The Commonwealth of Notions is a reaction to the idea that good music is dead in the city of Richmond.
So starts the description of Shannon Cleary’s radio show on WRIR’s site, and every time I see that sentence, its meaning changes a little.
Lately it’s felt like a reflection of how far the city’s music scene has come. Given the national attention earned by Matthew E. White, Natalie Prass, Windhand, GWAR, Positive No, No BS! Brass Band, Sleepwalkers, White Laces, and others, it would be hard to argue in 2015 that Richmond is wanting for musical talent. But let’s say you just moved to Richmond. You’ve enrolled at VCU, UR, or VUU and know nothing about the bands and musicians who call Richmond home. Or maybe you’ve heard about the bands I just listed, but that’s it. How are you going to learn just how diverse, talented and non-dead Richmond music is?
I can’t imagine a better welcome party than WRIR and Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 5.
Shannon guested on Doug Nunnally’s Sound Gaze show this past Saturday, and he talked about this — how the festival moving into August made it a potential avenue of discovery for new Richmond residents. How awesome is that? For newcomers, for bands… it’s a powerful service, a celebration, and a WRIR fundraiser all rolled into four glorious nights.
What Shannon said also got me thinking about how it’s become an opportunity for me hit the reset button and remember just how lucky I am to be living here — and how there’s always more to discover. One of the bands I’ve heard about but haven’t yet seen is Mikrowaves, and seeing their name on this year’s poster made me check out “Rolling On,” which I dug instantly. Really looking forward to seeing them on August 23 at the Broadberry finale alongside a murderer’s row of Richmond groups, including Canary Oh Canary, White Laces and Warren Hixson. [Update: Though Warren Hixson unfortunately had to cancel, they’ve added Benjamin Shepherd and Manatree to next Sunday’s show!]
Check out the other nights’ lineups here and don’t miss the kickoff show this Saturday at Gallery5!