The RVA Music Festival 

Sept. 10 and 11

click to enlarge Best Coast
  • Best Coast

At first glance, you won’t find many similarities between the co-headliners of the first RVA Music Festival. But both, in their own way, pay homage to the past while giving their music a forward-thinking, post-modern thrust. Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, manipulates samples and integrates light and video effects in a quest to decontextualize older music and create a 21st-century psychedelic experience. For some, it’s a thrilling ride, for others a spot-the-sample party game.

Meanwhile, Best Coast is the inspired garage-rock duo of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno that embraces a summery California aesthetic suggesting the Beach Boys, Neko Case and the Go-Go’s, sharing bong hits over harmonies and analog delay. The intoxicating results are hazy, melodic, often dreamy songs of lust, laziness and longing, such as the whimsical “I Wish My Cat Could Talk” or the heartbreaking “Our Deal.”

But even if the planners behind the festival weren’t bringing these two top-flight national acts to Shockoe Bottom, you’d want to take in the festivities for the dozens of local performers who will play in venues across town and on an outdoor stage — standouts such as Long Arms, Ohbliv, Black Girls, No BS Brass Band, Marionette, Noah-O and many more. Most of these local sets will happen Sept. 10 while Girl Talk and Best Coast hit the festival’s main stage at 18th and Main streets on Sept. 11, supported by the Trillions, Diamond Center, White Laces, the Silent Age and Climbers. The RVA Music Festival takes over the town on Sept. 10 and 11 at various venues. $22-$30. 349-5890. Go to for a full schedule and show times.


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