RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 1/4-1/10


Between 2 Beers New Years Facegrinder Pt 3
Friday, January 6, 7 PM
Organ Trail, Crucial Rip, Rotting Obscene, Psychotic Defilement, Murder, Risala, Murdersome, Vermin Sermon
Saturday, January 7, 7 PM
Amara, Throne Of Botis, Rotten, Gorfuk, Ugress, Awakened From Dormancy
@ 25 Watt – $7 per night/$10 2-day pass
Happy 2017, y’all! Are you stoked? I am! I’m convinced–regardless of all evidence to the contrary (Donald Trump’s impending presidency, my impending 41st birthday, the fact that any remaining Star Wars movies will definitely not feature Carrie Fisher)–that this year is gonna be a big improvement over 2016. And I’m taking this epic 2-day lineup of death/grind/thrash awesomeness, which looms large over the first full weekend of 2017 in Richmond live music, as an extremely good omen. It’s been rad watching Between 2 Beers come out of nowhere around two years ago and cause an entire extreme metal scene to coalesce and begin to thrive right here in Richmond, and the fact that these guys can begin 2017 by booking a two-day bill full of local and regional acts that are all primed to rip your head off just shows that the seeds they’ve been sowing have been fruitful indeed.

Day 1 is looking particularly fearsome, capped off as it is by dual headliners Organ Trail and Crucial Rip. I’m not sure why Organ Trail have X’s around their bandcamp URL; don’t get me wrong, I’d get a huge kick out of a straight edge goregrind band, it just seems pretty unlikely in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of their policies on intoxicants, though, this band knows all about brutal splattery headbangs and guttural growling breakdowns, so expect some serious carnage from them. Crucial Rip has risen from their early role as one of the B2B house bands/perennial local openers to quite the force to be reckoned with. These blasting death-metallers are fueled by weed and driven by speed. Don’t blink or you’ll get smeared all over the road.

There’s so much more happening on Day 1–tech-death, grind, slam, thrash–that it seems criminal to move straight on to Saturday’s lineup, but we’ve got a lot of bands to talk about, and not that much space to do it in. Let’s get busy. Amara’s blackened crust-thrash attack tops the bill Saturday night with some Nausea-influenced darkness that clearly owes a debt to Wolves In The Throne Room as well. Throne Of Botis bust out some classic Florida-style death metal to bring smiles to the faces of all the Deicide fans in the room (i.e. everybody). And of course, Rotten’s got that classic 80s thrash sound going on, with obvious death metal influences mixing well with a classic Exodus-style headbangin’ brew. There’s so much more happening on this two-day bill full of metal insanity, and with 10 measly bucks getting you into the entire thing, it’s the sort of live music deal you can’t afford to skip out on. Go headbang with the B2B crew this weekend, and ring in 2017 right!


Wednesday, January 4, 7 PM
The Concussion Theory, 32 Pints, Above The Mendoza, Selma Hijack @ The Camel – $5
Back when I started this column (three whole years ago–my, how time flies) the “emo revival” was in full swing and I was entirely on board. These days, I get the vibe from the hipsters I encounter online that the whole thing has become somewhat passe. Personally, I think that’s crazy talk–but then, I heard something like a dozen new albums in all of 2016, so who knows? Regardless, if you ask me, our local torchbearers of modern emo radness (from whom you will be hearing even more before the end of this column) are cranking out some really excellent tunes–and in the end, isn’t that all that matters? The hip new trend for 2017 is not giving a shit what’s on trend. You heard it here first.

You shouldn’t be hearing The Concussion Theory here first, because there’s certainly been plenty of info put into the world about these guys in local music press over the past year or two. But on the off chance that you are, pay attention! This band is doing the sort of thing that fans of Dads, You Blew It, or Crash Of Rhinos are sure to dig in a big way. Passionate vocals, excellently tangled guitar melodies, driving rhythms… this is the kind of shit I love. This show marks the kickoff of their tour with Long Island’s 32 Pints, who are a bit more alt-rock and less emo-influenced, but still have some great melodies and heartfelt lyrics to get under your skin with. Philadelphians Above The Mendoza and RVA locals Selma Hijack create an able match with the touring pair, for a bill that’s sure to please anyone who loves melodies delivered with an emotionally-fueled crunch. So yeah, I’m definitely into it. You should be too.


Thursday, January 5, 10 PM
Sunk Heaven, LGHQ, Richard Ripper, Oozing Meat @ En Su Boca – $5
En Su Boca is one of my favorite places in RVA to spend 7 minutes (or more) in taco heaven. But one thing this taco joint has over most other places to score the corn-encased food of the gods themselves here in Richmond is that they present quite a bit of live music as the hour grows late. En Su Boca after hours has been a home base for this town’s greasy garage-rock lunatics for a while now, but things are looking to get outright hectic this Thursday night as this particular taco joint crosses the rubicon into full-on experimental noise. Two out-of-town fuzz-wielders, Sunk Heaven and LGHQ, will be pulling into town on their way south from their hometown of NYC. One assumes these fine purveyors of humming static and ambient hypnotism are part of the insurgent forces continuing to keep a spark of creative talent alive amid the rampant gentrification that seeks to suffocate that once-outstanding city. More power to ’em, I say.

There’ll be plenty of corresponding noise from like-minded locals with which to create sympathetic vibes on this late Thursday night. Richard Ripper channels a wall of foreboding harshness that has at least in the past arisen from members of Nervous Ticks, Caves Caverns, and Navi. The suitcases full of evil electronics may or may not be wielded by the same people you’ve encountered in the past, but the usual suspects will no doubt be involved. Starting the whole night off will be the shit-fi histrionics of Oozing Meat, a duo combining members of Fake Object and Suppression into the grottiest unit of grinding noise to come down the pike since Harry Pussy hung up the amps and went all American primitive on us. Can the kitchen withstand the vibes that will arise from the front of the bar on this night? Don’t take chances–order your tacos early. Then sit back and witness the sparks fly.


Friday, January 6, 8 PM
Clair Morgan, Anousheh, Smoke Break, Lightfields @ The Camel – $6 in advance/$8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Clair Morgan is certainly grabbing all the gusto he can get these days. The father-of-two/frontman-of-seven (last I checked… he may have more kids and/or bandmates by now) will not only be holding down the headlining slot at The Camel this Friday but also performing a solo set at Three Notch’d the evening before this to celebrate the release of a new craft brew tie-in to his latest album, New Lions And The Not-Good Night. And in case that alone is not enough to cement his baller status for the entirety of 2017 with less than a week of the year gone, consider this: Friday night at The Camel isn’t just a showcase of rad local artists with Mr. Morgan parked right at the top. It’s also the beginning of the latest First Friday residency at The Camel, which has now passed from the capable hands of The Southern Belles into those of Clair Morgan (the man who is also a band).

So what will Clair Morgan, the man and the band, bring to us for their first Friday of artistic dominance? How about a jam-packed bill full of local heavyweights? Sounds good to me! Anousheh has been plying her trade of melodic, electronically-infused indie-pop around town for over a decade and only continues to grow in talent. You’re sure to fall in love with her music this night, for the first time or all over again. Smoke Break–they of the continued bullheaded refusal to create any online presence–brings together members of Close Talker, Hold Tight, and Springtime for some hard-driving pop-punk that might be better explained if you just call it punk. There’s a lot of emotion and a lot of distortion in this band’s sound, and who doesn’t love those things? Last but certainly not least, the evening will start out with a powerful 90s-channeling set of shoegaze/alt-pop brilliance from the triple-guitar attack of Lightfields. I’m calling it right now–if nights like this are what Clair Morgan’s Camel residency has in store for us, 2017 is sure to be a great year.


Saturday, January 7, 9 PM
Fat Benatar, League Of Space Pirates, The James Badfellows @ Strange Matter – Free?
OK, this is exciting. I’m not sure how many denizens of our lovely local scene were around a decade or so ago when there was a brief mini-renaissance in tribute acts driven by local punk rockers and metalheads who understood the necessity of a profound irreverence for their source material. However, whether you were around then or are just catching wind of it now, rest assured that (along with the sorely missed Rocket Queen) Fat Benatar were the reigning heroes of this ridiculously awesome mid-oughts movement.

Fronted by punk-rock frontwoman extraordinaire China Oxendine, this crew of local reprobates belted out expert versions of all the Pat Benatar hits you know and love–“Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “You Better Run,” and more, always with a fun-filled attitude and a ton of heart. Seeing this crew hit the Strange Matter stage one last time is a perfect opportunity to relive a whole bunch of outstanding nights circa 2005 that most of us probably don’t remember too well anyway. With The James Badfellows and League Of Space Pirates supplying some excellent opening sounds, and absolutely no mention of door price anywhere in any promotional materials I’ve been able to find, this is sure to be a night of excellence. And you just might get in the door for free! Though I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on that.


Sunday, January 8, 6:30 PM
Samurai Tiger, The Weak Days, Cape Farewell, Anchor The Airship, White Petals @ Walmsley Blvd UMC (2950 Walmsley Blvd) – $5
I don’t know if the younger inhabitants of the Richmond scene are familiar with anything like this, but there was definitely a time in local music history when churches were some of the most reliable venues in which to catch excellent all-ages shows for a cheap price, at a venue where your parents weren’t afraid to drop you off. With a few hardy emo explorers branching out to book shows recently at the Walmsley Blvd United Methodist Church, it seems that those days may have come once again to an RVA scene too long dominated by 18-plus age restrictions. About time, I say. It’s not as if anyone has kept me out of a show for being too young anytime in the recent past, but when I consider the state of today’s scene, I can’t help but feel bad for the current 16 year olds who pretty much can’t get into any shows anywhere. Therefore, I’m super-stoked to see shows like this come along, and I hope to see more in the near future.

That won’t happen if no one comes out to these things, though–and such an occurrence would be twice as much of a bummer in light of the music that’ll be presented within the walls of this Southside house of worship on Sunday night. Samurai Tiger hail from Maryland, and will be bringing us some more of those melodic, passionate, and powerful tunes that might have gotten lumped in under the “emo revival” moniker a few years ago. There’s some emo here, don’t get me wrong, but this band has a lot more to offer than that. Punk, pop, alt-rock, indie… it’s all worked into their catchy, heartfelt songs. And those songs are very much worth hearing. Of course, with emotionally-driven locals The Weak Days heading up the list of locals who are also appearing on this bill, you’re guaranteed some lovely tunes to end your weekend on a high note. And there’s also an appearance from long-dormant emo-core act Cape Farewell on which to pin your hopes, plus sets from Anchor The Airship and White Petals! This is gonna be a great night–come out to a venue that’s off the beaten path and find out just how cool it is to get a change of scenery every once in a while.


Monday, January 9, 8 PM
Night Idea, Red Sea, Big Baby, ING @ Strange Matter – $5
A couple weeks ago, I looked at this night on the calendar and felt profoundly unsure about which of two different shows to write about. Red Sea at Strange Matter or Very Fresh at Gallery 5? It was a puzzling dilemma, one that eventually had a disappointing yet relieving conclusion. Very Fresh cancelled their tour, the Gallery 5 show was removed from the calendar, and that show’s local headliner, Big Baby, joined up with the crew performing at Strange Matter. An elegant and efficient solution, (for me at least… bummer for Very Fresh. Hopefully they’ll eventually make it back to RVA. In the meantime, however, we’ll all be able to enjoy the excellent sounds of Atlanta’s Red Sea with a completely clear conscience.

Hailing from Atlanta, Red Sea are yet another band who’ve embraced the principles of 90s math rock and headed in a mellower, more melodically-focused direction with them. This band’s most recent album, In The Salon, features some incredibly tuneful riffs structured around some incredibly complex rhythms, thereby assuring that the listener stays on their toes and never gets bored, even as they have to smile at the beautiful sounds emanating from the guitars and vocals. It’s the sort of thing that local appreciators of Clair Morgan will certainly dig. It also should appeal to everyone who enjoys the work of local headliners Night Idea, whose own complex, precise pop jams are the perfect pairing with this Atlanta band. Big Baby’s perfectly structured indie pop tunes are a delightful contrast that add spice to this bill, and ING bring their slightly dreampop-inflected math-pop down 64E from Charlottesville to delight the early arrivals–one of which you definitely should be.


Tuesday, January 10, 6 PM
Houdan The Mystic, Hello Ocho, Manatree, Deer Eats Birds @ The Camel – $6 (order tickets HERE)
From Night Idea to Houdan The Mystic in the space of 24 hours? That’s a double shot of local math-rock awesomeness I can definitely get behind. These two bands share two different members, but the recipes they’re working from are delightfully different, so catching Night Idea on Monday night should only whet your appetite for the spaced-out mathematically-complex psychedelia that is Houdan The Mystic’s stock in trade. Interestingly enough, this Tuesday night Camel show sees Houdan pairing up with an Atlanta band coming through town on tour, just as Night Idea did on Monday. Hello Ocho have a bit of a different vibe, but their psychedelic sounds and melodic choruses will nonetheless please anyone who came through the door stoked to see the Houdan boys.

And we can’t forget Manatree, an excellent third highlight for a bill that already had more than enough to make any music fan excited. These guys have a hyperkinetic Southern vibe that has always made me think of REM as a teenage math rock band, and of course that LP from last year sure was a killer. You know what you’re getting into with this band, I’m guessing, and you know it rules. So get into it already! Deer Eats Birds, a relatively new local project with a penchant for getting wild (apologies to Shannon Cleary). They’ll kick the night off in fine unrestrained style and get everyone primed for rockin! Get stoked, y’all.


Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows (that take place after the week this column covers–this week’s column has obviously already been written): rvamustseeshows@gmail.com

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


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