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Downtown Harrisonburg offers excellent music selection

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The Last Bison plays at Clementine

The Last Bison plays at Clementine

Forrest Matter

Forrest Matter

The Last Bison plays at Clementine

Forrest Matter, Staff Reporter

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I often wish I saw more people going to concerts in downtown Harrisonburg. Downtown is a cool place, and some of the music that winds up there makes it even better. Unfortunately, the majority of the venues downtown are bars, which is weird sometimes, but hey, you’re going for music, right? Ruby’s, Clementine, The Golden Pony, The Artful Dodger and Pale Fire Brewery are some of the better places to go. I have been going to a lot of shows since last November, and not once in that time have I seen another person (my age-ish) that I know. Really though, whether it’s rap, country, rock, funk, electronic, it’s all there; there’s music for everyone. Some of the bands you’ve missed are pretty great. Here’s five genres and some of the bands you should have seen.

 

  1. Rock

William Matheny. He had beyond a good set. The set was filled with a perfect combination of real rocking grooves and some slower stuff.

Somebody who plays a lot around here is Shagwuf. They’re a heavier side of rock with some synth mixed in.

Bishop is also fairly local. They’re a bit more melodic, but still quite heavy.

 

  1. Electronic

Jaguardini. He plays keyboard and and guitar for Shagwuf. He wears wacky clothes, a TV helmet, and it’s awesome. He uses a combination of his keyboard, vocoder and pre-recorded loops.

Stephanie is cool; I think he’ll probably come back to town sometime. He does live electronic music, which is really crazy to see.

Carpoolparty was more of a DJ set with some live keyboarding and a lot of singing mixed in. They deserved more people at their set. There were people downstairs in Ruby’s, but not upstairs.

I’m going to put Tall Tall Trees in this category even though he plays banjo. He feeds his banjo through a few synths, loops it, and it comes out sounding like no other banjo on this planet. I have seen a few people who do a bit more of a rave-style DJ-type set, but they were a bit in the ‘meh’ side for me.

 

  1. Rap/RnB/Brass

No BS! Brass was a super hyped-up show. That was one of my favorites. They had the crowd bouncing to some rap, 80s covers, original stuff. All of it was so much fun.

Zooanzoo is pretty local, and really, really tacky. It’s one of those where I think “Huh, that’s bizarrely cool”. The best part about him was his stage performance. That was awesome. He dance and sang confidently, all seeming to be part of a ‘tacky-cool’ stage persona. There a lot of experimental hip hop and RnB showcases I notice, we just don’t go see them.

 

  1. Americana-

The Last Bison is one of the best bands to come through. They’re that Lumineers-type folk-rock. It’s pretty cool, but at the same time I liked the old them, which was much more acoustic.

The Judy Chops are a swing-folky band. I’ve seen them a few times, and they’re really good. It’s quite fun to listen to them.

Steel Wheels are also pretty local, and one of the more popular bands too. They have a combination of classic bluegrass and now they’ve added a keyboarder/drummer. As a side note, the renowned Old Crow Medicine Show came from Harrisonburg.  

 

  1. Other

Quintron. That guy can play the organ. The set was pretty much a screaming organ, a drum machine (that he built), and his wife on maracas. They both sang, and to get an idea of the style, imagine those 80s yelling vocals.

I’m not sure if Start Making Sense goes in this category or not. They could fit into a lot of genres, so I just put them here. They’re a Talking Heads cover band and have been for awhile. That means they’re really good. They had the crowd pulsing to some wild synthy funk.

One last one you NEED to see. Gull is this crazy, energy-filled, screaming ball. He plays guitar and drums to back up this mask that has a bunch of weird effects on it, so when he sings it comes out like a different instrument. It can get a little creepy to watch!

 

Well, there you go. Those are some of the band I wish I had seen more people at. I will continue to enjoy the constant flow of music downtown, but the more the merrier. If you want to read more, shenandoahhikes.com is the place. It has hike in the name, but dig deeper to find the musicians. I hope more people come to see all these great shows.

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Downtown Harrisonburg offers excellent music selection