Friday, May 6, 7 PM
Clair Morgan “New Lions & The Not Good Night” release show, feat. Clair Morgan, Manatree, Spooky Cool, Way Shape Or Form @ The Broadberry – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This Friday marks the arrival of a day it feels like the entire Richmond scene has spent all of 2016 (or maybe even longer than that) waiting for. It’s New Lions & The Not Good Night release day for Clair Morgan, and this second album from the man/group is nearly four years in the making! At this point, we can’t tell you whether this new album is gonna live up to all the hype it’s gotten over the past however long, but based on the two songs that have hit the internet in advance, it sure seems likely. These advance tracks combine Morgan’s shreddy guitar riffing with some assured indie-pop songwriting chops to create songs that are simultaneously brilliant, unpredictable, and impossible to get out of your head.
Morgan’s done a graceful job of hanging a lampshade on the whole “my solo project is actually a 7-piece band” situation he’s running, something that most musicians who try this trick usually just pretend isn’t happening. Fortunately, it gives us all even more leeway to acknowledge the essential contributions of his bandmates, from the glittering keyboard accents and excellent drum work (from local renaissance man Tim Falen–how many bands is this, Tim, five?) to the essential variety provided by moments in which Morgan’s smooth tenor is replaced or augmented by lovely female vocals from Ashley Moore and Emily Skidmore. Obviously seven heads are better than one–and this remains true even if you still name the result after one of those heads. Expect pure gold to be produced by this crew when they hit the Broadberry stage Friday night.
They’ve got a pretty stacked support crew lined up for you as well! Manatree, for one, who’ve come back together upon bassist Noma Illmensee’s temporary return from the Lucy Dacus tour (is 2016 the year of the RVA solo-artist-who-is-actually-a-bandleader?) in order to give the local indie heads a chance to enjoy all those tunes from their excellent 2015 self-titled debut (on Egghunt, natch) in a kickass live performance! Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering what might have become of the members of Zac Hryciak & The Jungle Beat, a reasonably popular local indie group who disappeared from the scene a few years ago, Spooky Cool will provide you with some of the answers you seek–and a whole bunch of catchy tunes as well. The whole thing starts out with a set from Way Shape Or Form, who have grown over the past little while from a technical math-core band into some sort of complicated, multi-layered solo project. Troy Gatrell’s facility with a variety of instruments was always the engine that kept this thing cooking, though, and that has not changed, so come see what he’s got in store for you, and then stick around for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. There may or may not be lions, but it will definitely be a good night.
Wednesday, May 4, 9 PM
Ashes, Hill Walkers, Grave Hookers, Doctor Collins & The Chemistry Clash @ The Camel – $5
All right, y’all, this is gonna be a weird one–and only partially because I can’t figure out what order these bands are playing in (the above is my best guess). Ashes share a name with an early 90s emo band I loved, so I feel a certain amount of goodwill towards them regardless, but I definitely enjoy their downbeat, pensively strummed guitar-rock tunes a fair bit just on their own merits. The Hill Walkers are on a different tip, with some catchy twee pop tunes, but that’s also nice in its own right, so the notable contrast between them and Ashes isn’t that big a deal. Plus, the Grave Hookers are here to throw you an even bigger contrast with some two-piece bass/drum sludge to get your head banging. These guys are on a bluesier tip than the obvious recent local reference, New Turks, but they’re still gonna rock you just as hard. And then the whole bill takes a turn for the weird with the inclusion of Doctor Collins & The Chemisty Clash, a group that’s difficult to accurately pin down. Gothic Steely Dan? The Beach Boys on downers? I dunno man… it should be interesting if nothing else! The same goes for this whole show, which will bring you many things, but never a single moment of thinking “these bands all sound too much alike.” So it’s got that going for it. Which is nice.
Thursday, May 5, 8 PM
Peelander-Z, Maximum Zero, Suneater @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://pzrva.eventbrite.com/)
The semi-annual Peelander-Z show has become a kind of tradition in Richmond over the past few years. This Japanese-American punk band/performance-art troupe has found a welcoming audience here, and have repaid us by making frequent visits to infect us with the hyperactive joy that accompanies any and all of their performances. Clad in bright primary-color costumes, the members of the band (known only as Peelander Yellow, Peelander Red, and Peelander Green) go apeshit as they dish out their speedy punk tunes about steak and tacos, ninjas and tigers, and more. You’re assured of a great time, and you can probably expect to get into the spirit–and get a workout–while you’re at it. I realize that the Peelander-Z experience is one that many RVA peeps are familiar with, but whether you’ve taken the ride with these guys a whole bunch of times or never before, a good time never hurt anyone. So come to Strange Matter and get you some!
