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WRIR Hosts Eclectic Mix of Up-and-Comers at 13th Anniversary

Richmonders gathered at the Renaissance Ballroom this past Friday to celebrate the 13th year of 97.3 WRIR, Richmond Independent Radio. The opulence of the space offered deserved pedestal for a handful of the city’s brightest emerging entertainers.

Shannon Cleary, the event’s organizer and curator of WRIR’s ‘Commonwealth of Notions’ (a program that showcases local talent every Thursday 3-5pm), put it gracefully, “the Renaissance let’s us use the room every year in whatever way we want to shape it. I love the idea of art taking place where it traditionally wouldn’t be expected, and having artists who wouldn’t usually be on the same bill…we’re occupying this space in the best way possible.”

And so it was, by way of a diversity and eclecticism in both performance and audience, characteristic of the city that birthed and inspired it. It is our hope here to turn you on to a few of our favorite artists who performed, and who will continue to do so around town in the coming months…



all photos by Ashley Travis

The first collaborative set performed live by the two vocalists/loop artists was a treat. Here’s to hoping that it won’t be the last time an audience has the chance to enjoy them together, though both are on the precipice of sharing projects built separately…

Garcia hinted at an alternative direction for her sophomore full-length, coming this spring:

“It’s taken a turn…this next record is not an Americana record. It’s fun — very inspired by Latin rhythms…Eddie, the band leader of Mikrowaves, has been helping me produce…it’s both of us putting our brains together and working out these arrangements.”

Cook, also a member of Mikrowaves and Piranha Rama, has her debut solo effort ‘Moonchild’ set to release 2/23 on American Paradox. Take a peek at the title track here.

The release show is at the Camel on 2/16 with Flavor Project and Keilan Creech. Get tickets here.



Despite their relatively nascent history — the band started playing in January 2017 and vocalist Emilie von Unwerth joined that March — Gumming felt right at home battering the Renaissance’s ballroom with their visceral, anxious breed of punk.

Von Unwerth nods to inspirations:

“Even though Thurston Moore f***** sucks, he was really goofy on stage. I like that nonchalant energy. Also, Kat Bejlland from Babes in Toyland and Larry Lifeless from Upsidedown Cross.”

Look this way for coverage on their full-length, which releases on Not Normal later this month.

Here’s eight demos in the mean time.



At risk of saying something you’ve heard before, Piranha Rama is the most fun band in Richmond right now. The band assembles eight pieces when it can, the “p(iranh)anorama” as lead vocalist/bassist Chrissie Lozano jokes, and it beams hearty helpings of sun-flare soul when it does. Lozano puts it simply, “The Ronettes on drugs.” Rama’s set peaked the feelings of fraternity that fluttered about the evening.

Their EP ‘Beach Body’ will be the first way to hear them at home. We’ll make sure you’re up on that too, so keep it dialed.


Shouts to Faceship and their Beefheart bizarro world head trip, Sleepwalkers’ stomp box shoe polish rollin’ rock, the heavy-heat poetics of Secret Bonus Level‘s featured artists, the avant-kraut grooves of Zgomot, the true blue alpine folk of The Sauerkrauts, all the DJs, all who donated, all who helped put the event together, and to you my friend, for supporting it.

As Cleary mentioned, “it’s all about creating an event that brings everyone together.”

Yes indeed — more of this please.


<3  : )    ~bbw





more photos by Ashley Travis below: