Any show is a good reason to raise a glass (or pint of Bell’s Oberon, as the case may be), but Friday Cheers last week seemed like the perfect occasion for a few beers, a slice of River City Wood Fire pizza and great tunes with The Congress and The Record Company.
The annual summer concert series sponsored by Venture Richmond is on its 33rd season, and it shows no sign of slowing down with a massive turnout rivaling even Conor Oberst’s show the previous week on Brown’s Isle.
RVA Americana quartet The Congress opened the blisteringly hot day with familiar favorites to warm up the crowd, as well as a surprise late set cover of REO Speedwagon. The audience grooved to the band’s breezy choruses and vocal harmonies, textured with keyboard and jazzy guitar solos.
To further punctuate the tone of the evening: as the band broke into a solo, the group shouted jokingly to the laid back crowd, “Circle pit!”
If anything, they might have received a better reception calling for a “circle sway.”
Headlining the evening was the down-and-dirty blues rock trio The Record Company. Sludgy bass and guitar riffs reminscient of early 2000s garage rock paired with the occasional slide guitar and harmonica, the band seemed to have equal influences in Cake and in John Lee Hooker, an admitted inspiration to their sound.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the trio was warmly greeted at their first Richmond performance by the Friday Cheers crowd. Their bass-heavy sound had, by the midway point of the set, some audience members furiously headbanging, even as they backwards-walked back to a nearby beer stand.
After all, this much grooving demands refills.
Check out photos from Craig Zirpolo below:
The Record Company