Sunday, September 25, 6 PM
Disruption: A Benefit In Memory Of Timmy Williams, feat. This Time It’s War, Charmer, Three Mile Crisis, Letterbox Tragedy, The Donalds, Spiral Fracture @ The Broadberry – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It is a huge bummer to have to start the column off this week on such a bittersweet note, but ultimately I couldn’t imagine not putting this show at the top of the bill for the week. Disruption was a name given to a series of regular shows, mostly featuring early metalcore bands, down in Colonial Heights back in the first few years of the new millennium. Those suburban shows were a hugely important part of building a scene for an entire generation of heavy music bands and fans, and ended up exerting a surprisingly large influence on the direction of the local metalcore scene over the years to come. The person most instrumental in making those shows happen was Timothy Williams. He had the hookup with a tiny Colonial Heights community center, and he knew bands up and down the East Coast, so he made it happen. Williams passed away last month in a tragic accident, and now the people who most benefited from his work back in those days are coming together to throw one last night of Disruption in Williams’ memory. And y’all, this show is not to be missed.
Several bands who were part of that early 00s Colonial Heights-based scene will be returning to action for this night, and without a doubt, the most important of these returns is that of This Time It’s War. For a band named after one of Converge’s most famous shout-along lyrics, this band has a surprising melodic edge. However, they still demonstrate a ton of power and brutality, most notably on their criminally-overlooked 2011 split LP with Fixtures, Rusted Screws & Machinery Of Man. It seems in hindsight like this record ended up being the last gasp for both bands, which is a goddamn shame considering how outstanding both of their contributions to this split actually were. Now you’ll get one last chance to mosh it up while This Time It’s War tears through those great tunes–and surely quite a few more. It’s not an opportunity you’ll want to pass up.
As for the rest of the bill, Letterbox Tragedy and Three Mile Crisis are two other local metal bands returning to action after lengthy layoffs to celebrate the life of Timothy Williams. And we’ll also get some rad music from other veterans of that scene who are now in different projects but still carry the torch. Charmer provide the hardcore edge with their speedfreak grind; Spiral Fracture are bringing the progressive metal intensity; and The Donalds have that angry punk vibe going on to get you moshing it up. It’s gonna be a night of rad local sounds, and while it comes as the result of a really sad event, it will stand as a celebration of an important moment in VA music history, and a commemoration of the guy who did a ton of work to make it happen.
Wednesday, September 21, 8 PM
Pylon Reenactment Society, Dressy Bessy, Positive No @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
REM’s definitely the most famous band who came out of the very fertile Athens, GA post-punk scene of the early 80s, but if you ask a lot of the people who were there in those days, they’ll tell you Pylon were the real stars of the scene (in fact, I feel like David Cross, who came up in that scene, just said this on Turned Out A Punk). REM later covered Pylon, which should tell you that even they recognized unsung greatness in their midst. Early albums Chomp and Gyrate are full of bizarre yet catchy off-kilter tunes, which have the scratchy guitar and funk bounce of the best NYC postpunk while also incorporating power-pop vibes that make these songs truly memorable.
“But Drew,” you say, “Pylon’s not playing tonight–it’s something called the Pylon Reenactment Society! Is that a Pylon cover band?” Not really, my dear–sadly, founding Pylon guitarist Randall Bewley passed away in 2009, and the three remaining members agreed that they should retire the name with his passing. However, they still enjoy playing those tunes, so the three–singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay, bassist Michael Lachowski, and drummer Curtis Crowe–have gotten together with members of current Athens bands The Glands and Casper & The Cookies to establish the Pylon Reenactment Society, which will bring a new version of the band that is just as vital and unique as the original to the stage of Strange Matter. The fact that this show will also feature performances by longstanding indie pop heroes Dressy Bessy, as well as local indie-punk geniuses Positive No, is just icing on the cake! Yeah… you need to be there.
