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PICK: Fighting Gravity, Cracker and Everything on Brown’s Island, Saturday, Aug. 19


by Davy Jones

The Brown’s Island-based LiVE LOUD concert series continues on Saturday, Aug. 19 with a three-band event steeped in Virginia history.

Top billing for “The Way Back Home,” as the show has been dubbed, goes to Fighting Gravity, the ska-turned-rock group that started as Boy O Boy in the mid-1980s. Though the band has performed only sporadically since its dissolution in the mid-2000s, memories of its 20-year run as a road-tested East Coast touring act remain fresh in Richmond, the city members decided to call home base as they set their sights on regional and national notoriety.

Fighting Gravity eventually signed with Mercury Records and released “You and Everybody Else” in 1998, which contains fan favorites “Mission Bells” and “Bend the Light.” While the majority of the album was tracked at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, the same facility where Central Virginian compatriots Dave Matthews Band recorded its breakthrough album, “Under the Table and Dreaming,” a few years prior, additional tracking for “You and Everybody Else” took place in Richmond with David Lowery, whose band Cracker will also perform on Saturday.

Cracker’s formation followed Lowery’s stint in the Virgin Records-signed rock band Camper Van Beethoven and his subsequent move from Redlands, California to Richmond in the early 1990s. Alongside co-founder, guitarist and childhood friend Johnny Hickman, Lowery and Cracker have released a string of 10 studio albums, including a 2014 effort titled “Berkeley to Bakersfield,” which sought to capture two distinct sonic angles on the founders’ California roots.

Despite Cracker’s thriving present, including a busy summer 2023 touring schedule, one past release will loom especially large on Saturday. The platinum-selling LP “Kerosene Hat,” which boasts the era-encapsulating, chart-climbing single, “Low,” will be just a few days shy of turning 30 years old.

Speaking of high-flying singles, Everything, whose bright and breezy song “Hooch” made plenty of noise on Billboard charts in 1998, rounds out the triple bill. Though Everything’s headquarters during the 1990s — a time in which they performed 200-plus shows a year — was a farmhouse in Rappahannock County, their Central Virginian credentials date back even further, to the group’s late-1980s genesis at James Madison University.

More recent activities have included a successful Kickstarter, launched in May and completed in June, aimed at raising the funds needed to record their eighth album, as well as onstage contributions from in-demand Richmond saxophonist Charles Owens.

Fighting Gravity, Cracker and Everything will perform on Brown’s Island on Saturday, Aug. 19. Doors open at 6 p.m. All ages. Tickets are $33 and can be purchased at