Tradition met history this weekend at Richmond's Carpenter Theater where the nearly 90 year old Richmond landmark resonated with the music of the nearly 40+ year old New Orleans group, the DUKES of Dixieland, a band started in 1974 and evolved through the years to a full sextet of gifted musicians who brought their Louisiana sound all the way to Virginia. Not to be outdone, Richmond brought a little of their own sound to the performance namely the Richmond Symphonic Orchestra, which played behind the DUKES convivial set. With Mardi Gras rapidly approaching, no performance could evoke as much excitement for the celebration as the DUKES did last Saturday night.
Richmond was buzzing with people eager to get off of its wind chilled streets when we arrived early last Saturday afternoon to cover the Richmond Symphonic Orchestra’s performance with the No BS Brass Band and the Dukes of Dixieland the following night. Photographer Milo Farineau and I followed suit as we hurried into the warmth of Perley’s Delicatessen, a recently reopened Richmond tradition. We waited, happy to be warm and poured over a menu of matzah ball soup, reubens, beef hot dogs, and kuegel, tapping our feet to the old jazz playing through the speakers. After a short time spent speaking with the staff about the legacy of the bustling diner, we were joined by trombonist Reggie Pace and drummer Lance Koehler, co-founders of the No BS Brass Band, an 11 piece native Richmond ensemble.
While they may share a heritage with bands like New Orleans natives The Dukes of Dixieland, their sound is rooted in the River City. I asked them to elaborate on Richmond’s musical tradition, and Lance gave me his take on the local music scene. “ To me, the Richmond sound is raw, driving, no frills, very straight, blunt and to the point. It’s social, dancey, and it comes from rock and roll, punk rock energy. A lot of Richmond’s great exports are punk rock bands like, Gwar, White Cross, Lamb of God, and Avail. Then on the other side we’ve got D’Angelo, I mean Voodoo is the rawest, greatest R&B record...that’s how I describe the Richmond sound.” If Richmond’s sound was half as good as Perley’s pastrami burger, then I knew we were in for a treat later.
The Carpenter Theatre, at nearly 90 years old, was dazzling. The gilded molding and beautifully painted ceiling made me feel like I was inside a giant German Glockenspiel, with accents of the old world displayed across the walls. After taking my seat, I looked out across the crowd and noticed an interesting dichotomy. Some people were dressed in their Sunday best, arms locked, programs in hand, while others represented younger Richmond revelers. The Orchestra took the stage first, and just after they commenced their resonant introduction, the sound of a lone trombone could be heard from the very back of the theater. Reggie Pace marched down the aisle as No BS piled onstage from the wings. If I had only one complaint about the whole show, it was that I had to stay seated. Every track was funky, sending wave after wave of hard hitting, tight, brash music. That was to be expected from No BS, but there was an interesting new dimension; with every song becoming almost cinematic with the full Orchestra accompaniment.
After their final song, RVA All Day (a shoutout to their home city) the two bands left the stage for a brief intermission, before the orchestra came back to play behind The Dukes of Dixieland. The Dukes, in their current incarnation, have 40 years of Mardis Gras music under their belts, and for the latter half of the night, they brought their Bourbon Street sound to Richmond. The climax of the show bridged the worlds of these three bands, as No BS returned to the stage for a rousing performance ofThe Saints Go Marching In.- See more at: http://www.cosmicvibeslive.com/index.php/blog-1/richmond-sypmhony-orchestra-and-no-bs-brass-band/#sthash.SAWHotIr.dpuf