by Warren Buchholz –
If there is anything I have learned from this crazy little thing called life, it’s to do what you love and let everything else sink into background static. And if you have the passion and the talent and you put yourself out there positively to the world, then your passions will come alive as the world responds back. People’s Blues of Richmond, made up of Tim Beavers, Matthew Volkes, and Nekoro Williams, is living proof of this philosophy, and it shows on stage when they perform.
The amount of energy they expend during every show is inspiring—from their stage presence to their timing and communication—their act is tight and they become music.
Their songs are fueled in pure rock n’roll, with nodes of Zeppelin and Santana and mixed with the current tastes of The Black Keys and The White Stripes that infuses into this orgasmic concoction of bluesy psychedelic rock that kicks ass. Their songs are raw; stripped of polish and exposed with tingling nerves that pour out emotion like the sweat that pours out their bodies. They have something to say, and they say it with purpose. Their songs like “Cocaine”, “Gone Gone Gone”, and “Quit or Die” are poised in thick disquisition about addiction and the hardships and darknesses that compliment the light and loftier sides to life.
And we can all relate to the darkness; to the vices we carry with us on a daily basis. We’ve all struggled to find our way through moments of uncertainty and have battled our insecurities with unscrupulous methods. They get all this, and they rock it. They present these ideas and feelings throughout their songs, some of which are from their upcoming third album, and they make sure that you feel what they feel. It becomes an invitation for discourse on coping, human nature, and the creativity that surfaces in melancholic and unbalanced times when you least expect your mind to produce great things.
I had listened to their two albums, Good Time Suicide and Hard-On Blues, earlier in the day, and they drew me in with the way they play, and I did not know what to expect live. These guys have great studio albums, but you HAVE to listen to them live and feel what they feel. You have to feel their existence and look inside their minds as they play. It’s hard to keep up, but with a few drinks in your system and an opened mind, you can feel what they say, and it pulses through your body.
There was a moment, half way through the show, where they brought up a guest drummer, Aaron Buckingham from Oxford Noland, which opened the night with a great set of trippy drum-fueled songs that sounded like waves crashing on an abandoned beach and flourished in a cocktail of Flaming Lips meets Secret Machines. Buckingham played drums with one hand while operating the synth with the other. He knows his instrument, and he plays it well.
The group played a cover of Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” where Nekoro (another craftsman of his instrument) shared the drum solo with Aaron, and the two went back and forth in this rhythmic and well-timed play, which captivated the audience that broke out into moments of abrupted cheering from the climatic excitement. The world stopped for those few minutes, and you could feel people’s souls bounce against each other in this creatively passionate environment, and it lasted through to the end of the set. Why these guys weren’t the headlining act, I cannot and will not understand. There was no way to follow that energy, and it proved right.
Passion. It’s what makes the world go round, and it’s what makes us create and inspire one another. We all talked before the show, and the one subject that prominently stayed with me was this idea of passion. “You gotta do what you love.” Nekoro (whose father, Drummie Zeb, is also in the music scene and has played drums for The Wailers) talked about why he does what he does. “All these other people don’t do what they love to do, and they get so angry.” And he’s right.
The talent and passion these guys possess makes me excited for how they’ll play for the next 20 plus years. And if they continue to make smart choices, pour their hearts out, and do what they love, then the world will respond, and they will one day be household names. They have to be, for the sake of music and for the sake of everyone with the passion to create. We need success in this world, and they may be our answer. Until then, let the music inspire and take to heart the idea of artists from all backgrounds coming together to arouse the brain cells and play with how we all respond to each other. Or, as Tim had written on his chest throughout the show, just “fuck around” until something feels right.
And it will. I guarantee it.