Hotel Lights at Gallery5
Chapel Hill's Hotel Lights cobbles together its aching folkie sound and prominent piano from members of Ben Folds Five, Sparklehorse and Archers of Loaf. Hotel Lights plays Gallery5 Friday, July 21, at 7 p.m. with singer-songwriter Jennifer O'Connor and local harmonizers/Richmond troubadours Prabir & The Substitutes. $5. 644-0005.
The Reverend Billy C. Wirtz at Poe's Pub
It's like if a revival preacher stumbled onto the stage of a seedy casino on the Vegas Strip and began plunking away at a leftover keyboard. Now, what makes all this really kind of neat is that it works he runs that keyboard as fast as he runs his mouth, spitting holy-rolling one-liners out of a burly human package that's part R&B crooner, part pro wrestler. Listen for "Sleeper Hold on Satan." The Reverend saunters into Poe's Saturday, July 22, at 9 p.m. $8-$10. 648-2120.
Harmonica Blowout at Shenanigans
It's cool to say you play a harmonica only if you're a kid with a straw hat and cutoff overalls, or maybe if you're Bob Dylan. Now saying you play blues harp is something else again, a style of playing that came out of the South and does its damnedest to defy the design of a harmonica, with its reed-warping bent notes and blues chords. Coming to Shenanigans Thursday, June 20, at 8 p.m. are three practitioners of the down and dirty art of blues harping: R.J. Mischo, John Nemeth and our own Li'l Ronnie, complete with The Grand Dukes. $15. 264-5010.
The Shockoe Tomato Festival
In much the same way that Mardi Gras brings down the behavioral walls that govern its participants, leading to excessive, even aberrant behavior, so too does dressing like a tomato bring out the latent talents of the people involved. Not even remotely a proven doctrine of behavioral research, this theory is nevertheless on display at the 17th Street Farmers' Market, where people find that thing they're good at and do it, dressed in red and green. And to a soundtrack by Page Wilson with Reckless Abandon, Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun, and others Saturday, July 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 647-0310.
Goapele at Fridays at Sunset
The R&B songstress must have liked Richmond quite a bit, as she's returning after an appearance here last April. Look for her to once again mix her hip-hop and her electronica with that purring voice, joined by neo-soul singer-songwriter Dwele Friday, July 21, at Kanawha Plaza at 8:15 p.m. $20. Call (800) 594-TIXX or visit www.fridaysatsunset.com. SClick here for more Calendar Events