Peelander-Z aren’t the only band of expatriates on this bill–it sure appears, at least from checking things out online, that Maximum Zero are Russian expatriates who escaped the fall of the Soviet Union to bring some sort of communist punk to right here in Richmond. In all reality, I think this is just the latest goofy punk band with a fake back story to come out of this town–but I can’t swear to it! Come see these keytar-toting disco punks and figure it out for yourself. Then tell me, so I can write about it next time! Suneater will kick things off with some psychedelic weirdness that makes me think of Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More, bringing back some pretty rad high school memories in the process. Should be fun, just like this whole show!
Friday, May 6, 6 PM
Hello Ocho, Energy 2000, Pete Curry @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Art is always the primary reason for Gallery 5’s First Friday shows, and it’s good not to lose sight of that–but there’s also usually some great music to be heard as well, and they let you hang out all night checking it out for free! That’s the kind of radness that I find myself endorsing more often than not. The same is true once again this First Friday, especially if you’re hurting for cash (as I often am). Atlanta’s Hello Ocho will be coming to town to bring the city their fun, eminently danceable psychedelic jazz postpunk grooves. Actually, it might be more correct to call them great lost 60s spy movie soundtracks, or smooth, sweet melodies, but the uniting factor here is just how unusual in terms of both style and brilliance the sounds of Hello Ocho truly are. This may be one of those shows you can just wander into and out of four times over the course of the night, but honestly, Hello Ocho’s set is appointment viewing.
Energy 2000, the first of two local artists on this bill, have been hidden pretty well under the radar, which is something I’m saying because this show is the first I’ve heard of them, and god knows I know EVERYTHING happening in the Richmond scene, right? (That’s a joke. I definitely do not.) Energy 2000 fit well with Hello Ocho, as their reverb-loaded instrumental sound evokes memories of the sort of future the America of half a century ago expected to have by now–a future that would have been way cooler and art-deco style, and involved way more space travel. Energy 2000 will help you to travel into space without ever leaving the confines of Gallery 5, though, and that at least is a pretty great thing. Intrepid solo performer Pete Curry rounds things out with some straightforward power pop that forsakes spy movie intrigue and astral travelling in favor of doing the twist like the fresh-faced youth of America that we all are. Or something like that. Regardless, it’ll be fun, and you’ll be able to see some art–and grab some vegan fried chicken from Mean Bird outside! What more could you ask for?
Saturday, May 7, 8 PM
People’s Blues Of Richmond “Quit Or Die” album release party, feat. People’s Blues Of Richmond, Rikki Shay, Dalton Dash @ The Broadberry – $10 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Have we ever talked about the fact that local blues-punk trio People’s Blues Of Richmond gave themselves a name that lends itself to being abbreviated as “PBR,” just like a certain yeasty alcholic staple of the RVA bar-hopper diet? For a long time, this probably seemed more like a tossed-off witticism, not worthy of deeper investigation. However, now that PBR singer-guitarist Tim Beavers is starting to look some ugly truths in the face on the band’s brand-new third album, it might be worth acknowledging the downside of treating addiction like something worth joking about. Quit Or Die features a ferocious 90-second title track based around a serious riff and an even more serious lyric, in which Beavers proclaims, “Compromise is suicide when your choice is either quit or die.”
So could it be that a healthier, less substance-fueled PBR will greet us all from the Broadberry stage this Saturday night? Well, let’s remember to take it one day at a time–but in the meantime, we’re sure to get a fiery, powerful blast of raging noise from these three. “Quit Or Die” might be the most straight-up punk song they’ve brought us yet, with their usual early-Black Keys raunch getting a dose of Jay Reatard-style vocal freakout. If this is what we can expect from this band’s third album, shit’s gonna be raw as fuck. And I don’t think there’s any room for doubt that their set on Saturday night will be loud, raw, and raging. Openers Rikki Shay (who evolved from the ashes of the problematically-named Black Girls–glad to never have to type that one again) and Dalton Dash (a bluegrass group named for the Radford University post-cafeteria sprint to the bathroom–VCU alumni know how that goes) will get you in the spirit, before PBR demolishes the place. Bring some extra bucks to buy a copy of their new album. You’re gonna need it in your life.
