Friday, July 1, 6 PM
Good Day RVA Showcase, feat. Houdan The Mystic, We Never, Hill Walkers, Walking Distance @ Gallery 5 – Free! (Donations appreciated)
Good Day RVA is the shit, y’all. I told you all about it when I still wrote for RVA Mag, but really, you don’t need to hear it from me–one look at their loaded YouTube channel will tell you all you need to know.The videos in which they’ve documented special one-off live performances by a variety of Richmond bands (over a dozen so far), performing in exotic and evocative locations all over the city, could be added together to become a sort of non-narrative documentary exploring this city, its sights and sounds, and most importantly its creative output–of which there is a ton.
Efforts like this are sometimes unrecognized during their time, but this city has embraced the work of this dozen-member collective with open arms, and the exhibition taking place at Gallery 5 starting this Friday is just the latest example of this phenomenon. I’m not sure whether the non-narrative documentary I imagined in the previous paragraph will be created and screened before your very eyes, whether aspects of Good Day RVA’s past productions will be spotlighted, or whether there’ll just be different films playing in different rooms all around the gallery. Maybe it’ll be some combination of all three? Either way, I assure you you’ll want to see what results. Even if you’re intimately familiar with all of this collective’s work (and I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been able to keep up with them recently, so I’m sure there’s some new shit for me to see at this show), there’s no way you could possibly be tired of it.
Isn’t this article about live music, though? Damn skippy, my friend! To honor Good Day RVA’s contributions to the local scene, a whole bunch of local bands will be performing later in the evening on Gallery 5’s stage for your entertainment! Houdan The Mystic are headlining the show, and as one of the first bands to be spotlighted in a Good Day RVA video, these guys are an appropriate act to sit at the top of the bill. Expect some mellow yet complex math-rock melodies from this hirsute power trio. We Never, the latest project from John Carter Burton, featured former members of Young Adult Fiction and New Turks last time I saw them, and had some good alt-rock tunes to get your booty shaking. Whether that’s what we’ll get this time remains to be seen, but the results are sure to be enlightening regardless. The music kicks off with performances from two ambulation-themed bands, the Hill Walkers and Walking Distance. The evening is further accompanied by an appearance from Sink/Swim and Mended Arrow, who’ll be on hand to present the latest installment of the Little Red Fish graphic novel. Sounds like a jam-packed evening, right? Or at least an evening packed full of jams. […I’ll get my coat.]
Wednesday, June 29, 9 PM
Hivelords, Unsacred, Embra, Voarm @ Strange Matter – $7 (order tickets HERE)
So is the dude in the above pic creeping you out as much as he’s creeping me out? I don’t know about y’all, but I love it when super-creepy metal bands come to town and turn Strange Matter into a chamber of horrors. That’s exactly what Hivelords promise to do when their van pulls into town with the setting sun tonight. This gloom-tastic Philly band deals in epic song lengths and mournful minor-key riffs, but has far more to offer than typical yawn-inducing doom. The occasional appearances of blast beats indicate a strong black metal influence, and the shrieking vocals evoke cobwebbed terror trips through poorly lit basements as creepy Bernard Herrmann scores run through your head. Hivelords are just as scary, but much, much heavier than Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite composer. Sounds like my idea of a good time.
And then we’ve got a full menu of local awesomeness to get you good and nervous before our main attraction begins. Unsacred grew from formative years as a dark hardcore band into a fully-blossoming specimen of black metallic crust–which in this case is not something you want to get a doctor checked out but something you wanna turn up louder when it comes on your stereo. It’ll be plenty loud enough live, though–last time I saw Unsacred guitarist Miguel Falcon, he was toting a 7-foot-tall amp stack, so expect to get yr hair blown back. Embra and Voarm, a couple of new local rippers, kick this whole evening off, so get ready for some serious metal terror at Strange Matter tonight!
Thursday, June 30, 7 PM
Pinegrove, Ratboys, Half Waif @ Gallery 5 – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Based on what I knew about Pinegrove back when I first heard of them a few months ago, I was expecting them to be up my alley–after all, they’ve got some pretty heavy associations with the on-the-wane-but-still-rad “emo revival” movement of a few years ago, and their PR representative is a friend of mine, and I knew she wouldn’t back a bullshit band (haha we’re not supposed to talk about that kind of stuff as journalists; it’s pretty sweet when you’re your own boss). But you know, I still was taken pretty far aback by how great their brand new LP, Cardinal, turned out to be. For one thing, I wasn’t expecting all the alt-country touches (pedal steel, close-harmony vocals on the choruses, twangy laid-back riffing). For another, I wasn’t expecting the gorgeous choruses on this album to touch a nerve this strongly for me. But honestly, part of the reason this column is late today is because I sat here listening to this album for 20 minutes and forgetting to write about it (the rest of the blame goes to my day-job employers, Hallmark–give me more budget for my goddamn Kroger, you jerks!).
