RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 4/27-5/3


Friday, April 29, 9:30 PM
Dumb Waiter, Navi @ Hardywood – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
“Cancel Christmas.” This time it’s not the caption on an Instagram photo of my freshly totaled car. No, this is a much more positive use of the phrase. It’s the brand new album from jazz-metal weirdo geniuses Dumb Waiter, and it’s coming to you this Friday, live from Hardywood! The official release date for this jam is actually not for another month or so, but we RVA peeps are getting to experience it a month early, and we couldn’t be luckier!

Cancel Christmas will be out May 27 from Hand To Mouth Tapes and JUJU. JUJU is doing a digital release, but there will also be a limited edition numbered CD version available at this show! Cassette will be the only other physical format for this one, but it’s the BEST physical format (yeah, I said it) so there’s no reason to complain there! If advance track “Greedy As Fuck” is any indication, it seems there’ll be no reason to complain about the actual music contained on this new album either. Dumb Waiter are up to their usual tricks–syncopated sax-drum funk breaks, rapid tempo changes, wild bass grooves, metal guitar noise awesomeness… this record’s clearly gonna rule. And to think I’d just finally gotten my head around all the crazy structural ideas at work within Is This Chocolate?

Oh hey, listen, this isn’t just a positive occasion because of the festive atmosphere around Dumb Waiter’s new album, either! Believe it or not, that dynamic noise-rock two-piece that nobody could ever get enough of, Navi, are returning from the dead for a special opening performance. Does this mean they’re back? Is this a one-time-only thing? Should you make absolutely sure you’re at Hardywood for this performance since it might never happen again? I don’t know the answers to the first two questions, but the answer to the last one is definitely NO. Show up on time, freak out to Navi, then get ready to have your mind blown by Dumb Waiter. And hey, have a tasty craft beverage while you’re at it. I hear Hardywood has some good ones… you know, if that’s your kind of thing.


Wednesday, April 27, 8 PM
Best Behavior, Headless Mantis, Bare Thoughts, Selma Hijack @ Strange Matter – $7
Brooklyn’s in the house, y’all. And I’m not referring to Jay Z, either (I get the idea that dude’s making himself scarce right now–seems things are pretty hairy on the home front, huh?). Nope, this ain’t about hip hop, it’s just some good ol’ catchy rock n’ roll from Best Behavior. This dope-ass garage-pop crew from the hippest borough in NYC have some great tunes for you to shake your ass to, and the sneering swagger built into the sound is the perfect spice to offset the downright sugary pop hooks that come through regardless of how loud these guys crank their guitars. Check that ballad “Not Ready,” from their Good Luck Bad Karma album–these are some sweet sensitive dudes underneath it all, and they just wanna make you happy with some catchy jams. Don’t deny yourself the joy!

There’s a lot of great local rock n’ roll sound on this bill as well. Headless Mantis (stylized as “HEADLESSMANTIS” or “HDLSMNTS”) [I copypasted that bit from their wikipedia entry] have a much grungier version of that classic style for y’all, featuring the blues grit of the early Black Keys and the downright demented weirdness of early Captain Beefheart, all stretched over a Cramps-y punk skeleton. Bare Thoughts have a more pensive mood to share with you, channeling third-LP Velvet Underground to amazing effect. Salma Hijack’s a new band with a fully-formed sound, and they’ll be kicking things off in fine style tonight. So come out and get ready to dance!


Thursday, April 28, 9 PM
Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Cloak/Dagger, Nosebleed, Memory Loss @ 25 Watt – $8
How low can a punk get? Well, hopefully at least as far down as Shockoe Bottom, because there are some wild-ass punk rock goings-on taking place down at 25 Watt this Thursday night, and if you love raw, obnoxious punk fury, you won’t wanna miss it! Hank Wood And The Hammerheads are one of those bands who are so punk rock, they don’t have any sort of web presence (that link above is to a youtube upload of one of their albums), so everything I hear about them either comes directly from the music or is shrouded in rumor and enigma. I hear they’ve got something to do with that drunk n’ sloppy brand of hardcore coming out of the Brooklyn scene spearheaded by Crazy Spirit. I hear they’ve got a second percussionist who plays quads, drum line style. I hear they sound like John Brannon from Negative Approach crossed with Pussy Galore-era Jon Spencer, fronting The Mummies crossed with Gas Huffer at their most demented. Well, actually, that last one I can confirm–I didn’t just link to that youtube upload, I listened to it. But hearing a youtube upload will never compare to seeing these guys live and getting beer thrown on you by rowdies trying to pogo with drinks in their hands. Wait, is that a desirable aspect of the experience? Whatever, just do your laundry the next day and everything will be fine.

