Dave Klemencic

Art. Music. Words.

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The 29th Division fights on!

Our residency at Cary St. Cafe continues, performing every Wednesday night for friends and newcomers alike. The 29th Division, our current moniker, has been served up as a replacement to the 7 Pound Star handle of old. With changes in our lineup and a completely overhauled setlist, it was time for a name change as well. While we may switch this up again in the future, for now it sticks.

As the 29th, we’ve moved our material away from much of the JGB and Dead influenced music, pulling covers from the Phish, Robert Walter and MMW songbooks instead. We’ve also brought in songs by Marvin Gaye, the Guess Who, Radiohead and DJ Shadow, and continued with Jaco Pastorius and Temptations tunes that 7Pound used to perform. The lineup consists of Jason and Larry Alen Jarrell, on drums and bass respectively, myself on keyboards and the recently recruited Matt Walton on guitar. Larry and Jason were among the core of 7Pound, I being a late edition to the group prior to their disbanding. Walton comes to us from the Former Champions, his own jazz- and dance-based collective, as well as the VCU Jazz program. Justin Huppman has been at times a regular feature on guitar, and many of our opening acts have been included into our sets, including members of Silo Effect and 11th House who have both taken the stage for numbers with us.

In addition to the weekly gig, we’ve performed at the Curry House in the west end of Richmond and Emilio’s in the Fan. We have several upcoming gigs, dates for which can be found on my myspace page.
We’ve kept a fairly rigorous practice schedule, adding new tunes each week and refining them as time passes, and negotiations are in the works to add a boatload of dates both in and outside of Richmond. Check back to the aforementioned myspace page, as well as our in-the-works 29 DIV page for upcoming show dates and sample tunes.

As a brief aside and insight to the name, we’ve latched on to the 29th Division handle out of respect and tribute to the fabled military unit, though we have no direct link to the organization. The 29th Division fought bravely in World Wars I and II, acheiving great notoriety at D-Day, where they fought on the beaches of Normandy and throughout Western Europe. Their unit nickname “The Blues and Grays” refers to the unit initially being formed from members of both the Union and Confederate armies at the end of the American Civil War. Coincidentally, 7Pound was known to perform a tune titled “Blues and Grays”, and has been formed from members of assorted Richmond acts from a variety of backgrounds. A casual connection to be sure, but we’ve taken an open eye towards history of all sorts with this outfit, and we draw inspiration from a broad swath of musical, literary and cultural resources. Come check us out, it’ll be great.


Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 3:16 pm.

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Groovin' a little each Valentine's Day

Come out to Emilio’s on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14 and check out Eymarel, an excellent Wilmington, NC-based musical powerhouse. Lee and Mary Frances (drums and keys respectively) always put on a great show, maximizing the sonic output two people can provide. A combination of musicianship, top-notch gear and a little flash will keep you shakin’ it all night.

Check out Eymarel on the web.

Posted 12 years, 4 months ago at 2:25 pm.

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Gallery Opening this Friday @ ALB Tech!

Come out to ALB Tech this Friday, February 1 for between 7 and 9:30 p.m. I’ll be displaying a vast array of paintings and prints that include snippets from college, the last three years of independent work and several proud new pieces that have never been shown before.

Located at 1208 W. Main St., ALB Tech is a computer services and sales business run by Adam Bell and located conveniently adjacent to the VCU campus. Converted from a historic rowhouse, the business occupies the majority of the downstairs with the upstairs opening into four rooms of gallery space.

You’ll find scrolling digital images on each of the many LCD screens around the store, and prints of each of these images are available to order.

JJ Richmond and the Richmond Swingers, a dynamic jazz combo is slated to play in the upstairs gallery throughout the opening, and live drawings of the band in action and happenings in the gallery will be transmitted to a projection screen on the first floor for the whole crowd to appreciate.

Don’t miss out, snacks and beverages will be provided and the work will be on display throughout February.

Posted 12 years, 4 months ago at 3:29 pm.

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LarJar Fest

In early November, members of Seven Pound Star organized a festival in the Elmont/Ashland area of Richmond. The event featured a sizeable stage and tent, bonfire and barbecue. A hundred or so people gathered as several Richmond bands performed. Seven Pound Star was joined by 11th House, Central Garage, El Plantanos and the Spaceheaters. Lasting from 3 till around midnight, it gave many of us a chance to get out and enjoy some fresh air before the real cold began.