Anyway, the point is I’m thoroughly absorbed by this album. And with a six-piece version of this rad band rolling through town tomorrow night, I am seriously considering altering my plans on the fly and digging through the couch cushions until I find some cash to get into Gallery 5 for this jam. If this band can even come close to delivering on their studio sound in a live environment–and I’ve heard great things from the rumor mill–it will be straight-up great. I want to be part of that! I may not manage to, but you should, because after all, you’re not like me–you have a stable job and never have to worry about how you’re gonna pay your rent (well, at least I certainly wish that for all of you). So click that ticket link above and grab one for yourself right now! Ratboys and Half Waif are on this bill too, and they’re both touring with Pinegrove. I could do a little more research and tell you what the deal is with these two bands I’ve honestly never heard of before today, but I don’t wanna turn off this Pinegrove record, so how about you just trust me that the headliners are worth the price of admission all by themselves? After all, have I ever steered you wrong before? (Don’t answer that.)
Friday, July 1, 7 PM
Satanarchist, Hard Charger, Tond @ 25 Watt – $7
Those of you who do not live and die for the glory of metal may be out there doing whatever it is you do, like going to bed at a reasonable hour or playing your stereos at a reasonable volume, but one thing you really need to know is that elsewhere in this town, Between 2 Beers Promotions are doing the dirty work in order to keep the heart of this town’s metal scene beating–loudly, scarily, and as often as possible. What am I talking about? Just look at 25 Watt’s show calendar on any given night, and count how many brutal death metal, grind, power-violence, and black metal terror units are laying waste to Shockoe Bottom in the next week or two. It’s a bunch, huh? For this, we must thank Between 2 Beers. After all, who else would allow us to cap off our week in fiery, explosive fashion with a band called … Satanarchist?
OK, maybe you don’t have the history I have. Maybe a name like that is not quite as irresistible to you as it is to me. What else do you need to know? That these guys have songs called “The Rapture Will Not Be Televised” and “Steal This Bible”? That their riffs sound like an even cross between Ulver circa Nattens Madrigal and His Hero Is Gone on a day half the band didn’t show up to practice? That this show is sure to be a circle pit extravaganza? That should be more than enough, I’d think. And now I need to calm the heck down and tell you about the other bands on this bill (especially since I’m almost out of space). Hard Charger hail from Eastern Canada and have sort of an Entombed thing going on, though there’s more than a little Doom (the band, not the stoner metal genre) injected in there as well, just to make it more biker-crust-tastic. Openers Tond are a band I just heard of from the first time, but they’re local to our area and play folk/symphonic black metal. Prepare for 25 Watt to get downright ornate during their set, only to build to a filth-encrusted finale less than three hours later. It’ll be a journey through the world of total metal–suitable both for the occasional visitor and for those who make their full-time home there.
Saturday, July 2, 8 PM
Door Fund For The Door Fund, feat. Imaginary Sons (photo by Post-Cognitive Photography), Josie McQueen, Suneater, Turbo Mansion @ Strange Matter – $7
Do y’all remember that horrible snowstorm back in January? Boy, I do–it ruined my 40th birthday party, and I’ll never have another one of those. Stupid weather. Anyway, the stupid weather did more than just affect me (how awful would I be if I didn’t recognize this fact? I am at least trying not to be that awful). One other gross effect from that dumb snowstorm was the spiderweb of cracks that appeared in Strange Matter’s glass front door–apparently the result of a rogue icicle that came hurtling towards the door at dangerous velocity during a rad show that the staff refused to shut down. That’s pretty cool, right? But as we all know, repair bills are super UNcool. So thankfully, some pretty cool RVA bands (some of whom were performing at the show in question, if I understand correctly) are throwing a benefit concert to fix Strange Matter’s door and get their front facade back into pristine shape. I support that effort, and so should you!
The bill on this evening brings together a bunch of heavy hitters from RVA’s alt-rock scene. Imaginary Sons have certainly done plenty to establish their goofily triumphant power-pop credentials over the past couple of years. You can expect a blast of Cheap Trick-influenced rock n’ roll nitro from this powerful trio’s set–but then, you probably already knew that. You might not know as much about Josie McQueen, though you should certainly get familiar–this local band came out of nowhere a year or so ago (or maybe they’ve been laboring away in obscurity for quite a while and I only heard about them within the last year… I don’t know everything about the RVA scene, after all) and have been doing a lot to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the local scene. Their latest EP, The Man Is A Thief, has some pretty epic production for being recorded in the band’s practice space, and the riffs and choruses are fully worthy of the excellent sound. This band is gonna get y’all dancin–though hopefully not so hard that you end up breaking the door again. (Too soon?) Psychedelic alt freaks Suneater and semi-acoustic up-and-comers Turbo Mansion start off the evening’s sounds. It’ll be rad, it’s for a good cause–what are you waiting for? Oh, for Saturday night to get here? Yeah, OK, that makes sense…
Sunday, July 3, 9 PM
Bad Canoes, The Catholic Church, Polyon, Kuni @ Strange Matter – $7 (order tickets HERE)
End your weekend with a blast of fun from some rad Philly ladies! Bad Canoes feature Screaming Females’ main screamer Marissa Paternoster fronting a demonic synth-punk combo with some diabolically catchy tunes. If you’re down with rad punk sounds, you should be very down with the Bad Canoes! I’m not sure there’s much else to say about it, really, but this band’s very good in a very concise format themselves, so perhaps a short paragraph is appropriate.
