Material: To describe this Richmond, VA-based trio, People's Blues of Richmond, as guitar rock would be accurate, no doubt, but it wouldn’t come close to telling the full story. At times a throwback to psychedelic rock acts of the ‘60s along with contemporary stalwarts Dr. Dog, and at others reminiscent of roots rock outfits like San Francisco’s the Stone Foxes, People's Blues of Richmond defy genre labels...unless “face melting rock” is a genre.
Musicianship: Whether listening live or in your living room with a pair of headphones, music is at its best when telling a story. Beavers’ sing/talk style, tonally similar to Dan Auerbach, lends itself perfectly to the storytelling elements of the life-experience-based lyrics, covering, amongst other things, the powerful throes of addiction.
The frenetic, heavy, bluesy guitar riffs amplify true emotion behind the music. Williams’ drum work is stellar, managing the many tempo changes throughout the set, and often within the same songs. Volkes on bass brings a stabilizing force to the group, with funky lines underneath the more showy guitar and drums that give the songs real staying power.
Performance: The unconventional lighting setup, which included some imaginative use of video projection, made it clear People’s Blues of Richmond aren’t about individual spotlight moments, rather a sum of all parts. Kicking off with the original, Black Keys-influenced “Go Home,” the roller coaster ride was just getting started. What followed was two-plus hours of a passionate, adrenaline fueled performance that would’ve felt just as right on a festival headliner stage as it did in the dark confines of the Echoplex.
Boasting a setlist full of originals, showcasing the songwriting chops of this trio, People's Blues showed an innate ability to energize the crowd, smartly adding a few covers from the likes of Bowie and Jack White to further accentuate their talents.
Summary: Drawing some apt comparisons to Led Zeppelin (further punctuated with a late-in-the-set, “When the Levee Breaks” tag), People's Blues of Richmond aren’t afraid to mix up styles, ultimately creating something unique and entertaining. This band obviously has the right talent and the right mindset to go far in this industry.
The Players: Nekoro Williams, vocals, drums, Tim Beavers II, vocals, guitar; Matthew Volkes, vocals, bass.
Photo by Grant Stoner