Friday, June 3, 6 PM
Girls Rock! RVA presents Jennifer Kennedy Draws (coloring book release), feat. Lady God, Avers, Christi, Lobo Marino @ Gallery 5 – Free/Donations accepted (make donations HERE)
OK, if you’re following Richmond music at all, you already know how great a lineup this is, just by seeing that list of names. But as rad as this show will be, the roll call of outstanding performers that’ll be playing music for your entertainment are if anything a secondary concern. The main reason to check out this show is to support Girls Rock! RVA, and to do so by celebrating the awesome art of Jennifer Kennedy.If you’ve been to enough local shows, chances are you’ve seen Jenn in action. She’s the woman you will often see standing front and center at a show, sketchpad in hand, drawing a picture of one or more members of the band while they perform. She’s able to capture players in incredible detail in the space of 10 minutes or less, and often adds highlights, splashes of color, and even multiple limbs in order to demonstrate activity. It’s the sort of thing that can be so amazing to watch that you almost don’t believe your eyes.
Jenn’s art has been one of the more unique and fascinating aspects of the always-great Richmond scene over the past few years. After all, a lot of cities have great bands like we do, but not many can claim to have a local artist who documents the people and performances that make up this scene as they happen. I’ve always hoped that there’d be some more permanent form of Jenn’s art preserved for posterity, and now it’s happening (hopefully for just the first of many times). Working together with Girls Rock! RVA, Jenn has created a limited-edition coloring book, featuring depictions of many outstanding female musicians from around RVA, which will be sold to benefit Girls Rock! You can grab yourself a copy at this show, and honestly, you should make sure you do that because chances are they will go fast.
Now that I’ve told you all that, let’s spare a moment for the many excellent performers on this bill–all of which feature female musicians who make appearances in Jenn’s new book. Lady God’s psychedelic pop veers from hypnotic to energetic but is always catchy and memorable as hell. Avers have their own brand of star-studded psych rock for you, with some grungy undertones that occasionally come to the surface in brilliant ways. Christi’s girl-group garage pop combines the Shangri-Las and the Runaways into a quartet that dishes out instant classics by the ton. Lobo Marino’s wandering ways find them exploring aspects of the musical traditions that exist all over the world, and bringing as many of them as possible together into one glorious collage of sound. Tons of great music is on tap for you this night, and with no door price being charged, you should have plenty of ready cash with which to donate to Girls Rock! and buy yourself a coloring book. Make it happen.
Wednesday, June 1, 9 PM
Pinkwash, Atta Girl, Memory Loss, Veery @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
Holy shit, some old friends are coming back to town! Joey Doubek and Ashley Arnwine, who’ve previously performed, separately or together, in such rad bands as Mass Movement Of The Moth, Des Ark, Ingrid, and Waxahatchee, are still going strong as a dynamic duo, and Pinkwash is their latest and greatest thing! Having seen these two play music together in several different bands over the past dozen or so years, I can assure you that what’s in store for you tonight will be of the highest quality. But don’t take my word for it! Their brand new album, Collective Sigh, which came out last month on Don Giovanni Records, is a great showcase for their muscular riffs and political punk rage–all of which is underpinned by a subtle but undeniable melodic sense. So yeah, these songs will knock your head off, but once you put it back on and wake up the next morning, you’ll be humming Pinkwash tunes all day.
Lots of local radness will also be on the bill to get you prepared for your headliners. Atta Girl have created a local sensation with their unique and unforgettable mix of Sarah Records-style indie pop and sensitive yet politically driven melodic punk rock. Memory Loss are a brand new band featuring members of Ultra Flake, Olde Shame, and more cranking out pissed-off hardcore that is raw as hell. Veery are just getting started, but the fact that they feature members of Sundials, Springtime, and Hold Tight should be a good indication that this band’s aggressive yet melodic post-hardcore sounds are going to satisfy you in a big way. There’s no band on this bill tonight that you should be less than 100% stoked about.
Thursday, June 2, 9 PM
Laser Background, Dave Watkins, Recluse Raccoon @ Strange Matter – $8
There’s a lot of charm to the art of Philadelphia’s Laser Background. I’ve seen this band referred to online as “paisley pop” and I can certainly see it–the more whimsical aspects of psychedelia are all over this band’s brand new album, Correct. Think XTC circa Skylarking, classic Elephant 6 sounds such as those of Apples In Stereo or early Of Montreal, and even certain brilliantly-colored sonic palettes from some of the later Beatles albums. But of course, this band exists in the 21st century, and even references technologically-enhanced light shows right there in their name, so there are definitely some layers of digital and synthesized augmentation working through their sound as well. Fans of everything from The Zombies to Tame Impala will find something to dig in this band’s sound.
Locally speaking, there are some pretty rad performers on this bill as well. Dave Watkins certainly appears to be the mastermind behind this entire evening of sounds, and for a guy who typically explores the place where old-time acoustic folk beauty meets ambient psychedelic space explorations, it seems quite appropriate. It appears that Dave will perform by himself this evening, but when you’re dealing with a performer whose interests are as widespread as his, you never really know. Rest assured that whatever you get will be challenging and delightful, though. Recluse Raccoon will open up with a big helping of their mellow acoustic pop tunes, which should appeal equally to the folkies and the indie hipsters who’ll wander into Gallery 5 this evening.
Friday, June 3, 9 PM
Cough, Tasha-Yar, Forest Of Legend @ Hardywood – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: coughhardywood.eventbrite.com)
Darkness descends on Hardywood Park Craft Brewery this Friday night, in the form of a record release show from the long-sleeping sludge giant of RVA metal, who has now been re-awakened… and woe betide us all. Cough returns with Still They Pray, their third full-length LP and their first release since the 2013 split LP with Windhand. This band started out on that heavy-as-fuck doom metal tip a decade or so ago, but what’s great about them now is that they’ve driven headlong into the spookiest corners of the doom/sludge genre. The songs I’ve heard from Still They Pray make me feel like I’m watching some late 70s horror movie in which a cult slowly overruns an isolated Southern town and nothing ends well for anyone involved. I’d watch that horror movie in a minute, personally, and I am also really excited to hear Still They Pray in full.
It’ll be even cooler to hear the men of Cough blast us all at mind-shearing volume with this wealth of new material. I can’t help but note that this aural bludgeoning will be taking place at Hardywood–the free Saturday afternoon shows at this brewery have been dope for a while, but by stepping it up and becoming a full-on venue, they’re suddenly rivaling Strange Matter for the most consistently awesome music venue in town! This show is the kind of show that, a year ago, you wouldn’t have even had to tell me where it was–I would just have shown up at Smatter. The fact that we now have multiple venues operating in town who can bring us this kind of thing is certainly a positive development! Getting back to this show in particular, there’ll be some brutal opening sets from Tasha-Yar–apparently Star Trek fans, this crew is part of that whole USX/Hour Of 13 axis of quality from North Carolina–and Forest Of Legend, who’re some young doom upstarts from VA Beach. Get ready for some slow, solemn headbanging, y’all.
Saturday, June 4, 10 PM
Sea Of Storms, Seagulls, Teen Death, Park Sparrows @ Mojo’s – Free!
Speaking of beer-vending venues moving into the realm of live music booking–look at this! It’s been so long since I heard about any shows happening at Mojo’s that I halfway wonder if any of my readers are even aware that they ever did book shows. Well, there was a time–and apparently that time has come again! Which always rules. Sea Of Storms are your headliners on this Saturday night bill of emotional punk sounds. I’ve always had a lot of positive things to say about this band full of rad dudes, and that’s not changing anytime soon, so if you still haven’t gotten down with their excellent 2015 debut, Dead Weight, you need to quit wasting time.
After you do that, you should definitely get down with Atlanta’s Seagulls if you haven’t already. I admit I was completely unfamiliar with them when this show came across my radar, but their recent split LP with Karbomb is enough to make me a big fan! Sure, Latterman’s back together or whatever, but there’s plenty more room in my heart for bands with that same sort of gruffly melodic sound, heartfelt lyrics, and impossible-to-forget hooks. I think I’ll be going back to this one quite often, and I imagine we’ll all have a blast singing along with them on Saturday night at Mojo’s. Rock n’ roll ragers Teen Death and brand new local sweethearts Park Sparrows will get this whole thing started in proper fashion. Show up early for an RVA burrito and then rock out all night! It’ll rule.
