Deschutes Brewery Street Pub Event

This Saturday, Deschutes Brewery brings the Street Pub one-day celebration back to downtown Roanoke. With family-friendly entertainment, music, food, and tastings of all its excellent brews, the day promises to be an even bigger success than last year’s inaugural event.

The Deschutes Street Pub is a roving tour of good beer for good causes, which travels the country each summer putting on a day-long “block party” which generates funds for local nonprofits and introduces folks to the brewery. This year it will be hitting Cincinnati, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California. Roanoke will be its second stop.  Last year’s event raised more than $80,000 for local nonprofits. This year, proceeds will benefit the Roanoke Outside FoundationPathfinders for GreenwaysBradley Free Clinic & Blue Ridge Land Conservancy.

Down by Downtown: A Spotlight on the Local Acts

Some big acts will descend upon Roanoke as the eighth annual Down by Downtown (DxDT) Festival rocks the Star City for next three days. Chris Stapleton has a sold-out show tonight at the Berglund Center, and Saturday night’s headliner, Lotus, is sure to draw an energetic crowd. For an excellent rundown of those bigger acts, I’d recommend reading Tad Dickens’ Roanoke Times article. Meanwhile, here’s a look at a few of the local bands that are part of this weekend’s festivities. After all, DxDT was first conceived to showcase downtown Roanoke’s live music scene.

Empty Bottles kicks of the local music tonight at The Wall Street Tavern. The band brings new energy to interpretations of an array of genres that range from Billy Joel and Prince to The Beatles and the Grateful Dead. This foursome features the versatile Steele Whisnant  on bass, and the incomparable Ben Hite on keyboards. Hite is a demon on the keys, and could hold the stage by himself. In a band, he can move from back up to lead, and everything in between. Empty Bottles will clink the glass, and start the show at 9pm.

Record Store Day All-Star Jam Slideshow

“The only truth is music” –Jack Kerouac

There was a whole lot of truth being shared Saturday, as musicians, fans, and organizers, all came together to make music at The Spot on Kirk in support of Community High School and the upcoming National Record Store Day.  It was inspiring and humbling to be a part of an event in which so many people donated their time and craft.
The bands were at the very heart of making this event such a joyful experience! The Community High School Performance Band, Groova Scape, GOTE, Blue Mule, and M.C.Broom & the Jam  all gave incredible performances which kept the whole place grooving throughout the day.

Photographer Meagan Reynolds was there to capture some of the musical truth and joy being shared so freely. These photos are just a sample of her great work. You can find more photos from the event on her Facebook page.

Record Store Day Turns 10

Born in 2007 by a group of independent record store owners and employees as a means of celebrating the culture unique to the independently owned record store, the first Record Store Day happened on April 19, 2008. On the verge of its tenth anniversary, there are now Record Store Day participating stores on every continent … except Antarctica; and, for the first time, RSD is coming to the Vintage Vault Record Store located inside the 16 West Marketplace, Saturday, April 22nd.


Record Store Day is a day for those who love the world of the independent record store – staff, customers, artists – to celebrate the unique culture of record stores and the role they play in their communities. There are special vinyl and CD releases as well as various promotional products available exclusively for the day. In the beginning the list of exclusive RSD only titles was small, now the list includes artists from large and small labels, artists from every genre and price point. Click here for a downloadable pdf of this year’s list.

Vinyl Lovers Gather for Roanoke’s Newest Listening Club

Running my hands over the worn cardboard sleeve of the Led Zeppelin IV album was as effective at transporting me back in time 30 years, as any modified DeLorean could ever do. Memories unfolded when I opened the album jacket to reveal the iconic Hermit on the hill, sending me back to those high school days when my friends and I would spend long nights playing Zeppelin albums, wondering (and arguing) about the meaning of the images and the lyrics. The tactile texture of the album cover mixed with wisps of memory, all coalesced into a resonant joy as the opening strains of “Black Dog” came pouring from the speakers. Thus, the stage was set for an afternoon of album listening, and new friends sharing the bands we love, at Saturday’s kick-off event of Vinyl On Tap.