I should also talk about The Catholic Church, an occasionally-appearing duo consisting of a couple of longtime RVA luminaries. Former Young Pioneer/current Steady Sounds co-captain Marty Key joins forces with former Rah Bras/Hose.Got.Cable drum hero John Skaritza for something that sounds absolutely nothing like AAF (hah, y’all didn’t think I’d forget, did you? Word to Ben Snakepit). But yeah, this ain’t pop-punk, it’s experimental electronic sounds of the sort that Skaritza has explored in a variety of outfits for a quite a while now. Kuni will fit in well with both of these acts; the latest project from Leather Daddy’s Jonny Khalili, this group combines straightforward and confrontational queer consciousness with driving, in-your-face techno-punk. The evening is topped off by an appearance from psychedelic synth-driven post-hardcore crew Polyon (which I have put off seeing for too long). This is an evening of mostly electronic sounds, but don’t get it twisted–it’ll be punk as fuck.
Monday, July 4, 8 PM
Funebrarum (photo by Septikphoto), Putrisect, Scorched, Left Cross, Voarm @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s interesting to see where people sometimes end up after starting off playing in punk bands. For example, late 80s northeast hardcore titans Citizen’s Arrest featured both Ted Leo and Darryl Kahan on vocals at different points during their existence. We all know where Ted Leo ended up, right? Meanwhile, as he was establishing himself as a post-Y2k heir to the legacies of Joe Strummer and Paul Weller, Darryl Kahan was diving feet-first into the world of brutal death metal–where he still resides today! To find out exactly what sort of brutality the man is up to in 2016, you need go no further than Strange Matter on Monday night, because Kahan’s latest project, Funebrarum, will be on hand to assault you with pummeling riffs and Darryl’s patented croaking growl.
Sometimes I listen to this dude sing and just think about how bad my throat would hurt if I tried to do what he does for more than 30 seconds. But that’s exactly why we need bands like Funebrarum in our lives. Bands that make us wanna bang our heads and mosh it up to some sick breakdowns. Bands who show us the full potential of humans armed with guitars, double bass pedals, and really intense effects pedals. Oh, and one would assume a fair amount of throat spray is also involved. Funebrarum will be joined by some other groups, some traveling from afar and some ascending from our local scene. Putrisect comes from Baltimore, for example, and Scorched hail from Delaware, but both have one thing in common–they bring a massive dose of death metal brutality to add to the already formidable amount Funebrarum will be packing. Locals Left Cross and Voarm will sweeten the deal for any RVA metalheads still on the fence, though to be frank, I doubt anyone will need further convincing. Get there, y’all–and do some neck stretches beforehand. You’ll thank me later.
Tuesday, July 5, 8 PM
Peucharist, Sundrainer, Doubtfire @ 25 Watt – $8
There’s more than enough metal in this show column to bore the indie-pop and hip hop fans amongst you, and I do recognize that. However, when Richmond’s scene exists as it does primarily due to the trailblazing work laid down by our metal forefathers and foremothers of three decades past (and more), it tends to color the tenor of a particular scene–and RVA’s is by no means immune. OK, and also, I fucking love metal and this is my column. Hahahaha… anyway, here’s why I decided to write about yet another 25-Watt-hosted Between 2 Beers extravaganza: because when I clicked on Peucharist’s bandcamp link, the first song title I saw was “Vomit Right In God’s Face.” I added the event page link for this show into the “Tue 7/5” slot before I even finished laughing.
Does this Vermont-based trio live up to awesome song titles like that? Well, their demo is recorded in a pretty raw/lo-fi fashion, but that’s never troubled me a bit if a band has the riffs. These guys definitely have the riffs–and their demo sounds better than Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger, and that record’s a classic. Anyway, blast beats dominate Peucharist’s grinding blurts of antisocial noise, and the harsh vocals have a certain guttural quality that I always find quite enjoyable. Peucharist are joined on this bill by the equally enjoyable Sundrainer, who mix an obvious appreciation for biker metal with an undeniable moshcore influence that turns their music into an irresistible invitation to rock the fuck out. There are too many adverbs in that sentence, but I’m past deadline, so fuck it! Doubtfire kicks things off with the exact sort of heavyosity you expect from members of Night Idea and Dumb Waiter. Wait, what? No seriously, these guys are tough as nails–perhaps if I mention fellow ex-bands Hellbear and Navi, you’ll get a more accurate understanding. Regardless, this show full of loud, angry sounds is all-killer, no-filler, and god knows at my advanced age I need more of that. Let’s rock.
Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows: firstname.lastname@example.org
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