Yes, I’m picking an outdoor show on a day where it will probably rain because it’s Friday freakin’ Cheers, people! Bad weather be damned, it’s the opening week for the 32nd Season and that alone should be reason enough to go. But luckily enough, Stephen Lecky and the Venture Richmond crew have a great show on tap to kick-off what should be another phenomenal season of live music on Brown’s Island, beautifully situated in the heart of downtown Richmond. Chances are the weather will clear up by the time the show starts, so all you have to worry about is a little bit of mud, and that’s not going to stop you, is it? You’re a live concert warrior! You don’t let things like rain and mud get in the way of indelible musical moments, so why start today?
New Orleans brass collective The Soul Rebels head up this season’s inaugural show as they bring their meticulously crafted fusion of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and more to Richmond in perhaps the absolutely perfect place to do it. The eight piece band, long hailed as a musical highlight of The Big Easy, has been a crowd favorite for over three decades now (yep!) and they are consistently, to this day, labelled as a can’t-miss act at festivals throughout the country. Chances are you’ve probably seen or heard the band in some form at one point in your life, whether they were backing up an artist you like on a late night TV appearance or they randomly popped up in a movie for a funeral march or dance party. You’ll dance, you’ll shake, you’ll hum along, and you’ll probably stop dead in your tracks at some point in amazement at how musically impressive they are. For a town that’s all about their No BS!, this is a group you absolutely do not want to miss.
Opening the night up for The Soul Rebels is a local act, the lyrically powerful reggae artist Mighty Joshua and his talented backing band The Zion. Mighty Joshua’s been a part of a ton of groups here in town, most notably the always pleasing and sadly defunct group Antero, so he should be no stranger to those in town with a good grasp of the local scene. With it being the first show of the Friday Cheers season and it being the opening slot for The Soul Rebels of all bands, I imagine Mighty Joshua will pull out all the stops in making a remarkable show on stage that both celebrates his diverse musical roots and his penchant for wild live performances.
So it’s a great line-up for tomorrow night, but I haven’t even told you the best part! No, not the food trucks (though… Goatocado anyone?) — something else entirely. One of the best things people don’t celebrate about Friday Cheers is their start and end time. Show starts at 6 PM with it normally over between 9:30 PM and 10 PM depending on how things, giving you more than enough time to catch another show. As Drew astutely featured, Clair Morgan is releasing their fantastic new album this Friday too, but luckily, you could head over to Brown’s Island, check out the spectacular music on display, and then head on over to The Broadberry in time to catch Clair Morgan and probably a few of the openers considering there are three. I’ve done it many a time — Jason Isbell and Mac McCaughan in one night, what what! — and it’s a perfect way to truly experience the Richmond music scene in one night. Give it a shot — the worst thing that happens is that you’re tired, but do you really need my words to give you an excuse to sleep in on a Saturday?