August 20, 1968 – Hendrix Plays The Mosque

Times Dispatch music review the next day:

He calls it the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and like it or not, that’s what it is.
Hendrix is a soft-spoken Negro. He plays his innovative style of music with two English boys, and While the sound is white, what Hendrix himself does is alternately intellectual or frenzied.
He was dressed for last night’s Mosque concert in bellbottom cerise pants. He also wore an exotically embroidered vest over a black shirt, two belts — one wide and gold — and three ornate rings. His carefully clipped hair stands high and round like a topiary tree.
Hendrix, who taught himself guitar by listening to old rhythm and blues artists, has put that style of music aside.
Instead, he has originated a music of his own, using amplifiers and electronics as a part of it.
The result is a lot of noise and harsh sound, but listen carefully and there are some startling musical effects emerging.
Such as when he uses the shrill sound of feedback as a key note in his harmony, or when the overtones that swell over and beneath his music become an intrinsic part of it.
Intricate Figures
Other than that, his musical understanding is shown in the intricate figures he weaves on the guitar, often holding the instrument tight against his chest, as if he were a human resonator. At other times he is strictly a sensational showman, as when he swings the guitar between his legs, or lifts it high and seems to chomp on it like an ear of corn. All time he keeps playing, never losing the thread holding the song together.
Between shows the 24·year-old sensation of Europe and the United States, was a warm, but shy person, tired from the hectic grind of one-night stands, on an eight-week tour, but happy to make his music and have it appreciated.
Traveling in the same musical package is a group known as The Eire Apparent, a group of terribly young and strangely dressed young men – one looked as if he had borrowed his Aunt Fanny‘s hat – who display a good deal of talent; and a three man group called The Soft Machine that features a topless drummer, a leather-jacketed organist and a guitarist, complete with Stetson hat, who looked like Cat Ballou, as he slumped over his guitar.
It was almost impossible to bear the music out front, as it was so amplified. But backstage, where the resonance wasn’t as strong, the music the two lesser—known groups made was much more palatable. Too bad they can’t give up those umbilical cords that tie them to their sound boxes, or at-least hear how they negate their own efforts with the amplification.
When the amplifiers are lowered, and the music emerges a bit more, one realizes that Hendrix is playing blues and protest songs, as much as he is fiery, possessing ones.
He dedicated “I Don‘t Live Today” to “all the self-appointed soldiers in St. Petersburg, Chicago, Vietnam and, or yes, the American Indian.” The song ends in a special effect like a catcall. His “Red House Blues” displayed his original harmonic technique around the old jazz form, but his version a squalling, wailing blues — the lament is there, but it is shriller. In fact, if the music is representative of Hendrix’ own soul, then his soul seems to be a shrieking and demanding a place in the sun.

“Boogie Wonderland ’17”

Earth, Wind & Fire is at the Altria Theater tonight.

The band formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1969.

The band’s music contains elements of African music, Latin music, funk, soul, jazz, pop, rock, and other genres. The band is known for the dynamic sound of their horn section and the interplay between the contrasting vocals. The kalimba (African thumb piano) is played on all of the band’s albums.

Although they lost founding member Maurice White last year, the band is carrying on, spreading not just entertainment, but also inspiration.

Solving The Middle East This Saturday

Well, that may be overselling it, but the Richmond Forum is hosting a program entitled “PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: PROSPECTS AND ROADBLOCKS” this Saturday at the Altria Theater. It’s probably already sold out.

Ehud Barak has served as the Prime Minister of Israel and, more recently, as Defense Minister. Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was a leading figure in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. For the first time anywhere, these two respected voices will sit down together for a discussion of their differing views on Middle East peace prospects in a conversation moderated by longtime journalist, author, and foreign policy analyst Robin Wright.

Continue reading

Drumming Tonight

The bucket street drummers will have some competition tonight.

From Modlin Center for Arts webpage:

Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant, living art form. In Japanese, the word “kodo” conveys two meanings. Firstly, “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm. The sound of the great taiko is said to resemble a mother’s heartbeat as felt in the womb, and it is no myth that babies are often lulled asleep by its thunderous vibrations. Secondly, read in a different way, the word can mean “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play the drums simply, with the heart of a child.

How Many Candidates Have Signed The Declaration of Solar Rights?

So the local Chamber of Commerce (ChamberRVA) is holding a Mayoral candidate forum tonight at the nearby Altria Theater.

It is free and open to the public (get there before 6:30 pm), and will be broadcasted live on NBC12 television at 7 pm.

By the way, you may notice that ChamberRVA has moved on from promoting the Shockoe stadium scheme to pushing for doing something with the Richmond Coliseum. Anyway, I suspect that the Coliseum will come up in the questions, but there is one question I doubt will come up, though it should:

As someone running for Mayor, have you signed the Virginia Declaration of Solar Rights?

Solar energy empowers Virginians to harness clean local energy, creates jobs, and enhances our energy security. Sadly, Virginia’s current laws violate our right to invest in and benefit from solar energy by limiting consumer choice. This fall, the General Assembly will hold a special session to review solar policies that will help all Virginians fairly access solar energy. This is a great opportunity for Richmond leaders and citizens to let our state senators and delegates know there is broad, bi-partisan support for legislation that will enable all Virginians to go solar.

There is more detail here:
http://www.vasun.org/declaration-of-solar-rights/

The Pool Under Main Street

While we are still in the heat of summer, WTVR has a cool little report on “Richmond’s most famous pool, built 90 years ago – under the Altria Theater”.

Excerpt:

Tile from Spain and Italy covered everything, even some of the ceilings.

The pool was deep – nine and a half feet in the deep end, which had a diving board. It was still there until just a few years ago, Miller said.

The city would take over the historic building, turning it into the Mosque concert and theater venue.

The pool was filled in and covered over with concrete – it was just too structurally unsound.

But the original wall tile and floor edging, including the depth markers, remain in this 90-year-old uncanny pool room now serving as a storage area.

ABC Notice for Altria Theater

From notice, as published in the Times Dispatch:

SMG Food and Beverage, LLC d/b/a Savor trading as Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St., Richmond, Virginia 23220 is applying to the VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL (ABC) for a Wine & Beer On Premises; Annual Mixed Beverage Performing Arts Facility license to sell or manufacture alcoholic beverages. Harold L. Westley, President and CEO. NOTE: Objections to the issuance of this license must be submitted to ABC no later than 30 days from the publishing date of the first of two required newspaper legal notices. Objections should be registered at www.abc.virginia.gov or 800-552-3200.

Bob Dylan At Altria Theater Tomorrow

As previewed by Richmond Magazine’s Don Harrison:

If you’re Bob Dylan, at this stage in your career, you can do what you want. You can ignore the guitar and prowl the stage like an angry cowboy (like he did in Richmond two years ago). You can cut a music video with Scarlett Johansson, record an inexplicable Christmas album and make a score-settling speech at the Feb. 6 MusiCares tribute concert that gets everyone in an uproar, especially Merle Haggard. You can release a critically acclaimed box set of legendary recording sessions (The Basement Tapes) and basically ignore it while cutting a moody album of oft-recorded Frank Sinatra-style standards (Shadows in the Night) — probably the best Dylan album in 15 years. One of those songs asks, “Why Try and Change Me Now?” Indeed. Dylan returns to the Altria Theater on April 12. 8 p.m.