Sipping, stomping and sweating is how the Dharma Bombs have liked their Thursdays at the Camel, and this past Thursday night was no different. It’s safe to say that you’ll find plenty of folks shouting from the rafters for the band’s debut album, Old Time Romance, released yesterday via Crystal Pistol Records.
Celebrating the release with them were world-inspired folk duo Lobo Marino, who opened their intimate set on the floor lit only with golden string lights.
The band’s fusion style features bells, accordion, an acoustic guitar, banjo, and even a mouth harp, with guitarist Jameson Price providing steady percussion with his foot.
For their last song of the night, the band treated the crowd to a lesser-played song dedicated to the animals and creatures living in the James River.
Price brought out his acoustic guitar while still playing his bass drum while Laney Sullivan picked up her accordion, bearing a “NO PIPELINE” sticker which, she explained, referenced the fight against a proposed Virginia pipeline, supported by Dominion Power.
As they played their final notes, Sullivan disappeared into the crowd, leaving Price to the song’s last chords.
Blush Face continued the trance Lobo Marino set upon the crowd, featuring their newest member, guitarist Evan Hoffman.
Hoffman’s spacey riffs injected angular dimension to the band’s already-lush songwriting.
“Blush Face was originally a trio, and had a really good thing going on,” Evan Hoffman explained. “I wanted to be as tasteful as possible–riffing when appropriate and filling out the songs with a lot reverb and modulated delay.”
Hoffman went on to describe his process: “I run an octave pedal through the effects loop out of my delay which creates a spacey sonic landscape. It allows for a certain level of unpredictability, a controlled chaos, that I like–keeping me on my toes and making each performance different.”
Onstage, lead vocalist and guitarist Allie Smith light heartedly joked on the way that they “fucked up” the last time they played one of their standout songs, “Home Electric.” This time, happily, it went off without a hitch.
And of course, the crowd cheered with excitement Blush Face began their usual penultimate song, “Purgatory.”
Next was one of the night’s main events, Dharma Bombs.
The band opened with the live premier (at least in Richmond) of the title track off their new album, “Old Time Romance,” and continued with a mix of songs old and new–though all with their characteristic Appalachian Dixieland flair.
The group invited Blush Face’s Smith back to the stage for two songs, including the band’s “Ballad of Big Sandy River,” a sweeping narrative about West Virginia’s Hatfield and McCoy families and their famous feud.
Later on, the Bombs turned the Camel down-home with turn-of-the-century hoedown, “Apocalypse Now,” to the crowd’s delight.
While the set stayed upbeat (and uptempo), frontman and guitarist Trey Hall explained that this would his last show singing for a few months after damaging his vocal cords earlier this year.
Despite the solemnity of this news, he concluded with more positive news that Dharma Bombs would be featured at the next Floyd Fest, and would continue their Thursday residency at the Camel.
And it’s clear that they won’t be down for long, if their set was any indication. Dharma Bombs finished their set dancing, with plenty of affirmations of love and appreciation for their (now rather breathless) fans.
Although the crowd chanted “one more song”, they passed the hat to the final act of the evening: Angelica Garcia.
Angelica Garcia took the stage alone, opening her set with her signature vocal loops. Gradually, the rest of the band joined her on stage–as she picked up her guitar, her drummer joined her onstage, and the band’s keyboard player and bassist followed suit by her third song.
Garcia premiered a brand new song, “Karma the Knife,” along with a few tour-worn favorites like “The Devil Can Get In” and “Valentina in the Moonlight,” all of which had the audience dancing and singing along.
Garcia finished the set with vocal looping, creating a mesmerizing alien lullaby, filling the room solely with her harmonizing voice–a surprising, but appropriate end for a high-energy evening.
Check out pictures by Joey Wharton below: