Tuesday, September 6, 8 PM
Full Of Hell & The Body, Knife Hits, Left Cross, Fetish Gear, Apothecary Sound Lodge @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
The Body. Full Of Hell. Two metal-derived bands that have pushed their music farther and farther into extremes of noise terror that can’t really be defined by any simple one-word genre signifier anymore. Two bands that have become known for their collaborative work with other like-minded artists (The Body with Thou, Haxan Cloak, and others; Full Of Hell with Merzbow). And now, two bands that are extending their collaboration to a full-on live performance tour! That should be pretty cool, right?
Well, it is if you like massive volumes of volcanic noise. If you don’t, this one might be a bit much for you. But really, if you want my advice, you should try and push your limits a bit, because this is really high-quality shit. One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, the (mysteriously Courtney Love-channeling) album these two bands released as a collaboration earlier this year, represents all of the most excellent aspects of their separate sounds: grinding fastcore velocity, mournful dragging doom, harsh fuzzy noise… it’s all there, and the combination brings us a new variety of fascinating, emotionally-affecting music. One that you should, quite frankly, TURN THE FUCK UP.
You won’t be able to turn down the volume on The Body & Full Of Hell’s collaborative live performance this Tuesday, and that’s just how it should be, so go to Strange Matter and prepare to get sonically blasted! Be prepared for a full slate of amazing, powerful openers, too. Knife Hits, who are either from Philly or FL (I can’t… quite… tell) have some speedy, raging hardcore to drop on all your heads. Then you’ve got some incredible locals on the bill as well; specifically old-school death metal/crossover hessians Left Cross, as well as the confrontationally queer brutality of Fetish Gear. Krieg’s Neill Jameson will start the whole thing off with a solo performance under the name Apothecary Sound Lodge. How could that possibly not rule?
Wednesday, August 31, 7 PM
Master, Sacrificial Slaughter, Castrofate, Surgeon, Demons Within @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets HERE)
Don’t get me wrong here, y’all–I do celebrate all eras of the wonderfully brutal genre known as death metal. However, all those early pioneers just hold a special place in my heart. Master is certainly one of those, and they have quite a few of my favorite characteristics of that genre in that era. For example, super-simple band name. For a more serious example, furious grinding riffs that do not mess around with overlong slow parts or overdone displays of technical prowess. Nope, these dudes are here to punch you in the face with their powerhouse riffing, and it’ll be the best punch in the face you’ve received all year. Apparently their last attempt to play in Richmond fell through, so you certainly want to make it out for this one–get it while the getting’s good!
Plus, my god, there’s an insane amount of talent on the opening roster for this gig as well! Sacrificial Slaughter are somewhere between speed thrash and raging 90s-era death metal sounds, and the result is headbanging mania! I’m actually kinda baffled about how I’m supposed to pronounce NY-ers Castrofate’s band name, but I can tell you that their late-70s metal-groovin’ vibe sorta reminds me of early Priest and Maiden–those are damn good reference points for me! We’ll work out how to say their name out loud at a later date. This bill is rounded out by PA’s Surgeon and Cleveland’s Demons Within, making this a five-touring-band extravaganza that you can get yourself inside for the criminally low price of $12! You’re probably not gonna get another chance to see a bill like this anytime soon. Don’t blow it.
Thursday, September 1, 10 PM
Dr. Millionaire, Chance Fischer, DJ Hoody @ Balliceaux – $5
The segment of the RVA hip hop scene that has grown up recently around regular Tennison shows at The Camel and semi-regular Dr. Millionaire shows at Balliceaux is one that I am super-excited about. Having seen Dr. Millionaire rock Balliceaux in the company of DJ Harrison back when I still worked for RVA Mag, I can tell you right now that this man is the real deal. Not only does he source amazing beats from a variety of talented producers, he also spits his shit all the way live–no prerecorded backing vocals, no hype men onstage, just one man, one mic, and one MILLION dope rhymes. Dr. Millionaire’s still got a huge backlog of rad tracks to unleash upon the world, so expect to hear not only the greatest jams from his My First Million tape but also quite a few other tunes, many of which you can’t just stream on his soundcloud page.
And y’all, Chance Fischer may not have quite as high a profile in the local scene as Dr. Millionaire yet, but that should change and damn soon. I could say all the same complimentary shit about him as I could about Dr. Millionaire, but that might make you think he doesn’t have his own sound, his own flow, his own devastating approach. That would not be correct. The man kills mics anytime he gets close to them, and he’s dropped fucking sick tracks like “Souffle” and “Staccato” on a regular basis over the past couple years, leading me to ask only one thing–when is someone gonna do an album with this man? Well, until that happens, get down to Balliceaux and check his set, because it’s sure to knock you out. With music and an opening DJ set from DJ Hoody, this night is guaranteed to be a banger. Don’t skip it.
Friday, September 2, 9 PM
Helms Alee, Polyon, Manzara @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Ah yes, Helms Alee. Truth to tell, y’all, I really only check for this band at this point because one of my friends raves about them constantly. I’ve never really dug all the way into their work, and now that I’m doing so on the eve of their upcoming Strange Matter performance, I’m having to eat some serious crow. This band is incredible! I’m not sure whether to call them prog-metal, or post-metal, or heavy grunge/alt-rock, or what… and I know for a lot of people, those sorts of descriptions might set off alarm bells. Honestly, I’m one of those people most of the time! But the three songs that have been released to Bandcamp so far from this band’s imminently-dropping new LP, Stillicide, are enough to dispel any lingering doubts on my part–or your part, or anyone’s part.
