COVER Rich­mond BANDS

A sam­pling of groups — from coun­try to Mo­town to rock, — and when you can see them per­form next

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - CULTURE 2 - BY KIM­BERLY GADETTE Spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent

The va­ri­ety and num­ber of Rich­mond neigh­bor­hoods, cur­rently over 100, pale in com­par­i­son to the va­ri­ety and num­ber of Rich­mond cover bands. Some groups spe­cial­ize in coun­try. Some lean to­ward blue­grass. Oth­ers fea­ture blues, doo-wop, folk-rock, funk, jazz, Mo­town, pop, oldies, R&B, ska, soul or swing.

And then there’s rock

’n’ roll: loud, charis­matic, slightly pushy but al­ways the life of the party. It’s no won­der that the River City blasts with ’70s and ’80s clas­sic rock, emit­ting wave upon wave of au­di­tory proof that Huey Lewis was right — that “the heart of rock and roll is still beat­ing.”

In al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der, fol­low­ing is a sam­pling of Rich­mond’s many rock cover bands. Get­ting to it, let’s un­cover some covers:

Sweet Jus­tice www.sweet­jus­tice­mu­sic.com

For 18 years, Sweet Jus­tice has been pow­er­ing its way through cen­tral Vir­ginia, led by its founder and megawatt front woman Beth Jus­tice.

This five-piece clas­sic rock band pri­mar­ily covers ’80s, book­ended by some ’70s and ’90s. The band’s com­mand­ing mu­si­cian­ship comes by way of Evan Rosen­thal (guitar),

Rod McMordie (bass), Jon Ward (drums) and An­drew Heck (keys). The sound is big and so are the ef­fects, driven by a cus­tom­ized light show.

When asked which iconic rocker she’d choose to sit in with her dur­ing a set, one­time blues singer-turned-rocker Jus­tice im­me­di­ately said,

“Ann Wil­son from Heart.” Of course she did. Wil­son’s blaz­ing vo­cal mus­cle seems to have im­printed on her own.

But the band re­cently took a four-month break due to a per­sonal tragedy. On Jan. 6, Jus­tice’s his­toric Ur­banna home burned to the ground. Es­cap­ing with their lives, Jus­tice and her hus­band­band­mate, McMordie, were air­lifted to VCU Med­i­cal Cen­ter. Though Jus­tice’s re­cov­ery has been chal­leng­ing, she’s back to her pri­mary joy: her mu­sic. “It’s im­por­tant for folks to see us push for­ward and ahead,” she said. “It may in­spire some­one else out there who’s hav­ing dif­fi­cult times.”

Look for Sweet Jus­tice’s next show June 23 at Up­town Al­ley.

Tëaze “100% Hair Metal” www.teaz­erva.com

In­cor­po­rat­ing the tonguein-cheek metal band um­laut in its name, Tëaze introduces it­self by stat­ing: “It’s the moves, span­dex, and hair metal from the ’80s, per­formed by the only band manly enough to wear more makeup than your mom.”

De­scrib­ing the unique qual­i­ties Tëaze of­fers to Rich­mond, drum­mer Joe. E. Lee says, “What makes us dif­fer­ent is the cos­tumes, the wild stage moves, the fake py­rotech­nics, a gi­ant lightup drum set, the spec­ta­cle. We make the ex­pe­ri­ence as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble, as if the au­di­ence was at a Van Halen or a Möt­ley Crüe con­cert.”

But it’s not just the vi­su­als. The group’s tal­ent caught the at­ten­tion of KISS, who in­vited Tëaze to play with them on their an­nual Caribbean cruise for their fans.

“Some­thing none of us would’ve ever dreamed of when we started this band in my base­ment. To be hon­est, we thought it would be some­thing fun we could do a few times a year, and hope­fully make enough money to cover the cost of buy­ing the cos­tumes and stage props.”

Tëaze’s killer mu­si­cian­ship is ac­com­pa­nied by an out­ra­geous sense of hu­mor, such as in the band’s cit­ing of its in­flu­ences: “Aquanet, Span­dex, May­belline Makeup Prod­ucts.”

