork belly along with a variety of made from scratch sides such as jalapeno macaroni and cheese, buttermilk potato salad, blackstrap collard greens, frijoles de charro, Orange's Texas caviar, and Terlingua coleslaw. Of course, it wasn’t just the brewery’s atmosphere and patio that drew the duo to the space, the beer pairing with the barbecue didn’t hurt either. “The beer is such a big part of the culture in Texas too, in a lot of barbecue joints they give you free beer while you’re waiting in line,” Fultz said. “While our customers are 58

The style is stripped down with meat, mainly brisket, being the focus. Sides play second fiddle and the sauce is not even considered in some places. The way it’s prepared is the major difference, however. “One of the biggest differences in what happens in this part of the country and the way they cook and the way we cook. We cook on a traditional offset smoker, and it’s all wood, there’s no secondary heat source,” said Fultz. “It’s all old school techniques.” Fultz began honing those techniques in Austin 15 years ago and after moving to Virginia to attend grad school at UVA, he soon got a job in Richmond and realized beef barbecue was few and far between here. “I called my dad and I said, ‘how do you cook a brisket’ and he told me what he knew, I just kept trying to perfect it…that carried me through several years and parties taking brisket to friends,” he said. “’I went to one party and some guy said, ‘you really should think about doing this for real, I’ve never had anything like this.’” Around that time, he met Graf who championed the idea for ZZQ which is when the business officially took off. “We were doing these underground backyard pop ups which enabled us to experiment and kind of hone our craft and cultivate our original customers and fans,” said Fultz. Word began to catch on about their smoked barbecue and they’ve been selling out at Ardent Craft Ales ever since. Graf and Fultz parked “Mabel” on Thursday at Ardent and smoke all night and serve all day Friday. “People would actually help us and pull her out and that’s how Friday nights worked for that first year we were there,” Graf said. But as they became more well known in the food truck scene after that first year passed, “Mabel” could only feed so many hungry barbecue fans so the two decided it was time for a bigger project. “We could only serve about 150 people max on our old smoker so we would run out of food too fast, we had a lot of people in line still wanting food,” Fultz said. “That first year gave us the courage to invest in a smoker three to four times the size of our first smoker.”

The two had a new 3,000-pound smoker named “Maxine” made outside of Austin and revealed it at the grand opening of The Veil Brewing Co. in spring of 2016, which allowed them to feed 1,200 people. Once they had the new smoker, Graf and Fultz decided to shift their vision into high gear. After checking out a few spots in that area, they decided to build a new restaurant from the ground up in Scott’s Addition. “We wanted to be in Scott’s Addition, we’ve both always loved this neighborhood, we love the character, the diversity of the businesses, the industrial quality, the accessibility from the interstate, the city,” he said. “Ardent opened our eyes to what it could be with that patio.” A friend of the couple’s owned the land on Moore Street and was just using a few buildings for storage. In April, the duo demolished what was left and started work on their brick and mortar spot. ZZQ’s restaurant, which will be a pre-fabricated metal building like those you’d see in Texas, will seat 90 people on the inside and 90 on the outside on their patio which will connect to Ardent’s parking lot. Both work as architects at their firm SIngh and Fultz and from the way they describe it, they aren’t just aiming to draw crowds with the food. The couple is hanging on to one brick wall from the previous buildings that will be the backdrop of the smokehouse along with a metal shed which will house their smokers. It will be a full-service restaurant serving up all their signature dishes cafeteria style, a nod to Texas-barbecue joints. “You build your tray, so in Texas you go to the meat cutter first and he asks you how much you want of each and then the next person builds your sides and you go down the line and pay,” he said. “We’ll have two meat cutters and two or three staff on the sides.” The restaurant will also have a bar in the second half which will seat about 12 people and focus on bourbons, tequilas, mescal and craft beer primarily from regional breweries and Texas. “We’re going to be serving Lone Star beer which is a staple of any Texas barbeque joint,” he said. “We’re going to be selling off premises so you can come by a case of Lone Star and take it with you.” And don’t expect to have a never-ending selection of sauces to douse on your brisket, Fultz thinks the barbeque should speak for itself. “I’m not a believer in a lot of sauce…you need two or three staples and that’s all you need,” he said. “Texas sauces have tomatoes, but it’s not sweet, it’s thinner and [has] more vinegar in it, salt and pepper and we put chipotles in ours to give it a smokey flavor.” When they get up and running sometime in early fall, expect to see additions to the menu like duck, pork steaks, smoked prime rib and brisket tacos. Graf and Fultz also plan to continue collaborations with local cideries, meaderies and other businesses in Scott’s Addition. FACEBOOK.COM/ZZQRVA PHOTO BY FRED+ELLIOT RVA MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHY 24 | SPRING 2016






