What I Learned from the WRIR Music History Bus Tour

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A big thank you to WRIR, Gregg Kimball, Don Harrison and everyone else involved with Saturday’s Music History Bus Tour. It was incredible to take a look back into Richmond’s music history and learn a whole bunch of new information about the music scene of the city. Here’s a few things I got out of the trip:

• A full on tour of not only the revamped historic Hippodrome Theater, but also the adjoining restaurant Mansion Five26 and The Speakeasy, which also holds weekly music shows.

• Did you know Richmond has an all-Gospel music store on Broad Street that’s been around for ages? I didn’t. Head to Barky’s and get your gospel on. And get a free keychain.
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• Empire, a bar near VCU, was a huge venue for the RVA music scene back in the day. And it’s being revitalized to reflect its glory days with hopefully shows coming to the venue soon.

• The Mosque (now the Landmark Theater, soon to be Altria Theater) hosted everyone huge in the music business from Iggy Pop to the Supremes to the Dead Kennedys to Elvis to Jimi Hendrix and more.

• Oregon Hill was (and still is) the home to a Richmond’s blossoming music scene. I thought it was only in recent years, but it’s been like that for decades.

• VCU Special Collections has the biggest collection of historic music pieces from Richmond that I’ve ever seen. Some of what we saw included photos of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing Shafer Court, a sticker-covered men’s room mirror from the now-gone Twisters, GWAR comics, show posters and a lot more. And that’s just a tiny fraction of what they have. And it’s open to the public every day.

One thought on “What I Learned from the WRIR Music History Bus Tour

  1. Twisters is now Strange Matter (same building). Empire is in the building that once held Rockitz and The Metro, which did indeed have tons of amazing shows back in the day. GWAR’s old Slave Pit was across the street, above what’s now Aladdin.

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