Wow, that paragraph got weird towards the end, right? Let me settle down and tell you abou the rest of this lineup. First and most importantly, we must discuss Cloak/Dagger, that all-star band of hardcore reprobates who only come out of hiding once a year or so to dispense their post-youthcrew take on garage punk once a year or so. If you miss this show, your next chance to see them just might not come until 2017. You don’t wanna risk that, do you? No, definitely not. Two newer bands, both female-fronted, will start off the evening with some raging attitude. Nosebleed have made a name for themselves locally with their punishing brand of hardcore fury, so chances are you already know what you’re getting into with these guys. Memory Loss is a brand new project, with Rachel Sparkman from Ultra Flake taking over on vocals and fronting a band featuring members of Mensroom and Flesh Control. Expect some sick angry noise from this crew–based on their demo, there’s a lot to look forward to here.


Friday, April 29, 8 PM
Imaginary Sons, Toxic Moxie, Headless Mantis, Venus Guytrap, Eayaes @ The Camel – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Guys, weren’t we just talking about a big album release show happening Friday night? Well, listen, I don’t want to make things too tough on you, but there are actually TWO big album release shows happening Friday night. They’re going on at pretty much the same time, too. So as the MC5 once told us, “You must choose, ladies and gentlemen, you must choose!” It’s not like there’s really a bad alternative available, though–if anything, rather than noise jazz metal weirdness, you might be in the mood for some good old-fashioned rocking out! Imaginary Sons certainly have that waiting for you in massive amounts, and their brand new album, Don’t Impress Me, seems primed to deliver the goods. However, if pre-release single “Sloburd” is any indication, it also seems as if these guys have expanded their horizons! I didn’t expect anything this psychedelic or stretched-out from a band I knew as beer-swillin’ fun lovin’ alien boys. But I sure am not complaining! This is some really cool new territory for these boys to explore and incorporate into their pre-existing sound. I for one am ready for whatever they want to throw at me–I imagine it’ll be rad no matter what.

Here’s some more great news about this release party–Toxic Moxie will be on hand to rock you all! Sera Stavroula actually contributes a significant amount of vocals to that new Imaginary Sons track I posted above, and since she’ll be making the trip down from her NYC home for a Toxic Moxie set, chances are she’ll be appearing onstage with the Sons as well! You should be just as stoked for a blast from the disco-punk deities of Toxic Moxie though, because god knows this quartet has a ton of great tunes, and now that they’re spread across multiple states, you don’t get that many chances to see them deliver the goods. Headless Mantis are also on this bill, so if you wanna see these guys twice in three days, the opportunity is certainly available to you! I can see why it’d be enticing, but try to play it cool, y’all. With soulful alt-punkers Venus Guytrap and brand new sounds from Eayaes (I wonder how that’s pronounced…) kicking things off, this is a double-stacked bill for sure. Hmm. Now I want Wendys for lunch.


Saturday, April 30, 8 PM
Horrendous, Crypt Sermon, Putrisect, Hoboknife, Buzzard Dust @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://evil.eventbrite.com/)
I’m in a band with a bunch of 21 year olds. And they are really rad people I’m delighted to have in my life, so don’t get me wrong. But when they start talking to me about the really brutal metal they like, it’s almost always deathcore that just came out in the past five years. I can appreciate a fair amount of that stuff, even when I’m sorta laughing at it even as I nod my head. But what I really want to hear from heavy, brutal metal bands is something a lot closer to what Horrendous are doing. On their third album, 2015’s Anareta, these guys combined old-school Florida death metal vibes a la Morbid Angel with some serious black metal tinges and even some great thrash riffs (my bandmates think thrash is stupid. Siiiiigh), and keep things thrilling throughout. The songwriting is less than predictable, some of the genre juxtapositions are quite surprising, and all of it rocks like fuck. Deathcore’s cool, I guess, but this is what I wanna hear when I’m in the mood to bang my head. Am I getting old? (Yes.)

There’s a lot more metal on this bill, in a variety of genres, and all of it’s gonna keep your head banging with vehemence, I assure you. Crypt Sermon hail from Philly, just as Horrendous do, and they’ll be bringing some much slower grooves to town with them. I admit that there are aspects of the doom boom I’m pretty sick of, but Crypt Sermon are all about the killer riffs, and that’s enough to make up for all. Baltimore’s Putrisect have a really classic death metal name, what with its gore/rot vibes and its status as a mostly-made-up word, but these guys actually split the difference between the two Philly bands, cranking out some classic death metal that manages to evoke the occasional doom/sludge vibe. It’s pretty amazing all around. With local freaks Hoboknife and newcomers Buzzard Dust kicking things off, this is a stacked night of metal awesomeness. No deathcore to be found, I promise! (My bandmates are bummed.) (I’m teasing, guys, you know I love you.)


