HomeBlogsJeff Hewitt's blogIn Celebration of Keith Vanetta: The V8 Love Affair, Astropop 3, The 65 Film Show, & Crash Smash Explode

In Celebration of Keith Vanetta: The V8 Love Affair, Astropop 3, The 65 Film Show, & Crash Smash Explode

March 24, 20192713Views

It was an evening of reunions for a sold out show at Charlie's in support of a one-time fixture of the local music scene. I don't know Keith Vanetta personally, but by all accounts he's a stand up guy with a tough road ahead as he continues a battle against stage four cancer. Vanetta is known to be a huge fan of the Smiths, writes poetry (which can still be found online if you look hard enough), and if memory serves was at one time was a member of Astropop 3, a mid-90s indie pop slash shoegaze band based out of Va Beach -- fronted by Dan Villaneuva.

The 65 Film Show was a band that came along a bit later, toured relentlessly and found a measure of success with a radio friendly brand of edgy, emo-flavored indie rock by way of pop punk. They were one of the first bands of their generation in VB to actually record and release an EP -- which was a hell of a lot fucking harder back then than it is today. The V8 Love Affair carries a harder edged, genre defying flavor of rock and roll. An outfit named Crash Smash Explode kicked the evening off -- a hardcore punk band from the late 90s that I was previously unfamiliar with. Their name might be a slang reference to RVA's CSX Railroad, but who knows? Regardless of the exact 411, they killed it.

Andrew Briggs asked me if I listened to any of these bands "back in the day" -- but this era was about a decade after my own and I wasn't paying attention to a lot of local music at the time. I was off doing slam poetry and trying to eke out a living selling chapbooks I'd self produce nightly at Kinkos. There's a bit of a tragic flavor that sticks to bands from the turn of the century -- they exist firmly wedged in-between the death of the music industry as a relevant force and the dawn of social media. As such, a lot of them put in some brutal work trying to make it without much opportunity for the accompanying success that kind of effort allows.

This music is harder to come by than that of today's bands, mostly because they're either nestled in an iTunes catalog or buried behind MySpace's nightmare music interface. Or they're on CDs randomly tucked away in someone's closet. These groups predate Bandcamp. Hell, they predate Reverbnation. And they suffered for the lack of infrastructure available to them. In many ways they were like soldiers who had prepared all their lives to fight a war on horseback, only to find out when they took the field that the enemy had tanks. Any one of these groups would slay if they started out today. This is easily proven through the existence in the here and now of groups with members from these bands: Broken Beaches, and further up in DC -- Han Gan.

At the end of the night however, everyone was here to support Keith by raising money to help him with the day-to-day cost of living as he fights cancer. If you're a fan of our scene, do a solid and click on that donate button up there. Every bit helps, and Vanetta is a guy who deserves support. The evening was replete with tales of how he’s helped others over the years. It's time to return the favor.

-- end transmission --

The V8 Love Affair.

Va Beach. Indie Rock.

Astropop 3

Va Beach. Indie Pop.

The 65 Film Show

Crash Smash Explode

Va Beach. Hardcore.

Words and photos by Jeff Hewitt