RVAONTAPNEWS Ardent Craft Ales has a stacked, diverse summer schedule ahead of them, beginning with the June release of the brewery’s first gose. The old, obscure German style has seen a revival amongst American craft brewers in recent years, a fact no doubt owed to its refreshing tart and briny characteristics. In July, the brewery will put out their Rye Kölsch, a spicy twist on the German ale/lager hybrid. August will see the reappearance of Ardent’s Robust Porter, a beer moderate in alcohol content, but full of roasted malt flavor. The distinctive Sweet Potato & Sage Saison will return in September, along with Ardent’s first ever Festbier, just in time for Oktoberfest. Trapezium Brewing Co. also has quite a lot coming up this summer, starting with the June release of their Centennial Pale Ale. The beer was brewed in collaboration with Fort Lee Army Base, in celebration of its 100th anniversary. The beer was brewed with oatmeal for a smooth mouthfeel, as well as El Dorado and (of course) Centennial hops. After that release, Beal’s Brewing Co. opens in Bedford, VA. Beal’s is owned and run by the same people as Trapezium, but has a bit of a different focus; it’s being billed as a “lager house.” Their flagship beer is also nominally linked to the legend, a helles lager named Beal’s Gold. Also available from the brewery will be a hefeweizen, a hoppy blonde, and an oatmeal stout. Back in Petersburg later in June, Trapezium will release the New England Single IPA, a scaled-down version of their hop-bursted New England Double IPA, brewed with Amarillo, Citra, and El Dorado hops. For their anniversary, Trapezium is releasing some intriguing beer as well. First, Orange Crush Double IPA, another hop-bursted beer with Galaxy and Citra hops, as well as lactose, blood orange, and vanilla; also, 7.2% ale made with passionfruit, mango, and peach. Kindred Spirit Brewing opened in Goochland in August of last year, and has since then built up an impressive variety of regularly available beers, ranging from IPAs to Belgians, to straight-up red and brown ales, to more experimental options like Strawberry Milkshake and Orange Dream. Recently, the brewery has begun canning its Headspace IPA and Paid In Full Double IPA. Four packs of sixteen ounce cans have been showing up throughout Richmond, about as fresh as possible. You might think you’ve been seeing another new brewery on store shelves recently, but no -- that’s just Blue Mountain Brewery. The Nelson county brewery has rolled out some eye-catching new packaging, with bright colors and highly stylized design, replacing the large logos of old with whimsical illustrations. Also new from Blue Mountain is Hop Duster, a double IPA brewed with lupulin powder, a hop by-product that’s become very popular recently, due to its ability to create intense flavors and aromas.




With summer now in full swing, Hardywood is holding their Food Truck Court every Thursday from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, with a bevy of sweet and savory options available from some of Richmond’s best food trucks; there’s even an all-vegan Court being held on August second, presented by Hardywood, in partnership with the Richmond Vegetarian Festival. On August 18th, the brewery will release a variant on their popular version of the German berliner weisse style, the Kiwi Lime Berliner Weisse, which should ratchet up the tartness of the already sour style. August 26th will see the release of Coconut Cassowary, an imperial milk stout with coconut, and Foolery, a high-alcohol bourbon barrel-aged milk stout. Both beers are incredibly rich and complex, with Foolery featuring notes of chocolate, dark cherry, tobacco, and of course vanilla, oak, and bourbon from the barrel aging. Coconut Cassowary is slightly more subdued, with no barrel character to speak of. Chocolate, dark fruit, leather, toffee, almond, and of course coconut round out its flavor profile. The Farmhouse Pumpkin ale returns on September second. Hardywood’s twist on the pumpkin beer is based on Belgian farmhouse ales, pairing a classic peppery saison yeast with pumpkin pie spices; the sweetness of fresh pumpkin and brown sugar to balance the beer out. Hardywood’s famous communityhopped IPA, the RVA IPA, returns on September eighth, redolent with herbaceous, citrusy hops grown throughout the greater Richmond area. A collaboration with VA Pride, Ardent and Center of the Universe called Tropic Like It’s Hot will be out September 15th. September 16th will see Hardywood’s fifth annual bluegrass festival. Live music will start at two, with Sweet Yonder, Dragon Run, River City, Molly Pane & The Mistakes, and Hot Seats performing. Stop by for a beer or two, or enjoy a full day of quality music, food and drink at the free, all-ages event. Benny & The Fest, a Marzen lager made in collaboration with St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest, will appear on the 19th. Finally, on the 30th of September, the rum-barrel aged variant of the Farmhouse Pumpkin, Rum Pumpkin, returns. HARDYWOOD.COM