Thursday, September 22, 8 PM
Goblin Cock, MC Chicken & His Barnyard Bois, Exit The Beast @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Oh my goodness. The highly prolific San Diego-based guitar wizard, Rob Crow, most famous for his work with Pinback, has returned from his brief and thankfully temporary hiatus from making music to grace us with yet another project from his fertile brainpan. Goblin Cock is the name of his doom metal side project, which shows the playful and somewhat ridiculous sensibility Crow brings to the legitimately massive riffage around which he constructs this band. There’s a fair bit of melody interlaced through the most recent Goblin Cock material, as is displayed on their brand new album out this month on Joyful Noise, Necronomindonkeykongimicon. Yeah, I know right? What a ludicrous title. The music this band brings us is not ludicrous at all, though–they save the comedy for the titles and the lyrics. The music is pure power.
I think maybe Crow’s playful approach to making music with Goblin Cock shows through with the choice of bands that will be opening this gig, though. Sticking out like a sore thumb in a manner familiar to any RVA local who keeps up with the world of viral video is MC Chicken, now accompanied by a backing band known as His Barnyard Bois. What could the ridiculous joke MC (and apparently respected local jazz musician) responsible for “Richmond River Rat” bring to the table at a show like this? The very fact that we’re all flummoxed by the thought is probably exactly the desired effect. Exit The Beast will start the show with their own over-the-top take on 70s style hard rock of the sort you’d expect to hear blasting out of a 30-year old Trans Am. Admittedly, this whole show will be silly, but Goblin Cock are sure to come through with the kind of top-notch riff mastery you’d want from any Rob Crow project.
Friday, September 23, 7 PM
Big Baby, Cabbage, Nametags @ Gallery 5 – $5
Friday night is a great night for parties. It’s the end of the week, everyone’s in the mood to celebrate, and the addition of a birthday just makes it that much more fun! So you should definitely come out to celebrate Max Gottesman’s birthday this Friday night at Gallery 5. They’re not just getting a bunch of friends together to down a bunch of shots at some bar–no, they’ll be inviting the whole town to the party, and presenting us all with some killer bands to keep us all entertained! I for one can’t wait.
Big Baby are at the top of the bill, and this project, in which frontwoman Ali Mislowsky enlists her pals Chris Smith and Brian Dove (both of Young Scum) to crank out some adorably twee indie-pop sounds, are a ton of fun and certainly the kind of thing that will appeal to anyone who’s been unable to stop smiling while listening to Heavenly or Strawberry Story (OK, yes, those are super-obscure old-lady reference points, but Google exists, y’all). Cabbage have a bit of a scrappier garage-rock vibe but definitely bring the indie-pop melodies with them down from Philly, so that should be a ton of fun. And Nametags is Max’s star-studded new band, bringing together members of Hold Tight, Spraynard, and Sundials to back talented vocalist Hannah Eagle for some really catchy punky power-pop jams. All of these bands will be well worth your time, and you’ll get a chance to wish Max a happy birthday. Perhaps some shots will end up being downed? But I’m just guessing here–y’all know I don’t really get the whole “drinking” thing.
Saturday, September 24, 5 PM
Crying, Doll Baby, Big Baby @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I feel like I’ve talked a bunch before in this space about how I adore the New York band Crying, who charmed the heck out of me with their 2014 LP, Get Olde Second Wind. That record combined pop-punk riffs with lo-fi chiptune sounds and mixed the whole thing together into a unique and incredibly appealing hybrid. Crying is now only weeks away from releasing follow-up Beyond The Fleeting Gales on Run For Cover Records, and the two songs they’ve released from the album thus far show some significant musical growth. The chiptune sounds have evolved into 80s-style synth-pop bleeps and bloops, while the songwriting has veered in the direction of dream-pop and the honest-to-goodness rock instrumentation that gives their entire sound its foundation is both beefier and hazier. I thought the first record was sweet, yes; but this new one just might leave it in the dust.
So of course I’m stoked as hell for this Saturday evening all-ages showcase for Crying’s brand new jams! I’m fully expecting to bop around like a happy fool with a huge grin on my face. You should join me! And while you’re at it, you’ll get the perfect opportunity to dig into the amazing sounds of Doll Baby, a new rockin’ band bringing together members of Haints In The Holler and Hold Tight to do something pretty different for all involved–something that is totally excellent. Every time I’ve caught this band thus far, they’ve blown me away, and I look forward to another opportunity like that. Big Baby makes their second appearance within this column in as many days, and you’re bound to appreciate seeing two sets from them within the space of 24 hours. I mean, assuming you like rad music, that is.