If you visit the New Stuff! portion of the adjacent gallery, you can see a brief walk-through of how this image was created, from the initial sketch to the stars and highlights.

Posted 12 years, 6 months ago at 2:03 am.

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The Chemists!

Forrest Young performing with the Chemists at Cafe Diem on Monday, November 19, 2007.
The Chemists include Brian Mahne on piano and Rhodes, John Small on bass and Forrest Young on drums.

Brian Mahne performs regularly as the pianist of the DJ Williams Projekt, and is involved in a number of other top-notch local acts such as The Big Payback and Mark Ingraham’s Bungalo 6.

Among other things, bassist John Small is known particularly for his work touring with the Pat McGee band. He , Mahne and Forrest have worked relentlessly to pull this project together, and their efforts have paid off. Pulling from a wide catalog of music, they include numerous highly scripted original pieces and a strong catalog of challenging covers including Rush’s YYZ, tunes by the Bad Plus and much more. They’ve been performing Monday nights at Cafe Diem for the last month or so, and are scheduled to continue there for the near future. Don’t miss this band! Their dynamic shifts from swing to rock and Brazilian jazz to fusion are impeccable. These three bring a casual professionalism to the table that is seldom witnessed in live music today. And they rock.

Posted 12 years, 6 months ago at 6:10 am.

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Galactic @ Toad’s Place, Richmond, VA 11/10/2007

Galactic served up a generous helping of its unique variety of rockin’ New Orleans funk book-ended with a bundle of hip-hop tunes drawn from their most recent release “From the Corner to the Block”. Aided by Mr. Lif and Boots Riley (of the Coup), the band kept it shakin’ till late.

A drizzly evening didn’t keep the crowd away from downtown Richmond’s newest mid-size concert venue, Toad’s Place for the Friday evening festivities. Greeted by a friendly (for the most part) staff, a stylish entranceway, huge auditorium with multiple viewing levels, accessible bar and effective sound system, we had little to dull our spirits and were ready for the band to kick out the jams.

For my concert-going dollar, Galactic’s strength comes through their musicianship, the quintet’s interaction and Stanton Moore’s lead-from-the-rear style of raucous drumming. Overlaying hip-hop vocals may open the band up to a wider audience, but it does little to feed their core fan base. My primary contention with the vocals has more to do with the booming nature of the room that left the listener with a mess of vocals, drums and bass and overshadowed the band’s other three players significantly. Likely unintentional and the product of crowd-positioning as much as anything, this opinion wouldn’t prohibit me from attending future performances, even if the band chooses to continue down the road of having a round-robin of guest vocalists flowing over their tunes.
Those familiar with Galactic’s older work will likely remember “Houseman”, their esteemed vocalist of old who has since laid off the touring circuit due to health concerns. The band’s latest release is decidedly more rap-oriented when compared with Houseman’s rough-and-tumble singing style. To avoid coming off with a “it was better before” attitude, I would prefer to focus on the strengths of the show, which included an impressive stage design and some great playing from the band. Standouts include a lengthy organ solo courtesy of the band’s Richard Vogel, whose Hammond B-3 and Nord Electro keyboard setup mixes the top of the market in both old- and new-school setups. Stanton Moore was on top of his game as usual, bringing to the table drumming more in line with Southern rock and roll or a jacked-up marching band then the jazz forerunners he may sight as influences. Rob Mercurio’s bass playing was thunderous, keeping a dance groove going throughout the evening. Ben Ellman’s sax playing was more then solid, at turns playing thick baritone lines, dizzying solos and expressive, effect-driven tenor work. Jeff Raines is a standout guitarist, bringing a vibe somewhere between Boogaloo in line with Greyboy’s Elgin Park (Mike Andrews) and Wes Montgomery, with a smooth, clean tone that focuses distinctly on the jazz and slide chops over the distorted crunch that is noticeably favored by many jam/rock acts.

Known for mixing up the experience, Galactic has brought everything from a second-line horn section to rappers, dancers and live mural artists on the road, and it is most comforting to know that despite their efforts to constantly push the overall experience forward, they can still shred with the best of them, and their group dynamic is as strong as I’ve ever seen.

Posted 12 years, 6 months ago at 6:12 pm.

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