The band wants Rich­mond to know that a Tëaze show is, to quote Poi­son, “Nothin’ But a Good Time.” But since see­ing is be­liev­ing, check out Tëaze’s lat­est promo video: https://youtu. be/47uJYGn­spTQ

Next lo­cal gig will be at Sports­man’s Lounge, July 14.

Three Sheets to the Wind “Amer­ica’s #1 Trib­ute to Yacht Rock” www.three­sheet­sy­achtrock.com

In 2005, a hand­ful of as­pir­ing film­mak­ers who loved the smooth-sail­ing tunes of the late ’70s/early ’80s launched a short film-in­ter­net se­ries called “Yacht Rock.” (In ref­er­ence to the fan­tasy of a yacht owner kick­ing back to the mel­low tunes, bask­ing in the SoCal sun­scape.) Per Three Sheets to the Wind band­leader Top­per Dandy, “Yacht rock fuses jazz, rock and R&B el­e­ments with catchy pop vo­cal hooks that are as fun to hear the mil­lionth time as the first time.” Among yacht rock’s sea­wor­thy artists: Hall & Oates, Kenny Log­gins, Steely Dan and Toto.

Hap­pily, River City is lucky enough to have yacht rock­ers of its own: Three Sheets to the Wind. Out­fit­ted in natty blue blaz­ers, white open­col­lared shirts and crisp khakis (lead singer Cap­tain Max com­pletes the look in his yacht cap­tain’s hat), the band par­o­dies the Dos Equis man, call­ing it­self “the most in­ter­est­ing band in the world.”

Three Sheets’ as­sured vo­cals and on-point in­stru­men­ta­tion are aug­mented by the Round­ing Cape Horns, the three-piece horn sec­tion that adds a bright, dy­namic di­men­sion to the whole.

Though Rich­mond is Three Sheets’ home port, the band’s client base is na­tion­wide. That said, RVA can catch a show at Mayo Is­land, Sept. 21.

To­tally Ran­dom “To­tally ’80s and To­tally Awe­some!” www.re­verb­na­tion.com/ to­tally ran­dom­rva

Tak­ing a panoramic approach to ’80s rock, this tight seven-piece cover band em­braces the wide, wide world of all that makes this decade so eclec­tic. Along­side the ’80s clas­sics, ex­pect to rock out to some hip-hop, gothic, new wave, punk, and synth pop.

To­tally Ran­dom adds a spe­cial spark to the RVA mu­sic scene by fea­tur­ing both a male and fe­male lead singer, de­liv­er­ing a one-two punch of for­mi­da­ble tal­ent and range. In turn, that al­lows the band to cover a great deal more mu­si­cal ter­ri­tory. Given that the band’s songs and styles of­ten stray from the ex­pected ’80s rock set list, the name “To­tally Ran­dom” is a per­fect fit.

While many ’80s groups stress the party vibe, last Hal­loween, To­tally Ran­dom stepped out of the box by recre­at­ing Michael Jack­son’s “Thriller” chore­og­ra­phy, re­plete with cos­tumes and fog ma­chine. And when per­form­ing at the St. Pa­trick’s Day Shamrock the Block, the band threw green TR sun­glasses into the crowd; in re­sponse, the crowd sent back boxes of Lucky Charms ce­real.

Per gui­tarist Jeff Bruce, “Be pre­pared to be trans­ported back to the ’80s in a Doc Brown DeLorean.”

Up­com­ing gigs: Westch­ester Com­mons Con­cert Se­ries, June 16; Bar Louie, July 7 and Sept. 7. Danc­ing shoes not re­quired — but strongly rec­om­mended.

Com­ing soon: A roundup of lo­cal trib­ute bands. (Un­like the above-de­scribed cover bands that play an ar­ray of mu­sic themed to a decade and style, the “trib­ute band” repli­cates one par­tic­u­lar band’s mu­sic and look as faith­fully as pos­si­ble.)

With 1,200+ pub­lished ar­ti­cles to her credit, free­lance gen­er­al­ist, script con­sul­tant/writ­ing coach and film critic Kim­berly Gadette has spent the last 16 years cud­dling her key­board.

Sweet Jus­tice Band

SARAH STREET PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Three Sheets to the Wind

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