Friday, October 28, 7 PM
Movie Club presents Pet Sematary, with performances from Cherry Pits, Christi, Recluse Raccoon, Weird Sailboat @ Hardywood – Free!
OK so it’s Halloween weekend, once again, and though Halloween itself doesn’t fall on a weekend this year, making it a little harder to sneak a Geto Boys reference into this writeup, the weekend itself features a ton of scary, awesome Halloween-related musical events–some of which have become quite the tradition in this town. This year, I’m predicting that the BEST Halloween-related musical event of the entire season will be this free Friday night rager at Hardywood–which is affiliated with RVA Magazine’s long-running (and bigger than ever–11 days this year?!? Reinhold, do you ever get any sleep?) Halloweek extravaganza, so it’s upholding quite a tradition in and of itself!
I mean, seriously folks, how can you deny it? This evening has got it all! It takes place at the coolest and most hopping craft beer brewery in all RVA, for one. For another, it’s free, so if you’ve overdone it on the Halloween candy during the buildup to the big event, you’ll still be able to saunter in like your middle name is Moneybags. And then there’s all the entertainment planned for you this evening. I can’t believe I got this far without talking about Pet Sematary, a gloriously splatterific horror fest that turns one of Stephen King’s scariest (and most fucked-up) novels into the best grindhouse-evoking B-movie classic of the man’s cinematic career. You’ll definitely need some popcorn for this one.
And of course, 2/3 of the way into this writeup, I finally get to the music. It was worth the wait, y’all. Anyone who has read Pet Sematary knows Stephen King was into a serious Ramones phase when he wrote it, and fans of the movie can no doubt sing along word for word with the outstanding original theme song the Ramones wrote for it. Therefore it is only fair that Hardywood give you a post-film party featuring live sets from some of the most fun-loving garage punk acts this city has to offer. Cherry Pits deliver a classic 60s garage sound, only sped up, overdriven, and doused in beer. Christi has a stronger pop vibe, with girl-group harmonies and bubblegum choruses leavening their sweetheart-with-a-knife take on girls-in-the-garage punk. Recluse Raccoon will give us some jangly indie-folk vibes that are nonetheless simple, classic, and cool enough to remain punk as fuck. And you’ll still doubtless walk out humming “I don’t wanna be buried…” under your breath. That’s what I call a fucking epic Halloween party. Get your costume together and get your ass there.
Thursday, October 27, 7 PM
Shonen Knife, Christi, Toward Space @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets HERE)
There was a time when any music fan who knew any music from Japan was guaranteed to be stoked about Shonen Knife. That time was the 90s, specifically the post-Nirvana alt-rock explosion. This Japanese band had major cosigns from Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, and even Nirvana themselves, and their first US major-label release, 1992’s Let’s Knife, lived up to all the hype. Since then, they’ve cranked out over a dozen more album-length blasts of catchy punk rock fun. Shonen Knife’s mix of sweetly harmonized vocals and crunchy, bouncing Ramones-style riffs make them a sugar-coated thrill for anyone who enjoys punk, pop, or any combination of the two.
A quarter-century after they burst onto the US alternative scene, they’re still kicking, as energetic and fun as ever. And this week they’ll be bringing their high-energy live performance to Strange Matter! This isn’t just a nostalgia act–the group still releases an album every couple years or so, and they’re currently promoting Adventure, their spring 2016 release, which mixes their punk-pop vibes with some 70s rock bombast for a new twist on their much-beloved sound. And anyone who loves Shonen Knife’s music (from any period in their 35 year history) will enjoy the local openers on this show as well–Christi’s girl-power garage punk, and Toward Space’s high-energy teenage punk bounce. This is gonna be a ton of fun.
Friday, October 28, 7:30 PM
Creepoid, Wailin’ Storms, Sacred Teachers @ Gallery 5 – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Whoa, dig it y’all, Creepoid is back. This Philly band makes a trip down to Richmond every few months, and every time they roll through, I’m pretty stoked about it. Their hazy psychedelic shoegaze vibes and gothic punk undercurrents mix together to form a loud wall of warm, blissed-out fuzz, which is equal parts Mazzy Star and Sonic Youth. They initially blew me away with their live show, which came complete with fog machines and some really trippy onstage lighting the first time I saw them. Then their 2015 album Cemetery Highrise Slum really brought the best aspects of their live show to life and let me know this band is for real. Now I’m ready to follow them to the ends of the earth. And when they come to my hometown on this frequent a basis, it’s impossible to resist.
Creepoid’s not even the only reason you should spend this Friday night at Gallery 5, though! This evening also marks the return of Wailin’ Storms, a North Carolina-based powerhouse of a band with some similar resonances to those of Creepoid–loud, ominous guitars, gothic punk vibes, etc. However, Wailin’ Storms brings a stronger sense of foreboding to their clearer, heavier riffage, which for some reason find me thinking of Nick Cave or the Gun Club at times, if nothing else for the mood they create. These two bands are a perfect pairing, and Richmond’s a perfect place for it to happen, as it represents a midpoint between their two hometowns. We’ll contribute our own flavor to the mix with an opening set from our local loud-guitar faves, Sacred Teachers. It’s gonna be a night of big noise–prepare yourself.
Saturday, October 29, 8:30 PM
WRIR presents the 9th Annual Monster Mashquerade, feat. Dazeases, League Of Space Pirates, Pete Curry @ The Camel – $5-10 donation to WRIR
Folks, here’s another longstanding Halloween-themed RVA musical event for you! There really are quite a few, and sometimes I find myself having to pick and choose, which is a shame. But this year, if I have to pick, I’m gonna go ahead and send you flying into the arms of WRIR, who regale us all with local broadcasts from the upper story of the same building that houses The Camel, making this a perfect place to host this WRIR fundraiser. DJ Jamie Lay, of the station’s popular weekly show Love And Other Crimes, will be spinning tunes between live sets, and there will be prizes awarded for Best Mask and Best Costume–so make sure you dress up!
The real reason to be here, though, is the headlining artist. Dazeases is one of the most exciting performers to arrive on the Richmond scene in the past couple of years, and this solo artist’s hypnotic take on powerful, atmospheric R&B is absolutely gripping in a live setting. Plus, now you’ll be able to listen to a full set of Dazeases music in the comfort of your own home, as this show is the release celebration for their debut full length, Crumbs. The video for leadoff single “Medusa” will even receive a live premiere on this very evening! Add in a sure-to-be-killer performance from spacefaring goth punks League Of Space Pirates (for whom every day is Halloween), and some fine indie rock tunesmithery from Pete Curry, and you’ve got yourselves one hell of a night where live music is concerned! Plus it’s for a very good cause–i.e. helping WRIR carry on the fight against corporate hegemony in local broadcasting. So get dressed up, come down to The Camel, and get ready to dance!
Sunday, October 30, 7 PM
Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Oathbreaker, Homewrecker, Genocide Pact @ Hardywood – $13 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This is the sort of week in which a lot of shows that have way more significance than strictly their musical components make it into my column. I’m cool with that–extra-musical elements are a big part of the fun! But folks, on a strictly musical basis, let me tell ya, this right here is the most significant gig of the week. And I’m not just talking about headliners Skeletonwitch, but by all means let’s start there. This band may be from Ohio, but they capture the raging spirit and ripping guitars of Swedish death metal to a tee. Any fans of At The Gates or Arch Enemy are sure to find a lot to like in this band’s sound. Having recently released the Apothic Gloom EP, the first with new singer Adam Clemans up front, Skeletonwitch are firing on all cylinders and ready to wipe the floor with all comers. Limber up, cuz you’re gonna be bangin’ yer head.
Oh my goodness there is so much more awesomeness on this triple-stacked bill. Let’s cram it all into one paragraph, shall we? Well of course local thrash gods Iron Reagan are set to blow you away, as they always do. That one’s a given. Meanwhile, Belgian ragers Oathbreaker are getting a ton of hype for their brand new album, Rheia–and with good reason. Featuring the same crusty black metal darkness that made the last couple of YAITW releases so gripping, this is a record that reminds me of the best metallic hardcore from the late 90s–Suicide Nation, Unruh, Creation Is Crucifixion–while also hitting the high points of Emperor’s discography and the earliest, deadliest Cradle Of Filth material. Homewrecker are more straight-up deadly thrashcore, with that dark downtuned vibe made famous by Tragedy. DC death metal maniacs Genocide Pact open the whole thing up. This is gonna be an incredible night for fans of heavy music. Don’t blow it.
Monday, October 31, 8 PM
Garrett Klahn & The Surrounding Areas, Alcoa, Murabess @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’m not sure how recognizable the name Garrett Klahn is in most circles, but for me it’s an instant ticket to excitement. Klahn is best known for his time fronting Texas Is The Reason, a short-lived but outstanding mid-90s post-hardcore band who helped give birth to modern emo with their one excellent LP, 1996’s Do You Know Who You Are? Having regrouped over the past year or two to do some reunion touring and release an anniversary collection that included some unreleased songs, TITR appear to have lit a fire under Klahn’s ass, and he wasn’t ready to stop when the band wound down. He released a self-titled solo album earlier this year on Rise Records, which mixed TITR’s melancholy pop tendencies with quiet alt-country vibes for a darker, more mature sound. And now he’s out on tour with a new backing band, The Surrounding Areas, bringing his solo sounds to the world.
To have him coming to Richmond is a pretty excellent thing, and it’s something none of us should miss. The songs on Klahn’s new LP are quiet-night listening, creating the perfect vibe for those evenings when you can’t find anyone to hang with and end up sitting on your couch alone, ignoring the TV and thinking deep thoughts. However, with a full band in a live environment, new sides are bound to be revealed. Who knows? Maybe we’ll all feel connected in that moment, sharing in a universal catharsis. Or maybe I’m just getting too deep inside my own head. The show will also feature solo sounds from Alcoa, a side project of Defeater’s Derek Archambault, and Murabess, a local performer with a unique approach to the whole singer-songwriter thing. This night may very well unite a diverse group of searchers, lonely people reaching out for something more. That in and of itself is a beautiful thing. And if all else fails, there is great music to help get you through. That’s important, especially in these troubling times.
Tuesday, November 1, 9 PM
Nermal, Hissy Fit, Pigeon Meeting, Extant Death @ 25 Watt – $5
…and then some nights you just wanna lose your shit. 25 Watt is a venue that can be relied upon for regular infusions of noise insanity, and this night is no different, as Van Hagar’s Jesse Mowery presents an evening of power-violence chaos for the masses. The evening’s touring stars are Nermal and Hissy Fit, two Carolina bands (one North, one South) that have recently united to produce a split EP and are now on tour together to celebrate that EP’s release. Nermal have tons of chaotic yet engaging riffs spilling all over the place, backed by blast beat madness and the occasional way-too-short, way-too-tough breakdown, and featuring the sort of full-range vocal nuttiness my friends and I used to call “gorilla/chicken vocals” back in the day.
Meanwhile, Hissy Fit are even more chaotic, and have even nuttier vocals (reverbed all to fuck on the recordings I’ve heard–I hope they recreate this effect live), but definitely build all of their madness on a rock solid foundation of tough-as-nails punk rock riffage. This band may weird you out a little, but they’ll also make it impossible to stand still while you listen. Where local openers for this gig is concerned, the evolution of the band once known as Hash Cult continues–Extant Death is their newest incarnation, and hopefully they will stick with this name and carry on with their awesome noise-core sound. And of course, Jesse Mowery himself will take the stage with Pigeon Meeting, a sick new trio also featuring members of This Land Is Now Dead, who’ll blast you with Unwound/Shotmaker-style high energy chaotic hardcore to get this evening rolling. Fuck yeah!
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