I went to see Parachute the last time they were in town because, you know, how can you not be curious? Though I went expecting screaming ‘tweens, inside I found myself standing slackjawed, in awe that the dudes in jeans and tees, who waited to pursue music full-time until they finished their undergraduate degrees, were now peacoat-wearing Coldplay stunt doubles, putting on an undeniably energetic show for a varied audience. The message was clear: Haters beware.
“Getting home involves two things: getting Nukes at Littlejohns”—that’s Nuclear Subs—“and sitting around, reading,” says Parachute frontman Will Anderson (center), who plans to start splitting his time between here and Nashville after this tour.
While they’ll probably look as good, expect November 13’s show at the Jefferson Theater to include some raw cuts from a new album. Frontman Will Anderson says Parachute’s first album, Losing Sleep, was a bit of a “hodgepodge, with producers and timing. It was a little more eclectic than we were going for.” The new record, tentatively slated for release next summer, is a more refined effort. “We sound like a band, which we’re very proud of. It sounds like five guys playing their instruments, which is a good thing.”
But who says that five guys playing their instruments in a Los Angeles recording studio can’t be accompanied by a gospel choir and a string section? Followers of the the band’s blog—guilty!—who have watched the recording process in all of its intricacy have been treated to what appears to be almost (but not quite) Phil Spector-esque levels of attention to detail. Look for the first single in December.
When we last left off covering arguably the most famous band to come out of Charlottesville in the past five years, Parachute had just opened a string of dates for American Idol Kelly Clarkson. Then, it was off to VH1’s “Best Cruise Ever,” which, as it turned out, wasn’t so great. “There were a couple bands that were in our genre, rock and pop. But there was a lot of what we like to call ‘butt rock’: Good old electric guitar rock. It has its place, but that’s not our world,” says Anderson.
These guys may not rock the boat, but—damn!—how can you resist?
You’d have to be some kind of bubble boy or girl to have missed the chill that’s fallen on us, which means one thing: It’s finally, truly, really cold enough to be autumn. And with it comes seasonally appropriate art.
I met with Maureen Lovett, the one full-time employee of the New City Arts Initiative, at her organization’s gallery space at WVTF and NPR Studios on Water Street. NCAI has coordinated a show called “Feast,” for which Lovett and Co. organized 22 local artists into pairs that each collaborated on a total of 11 pieces of work. Once inside, most striking are some of the similarities among works that hang on the wall; of course, most riff on the rich palette of autumn.
Patrick Costello, who broke down his excellent show at The Garage at the end of October, collaborated with Natalie Race on a warm little quilt—the first Costello ever made. Octagonal forms resemble the natural geometry of his prints. Never-done-befores include a collaboration between landscape painter Malcolm Hughes and hip-hop poet Bernard Hankins. Additional contributors include writers, printmakers (Avery Lawrence, Matt Pamer), siblings (Kendall Cox and Cabell Cox), a pastor (Wade Bradshaw) and a cook (Lena Zentgraf).
Feast, smorgasboard, cornucopia—call it what you will. There’s something for everybody.
Turn, turn, turn
A show of Annie Harris Massie’s earthy, impressionistic landscapes fortuitously coincides with peak foliage, which you can still enjoy through one of the many windows at Les Yeux du Monde gallery, Charlottesville’s most gorgeous (and perhaps its only) hilltop gallery. Shuffle your feet as you stand before the show’s largest work, “Early April, Wild Garden,” and the landscape—is it a closeup of a bunch of flowers, or an actual-size drawing of a big, flowering bush?—unfolds in artificial layers that rival nature itself.