This promises to be a busy musical weekend with peak Kelli Strawbridge, as the stalwart Richmond drummer, singer and podcaster hits with two performances Friday and Saturday night. The first, at Dogwood Dell on Friday, is a show by his high-energy James Brown tribute, the Big Payback. Fronting a big band with two drummers and a selection of hits spanning decades, Strawbridge delivers everything from full-on funk workouts to Brown’s iconic splits. Like Anthony Cosby Jr’s Prince extravaganza, Strawbridge totally commits.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, he will be the musical director of Rocky Pleasants’ versatile rock ensemble Hurricane Party, whose debut “Category Two” was released on Friday. The band will be playing at Brambly Park for the After Dark series on Saturday night. The album is a knowing throwback to an era when every song on a record was sonically unique. The cuts range from the raucous irresponsibility of the title/theme song to a torch song from band vocalist Buttafly Vasquez, to covers of songs from funk-metal rockers, Mother’s Finest, and sixties iconoclasts Sly and the Family Stone. There is even a cover of an obscure Cracker song- “Nothing to Believe In”- a bit of counter-programming irony given that Cracker is headlining the same night over at Browns Island, celebrating the 30th anniversary of its classic album, “Kerosene Hat.”
If that were not enough, eclectic flautist/saxophonist/Chose Your Own Adventure performer Gina Sobel brings her Sephardic/jazz/folk fusion band, Minnush, for its first RVA performance on Friday night at Révéler Experiences in Carytown. And, if you want to get an early start, there is a 5:30 to 8 p.m. duo performance by longtime collaborators and Butcher Brown rhythm section members, Andrew Jay Randazzo and DJ Harrison.
Andrew J. Randazzo and DJ Harrison play at Brambly Park on Friday, Aug. 18 at 5:30 p.m.. Admission is free.
The Big Payback plays at Dogwood Dell, Friday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Gina Sobel and Minnush play Révéler Experiences on Friday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. Admission in advance is $12.83
The Hurricane Party plays at Brambly Park on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free.