Strings and things

Strings and things

A few years ago Feedback spotted some arty types lugging cello cases around the Downtown Mall. Who are these guys? we thought. They’re too sharply dressed to be busking (no offense, Mall musicians). Turns out they were headed to the Jefferson Theater for the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival.

Come autumn, Timothy Summers and other virtuosos will bring sweet chamber  music sounds to Old Cabell Hall

You won’t run into those virtuosos Downtown anymore, but you might spot them amidst UVA’s fall foliage. Last year, with the ol’ Jeff getting a face lift, the festival relocated to Old Cabell Hall, and, come September, it’ll return there for its eighth year.

The move has been good, according to festival co-founder and violinist Timothy Summers. "The location has to have a strong sense of place," he says. "The Lawn is beautiful, so it’s no problem."

Speaking to us from across the pond (he was traveling in Germany), Summers, who was raised here, got us psyched about this year’s concerts. The five performances, he says, will progress from initial minimalist stylings (Terry Riley, Philip Glass) to an improvisational, free-form ending (Penderecki, Finnish tangos). "The middle concert will be very focused, almost like a vanishing point," he says. "It should be very different by the end from what it was at the beginning."

On August 7 (tonight!) Satellite Ballroom brings an unusual act to town. In case their name doesn’t ring a bell, we’ll tell you that Negativland is best known for sampling U2‘s "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For" on the 1991 single U2Island Records swiftly smacked them with a lawsuit, one of the first of many copyright head-butts that, with the proliferation of mash-ups and mix tapes, are now par for the pop music course. "We never had a hit record," member Mark Hosler tells Feedback with a laugh. "We had a hit lawsuit."

But what has the group been up to in the last decade and a half? Oh, you know, radio programs, books, art installations, corporate criticism, robots, films, websites…the collective (they shrug off the term "band") is like an amusement park of experimental and political art. "Negativland has always been this umbrella under which we get to do whatever we want, and that’s what keeps it interesting," says Hosler. "If I was a guitarist in a band, I think I would have quit a long time ago."

Now the group is touring for the first time since 2000. "The world has changed a hell of a lot since we last toured," says Hosler. That’s for sure. When they last hit the road, Clinton was still in office, the first iPods were hitting the shelves and Feedback was in driver’s ed.

A live video clip of Negativland’s "It’s All In Your Head FM" stage performance.
Listen now to an audio interview with Negativland‘s Mark Hosler:
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Or download a copy of the interview and listen at your leisure!

Perpetual champions of the new and provocative, Negativland will present "It’s All In Your Head FM," a live "radio show" examining the hefty subjects of monotheism and fundamentalism. It’ll be, as the title says, all in your head. "We even hand out blindfolds to the audience," Hosler says. Your typical rock show this is not. Feedback still isn’t sure what the experience will be like, but that’s the point, says Hosler. "We always like to do something totally unexpected."

Here goes Feedback’s first mention of the man of many restaurants, local brews and music venues. Yep, we’re talking Mr. Capshaw. We feel his presence around town daily, but the man has also made a pretty big digital splash. In its August issue Blender magazine ranks Capshaw, who started Crozet-based ticketing and merch website,, at number 10 on the "Powergeek 25," a list of online music’s big dogs. He’s up there with the creators of YouTube, MySpace and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Congrats, Coran, congrats.

Capshaw-managed Dave Matthews Band (maybe you’ve heard of them?), John Mayer, Phil Vassar and Nas (yes, Nas) will play a concert at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium on September 6. You’ll have to befriend a Hokie or be a member of DMB’s Warehouse fan club, though, because there’s no sign that tickets will be available for the general public.

And breaking news: Capshaw’s Red Light Management has taken on literate rockers The Decemberists, the angsty Alanis Morissette, and Band of Horses. Only so long before we see them at the Pavilion, no?

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