Major music: Town comes alive with tunes

Brandon Dudley, Galactic, and Little Brother
Various venues
March 31-April 3

The past month has been major for Charlottesville music, with creative energies bubbling all over town.

The new Music Resource Center opened in the basement of the old Mount Zion Baptist Church two months ago. The facilities are amazing. Enrollment of high school kids has quadrupled since the relocation.

Soon after the new studios opened up, however, the kids were met with tragedy when one of their peers, a 14-year-old girl, was accidentally shot. After the initial grief passed, inspiration filled many of the young musicians who quickly began working on songs in honor of their friend.

One of those songs, "Another Day," has been receiving airplay on 92.7fm for the last week. Written and co-produced by Brandon Dudley, a MRC regular and close friend of the young girl, the song includes contributions from Brandon's friend Alvin– who raps a verse and quotes scripture– and singer/songwriter Sonja. The song can be requested on 92.7 or will made available on the next MRC compilation (proceeds benefit the MRC).

Starr Hill Music Hall has been serving up a boatload of serious music. Wednesday night, March 31, Galactic played to a sold-out audience. I've seen Galactic three or four times and have always been impressed. This time around they must have been possessed. They were obviously feeding off the intense energy radiating from the crowd, because their playing was nothing short of phenomenal.

Drummer Stanton Moore is one of the best groove drummers I've ever encountered. He certainly maintains a stable of talented musicians around him. Rounding out the line-up were keys, sax (which took on multiple characteristics when played through a rack of effects), bass, and guitar. Lead vocals were courtesy of the slick talking, my-double-breasted-suit-is-better-than-your-whole-wardrobe Theryl DuClet, affectionately referred to as the Houseman.

A while ago, the good fellows of local rock band Navel suffered a big loss. Their practice space was broken into and some very expensive and extremely vital equipment was stolen. Unfortunately, the perpetrators have not been apprehended. Thursday evening Outback Lodge hosted a benefit show for the group featuring Small Town Workers, Andy Waldeck, Big Fast Car, and No Gods No Monsters.

It was great to see the bands, fans, and friends come together to support each other. Navel plays Starr Hill this Friday, April 9 (possibly with brand spanking new equipment).

Lastly, I drove out to Harrisonburg for one day of this year's Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoC). Venues all over Harrisonburg and JMU host bands all day long. The event is very indie-friendly in an attempt to promote what's hot on the DIY circuit.

I went to check out the hip-hop showcase, mainly because North Carolina new-schoolers Little Brother were headlining. The opening acts were decent– a gangster rap act and some cream puff underground wannabee rapper who was too happy.

Critically acclaimed poet/emcee Diverse came out hot, but no sound system in the world could have made his lightning-fast speech audible. His songs require repeat listens. I give him props as a recording artist, but his live show got boring fast.

But Little Brother came with the heat. The energy went from dead to electric when they touched the stage. They rapped, sang, danced, threw water, and worked hard for the crowd's love and support. We reciprocated with hands high. Nuff said.

Workin' it
Photo by Damani Harrison