Saturday, June 18, 8 PM
Dazeases, Heavy Flow, Cookies & Cake, Gemtone, Ghost Piss @ 25 Watt – Donations requested
Richmond’s electronic/experimental music scene has been in need for a while of a serious infusion of feminine energy. I’ve been saying this for a minute, and I know I’m not the only one. Fortunately, a whole bunch of rad, talented women have stepped into this gap and taken things to the next level over the past year or so, creating some of the best electronic music Richmond’s seen in a long while (from anyone of any gender). On this night, you’ll get to see not one but two of the brightest shining stars of this new movement performing together. So hey… get ready!
Dazeases is the solo project of London Perry, an intimidatingly fabulous R&B diva who performs with passion and soul overtop of ambient, subtly strange backing tracks (which she also creates). Her profile around town has significantly increased recently, mainly due to some truly mindblowing performances in front of adoring local crowds. If you haven’t been a part of any of these crowds, you should be on Saturday night, because you’re missing out on a lot. You’ll also be missing out on Gemtone, which is a one-woman force of nature from singer-programmer-producer Rachel Ludwig. Where Perry’s style is noise-damaged R&B, Ludwig’s coming from a gothic industrial background. These influences mix in Gemtone’s music with the darkest aspects of punk and metal to result in a passionate expression of deep emotion that can at times be quite terrifying–and at other times be so raw and open that you’re bound to be affected.
Let’s not slight the work of the touring electronic musicians bringing some amazing sounds to RVA on this bill. Jacksonville’s Heavy Flow have the snotty, in-your-face attack of riot grrrl, the pounding backbeats of hip hop, and the chanting vocals and primitive programming of electroclash. These raging femmes are obviously taking pages from Peaches and Le Tigre, but delve into the graphic details of sexual interactions with perhaps even more hilarious frankness than either of those artists ever did. Fellow Floridians Cookies & Cake are mining similar territory, though the results are even more primitive than those of Heavy Flow (saying this mostly because the songs on their soundcloud all play only in the left speaker… WTF?). If you dig the idea of feminist revenge anthems chanted with angry humor over late 80s style hip hop backbeats, chances are you’re gonna love both of these touring acts. Brand new RVA electro-noise act Ghost Piss kicks this whole jam off–get ready to dance, laugh, and feel some feels.
Wednesday, June 15, 9 PM
HeadlessMantis, Tendrils, Daniken, Harry Partch Appreciation Society, RAIC @ Strange Matter – Price TBA
Tonight, more noise and experimentation, though from a more musically varied crew of mostly male weirdos. HeadlessMantis (or HEADLESSMANTIS… I dunno, whichever) are generally a bassless duo when I encounter them, though they’ve also introduced chaos elements into their live performances at times, with varied results (once when they played at my house, they had a guy triggering samples of car horns and croaking frogs while they played… it sure was weird, I’ll give ’em that). Underneath all the trickery, these guys play deep swampy blues-rock with reference points that drift back past the Black Keys into the raunchy sounds of the Fat Possum back catalog. It’s pretty fun when you get right down to it.
Baltimore ragers Tendrils share some elements in common with HEADLESSMANTIS, though they dispense with vocals and get right into the serious guitar-fueled weirdness. Psychedelic jams based around noisy rock n’ roll riffs get the party rolling in a manner reminsicent of early 90s Drag City artist VokoKesh. And now that I’ve made a reference literally no one will get, let’s talk about Toledo’s Daniken, who get into similar third-eye-driven noise excursions, but to much lengthier duration and with even more bizarre results. Fans of mid-70s German cosmische explorations will find a lot to like here. The Harry Partch Appreciation Society makes a surprise return appearance to this column (are these guys gonna be regular players on the local scene now? I hope so), and the whole show kicks off with an improv-based session from (the masculine version of) RAIC (the Richmond Avant Improvisational Collective), featuring Generic’s Erik Schroeder on sax and Samuel Goff of Among The Rocks And Roots on drums. Shit’s gonna get pretty far out.
Thursday, June 16, 9 PM
McRad, Naked Baby, The James Badfellows @ Bandito’s – Free!
People don’t really talk about it too much anymore but back in the 80s that whole “skate rock” thing was a pretty big deal in certain parts of the punk scene. The hardcore kids who are in touch with their roots are bound to remember this, and therefore I’d expect them to come out in droves and catch this rare appearance by skate-punk OGs McRad. This band was led by pro skater and musician extraordinaire Chuck Treece. Musically, his credits include playing guitar in late-80s NYHC legends Underdog, and doing tours with Urge Overkill and the Bad Brains, among others. McRad’s speedy, shred-tastic tunes, as showcased on 1987’s Absence Of Sanity, hold up alongside the best of the skate punk jams from that era (think early Suicidal Tendencies, JFA, or RKL) and has as much of a skate pedigree as any of the bands from that era (other than maybe Steve Caballero’s The Faction). So come out and start the pit for these guys–the spirit’s sure to move you once they let it rip.
Some quality local rock n’ roll will act as openers for these skate punk legends. Naked Baby won’t reach the kinds of speeds McRad are known for, but their tunes have some real velocity to them regardless, fueled as they are by aggression and nihilism–and some good clean alcohol-laced fun, of course! Meanwhile, The James Badfellows poke their heads above water for the first time in a while to show off their straight-up 50s style greaser heartthrob action. If you dig the songs that play in the background in that movie American Graffiti, but think they needed a slight bit more punk snottiness to them, these guys will hit the spot for you. And of course, as always, while at Bandito’s, I endorse ordering a huge plate of nachos and snacking on it all night while you dig the rad sounds. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did–just keep those chips away from the circle pit.
Friday, June 17, 8 PM
Deathcrown, Occultist, The Day Of The Beast, Deacon, Voarm @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I must say, under normal circumstances, I would not choose to cover a band’s first show here in this column. Last week’s First Time’s The Charm event did not constitute normal circumstances, however, and now, Deathcrown’s first show doesn’t constitute normal circumstances either. This band’s getting a big welcome from all the local metal dudes, and it’s no surprise–while many of their previous bands (Darkest Hour being a notable exception) never really gained a foothold on an international level, all of ’em were known around here to be of top quality. Which bands are we talking about? Well, the aforementioned DH, but also Immortal Avenger, Disinterment, Narsilion, Suppression, Society Kills (who are actually from Michigan but sure do rip), etc etc. They’ve lived up to this impressive pedigree based on “The Witch Hammer,” the sole song from their debut EP Living Hell that can currently be streamed online. And not only will this Friday mark their first live performance, it’ll also see Living Hell be unleashed into the world! Can’t wait for that!
What else is happening on this bill? A whole lot, really. Of course it should go without saying that a performance by local black metal/thrash/crust ragers Occultist is must viewing–just don’t get too close or singer Kerry Zylstra will rip your head off. It won’t be pretty. The Day Of The Beast, who hail from down Tidewater way, get that roaring death-thrash sound going, to fearsome effect. Their set should be the kind of brutality local metalheads are crying out for. I can’t tell you as much about Deacon and Voarm, beyond the fact that both are brand-new Richmond metal bands with nothing in the way of online music (that I’ve been able to find, at least). It’s always nice to check out some new shit, though. So hey, RVA metallers–head out to this show. Check out some rad new bands in a venue that doesn’t usually showcase these kinds of heavy sounds. You’ll be glad you did!
Saturday, June 18, 2 PM
XL102 Big Field Day, feat. Blink 182, KONGOS, The Struts, Ann Beretta, Fun Size @ Innsbrook Pavilion – $30 in advance/$35 at gate (order tickets HERE)
OK, let’s be honest straight off the top–there’s something a little weird about the whole XL102 Big Field Day event. Mainly that they incessantly refer to it as “BFD”–I mean, do they really think we’ll be fooled into thinking they brought back Best Friends Day? Hell, do they really think their listening audience remembers Best Friends Day? I don’t really know what’s to be gained here… but whatever. The lineup this year is pretty amazing for a few different reasons, mainly because it makes me feel like I’ll be walking through a timewarp into 1997 when I go to this show.
After all, not only are classic late-90s pop-punksters Blink 182 playing this gig, RVA late 90s pop-punk mainstays Ann Beretta and Fun Size will be your local openers. But of course, some time has passed; while Fun Size’s James Menefee sure seems ageless based on his eternally youthful countenance and endlessly positive attitude, the band has gotten a bit more introspective in its recently-reunited incarnation. I’m never gonna complain about an increased Westerbergian quotient, though, so I’m with it. I have no idea what new-school Ann Beretta will be like, but the longtime trio’s current Facebook pic features five people, so I’m sure something is going on. And while Blink 182’s new single is pretty much on equal footing with all but the most unforgettable of their past hits, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba has taken the place of original guitarist Tom DeLonge–so the question of whether “All The Small Things” will still sound as great as it used to is a somewhat open one. Whatever–if you’re old enough to remember the glory days of all these bands, and you’ve got the scratch to attend (I’ll freely admit I don’t), this will be a fun way to spend your Saturday afternoon. You can introduce your 8 year old to the music you used to run around like an idiot to when you were in high school–and unlike your parents when they did the same thing, these will be actual good bands! (Or maybe I’m just getting old myself…)
Sunday, June 19, 5 PM
Triac, Disciples Of Christ, Durian, Buzzard Dust @ Gallery 5 (upstairs) – $5
OK whatever, enough of all that silliness! Let’s get down to some serious grind insanity. Y’all know by now that I’m all about that kind of shit–and you really should be too, because blast beats and noisy riffs are the fucking best. I’m not 100% sure that a show full of these awesome things is the sort of show I’d choose to unleash upstairs at Gallery 5, but hey, the management at this venue knows better than I do what their space can handle, and it is certain to be fun to see this show in Gallery 5’s upstairs gallery, so what the hell! Your headliners both hail from the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area (aka William Gibson’s The Sprawl) and have previously released one hyperspeed ripper of a split 12 inch. Expect both of them to knock you on your butt in rapid succession. Plus you’ll get to watch DOC’s guitarist get down on one knee to do his vocal parts for some weird reason; band members who have strange quirks are always fun to watch.
Durian, who hail from a bit farther north, are named after a fruit from East Asia that I have always heard tastes absolutely terrible. Who knows if that’s true–I don’t even know of anywhere I could buy one–but it’s probably pretty fitting for an ugly, harsh band from Jersey like this one. These guys dropped a 7-song demo at the tail end of last year which blows by ya in under 10 minutes and ends with a song called “Garbage Grind,” so personally, I think this is fucking gold and can’t wait to see these guys rattle some paintings on the Gallery 5 walls. The whole evening will start off with a set from locals Buzzard Dust, who feature members of Venomspitter, Unsacred, and quite a few other rad local bands; expect these guys to get this night of raging noise started off right!
Monday, June 20, 7 PM
Rozwell Kid, Sea Of Storms, Young Scum @ Gallery 5 – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Rather than raging ugly grind, fun upbeat pop is the order of the day at Gallery 5 on Monday night. Rozwell Kid are coming to town to play a headlining show, and based on my experience of seeing them open for The World Is… and The Hotelier at The Broadberry a year or so ago, I’m expecting great things. These guys put on a high-energy show full of rockin’ pop tunes played with loud, punked-up guitars; ultimately they remind me of Weezer back when they were young, cute, and could still crank out an entire set of excellent tunes without wavering into suspect mediocrity every few songs. If that sounds appealing to you, or if you agree that Pinkerton would have been better with way less creepy lyrics, this is the evening for you to get out of the house and get your rock on!
Sea Of Storms will make a great combo with Rozwell Kid–after all, these local vets may not be as upbeat as Rozwell Kid, but they’ve sure got plenty of hooks to sink into your brain and never let go. Plus they’ve developed years worth of solid chops and will deliver their set with assured talent and grace. If you didn’t fall in love with this band when Dead Weight came out last year… well, I don’t get that at all, but there’s still time! Come see them Monday night! Trust me. Young Scum are my faves by a significant margin in the whole local power-pop scene that’s been arising locally over the past year or two, and these boys sure have a great command over some sweet tunes with talented instrumentation and some vaguely mathy touches. So yeah, their opening set will keep the quality just as high as the other two bands on this bill, and this whole evening is pretty much guaranteed to rule. Make yourself happy, and get out to this show!
Tuesday, June 21, 7 PM
Superheaven, Creepoid, The Spirit Of The Beehive, Head To Wall @ The Broadberry – $15 (order tickets HERE)
This is a package tour? Seriously? Y’all–I would tell you to go see any one of these bands if they were playing at the Broadberry for $15. ALL THREE of them at the Broadberry for $15?!? It has now become your CIVIC DUTY to attend this show. And you can’t put it off ’til next time, either, because for headliners Superheaven, there will be no next time. Formerly known as Daylight, this band came to my attention initially through all of those “emo revival” trend pieces that were everywhere four or so years ago. It took a while for me to connect as strongly with them as I did with bands like Ovlov and The Hotelier, but by now I’m firmly in the pro-Superheaven camp–their rock-solid delivery of the sort of downtuned, downcast, surprisingly heavy pop tunes that haven’t really been on the scene since Hum broke up is unparalleled in 2016, and you really need to take part in it in a live environment one last time before these guys aren’t around to wipe the floor with your exploded head anymore.
I think I might be even more excited about Creepoid. After catching them on tour with Priests about a year ago, I was so knocked out by their live performance that I bought both of the albums they had out at the time. Neither quite captured the smoke-drenched psychedelic haze of their live set, but I still liked them a lot. However, later last year they released Cemetery Highrise Slum, finally capturing the full Creepoid live experience on delicious black vinyl. Seeing them play these songs now that I know them should only be more mind-blowing than that performance last year. So my advice is that you get that record if you haven’t, study up, and get ready for some serious musical pyrotechnics. The Spirit Of The Beehive manage to simultaneously nail the loud psychedelic haze of Creepoid and the post-shoegaze pop of Superheaven, interjecting a bit of postpunk weirdness that makes them essential. And of course, Head To Wall represent the local area with aplomb through their Quicksand-ish post-hardcore jams. If what I said before this isn’t enough to make you want to attend this banger of a show, there’s nothing I can say in conclusion to make any more clear how much you need to be here. Stop reading now and order your ticket.
Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows: firstname.lastname@example.org
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