What else do you need to know about this band? Well, guitarist Ben Verellen hails from that same Seattle metallic hardcore scene that produced bands like Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, and Narrows–and he himself used to play in the criminally underrated Harkonen. You’ll hear a lot of those same crushing metal vibes here in Helms Alee, but there’s a definite undercurrent of gloomily epic prog-ness that I can’t deny. The fact that it makes me think of Neurosis at their best rather than Isis at their most ponderous/least heavy is a very good sign, though. This band is fully prepared to assuage any and all doubts about their musical prowess. Make sure you’re there when they do so. And catch rad opening sets from up-and-coming shoegaze-core jammers Polyon, along with local gothic postpunk heroes Manzara, in the bargain. This is gonna be outstanding.
Saturday, September 3, 9 PM
Vexine, My Darling Fury, Flashlight Tag, Whatever Honey@ The Camel – $7 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This might seem random considering the kinds of venues they typically play, but I swear to you, Vexine is a band you should be paying attention to. Their dirty rock n’ roll swagger contrasts nicely with vocalist Sarah F. Gleason’s come-hither croon and memorable stage presence, and if like the idea of bluesy riffs with a chunky undercurrent that makes me wonder if these folks have some Social Distortion records in their collection, well, truth is you will probably dig this band, even if they do play Irish pubs on a regular basis.
The fact that this band does have some good taste is shown in their choices of opening acts–most notably My Darling Fury. This trio has steadily taken their indie-influenced ambient rock sound farther and farther into electronic territory over the years of their existence, but they never get any less rad. In fact, I think I probably like them better now! Meanwhile, Flashlight Tag has their own unique approach, somewhat encapsulated by their album title Americana Electronica, though in the end the fact that they don’t have a drummer is probably gonna make the biggest impression. Whatever Honey, a new band featuring blues-rocker Angelica Garcia, kicks the night off. Should be fun, and a bit of a change of pace from the usual fare… at least if your tastes run in the same lines as mine.
Sunday, September 4, 9 PM
Various Eggs, Sungazer, The Countess @ Bandito’s – Free!
Hey yeah, that’s right, it’s two shows in a row that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from my hardcore/metal loving ass. And yet, I do get a big kick out of Various Eggs–this odd, erudite, and always unique band makes me think of things like Lloyd Cole, early Talking Heads, and Mazzy Star, all at once. I’m not sure how they pull that off, but it’s always a fun listen and a pleasant surprise.
Sungazer kind of anticipated the terms I would use to write about them back when they were naming their band. And if you think I’m about to call these guys “shoegaze,” well, you catch on quick. I love shoegaze bands, though, and this band’s somewhat ethereal take on the genre sounds great on their Another Face album, which came out last year. In the interim they’ve probably only gotten better–let’s all go discover that for ourselves, shall we? The Countess, a one-woman electronic project which reminds me vaguely of The Blow, starts things off. Should be cool. Come out and let’s split a plate of nachos! (I know, I say this about every Bandito’s show. What can I tell you? I’m obsessed.)
Monday, September 5, 7 PM
Porches, Japanese Breakfast, Rivergazer @ Strange Matter – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There’s a really obvious celebrity connection I could draw here, but I think I’m just gonna skip it. After all, you shouldn’t be into Porches because of who the main songwriter in the band is spending time with–you should be drawn to them based on their excellent songwriting abilities. Those abilities were most recently displayed on the Pool LP, which features some excellent synth-driven indie melodies with a reserved and somewhat dark postpunk sensibilities. With brand new EP Water about to drop Friday, featuring new versions of several songs from Pool, plus some new unreleased jams, Porches is (are? Plural-noun band names are so confusing) carrying on with the killer vibe, and will be recreating it onstage at Strange Matter for the adoring hipster indie masses.
I know you’re not an indie hipster, though–you’re cool, you have a deeper sensibility, your music tastes aren’t affected by just any passing trend! That’s totally cool, but you really gotta recognize when the Pitchfork readers of the world are actually right about something–it’s not as common as they might like it to be, but it definitely happens. This band’s tunefulness is at a way higher caliber than that of the unnamed celebrity connection I refused to mention earlier (those of you who don’t know who it already is are confused. Google it though, I promise you’ll find out like immediately)–yeah, I said it. I admit I don’t know much about touring openers Japanese Breakfast and Rivergazer, but let’s be real. You’re not going to this show for the opening bands. Porches is all you need. Get your fix.
Tuesday, September 6, 7:30 PM
Anthony Green, Secret Space @ The Canal Club – $17.50 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Circa Survive is a pretty sweet band, right? And I think we all know who the real talent driving that whole band is, don’t we? Considering I’m writing this in a paragraph detailing why you should go see Circa Survive’s frontman do his solo thing, I think I’ve probably tipped my hand. The point here is that Anthony Green solo is just as rad as Circa Survive, and the man’s just taking the opportunity in this non-band project to get some sounds out that maybe don’t entirely fit with what his main project generally does. From what I’ve heard, it seems that he specifically is digging into catchy emo and even outright pop, with some downright Beatlesque moments showing up on the several solo albums he’s released over the past decade or so.
Green definitely does solo tours at times, but if you, like me, are always grumbly when you get to a show and find out that the touring performer didn’t bring a full backing band, you’ll be happy to learn that he’s backed on this tour, as he so often is, by the band Good Old War. Things will still be centered around acoustic guitar sounds, but these guys are great with those exact instruments, and you won’t miss a single thing about the distortion and the amplification. After all, these tunes are gorgeous–typical metal production would just get in the way. Equal Vision recording artists Secret Space will open with a set that takes things part of the way back towards the fully-electric Circa Survive sound, which will be a lovely way to kick off this show. I’m a bit amazed there aren’t more than two acts, but hey, Anthony Green will probably play you a whole lot of his songs. And who can complain about that?
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