A 'Holiday Homecoming' at Virginia Beer Co.

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

Though based in Richmond for the past two years, Americana rock group Big Mama Shakes wanted to return home to Williamsburg for the holidays.

So, the five members are bringing their sound, and several friends, to Virginia Beer Company this weekend in a free "Holiday Homecoming" show.

Chandler Matkins, the band's drummer, still remembers Big Mama Shakes' first performance: an open mic night at Paul's Deli. Since moving to Richmond, the band has opened for some big-name acts, played around the East Coast and released a full-length album. But the band's start in Williamsburg, among five guys who largely grew up here, was formative.

"(The local shows) were important. They were where we found our stage presence. They were where we got close as a band. They were where we met people that could influence our music," Matkins said. "Wherever you start, it's going to have a huge influence on you."

Big Mama Shakes doesn't play in Williamsburg often apart from the band's "Toanochella" concerts held each summer on private property in Toano. Matkins said they wanted to reach out to the hometown fan base that was a support from the start.

"We want to maintain that relationship, and we want it to keep growing," he said. "We don't want the city to forget about us."

Virginia Beer Company regularly hosts events and musicians in its space, including a "Food Truck Frenzy" and performances from local bands like Good Shot Judy and Blind and Dirty. Still, this weekend's concert might be the biggest yet in terms of scale.

"This is definitely the largest lineup and the longest amount of time and kind of the biggest set up we've ever done," co-founder Chris Smith said.

After being approached by the band, Smith said Virginia Beer Company liked the idea behind the show, especially given that some of the bands have local ties.

"We try to have as many local musicians here as possible," he said.

Matkins said the band wanted the lineup to showcase music from Williamsburg, Richmond and beyond.

With music from 4 to 10 p.m., Richmond-based band Isaac Friend & Father Figure will kick the show off, followed by a set from roots-rock group Lightfoot Revival, also from Richmond. The latter group includes Williamsburg local and former Big Mama Shakes member Elijah Righter.

Williamsburg favorites In Layman Terms will then take to the stage, featuring the blues stylings of teenage siblings Cole and Logan Layman. Bosley, a large band from Baltimore, will play a soulful set before Big Mama Shakes takes to the outdoor stage.

"It's just going to be a big sound, big lights, lots of drinks, lots of food, lots of fun," Matkins said. "It's not just going to be music around the campfire."

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

Want to go?

When: Doors open at 12 p.m., music starts at 4 p.m., Dec. 17

Where: Virginia Beer Company, 401 Second St.

Admission: Free

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