Sunday, September 25, 6 PM
Miserable, Dorthia Cottrell, Unsacred, Petrichor @ The Temple Of The Cosmic Mothership – $7 suggested donation
Ohhh wow y’all. I was pretty into the fact that King Woman came through here not too long ago. But honestly, where Kristina Esfandiari’s projects are concerned, I’m way more enthused about Miserable. That Halloween Dream EP from back in 2014 made me a fan for life, and Uncontrollable, their full-length from earlier this year, only further cements my love for this band’s towering walls of melancholy fuzz. Esfandiari’s voice is always the star of the show when she unleashes it, but there’s a whole lot of excellent sound underlying it on this new album, and I’m sure the band she’s touring with will bring it all to loud, glorious life at this sure-to-be-prized local gig.
There’s a ton of Richmond-based talent on the bill here to keep us smiling as well, from Dorthia Cottrell’s spooky apocalyptic folk sounds to Unsacred’s ripping black metal attack. Cottrell’s still riding high on the success of her excellent self-titled debut on Forcefield Records, while Unsacred are just about to drop a split 7 inch with New York’s Anicon on that very same label, only two days after this gig! Will they have a few at the merch table to reward the early birds? Well, you can hope! Up-and-coming locals Petrichor kick things off at this intriguingly named new local venue, which I was a little concerned about writing up. After all, was I gonna blow up their spot? I didn’t wanna do that. Fortunately I’ve been cleared by management over at the Temple Of The Cosmic Mothership to hype this one as much as my little heart desires–which is a whole lot. So click that link above to discover where you’ll find this place, and go douse yourself in Miserable’s shoegaze awesomeness.
Monday, September 26, 8 PM
Coach Savage, The Smirks, 3 Legged Dog, Half Decent @ The Camel – $5
Mondays are almost never the biggest most important showgoing day in the week, but that doesn’t mean there’s no rock n’ roll fun to be had! This Monday brings us a neat little bill of local guitar-slingers to show you a good time and make you glad you made it through yet another crappy Monday (always an achievement, at least for me). Coach Savage are a rockin’ band who know how to mingle melodies with guitar firepower. The Smirks have a dirtier garage punk flavor, and some really great Ramones-influenced tunes. One of my bands played with them this past weekend, too, and they definitely bring the fire live. The lineup is rounded out by 3 Legged Dog and Half Decent, two more relatively new guitar-slinging local bands, both of whom are ready to prove themselves worthy of your love. So hey, come grab a burger or a beer or something, then dance the night away to some cool tunes. Bring some friends, it’ll be fun!
Tuesday, September 27, 9 PM
Hurt, Spirit Box, Tavishi, .gif From God @ 25 Watt – $5 suggested donation
This is going to be an intriguing and unusual show. You might expect the folks at Great Dismal (of which I, admittedly, am one) to bring you sounds that could be categorized as post-hardcore, metalcore, or maybe (shudder) “screamo.” You probably weren’t expecting anything like Hurt, though. This jazz-influenced post-rock instrumental band creates lengthy, dynamic soundscapes that seem at least partially improvised, incorporating melodic beauty, intense heaviness, and epic atmosphere over the course of their extended lengths. More Pelican than Godspeed You Black Emperor, and more Engine Kid than Explosions In The Sky, this band will definitely appeal to those seeking the heavier things in life. But that’s far from the only thing that’s going on within Hurt’s music.
That’s also far from the only thing going on within the sounds of the local openers on this bill. In fact, this one spreads across all sorts of different genres. Tavishi is a solo electronic project in which datasets from scientific experiments are used to create music that explores avant-garde textures in engrossing detail. Spirit Box are a new band with an excellent First Time’s The Charm performance under their belt, and some hypnotic psychedelic-shoegaze sounds to share with you all. And in this political season, Great Dismal also engages in the tactic known as “throwing red meat to the base” by rounding out this bill with a set from .gif From God. Breakdown-laden grindmetalcore madness awaits. Get stoked.
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