HARRISONBURG — Bombadil and Uncle Bengine and the Restraining Orders return to Pale Fire Brewing tonight in a celebration of the expanding music community and performance as an avenue for friendship and healing.
Bombadil is a band hailing from North Carolina that has performed in Harrisonburg for over 10 years, bringing along music that bassist and singer Daniel Michalak said serves to uplift.
“Music is a way for me to almost meditate. … It’s a helpful way to deal with my emotions,” Michalak said. “The most common feeling that people have after seeing Bombadil is like a renewed faith in humanity and a sense of joy.”
Bombadil is a three-part harmony reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and The Shins with a light-weight, technicolor pop. Uncle Bengine and the Restraining Orders bring a darker, lo-fi sound to the stage. Led by Harrisonburg native Ben Schlabach, Uncle Bengine rocks to a more indie folk beat than Bombadil but has shared a bill with them in the past because, despite their different sound, they share a commonality in producing music as a personal release.
“I’ve been playing in bands now, probably I would say for over half my life at this point. It’s sort of my creative outlet that keeps me sane. Having that creative outlet locally is something that I don’t want to give up because it just sort of fuels me with the rest of my life,” Schlabach said.
Valerie Bess, Harrisonburg resident and half of local band Juniper Tree, is attending the performance tonight and has played at Pale Fire. She said the combined venue and sound on the ticket for the evening are too rich an experience to pass up.
“Both of them just have thoughtful music — musically and lyrically. I just love being able to sit and enjoy a really good beer and watch good music,” Bess said.
Beyond being a performer, Schlabach also books musicians in the area. He said his primary duty as a member of the local music community is to try to help the industry grow across the Blue Ridge.
“It takes money to get to and from and perform your art, and I appreciate that Harrisonburg is a town that has a fair amount of shows and there’s a fair amount of bands touring through. And so sort of continuing to foster that, to me feels like it’s a benefit to the overall environment of Harrisonburg,” Schlabach said.
Schlabach has been on the scene for over 10 years, and Bess joined the crowd seven years ago. Both agree that the venues and opportunities for musical acts have expanded in recent years. Bess said Pale Fire is a leading venue that’s equally enjoyable for artists and viewers alike, so she comes out when she can to ensure art always has a home in her city.
“It’s just cool how much good music all the venues in town are working really hard to bring to the Valley. So we’d like to show up as much as we can to support it and, you know, support the musicians, and the venues are working really hard to make the music scene thrive around here,” Bess said.
Bombadil released its latest album, Beautiful Country, three weeks ago just before beginning its fall tour in late September. The band will play a medley of old and new sounds for the night.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and music starts at 8. Tickets are $8.
“If you’re looking for an evening where the music won’t be too loud, the storytelling will be nice, and you’ll be left with a lot of good feelings — then you should come to the show,” Michalak said.