Saturday, February 11, 7 PM
Richmond Independent Zine Library fundraiser, feat. Ultra Flake, Anousheh, Kuni, Listless, Sha Shakusky, Cell Saga @ Gallery 5 – $5-25 suggested donation
So here it is, the week of Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure there are quite a few lovelorn souls out there crying into their beer every time a Youtube commercial forces them to witness media depictions of rich happy lovers for 5 seconds before they can skip through to their Nick Drake audio clip. However, take heart, Richmonder! There is plenty to do this weekend besides sit around sad and alone. And if you’re the type of person who is way too busy staying active and doing rad shit to let stupid commercialized holidays about luuuuuuv ruin your weekend, I’ve got the perfect activity for you!
This Saturday night at Gallery 5, join all your favorite zine kids down at Gallery 5, where they’ll be rocking out, dancing it up, and raising plenty of money for the Richmond Independent Zine Library (a rad new collection of independent media, housed on Gallery 5’s second floor). Richmond Independent Zine Library founder Dusty Timberlake (who has also won awards for their excellent work as Gallery 5’s lead bartender) and empress of RVA zines Celina Williams (who you may know from feminist art collective Elbow Room or her key role in organizing the annual Richmond Zine Fest) are celebrating their birthdays this night, and therefore it’s a perfect occasion at which to make sure the RIZL coffers are overflowing! There’s a ton of rad music on the bill this Saturday night. Most important to me is headliners Ultra Flake, who’ve been out of commission while guitarist Samantha Pearl has been out on her solo tour. Now that she’s back in town, I’m ready to see these femme-fronted hardcore rippers fuck shit up, and I’m sure they’ll deliver in fine style!
Another interesting aspect of the evening is that it’s the first time I can remember seeing the Khalili siblings share a bill. Sister Anousheh’s electronic pop strikes quite the contrast with brother Johnny’s queer-powered experimental dance noise, which he performs under the name Kuni. Both will be a blast to watch and listen to, though, and that’s what matters! Listless is the latest band to ascend from the swamp-enamored Great Dismal crew, featuring members of Fetish Gear, Khonsu Djinn, Truman, This Land Is Now Dead, and more bashing out some fiery metallic hardcore, complete with dual vocals. Best new RVA band 2k17? They’ve got my nomination! Stick around at the end of the night for a dance party running into the wee hours, featuring music from Sha Shakusky and CellSaga. Donate to RIZL, be sure to wish Dusty and Celina a happy birthday, and let’s party those Valentine blues away!
Wednesday, February 8, 9 PM
The Stack Up, feat. members of The Wailers, The Southern Belles, Jackass Flats, Jouwala Collective, People’s Blues Of Richmond, and more! @ The Camel – Free!
The prog/jam/reggae type scene here in RVA is known for its one-offs and collaborations, and this evening of exploration and improvisation will bring together performers from multiple generations to lay down some fine funk and get free and easy with it. Drummer Nekoro Williams of People’s Blues of Richmond and his dad, Drummie Zeb of the world-famous Wailers Band, are just the beginning of the list of participants in this musical “stack-up,” but seeing those two names next to each other on a flyer is exciting enough all by itself! Add in some heavy hitters from local faves like down-South jammers The Southern Belles, roots-folkers Jackass Flats, reggae groovers Jouwala Collective, and more, and you’ve got a tasty gumbo featuring all sorts of different musical flavors. Feast your ears and expand your mind tonight at The Camel–it’s sure to be a great time.
Thursday, February 9, 7 PM
Deathbirds Surf Club, The Smirks, The Talkies @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$6 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Maybe I’m in the minority on this, but I’ve always really enjoyed surf music. Ever since hearing Dick Dale rip shit up on his version of “Hava Nagila” late one night on college radio (this was years before “Miserlou” showed up in Pulp Fiction–I’m old, y’all), I’ve been a fanatic for those speedy tempos, frantic drums, and wild n’ crazy guitar runs. I dug the revival of the 60s surf sound that took over a small corner of the punk scene back in the 90s, and I’m pretty goddamn stoked to see the indie kids of today falling back in love with the sound. Deathbirds Surf Club is a new local band featuring fun-loving local songwriter Pete Curry grabbing sticks and pounding out the beat, as guitarist Bean Weatherford (currently of the You Go Girls, formerly of Haints In The Holler) cranks out the riffs and his brother Adam holds down the low end. Deathbirds Surf Club mix their shreddy instrumentals with some cranking garage bangers for a blast of fun throwback rock n’ roll. Whether you dig surf music or you think I’m just a crazy old lady, you’re sure to have a blast with this crew.
The Smirks are another local trio with some serious garage vibes running through their sound. Though the surf thing isn’t really happening in their sound, they’re still a great pairing with Deathbirds Surf Club, and together promise to have you twisting the night away. Last summer’s Sweaty Situations EP (Bandcamp description: “being young and sexually frustrated”) shows that the Smirks are capturing the pent-up frustration and youthful energy that drives all the best garage punk stuff. If you haven’t seen them vent these frustrations in a live setting, you really should fix that as soon as you can–how about this Thursday night? Catchy dream-pop kids The Talkies open things up with some lovely atmospheric melodies, so show up on time for that!
Friday, February 10, 8 PM
Bastard Bearded Irishmen, OC45, Insubordination, Mistaker, The Creep Crusades, Skumboyz @ 25 Watt – $5
I must admit, before I saw the listing for this show, I’d never heard of the Bastard Bearded Irishmen. All I needed, though, was to get invited to a show they were headlining, and I was immediately curious. As played out as beards are in certain circles these days, that name still jumps right out at you, doesn’t it? I had to at least see what this band sounded like. Turns out they sound pretty great–certainly good enough that I felt obligated to recommend that you all go down to 25 Watt this Friday night and catch them live. The deal with this sextet (which does indeed appear to consist entirely of white dudes with beards–and let’s be real, almost every white American dude is at least a little bit Irish) is that they use traditional instruments like fiddle and mandolin in combination with full drumkits and electric guitars to create a hyperspeed hybrid of traditional Irish folk songs and fired-up punk rock. If you like the Pogues, or Flogging Molly, this is the band for you.
There’s a lot more about this show that will be fun for everyone, though, and Boston’s OC45 are a big part of that. Having just released their latest LP, Happy Accidents, last month, this band has a whole passel of fresh new catchy punk jams to lay on you all. Fans of Rancid, Social Distortion, and The Bouncing Souls are sure to enjoy OC45’s set. Local Richmond punk bands Insubordination and Mistaker are along similar lines, though I’d say Insubordination has a touch more Screeching Weasel in their DNA, while Mistaker has a bit more of that Avail/Hot Water Music vibe. Then there are The Creep Crusades, heading down from the DC area, and SkumBoyz, yet another collection of local punk reprobates. Really, this show is an embarrassment of riches for a measly $5, and you’ll be ripping yourself off by NOT going. Be there!
Saturday, February 11, 8 PM
Singles Nite IV, feat. (tributes to) Sisters Of Mercy, New York Dolls, & The Cure; music by DJ Ben SPEED @ Strange Matter – $7 for singles/$15 for couples
So remember those lovelorn hearts crying into their pre-Valentine’s beer back in the beginning of the column? If you find yourself resembling that remark, or feel it’s just a little too close for comfort, here’s another possible avenue for chasing away those Valentine blues this weekend. Years ago, the powers that be over at Strange Matter decided that holiday tribute-band nights were too much fun to restrict to just Halloween, and thus the annual Singles Nite tradition was inaugurated! This year marks the fourth year in a row that Strange Matter’s throwing this particular party, and as in the past, you can get in for $1 cheaper if you’re single than if you’re with a partner–maybe that will help you feel a bit better!
What’s gonna be even more likely to make you feel better is the trio of rad tributes taking place on the stage this night. I can’t tell you whether the headlining Sisters Of Mercy recreation will focus more on the Some Girls Wander/First And Last-era early stuff or the later, more pounding Floodland/Vision Thing jams (my hope is for earlier stuff, but that’s just me). I can, though, tell you that members of Aural Exile, Druglord, and Short Bus Pile Up will be coming together to bring you this doom-goth drum machine extravaganza–and that’s enough to make it intriguing right there, isn’t it? Meanwhile, some of the usual rowdy suspects from Government Warning, Southside Stranglers, and Devil’s Hand (Kenny, is that you?) will be blasting off some classic New York Dolls tunes to get you rockin and rollin. And of course, veteran local Cure tribute act Imaginary Boys will be plying their trade on the Strange Matter stage yet again. These guys kill it, so don’t miss out! Between-act jams to keep your heart alive will be provided by DJ Ben SPEED, so your night won’t slow down long enough for you to get bummed out at any point!
Sunday, February 12, 10 PM
Magnus Lush, Prayer Group, Udo @ Bandito’s – Free!
In an uncertain time full of confusion and darkness, Bandito’s is the kind of venue you can set your watch by. And we need more of those! The dollar-taco happy hours, the huge delicious plates of vegetarian nachos, and most importantly the free shows almost every weekend are crucial ingredients to happy Richmond living. If you’re not in the know, well hey, there’s no time like the present to get familiar. After all, the free show this Sunday night (which will help fill the hole in your heart left by the end of yet another too-short football season) features some incredible local talent that will bring a smile to your face regardless of what mood you’re in when you come in.
Magnus Lush are your headliners, and listen, if you’re not paying attention to this group by now, I just don’t know what to tell you. Frontwoman Adrienne Shurte has been proving her enormous talents in a succession of excellent bands for over a decade now, and even if you missed Hail Hydra, Fire Bison, and all the others, you’re in luck, because Magnus Lush is her best work yet. It doesn’t hurt that the band was recently expanded to a quartet with the addition of keyboardist Tori Hovater, formerly of White Laces. I caught one of their first shows as a quartet and could already see that the band’s Fugazi-influenced atmospheric post-hardcore had taken a quantum leap. You need to see this for yourself. I’m also hearing rumors that brand new opening band Udo (named after the guy from Accept? I hope so) has something in store that we all need to see, but right now I can’t say any more than that, so let’s instead talk about the heavier, more metallic post-hardcore power coming from Prayer Group. This crew is sure to satisfy any fans of Jesus Lizard, Swans, and the Birthday Party who might be lurking in corners, jealously hoarding plates of nachos. (Yes, I am talking about myself.) You really don’t want to miss a moment of this, and in light of the free admission, you really have no excuse. See you there. (No, you can’t have any of my nachos.)
Tuesday, February 14, 7 PM
WRIR Black Valentine’s Day, feat. Paul Ivey, Dorthia Cottrell, Mikrowaves, music by WRIR DJ Amanda @ Gallery 5 – Free!
OK yes we’ve talked about lonely hearts a fair bit in this column, but for the actual night of Valentine’s Day, there’s really no way to avoid the subject. Therefore I can do nothing other than recommend that you go with the longest-running anti-Valentine’s tradition in Richmond live music, and head on over to Gallery 5 this Valentine’s Day for the annual WRIR Black Valentine’s Day party. It’s always an action packed night of fun and entertainment, and this year will be no exceptions. Dates with a variety of WRIR supporters will be auctioned off in order to raise money for the station, so if you are feeling lonely, you can always show your support for local independent radio while scoring a nice dinner with someone who has just as great taste in radio programming as you do.
There’s also some great local music on offer from a variety of local musicians. Paul Ivey, a longtime WRIR DJ who has also been making music around town with a variety of acts for quite a while now, will be playing a solo set featuring some unannounced special guest who I can only imagine will be amazing in light of Mr. Ivey’s many talented friends and compatriots. Dorthia Cottrell, best known for her work in Windhand, will be bringing the gloomy folk material she showcased on her recent solo LP to the Gallery 5 stage as well. And of course there’s also a set from Mikrowaves, the latest project from the fertile mind of Edward Prendergast (also of Amazing Ghost, Bio Ritmo, The Big East, etc). With WRIR DJ Amanda keeping the tunes spinning all night, plus what’s sure to be an entertaining date auction even if the bids end up too rich for your blood, this is gonna be a night for the ages. And it’ll certainly be better than watching Love Actually for the hundredth time while alone on your couch eating chocolates, right?
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