As for the beer, the brewery is employing a small three barrel brewing system, which will be used to make beer exclusive to the depot. According to Legend Vice President of Operations Dave Gott, an oyster stout and a kölsch are among the planned Portsmouth brews, two styles that should go well with everyone’s favorite bivalve and other seafood. Due to the small size of the brewing system, the company decided not to hire a dedicated head brewer for the new location. Legend Richmond’s head brewer John Wampler will head up the brewing operation, and will be joined Smitty Jacocks and PJ Seay, also of Legend’s Richmond location. Who knows — maybe Legend’s Portsmouth location will be as groundbreaking as the Richmond one, and inspire more breweries to open in the area. LEGENDBREWING.COM


Last winter, I visited Steam Bell Beer Works in Chesterfield and spoke to head brewer and founder Brad Cooper about Steam Bell’s unique lineup of beers, and their desire to expand. Although the kind of expansion Cooper mentioned to me was one meant to increase the amount of beer that the brewery could produce in Chesterfield, the expansion currently being planned is of a different sort. Speaking to Brad and his sister/business partner Brittany Cooper recently, I learned that Steam Bell is branching out of Chesterfield and into the fan district of Richmond. Blackwood Development has been restoring the future brewery site since 2011, a building near Baja Bean, Foo Dog, and Bellytimber, putting the new brewery right in the middle of what is a strip of already popular weekend drinking spots. The Coopers pointed out that there are no breweries that are actually in the fan, and this spot will provide a walkable option for students and families in the area that want fresh craft beer. While Steam Bell’s Chesterfield location tends to produce farmhouse ales and malty beers like the Brindled Brown, the fan location will focus more on hop-forward beers and lagers, as the brewery hopes to meet more craft drinkers in the fan. This fan location will feature a completely different beer portfolio, as it’s intended to be hyper-local, a location built for the neighborhood; the Chesterfield location is meant to suit the tastes of that area’s beer drinkers. On-site consumption will be another emphasis of Steam Bell’s new spot, as the production space will be smaller at seven barrels (as opposed to the Chesterfield location’s ten barrel system), while the taproom will be bigger at 4,000 square feet. Live music and food trucks are parts of what makes Steam Bell a unique place in Chesterfield; the fan location is hoping to keep something similar going. Artists that have played Steam Bell in the past should show up at the fan location, along with new musical acts, and while food trucks wouldn’t exactly be a practical option for the fan location, the brewery is in talks with local restaurants about providing some food options. Steam Bell’s new location is set to open late summer or early fall 2017. STEAMBELL.BEER

Portsmouth’s first brewery is now open: Legend Brewing Depot. Located on the south landing of the Waterside to Portsmouth taxi at One High Street, Legend’s new location features not only a great view of the Elizabeth River, but a fullservice kitchen as well. The menu features pub fare similar to that of the Richmond location’s restaurant, with the addition of more seafood dishes, as befits a restaurant so close to the ocean. 61

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Jewelry designer Ginny Rush launched her jewelry brand Liberatus a year ago, named after the Latin word for “freed” or “liberated.” “I like giving people the freedom to express themselves through jewelry,” Rush said. I like to think I start the story and my customers finish it. I love what I create, but then people ding up rings and kink necklaces. They live life in it and it becomes theirs.” Rush, who works days at the Shops at 5807, spends the rest of her time at her studio creating commissioned pieces and developing lines of jewelry that feature minimalist shapes and structures. She has successfully grown her business online, on the shelves of local boutiques, and during festivals. Local boutique Mod & Soul carries earrings from Liberatus and Rush created an exclusive collection of jewelry for Richmond-based online boutique Tailor. Quirk had seemed like a “far off dream” when she started Liberatus. “I remember telling my fiancé that when I have my pieces in Quirk, I will have made it,” Rush said. A year later, Quirk is now carrying 15 Liberatus Jewelry items including stacking rings, men’s tie bars, her new copper tube necklace collection and studs that comprise her “piece of pieces” collection. She works primarily with sterling silver, copper, and brass, which are all ethically sourced. Rush is working with local blogger Kelly LaFerriere of The Good Wear to revamp her studio practices to dispose of chemicals and more. Find Rush and her collection at a local Richmond events including the Foundry Market on June 11. A full list of events can be found on her website. LIBERATUSJEWELRY.COM

