Cheney Street Block Party offers food, drink and live music in Midtown on June 3
From downtown poke to Midtown 'za to traditional Korean that shines, a round-up of noteworthy openings since late 2017. Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ
A display of the artistic and entrepreneurial energies powering the revitalized Midtown District is set for June 3, when a block between Virginia and Center streets will be closed off for live music, food and art.
The event also will mark the debut recording release of a local rock band, Silver, which is building hometown buzz.
The Cheney Street Block Party runs noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on a 50-yard stretch that is home to a dozen businesses. Participants include vendors of craft beer, cider and cocktails; a fortune-telling booth; a water-balloon and water-gun fight; live painting by Reno muralist Joe Rock and live music from three local acts — headlined by alternative-rock quintet Silver, which will debut its five-song EP, cheekily titled, “Rock ’n’ Roll Is Dead,” during a 90-minute set capping the party.
“It’s going to be a circus,” said Ryan Goldhammer, co-owner of Noble Pie Parlor, which also has a downtown location. “People should come out on Sunday because it’s going to be everything about what Reno has to offer. Beautiful sunshine, silliness and fun and art and live music and fortune telling.
"Midtown is probably the most complete representation of that quintessential artistic and entrepreneurial Reno vibe. It’s that vibrant blend of food, shopping, boutique culture, music and art. And this short little block, this 50-yard run on Cheney Street, is a condensed version of Midtown.”
Headlining band Silver’s EP already is garnering local radio play.
The songs are vigorous and spirited — driven by guitars whanging out 1960s and early ’70s-like riffs and licks — and centered around catchy hooks sung by lead singer/rhythm guitarist/songwriter Greg Gilmore, whose throaty, slightly off-kilter but piercing tenor sounds like a cross between Tom Petty’s nasal twang and Jack White’s garage-bluesy belt.
Wherefore the title, “Rock ’n’ Roll Is Dead”?
“Everyone’s saying it, most notably that hack Gene Simmons,” Gilmore explained, referencing the Kiss founder who claimed the genre was defunct in a 2014 Esquire magazine interview. “I figured we’d just let people think we’re an EDM act to trick ’em into listening to us, because that’s what the damn kids like these days.”
At the Cheney Street Block Party, Gilmore and lead guitarist Josh Kisor, keyboardist Adam Landis, bassist Brendon Lund and drummer Jeff Knight will crank out the five tracks from the new EP, plus numbers from a second EP planned for recording later this year, as well as some cover songs during its 90-minute set.
Gilmore’s tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation belies the fiery songs on Silver’s inaugural EP.
Take a young Tom Petty when his Heartbreakers were being called “the new Stones” amid the New Wavy late 1970s when synthesizers were beginning to usurp guitars as primary instruments in popular rock. Toss it in a blender with Jack White when he was at the peak of his wailing, back-to-garage-rock powers in the White Stripes in the early 2000s. Mix in 1960s-style organ grooves. Stir with vintage British Invasion vocal harmonies. Finally, add tasty classic-guitar licks that never go out of style. Push the puree button.
What comes out is a nourishing nectar of impassioned, desperate, love-crazed-and-confused rock songs with riffs and choruses that loop in your brain.
While local music lovers always are waiting for a band to break out and help put Reno on the nation’s music map, the local map already is teeming with culture, particularly in Midtown, Noble Pie Parlor owner Ryan Goldhammer emphasized.
Thus, the Cheney Street Block Party will showcase that in microcosm, he said.
“‘The Cheney Gang,’ as we’ve been come to be called, is this beautiful mix of all the things Midtown,” Goldhammer said. “It’s the hot fresh pizza and the largest beer selection in town. We have boutiques, we have salons, we have an architecture firm going in, we’ve got a custom-furniture shop, we have authentic Korean cuisine. Midtown Tacos is opening. We have arguably the best cocktails in the entire northern Nevada. And wonderful coffee.
“Where else can you get all that on a very short little side street. This 50-yard run is just incredible. It’s like a pressure cooker on this little tiny street. That’s what makes our block party so cool.”
Cheney Street Block Party:
• Kickoff, noon.
• Live painting by Joe Rock: ongoing throughout the day.
• Fortune telling by Pan Pantoja: 1-5 p.m.
• Water balloon/water gun fight: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
• Live music on stage sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company: singer-songwriter Jonathan Rolling, 3:30-4:30 p.m.; rock trio Limbo State, 4:45-5:30 p.m.; Silver (EP release show), 6-7:30 p.m.