The local scene was alive and booming in Virginia this past Friday, the 16th, as Sun Against Artemis headlined Canal Club in Richmond. Joined by 3PEACE, LOXIAS, Phantom Hourglass, and Harli & The House of Jupiter, the night was a grand display of the raw talent in the Virginia music scene.
Sun Against Artemis is a post-hardcore rock band local to Richmond, VA. The band’s name is a metaphor for the balance of nature, using the word “against” as a word of comparison, with Artemis being the Greek goddess of the moon. Formed in 2019, Sun Against Artemis consists of June Kambourian on vocals, guitarists Nick Erickson and Connor Giles, Cason Duszak on drums, and Cole Wise on bass. They released their first EP, Mind’s Eye, last year.
Soul punk Richmond locals Harli & The House of Jupiter kicked the night off with good vibes and lots of energy. Though vocalist Harli Saxon revealed that two original members had decided to part ways just a few days earlier, it was not visible in their performance. The chemistry between the remaining members of Harli & The House of Jupiter and the two members filling in (two of Saxon’s coworkers) was utterly natural- as if they’d played hundreds of shows together already.
Next up for the night was Phantom Hourglass, a metalcore five-piece from Winchester, VA. With vocalist Logan Bauserman, guitarists Sheldon Levi Judy and Josiah Wilder, drummer Brandon McInturff, and bassist Josh Huff commanding the stage, the crowd couldn't help but get pumped up. From the second they stepped foot on stage to the final notes of their last song, the connection between the band was clear- dancing with and making faces at each other during the whole performance, even giving one another the occasional shoulder cuddle. Phantom Hourglass gave everything expected from a metalcore performance, from dense, lively instrumentals to mixing a bit of mellow crooning into growled vocals to water spit-takes, courtesy of Huff. And the audience ate up every second of it, jumping, dancing, and cheering along throughout the entire set.
As the night moved forward, it was time for Richmond's hard alternative rock band LOXIAS (pronounced low-key-us) to take the stage. As vocalist Jacob Kissinger, drummer Curren Ficco, guitarist Dylan Edwards, and bassist Greg Muckey entered, the crowd was pleasantly surprised to see Sun Against Artemis' own Nick Erickson would be joining LOXIAS on guitar for their set. But that wasn't the only surprise the band had in store. As another member of the headlining band, vocalist June Kambourian, joined LOXIAS for their second song, the audience roared with excitement. LOXIAS performed with infectious high energy that the crowd delighted in, loudly applauding while dancing along with the band during their set. From the band to the audience to the venue staff, the fun being had was clear by the smiles plastered across everyone's faces. And the chemistry on stage throughout the entire performance was undeniable. Whether it was LOXIAS interacting with each other or the two members of Sun Against Artemis, the kinship between those in the Virginia music scene was on full display.
It was then time for the night's final opening act to perform, a Richmond-native deathcore band called 3PEACE. The band, who's made up of Toby Horne on vocals, Aaron Hardin on guitar, and Cody Mausolf on drums, is releasing a new single on June 30th called "Undertone," along with an accompanying music video. Their Friday night performance at Canal Club was the second show of a three-night run across Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It was apparent immediately that 3PEACE came to truly rock out, as after their very first song Mausolf needed a cinderblock placed in front of his bass drum to keep it in place.
"It's okay dude, you just hit shit really hard! We got you," Horne jokingly reassured him before beginning their next song.
3PEACE put on an intense, lively performance. With Mausolf's drums held steady by the cinderblock, he continued his fervent drumming while Horne and Hardin utilized every inch of the stage. As the audience moshed along to the music, Horne would even occasionally climb onto the stage's barrier, belting out in deep growls as the crowd cheered away. There was yet another display of the deep bond between those in the Virginia scene when Scott Maxwell, the vocalist of another local band called Vilified, joined 3PEACE for a song. While not on the night's lineup, Maxwell came to show his love and support for the local scene. By the end of their set, the high levels of energy 3PEACE put into their performance was clear, as Hardin was now missing the eyeglasses he walked on stage wearing.
With no more openers lined up for the night, the anticipated moment had finally arrived. As Sun Against Artemis began their first song, "Exeter," the audience roared with enthusiasm. Armed with a setlist mixed up of original bangers and covers of popular favorites, the band was ready to ensure the crowd had the time of their lives.
As Sun Against Artemis broke into their next song, a cover of Belmont's "731," there wasn't a single still body in the venue. The audience eagerly clapped and jumped as the band danced along to their music, truly getting in the zone of performing. When a band is confident and comfortable in their performance, they radiate a sense of pride and poise that those watching pick up on. And that energy was palpable coming from Sun Against Artemis. This is a band that knows how to give it their all and won't settle for giving anything less.
The night surged on as Sun Against Artemis played with a vibrant intensity. The crowd reflected the band's high energy, moshing, dancing, jumping, and cheering to every song. They were especially thrilled when Giles set aside his guitar for a moment during the band's cover of "Science" by System of a Down and instead started playing the flute, letting out cheers of excitement during his entire solo.
Backed by an incredible rhythm from Duszak and Wise, accompanied by talented guitar riffs and licks from Erickson and Giles, Kambourian's vocals and her presence on stage captivated the audience. One attendee even proclaimed their love for her from the crowd, and jokingly proposed when the singer said it back. Laughing, Kambourian agreed, to which the crowd member inquired when.
"Tomorrow," she exclaimed happily before letting out a giggle.
"Oh, hell yeah! And during Pride Month, too!"
The whole venue roared with laughter and amusement at the response and after letting everyone bask in the hilarity for a minute, Sun Against Artemis picked up right where they left off with their lively performance.
Toward the end of their set, Sun Against Artemis informed everyone that it was time for them to hear a new, unreleased song. Screams of joy rang through the building as the band began "Stifle," a song they're planning to release in September. The crowd's immediate love for it was plain to see from their beaming smiles and swaying bodies.
Sun Against Artemis ended the night with an incredible rendition of "Get Out" by Circa Survive. With the adrenaline from the show still coursing through them, band members and concertgoers alike happily shuffled along to various merch tables or outside, excitedly intermingling with one another. Between the audience's enthusiasm throughout the show and each band's passion for their own, as well as each other's music, two things were made crystal clear that night at Canal Club. The level of pure talent fueling Virginia's local music scene is undeniable, and the feelings of love, respect, and dedication from both the fans and the musicians are genuine.