Throughout the afternoon, folks came and went from the side room at Barrel Chest, most bringing albums to share, some drawn in from the regular patrons curious to see what was going on. What was happening was the first of what promises to be a mobile monthly meet up at different watering holes where music fans can come together to listen to music on vinyl. The idea was the brainchild of Andrew Chester, Roanoke resident and serious music lover. He sets up the locations, lugs in his own player, and brings a small selection of his record collection to share. And then, the vinyl fans start appearing. Folks came in with one to ten (or more) records to share. Every album had a story about how it was acquired, or why it was important. I got to handle, then listen to a rare Neil Young live album (“Time Fades Away”), that the owner told me will likely never be rereleased because of Young’s personal pain surrounding the time period when it was originally recorded. I listened to rare King Crimson tracks, and the full 1980 Talking Heads album “Remain in Light”, all the while listening to fans share their passion for music, and the bands they are currently listening to.

Feed the Need

Feed the Need: Martin’s Downtown and Tobacco Apache Host Thanksgiving Food Drive

As Thanksgiving Day draws near, friends and families are prepping their birds, finalizing their menus, and picking out loose pants in anticipation of stuffing themselves into a tryptophan-induced haze. It’s all a big part of our time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving. In Roanoke, another tradition has become well established to help provide for our neighbors who aren’t as fortunate. Now in its 6th year, Martin’s Downtown and Tobacco Apache are kicking off the festivities with a pre-Thanksgiving, Feed the Need Thanksgiving Food Drive.

This Wednesday, Nov. 23, local bands and artists will play to help raise donations for the local area food bank. If this year is anything like past years, patrons can expect a packed house complete with some of the best local tunes our region has to offer.

Spooktacular Live Music Guide to Halloween for Roanoke and Beyond

Halloween is creeping up quick. But before you start stock piling candy to fill the bags of costume-clad kiddos, there are parties a plenty in what promises to be another year of adult Halloween insanity. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a guide to the best live music around the region this weekend. So, tap into your inner freak, costume up, and prepare to get your boogie on with spooktacular fun courtesy of a few of our favorite venues

The Bazaar Presents Illbotz, Subtle Munitions and The Aurora Observatory with Slideshow

This past Friday at The Spot on Kirk, Jamie Booker from The Bazaar of Roanoke, a local non-profit dedicated to fostering and cultivating artistic expression in SW Virginia, put together a wonderful line up of eclectic musicians for a fun night of local music.

The Aurora Observatory opened the show with an energetic set. It was their first show in Roanoke since April, and with their new drummer, Phillip Roseberry. They played original songs off their first and second albums, and finished their set with a cover of Faith No More’s, Everything’s Ruined.

Support Live and Local Music This Saturday at the First Annual Listen Local Fest

This Saturday, Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges is throwing its first Listen Local Fest, an event aimed at highlighting a few of our region’s top local music talent. The event, which runs from 3:00 – 9:30 on Saturday, will feature four very different local bands, as well as several performances by local hip-hop artist and DJ Poe Mack.

The event, which was planned in conjunction with Dr Pepper Days (Oct. 24), was planned to help show community support to local artists and will feature local food, as well as some local businesses, according to Waynette Anderson, president of Sponsor Hounds, the company that oversees events at Dr Pepper Park.

Go Fest

Go Fest Brings Ultimate Combination of Adventure and Music to Roanoke

This weekend more than 30,000 athletes, adventure seekers, music lovers, and craft beer enthusiasts will converge in Roanoke’s River’s Edge Park for the 6th Annual Anthem Go Outside Festival, which kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday, Oct. 14 – 16, highlighting the best of our region’s outdoor recreational activities.

This year, the festival is going even bigger with a new partnership to make live music more of an integral part of the offerings. The creators of the event, the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke City Parks and Rec, have teamed up with the annual producers of FloydFest, Across the Way Productions, to bring in top-quality musical acts. While all music is still free to festival goers, this year’s Go Fest music lineup will be the best yet.

The music starts at 7:00 on Friday night with live tunes by Uncle John and Friends, led by local musician John McBroom. Then on Saturday, the Cox music main stage features back-to-back shows by the FloydFest On the Rise winners, Urban Soil and Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey, two North Carolina Americana soul bands. Rock reggae group Dale and the Z Dubs play another 45-minute set before the main headliner, instrumental funk band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, takes the stage at 9:00. Denson, a master saxophonist has toured with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, the Rolling Stones, and acid jazz DJ Greyboy.