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS SKINCARE BRAND LAUNCHES FIRST BEAUTY COLLECTION MacKenzie Payne calls herself a product junkie. Since she could remember, she was making trips to the drug store to try on new lip gloss colors and foundations. After her first son was born, she became interested in eating an organic diet, growing her own food, and paying extra attention to what she put on her skin. 10 YEARS OF RVA 2005-2015 2005-2015 10 YEARS OFMAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE


“I was taken aback by what was in the products 3 this year to celebrate the second anniversary of Love This. we were using on our own bodies,” Payne said. “I decided I could come up with skincare and beauty products from items right in my own “Since we opened, we’ve been expanding the line of items we carry,” Singh said. “We used kitchen.” to carry mostly jewelry and now we carry more Payne embarked on an intensive research apparel, shoes, kid and baby clothing and people are responding.” mission, reading labels, talking with skincare and organic lifestyle experts, and experimenting with ingredients to create what became Mac’s Love This has become more than a place to find Smack. The brand carries lip balms, body unique items for Richmonders, it’s also become butters, facial serums and cleansers. This May, a vehicle for conversations about sustainability Mac’s Smack launched its first collection of according to Singh. “Everyone wants to know beauty products featuring a trio of tinted lip how they can make a difference,” she said. balms, a highlighter balm, shimmering body oil “We help show them that they can make a big and hydrating tonic which can be used to help difference by making small decisions about where they buy their clothing and more.” set makeup. “The whole premise of the new line is ‘How can we enhance the beauty that we already have and take care of our skin?’” Payne said. “I personally have started wearing less makeup and am working on trying to be okay with that. I want to embrace the true beauty we all carry with us.” In addition to the website, the new Mac’s Smack beauty line is available in Sweetest Stitch boutique, five local Whole Foods stores, Mod & Soul boutique, Ellwood Thompson’s, Little Greenhouse Grocery, Pure Barre, Bliss 5812, Parlor Salon, and more. Payne said she ships to customers as far as Germany, India, and Afghanistan.

Singh recently spoke at Creative Mornings, a series of breakfast talks throughout the city. By educating the community, Rupah feels she can empower more people to make a living from creating products that are sustainable, including local makers. Love This has launched three new collaborations with local companies who have created items exclusively for sale at Love This. Each product from these collaborations will give 10% back to a nonprofit.

Lightbox Print Co. developed a "She Believed She Could So She Did" tote bag in honor of International Women’s Day and Bulb-e Vases developed a line of ceramic vases for Love This. “We’re on the cusp of a new way in cosmetics Singh also reached out to Bethany Frazier of and beauty,” Payne said. “We want to help Maven Made, local skincare line known for serums and essential oil products. make products that are true and pure without a bunch of chemicals and make them accessible “I have been using Maven Made’s facial serum to everyone.” for a while now and I thought Bethany would make a great collaboration partner,” Singh MACSSMACK.COM said. “I asked her to create a fragrance that would represent a woman who is confident and LOVE THIS TURNS TWO believes in herself.” AND LAUNCHES LOCAL


The fashion and beauty industries don’t have a very good reputation for being sustainable or ecofriendly. As a consumer, it’s difficult to access the limited amount of socially conscious products available because of high price points and availability. Rupah Singh and Amber Lantz decided to bring affordable handmade and fairtrade goods right to Richmond by way of their silver 1969 Airstream Globetrotter. The duo first began pulling up to customers for business during the Good Day RVA Festival in 2015. They plan to revisit the good Day RVA Festival on June

The final product is the Powerful Babe Fragrance Oil featuring ingredients like lavender, rose, cardamom, and ylang ylang. Shop the Love This airstream at events around Richmond. See a full list of events on the Love This website, where you can also purchase the brand’s line of socially conscious items. LOVETHISRVA.COM




in a hobby, my mom tried to get us all involved somehow to save money and bring us closer. My sister got into modeling. I went to a photoshoot with her. I knew right away I didn’t want to be in front of the camera. I helped the photographer that day, though. I held the reflector and had so much fun being behind the scenes. I started to do photos for my friends in high school. By the time I was applying for college, I knew this is what I loved and what I wanted to do. VCU was the only in-state school I applied to and I got in, thankfully.



A movement has been building for some time in Richmond. The city has become globally known for its creative talent pool and has proven fertile ground for startups and entrepreneurs. Industries such as technology, music, food, crafts, advertising and more have taken root and created a community to sustain them.

