Going electric [with video]

Going electric [with video]

Spent any time in Charlottesville bars? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve bumped into Travis Elliott. Since he moved here from Richmond six years ago, he’s been taking his acoustic guitar around to local watering holes and gaining friends and fans with original tunes and a wide array of covers (“Happiness is a Warm Gun” is Feedback’s fav).

After getting settled in the ’Ville, Elliott teamed up with fellow strummer Rowe Webster and a couple other musicians to form the Travis Elliott Band. “We played a couple full band shows at West Main and certain places around town,” Webster says when Feedback sits down to talk with the two guitarists. “And I think literally our third or fourth show was doing the side stage for Dave Matthews.” That opportunity took the group out on the road to Raleigh and Pittsburgh. Not a bad start!

The Travis Elliott Band (bottom to top: Elliott, Sam Cushman, Rowe Webster and Teswar Wood) will rock
Rapture on April 30.
C-VILLE Playlist
What we’re listening to

“Thank You Friends,” by Big Star (from Third/Sister Lovers)

“Angel,” by Massive Attack (from Mezzanine)

“Blues Run the Game,” by Nick Drake (from Family Tree)

But after playing more around town and occasionally beyond, Elliott decided to take a break and work on his solo acoustic material. Recently, though, louder sounds have beckoned again. “I got kind of lonely,” he says with a laugh. “So Rowe and I picked up the electrics this time. I finally felt like it was time to plug in and make some noise. It really kind of puts it all together when you have a full group, when you have three other people that are telling people that this song is good. You’ve got backup. It’s kind of like having a gang.”

Drummer Sam Cushman and bassist Teswar Wood round out Elliott’s gang, who will bring the noise to the Charlottesville Music Showcase at Rapture on April 30, along with Space Cadet, a new project from B.J. Pendleton and Tucker Rogers. Elliott says that the band has plans to record a new album, but wants to play more shows first. “We’re still a baby band, as I like to call it,” he says. “I think in about two or three months we’ll be at the point where we have these 12 songs down and we’ll be ready [to record].”

Travis Elliott performing with Mariana Bell and Tucker Rogers at the Charlottesville Music Showcase.

Love of Satellite

In the immortal words of The Doors, “The time to hesitate is through.” Sure, we borrowed that reference from Empire Records, but that’s the message from the recently formed group Citizens for Local Culture, which has launched a campaign called Satellite Unite! that aims to keep Satellite Ballroom from being replaced by a CVS pharmacy in June.

We chatted up with Emily Sloan, one of the group’s organizers, about its efforts. “There’s still never been a definite statement on the fact that there is a CVS moving in and that Satellite doesn’t stand a chance of staying in its current location,” Sloan says. Hopeful words, but from our conversations with Terry Vassalos, the building’s owner, the CVS deal seems like a pretty sure thing. The group is working to get as many people as possible to show support for the Ballroom through letters and phone calls to Vassalos, Satellite investor Coran Capshaw and local media outlets. Sloan cites a Facebook.com group called “Coran Capshaw, Save Satellite Ballroom!,” which, as of press time, included over 1,600 members, as evidence that many people want to see the venue stay.

Last week, the group spread the word by setting up tables at Satellite shows and at Just Curry in the afternoon. When we talked, Sloan had not spoken with Vassalos, but said she would like to. “I don’t know him and I don’t know what he really feels, and I’m not sure how aware he is of the impact of what he’s doing,” she said. She hopes, though, that letters, phone calls and broader awareness of the situation can help save Satellite.

Plan 9 is headed out, but Citizens for Local Culture want to keep Satellite Ballroom in the Corner’s Anderson Brothers Building.

Feedback caught up with Vassalos to ask about the campaign, and he said that he has received a few letters and phone calls, but that they wouldn’t affect his decision. “They want to know what is going on,” he says. “But, you know, they make some comments, but they don’t know the inside story. I don’t feel like I have to explain the business to them.”

Ballroom booker Danny Shea told Feedback that he is flattered by the efforts to save the venue. “I don’t know if it’s a lost cause or not,” he says, “but the community definitely has the right to let Terry know.”

If the Ballroom closes, Feedback will miss it dearly, and we’re happy to see that other people feel strongly about the music spot as well. If Satellite does leave our orbit, we’re sure that Charlottesville’s mad musical energy will spawn something new. We’ll never trade in awesome live music for easier access to toothbrushes, condoms and nail clippers.

UPDATE April 29: A deal to bring a CVS to the Anderson Brothers Building is now official, according to NBC 29. Read more here.

To read a letter sent to C-VILLE about Satellite and CVS, check out this week’s Mailbag.


Feedback is excited about UVA’s Digitalis Under The Stars computer music festival, which will take place at UVA’s Amphitheater this Wednesday, April 30. The festival will include a performance by Professor Matthew Burtner‘s MICE ensemble, a laptop computer orchestra with over 180 members. You can be part of the ensemble yourself if you bring along your laptop. If you’re not already headed to Springsteen Wednesday night, don’t miss this great night of innovative, interactive sounds!

Lacking pep?

This past week marked the fifth anniversary of the UVA Athletic Department‘s ousting of the Virginia Pep Band from the school’s varsity sporting events. It’s been half a decade, but we have to say, we still yearn for the antics of the rag tag group ever time we find ourselves in the stands at JPJ, Scott Stadium or Klöckner. The band performed in UVA’s Amphitheater last week on April 24, exactly five years after the Athletic Department banned the group from performing at games due to a controversial performance at the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.

Despite their continued state of exile, the Pep Band has kept things going. "The Pep Band deserves tremendous credit for the way it has handled itself since 2003," says Evan Macbeth, President of Friends of the Virginia Pep Band. "When some groups may have turned bitter and adversarial, the Pep Band reacted with characteristic creativity and looked for new opportunities to serve. The alumni are proud that the student leaders of the Pep Band have made the best of this challenging situation." Wahoowa!

News or comments? Send them to feedback@c-ville.com.