Sunday, June 5, 7 PM
Tiny Moving Parts, Prawn, Free Throw, Shy Low @ The Camel – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets HERE)
You know what bums me out, y’all? That it seems like the “emo revival” has become a little passe. Emo should constantly be in ascendance if you ask me; I’m really not OK with this idea that it’s yesterday’s news. A bunch of rad bands from that whole scene are still going strong, and Tiny Moving Parts are one of my foremost examples of this phenomenon. Celebrate, their latest album, is full of just as many emotional pop gems as anything else they’ve ever done, and right now it’s really making me happy as it blasts through my headphones. I know, I know, emo kids are supposed to cry or whatever, but not every emotion is a miserable emotion! And a lot of emo bands are a whole lot of fun. So yeah, expect to have a really fun time watching this band wreck shop, twinkle-daddy style, at The Camel on Sunday night.
You should really be stoked about this whole bill. Prawn and Free Throw are accompanying Tiny Moving Parts on their current jaunt, and both of these bands are well worth your time. Prawn has a more epic feel, enhanced by their augmented lineup featuring two different bass players who switch off on their four-stringed axes of choice and a variety of other instruments, through which they add intriguing layers to an already complex sound. Meanwhile, Nashville’s Free Throw bill themselves as “the Drake of punk,” which I find somewhat concerning. But that’s balanced out by their lovely, catchy songs–which definitely do focus lyrically on failed relationships and self-medication, but I have to admit that’s just par for the course in this genre. Beloved Richmond locals Shy Low open the whole thing up with some lengthy post-rock instrumentals that are sure to take you through some cinematic feels.
Monday, June 6, 6 PM
Motown Mondays w/Mad Skillz & DJ Lonnie B @ The Camel – Free!
OK this one’s a little different and I definitely am not the sort of writer who’d generally advise you to go check out a DJ night. However, I couldn’t actually find an incidence of live music happening in any of RVA’s clubs this Monday night–and the names on this bill turned my head right around. Mad Skillz is one of the most talented MCs this city–or really any city–has ever produced. DJ Lonnie B has been at the forefront of Richmond hip hop for quite a while now. Call me crazy, but even if it’s just a Motown dance night, I can’t help but feel like this Monday night at The Camel will be something special with these two at the helm. It’s certainly worth checking out, at least–and the price is right. What’s the worst thing that could happen–you end up shaking your ass to Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder songs? I think we could all handle a little more of that.
Tuesday, June 7, 8 PM
Tomboi, Rareluth, Dazeases, Lazerstar @ Strange Matter – $8
OK so this was supposed to be a show for a band called SALES and it’s apparently a bummer that they dropped, but honestly, I had never heard of them, so I’m OK with it. And when I investigated the music of Tomboi, I found something irresistible. Their synth-laced postpunk tunes are vaguely off-kilter and kinda dark, but always just so full of dance grooves that I can’t deny em. So regardless of what’s happened with SALES, it’s clear that this band will step in and play the role of a headliner quite well. Louisiana’s Rareluth are also coming through on this night, and their equally catchy dance tunes, while much more straightforward and less night-shaded, are just as much awesome fun.
We also need to talk about the fact that Dazeases is on this bill. This amazing one-woman act has brought so much awesomeness to the RVA live scene over the past year or so that I can’t get enough. Any show she plays is worth attending–it’s that simple. Expect dark ambient R&B diva-hood from a passionate woman with an intimidatingly powerful voice–because that’s what you’re gonna get. Lazerstar is a new group whose soundcloud is full of acoustic guitar interpretations of classical pieces… what does that mean for their live performance? I have no clue, but it’s sure to be interesting if nothing else. This whole show is gonna be interesting, and what more can you ask for on a random Tuesday night?
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