Sunday, May 8, 9 PM
Jarhead Fertilizer, Gillian Carter, Burn/Ward, Truman @ 25 Watt – $5
Over the past several months, it has become clear that 25 Watt is rising up and challenging the longtime strongholds for heavy music in this town. Maybe their ability to establish a foothold down on 18th St. has something to do with how much I’m hearing about Shockoe Bottom being scary these days, but I for one think this is great. More places to see metal and hardcore shows means better available choices and more nights of the week I can spend banging my head. The latest headbanging opportunity comes Sunday night, as a double shot of metallic hardcore madness blows in on the prevailing winds to stun Richmond with brutal heavy-osity. Or something like that.
WTF am I talking about? Well, Maryland’s Jarhead Fertilizer are your headliners on this show, and this roaring grindcore whirlwind (which features ex-members of Full Of Hell and This Is Not For You, so you know they’re legit) is here to tear off your head and shit down your neck like R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket–so get ready! Floridians Gillian Carter are much more likely to interject melody into their screams of rage, but they have plentiful Satan-themed merch to remind you just how brutal they truly are. These guys knocked it out of the park at Swamp Fest 2015, and I can’t wait to see ’em do it again at 25 Watt Sunday night! As far as locals go, power-violence crew Burn/Ward and emotional hardcore trio Truman will have plenty of speed, rage, and passion to go around, making this a night of sick fury that you won’t soon forget!
Monday, May 9, 8 PM
Ghost, Pinkish Black @ The National – $26.50 in advance/$29.50 day of show (order tickets HERE)
In my previous blurb I made casual mention of Gillian Carter’s use of Satan-themed merchandise, but compared to the band I’m writing about now, I think we all have to admit that’s really nothing. Swedish metallers Ghost have cast themselves as an entire Satanic church, complete with an (anti-)pope figure, Papa Emeritus, on vocals, and around half a dozen Nameless Ghouls (represented by various elemental symbols) as backing musicians. They’ve replaced Papa Emeritus for each new album (though some apparently think this is all an elaborate act of stagecraft, and that it’s been the same singer the whole time–don’t ask me, I have no idea), and the current lineup is fronted by Papa Emeritus III, who delivered vocals on last year’s Meliora.
If you’re not familiar with Ghost’s music, you might expect some scathing, terrifying sounds along the lines of Emperor or Morbid Angel. But in truth, Ghost are a melodically-driven sextet featuring prog-influenced guitar riffs and a spooky take on the whole Deep Purple/Bloodrock mid-70s organ-driven metal sound. If you want to be splattered by animal blood to a blastbeat-laden soundtrack, go see Watain. From Ghost, you’ll get more of a stately ceremony full of pomp and circumstance–full of rad riffing and excellent vocal styles, of course. With spooky synth-driven duo Pinkish Black opening things up and getting you in the proper frame of mind, this is sure to be a night of solemn worship dedicated to the god below. Bring your upside-down cross necklace.
Tuesday, May 10, 9 PM
Peach Kelli Pop, The Milkstains, Lance Bangs, Deer Eat Birds @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://peachkellipop.eventbrite.com/)
Let’s wrap up this week of showgoing with some seriously fun times, y’all! Peach Kelli Pop is coming to town, and this guitar-slinging garage-rock sorceress has some great tuneage to get everyone dancing up a storm at Strange Matter… on a Tuesday. Her latest album, Peach Kelli Pop III, injects her traditional bouncy garage sound with some sophisticated pop melodies with strong crossover appeal. This isn’t just music for obsessive collectors of Burger Records cassettes anymore–no, Peach Kelli Pop is threatening to go mega! So get on the hype train now, and be ready for all your friends to be talking about her in six months. Or maybe you’ll even run into them at the show–that’s always fun, right?
The local support on this show is just as likely to have you dancing and having a blast as Peach Kelli Pop herself. Of course we’ve got the Milkstains, who’ve been proving to RVA just what a total garage/grunge powerhouse they are for over a decade now. Expect to see the sweat and beer fly during this group’s high-energy set. Lance Bangs used to be known as Collin Thibodeauxx, at which time they were one of those bands-named-after-their-singers that we’ve already discussed this week. However, they’ve apparently chosen to make a change, and now they’re one of those bands-named-after-a-random-actual-person–specifically Lance Bangs, the Jackass-affiliated director and husband of Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker. As far as people to name your band after, you could do a lot worse. Deer Eat Birds, the latest project from former Motel Fire bassist Tecumseh Allen, will kick things off. It’s gonna be a night of thrills, y’all, so wear yr dancin shoes.
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