Sunday, May 1, 10 PM
Rob Skotis’s Birthday Bash, feat. Left Cross, Soft Dov, Venomspitter @ En Su Boca – Free! (Donations requested)
Holy shit, Rob Skotis from Hellbear/Iron Reagan/etc is dealing with one of those birthdays with a big zero on the end! Those things are a pain (though, Rob, let me tell ya, 40 was way easier to handle than 30. Get through this one and it’s all good from here). He’s dealing with it in an RVA Must-See Shows-approved manner though. He’s throwing a party! A party based around live music and dope tacos! Oh, look at that, it’s two of my very favorite things! I’m using way too many exclamation points in this paragraph, but it really kinda seems merited, wouldn’t you say?!

I was talking above about old-school death metal, but if I was referencing Florida in the early 90s, Left Cross do me one better by blasting out some raw ferocity that straight-up channels the mid-80s. I can’t imagine these dudes don’t own copies of Horrified and Scream Bloody Gore–and they know what to do with those influences too, because their shit rips! Soft Dov are the one non-Richmond band on this bill; they hail from Baltimore and have a name that makes me think they’re gonna be shoegaze. But then their actual music disabuses me of that notion with the quickness, scorching my face with some feedback-laced D-beat/grindcore brutality! This band is gonna be a treat for anyone else reading this who thought these guys were actually gonna be in any way “soft.” Not on your life, buster! Venomspitter will kick things off with some brutal angry mosh styles–see their recently-released split with DSGNS for more info on exactly what you’re in for where these guys are concerned. This show’s gonna be dope–come ready to eat tacos, party, and bang your head! And show some appreciation for Rob, because the dude fuckin’ rocks.


Monday, May 2, 7 PM
The Sun Flights, Lobo Marino, Dharma Bombs @ Gallery 5 – $5 (order tickets HERE)
This week’s been a whole lot of wild rock n’ roll, brutal metal, and angry punk, so by Monday night you may need a bit of a change-up. And I get that, which is why I’m telling you that you should head to Gallery 5 that night to check out The Sun Flights. This Philadelphia band describe themselves as “experimental folk,” and seem to shift between solo acoustic tunes, full band electric sounds, and percussion-laced folk detours.

What sort of performance we’ll get when The Sun Flights hit town is somewhat open to question, but regardless, it should fit right in with the work of wandering duo Lobo Marino, who have been spending a significant amount of time in Richmond lately–lucky us! Grab this opportunity to see them while they’re around. Chances are they’ll be traipsing down unpaved paths in Northern Africa before you know it. The Dharma Bombs, a local folk crew with a new EP called The Bird Dog Basement Tapes being released any time now, will open up with some fun Tin Pan Alley-ish old-time tunes. Get into it.


Tuesday, May 3, 9 PM
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, No Ice, Roper & Furley @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
OK, that was one mellow evening–you’re ready to dive back into the rock n’ roll maelstrom, right? I knew I could count on y’all. But so this Tuesday night, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires will be returning to Strange Matter for what has to be at least the fourth time in the past couple of years, right? I’m honestly not sure, but the truth is, I’m slipping–I haven’t caught them even one of those times. I know, what’s my problem? Right now, my problem is that my life lacks a heaping dosage of live rock n’ roll, and I can solve that one in a big way at Smatter on Tuesday night. The Glory Fires have some of that fire-eyed wildness that comes through in the best Southern-fried blues-rock, and definitely also bring in some Stones-y swagger. That’s a recipe for burnin’ you right up!

NYC rockers No Ice are also on this bill, and while I don’t know too much about this band, I definitely like the sort of horn-infused strut I hear on their “Eat This Heart” single. I look forward to learning more about what these dudes have to offer. I also look forward to getting the latest from a veteran crew of RVA musicians whose projects I’ve been checking out for literal decades. Roper & Furley brings together members of Askance, El Presidente, Alabama Thunderpussy, plus quite a few more projects I could mention. I have no idea what to expect sound-wise from these guys, but where creativity is concerned, they’ve got it in abundance, so I’m guessing this new project will rule just as much as their many others. Let’s find out, shall we?

Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows: rvamustseeshows@gmail.com

Hit up my Patreon page if you’d like to be a supporter of my endeavors here! RVA Must-See Shows will always be free, but any contribution helps ensure I can keep the column going into the future, and is massively appreciated! $1 a month is all we ask. Please consider it. https://www.patreon.com/rvamustseeshows


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