Over the past three years, The Broadberry has quickly risen to a premiere spot among local venues. From the upcoming Melvins show, to hosting RVA scene graduates like Natalie Prass, Matthew E. White and Lucy Dacus and making it possible for mid-scale nationally renowned acts like Deafheaven and Unknown Hinson to play Richmond at an appropriately sized venue, The Broadberry has been diligently doing great work to fill out Richmond’s music calendar.
Saturday, July 29th, however, it was really great to see them break the mold to host a showcase of four amazingly tight up-and-coming Richmond bands: Brunswick, The Wimps, Minor Poet and Hannah Goad.
First in the lineup was a powerful set from singer/songwriter Hannah Goad. Craig from Dust Up covered Hannah’s first show with a full band, but before this I had only seen her perform solo.
Her transition from solo artist to bandleader is absolutely not an issue, as Hannah absolutely commands a room when she performs by herself. Through her set, songs about life, emotional conflict and some neglectful partners found many points when you could hear a pin drop in the room. I couldn’t help thinking of Lucinda Williams and Margaret Glaspy while listening to her songwriting.
Speaking of an individual and personal writing style brings me to the second band in the lineup, Minor Poet. The new band from former The Mad Extras frontperson Andrew Carter features Manatree bassist Noma Illmensee, Mad Extras drummer Jeremy Morris and keyboardist Micah Head. They’ve been gaining some traction lately around Richmond in anticipation of their debut album And How! which comes out August 25 via Egghunt Records.
Formed out of the desire to play songs he recorded solo over the past couple years, Minor Poet gleefully takes Andrew’s accessible-though-psychedelic compositions and turns them into infectious and fleshed out live sets, complete with 2 to 3 part harmonies and a blast of a stage show (it’s hard not to smile while they’re having so much fun).
Fortunately, the fun didn’t stop with Minor Poet. Up next was The Wimps, fresh on the heels of their newest album, Reel Whirl. This was my first time hearing a lot of the tracks from the album performed live, and I was really impressed.
Brent McCormick’s voice has always been special to me since the first time I saw him perform solo years ago. There’s just honestly no one I’ve heard that sounds quite like he does, and I love it. His compositions (plenty strong on their own) are only made more exciting and surprising by the killer work of the rest of the band. At many points in the set, either three or all four Wimps were providing some gorgeous vocal harmonies which was definitely something to see in person.
The final act of the night was Brunswick, and their powerhouse set is also really something you should get out there and experience for yourself. A few weeks ago I touched on Brunswick’s set at McKinley Dixon‘s jazz showcase at the Camel, but seeing the 13-piece group shake the stage at a venue the size of the Broadberry was especially affecting.
John Hulley (No BS Brass Band, Sufjan Stevens) led the band through many personal compositions that ranged from the pummeling and freaky Twin Peaks inspired “Black Coffee” to the evocative and funky trombone-hocketing trip of “Fire Circle.” Hulley’s own compositions are definitely some of the most exciting and interesting songs I’ve heard come from a big brass band.
Between the originals, Brunswick presented their unique take on a few cover songs as well. A little after mid-set, John invited McKinley Dixon on stage to perform a paralyzing version of Frank Ocean‘s “Super Rich Kids”. Seeing Dixon effortlessly perform this with the brass band backing him was something I’ll never forget.
In addition, Andrew Carter returned to the stage near the end of the night to join the band in performing a take of the song “The Bells” by Pedro The Lion. I’ve been a David Bazan/Pedro fan since high school, so it was refreshing to see this song I’d known for years being performed in such an interesting way by such an amalgam of talented Richmond artists.
This show was a perfect reminder that Richmond’s music scene is always growing and trying new things, and I for one am excited to see what The Broadberry and these bands have in store for the future.
Check out photos by Elizabeth Ann below: