Saturday Night Live (review)

Saturday Night Live (review)
Saturday Night Live (review)
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You know the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. Evidently the same wisdom applies to RVA’s newest music venue, The Broadberry. Outside its monolithic facade suggests industrial; inside it’s modern upscale with a favorable nod to NYC fashion. Highlights include a 60-ft white bar along one wall and high-backed white vinyl booths on a raised platform with 4 crystal chandeliers along the opposite wall. There’s even a sweet fenced-in outdoor patio that has a tiki bar vibe. All-in-all a hip destination indeed.  (see video tour)

 

The music side of the Broadberry equation is well taken care of too. The new partnership (Rand Burgess, Lucas Fritz and Matt McDonald) installed an elevated stage with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems at the far end. The shotgun layout allows high volume on the stand-up concert floor, which falls off enough to allow conversation in the seated bar area. Owner Rand Burgess envisions the venue being more than a music hall and said several wedding parties have already booked the facility. He wants the Broadberry to be an anchor point for the area. On show nights it will open at 5 to promote the venue as a place to chill out, have some food/drink and stay for the show. The menu is upscale-bar-friendly and the fully stocked bar highlights a healthy list of craft brews, as well as the ubiquitous PBR…all at decent prices.

 

Both Rand and the location have history in the RVA music scene. 2729 W. Broad St. has been the address of music venues Much More and the Cellar Door back in the 80’s and most recently the nightclub Nu. Rand also owns and books acts into the Camel, a music bar about half the size of the Broadberry. The experience there turning crowds away convinced him the area was in need of a mid-size hall (350 capacity). It would support touring bands, as well as local bands with a national presence, that would overflow The Camel and other, similar sized venues, but not fill the National. In his opinion Richmond is now more on the music scene’s radar than ever before:

 

Play sound clip  (1:20)

 

For now, shows will be on a limited schedule several nights a week, but plans are for expanding to most nights supporting a wide variety of genres. Rand believes in the Richmond music scene, one that fast is becoming equal with music cities such as Austin, “There is no scene like the Richmond music scene. I wholeheartedly believe Richmond can throw a show on a Monday, a Tuesday, whatever…and pack out a room.”

 

Silo Effect on stage

A sold out opening Thursday night (No BS Brass Band, Black Girls, Gold Rush) followed by a healthy crowd Saturday night (Silo Effect, Former Champions, Polychrons) suggest the Broadberry is on to something. Hopefully the RVA music crowd will agree.

 

Take the video tour

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