WHAT MAKES RICHMOND DIFFERENT THAN OTHER CITIES KNOWN FOR FASHION AND WHERE MANY GRADUATES WIND UP MIGRATING? There’s not a crazy large fashion market here, yet. People are still more likely to hit the internet or the malls for what they want. You can see pockets of the growing community though. I think the First Friday’s area has become known as a fashion area with boutiques popping up and becoming successful. That is really great, but I think we need to see more of that as a community. We have to make an effort to get out and shop at their stores more. You can even shop local stores online instead of a more big box version. There is an opportunity for businesses to expand more if we as consumers support them before they decide to relocate elsewhere.

I didn’t know about the foundations courses I needed to take for my degree. I had never taken art classes before. I had to take sculpture, painting, drawing and more. I had to do something that was really foreign to me. I really gained a lot from doing all-nighters with people who were really good at things that I'm not good at. It was an intense year of being surrounded HOW CAN THESE BUSINESSES and learning what fine arts really meant. I EXPAND AND GROW FROM THEIR think learning the fine arts perspective of HOME BASE IN RICHMOND? photography helped me be a more well-rounded photographer. I have a more inclusive take on We’ve all proven here that we can use the what I want to shoot. I also slow down and hone power of the internet to reach new markets. in on details and design more than others might. Lots of businesses are doing it. Round Two has opened a second location in Los Angeles WHEN DID YOU START ACTUALLY and Utmost has grown a large following WORKING AS A PHOTOGRAPHER? online. More and more we have great shop owners who are well educated and ahead of I always had freelance work. I would shoot for the trends. They’ll provide more and more architect firms, do portraits for the school, competition for other places doing the same quick photoshoots for apparel and brands or thing and it will grow. It’s going to happen just assist people with their shoots. here eventually.

Though VCU’s Fashion Design and Merchandising school is anchored in the city center and brands like Ledbury and Need Supply have set up home base here, Richmond has yet to become known for its position in for its position in the world of fashion. Not many WHEN DID FASHION VCU graduates decide to pursue fashionPHOTOGRAPHY BECOME A related careers in Richmond. For those that CAREER INTEREST? stick around, the opportunity to build a community is what compels them to stay put. Matt Licari was a really important person for Bree Davis is me. He was in Richmond for a couple years one of them. during my junior and senior years at VCU. He specializes in fashion photography. He spoke on Davis has a fine arts degree with a focus in a panel and I knew I wanted to pick his brain. photography. She’s one of a few working I started helping him with shoots in Richmond fashion photographers in the city. Davis has and in New York. I would do anything from hold opened her own studio in the Fan last year. lights and reflectors, to work with stylists on Here, she’s has built a business working with hand and help spot details. I’d even stop traffic Richmond based boutiques including Mod for his photos. & Soul and Tailor, up and coming brands like Stitch and Urban Mint Couture, skincare brand DID VCU HELP BRING FASHION Mac’s Smack, as well as local musicians. A AND PHOTOGRAPHY growing network of stylists, make-up stylists, TOGETHER FOR YOU? and artists round out a rolodex of professionals she brings together to create magic and build a I would have loved it if there was a fashion community. We sat down with Davis recently element to that major. The only thing we had to talk about her inspiration, her path, and her was a studio class where I learned about lighting vision for Richmond. and back drops, which is how a lot of fashion


Recently, I shot Tailor’s summer line. She has a great group of girls and it’s obvious they are all genuinely excited about the clothing they are modeling. It’s cool to see that the girls she uses as models are her customers, too. I’m working with Chanel G. of Stitch to create images to revamp her website. She just finished RVA Fashion Week and has a lot of energy. She’s going to make some of the pieces she showed there buyable. We worked to create a cohesive lookbook and shoppable site. I’m working with a high schooler behind Urban Mint Couture. She is killin' it in the entrepreneur game. I just love seeing people, especially young people, hustle and sacrifice for their career to start something for themselves and their community. When people show up, I want to give them 100% of my time and mind and I want them to know how excited and thankful I am to be doing photography takes place. I also took a Fashion what I love to do every day. WHY PHOTOGRAPHY? for Beginners class as an art elective. I’d love to see a fashion photography course or series of FACEBOOK.COM/PG/BREEELMEDIA This story starts a long time ago. When I was courses. Once you learn it, you understand that younger, if one of my siblings or I was interested it’s a skill in and of itself. 10 YEARS 10 YEARS OF RVA OFMAGAZINE RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015











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