Tuesday, February 28, 7 PM
Power Trip, Iron Reagan, Concealed Blade, Genocide Pact @ The Broadberry – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard any new music from Texas thrash maniacs Power Trip. TOO long, if you ask me. However, our four-year wait since their killer debut, Manifest Decimation, will end this Friday with the release of their overdue sophomore slab, Nightmare Logic, on Southern Lord Records. And less than a week later, the band themselves will roll into town to inspire a live thrash frenzy on the polished floor of the Broadberry! Who could ask for more than that?
Well, not me, but then, I tend to unconditionally adore all examples of that raging 80s metal style that incorporated the speed of hardcore, the fury of punk, and the blazing guitar pyrotechnics of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (for the uninitiated, Iron Maiden and Motorhead are the best-known examples of this style). Power Trip have evoked the classic 80s days of DRI cassettes rattling around the bottom of my backpack better than any other band I’ve heard post-Y2K, and Nightmare Logic preview single “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)” promises just as outstanding an evocation of that era as Manifest Decimation provided. The sweaty pit frenzy that awaits us all this Tuesday night is something to anticipate, for sure.
Remember how I said I couldn’t ask for anything more from this show? Well, the best part is, even without asking, I will get a whole lot more from this show! Of course the first fact that demands to be disclosed is that RVA thrash heroes Iron Reagan are on tour with Power Trip and are sure to wipe the floor with their hometown crowd just as solidly as Power Trip will do just afterwards. Their brand new third LP, Crossover Ministry, continues to combine incredible thrash riffs with an on-point political sensibility and scintillating wit, as the band have done ever since their inception. God knows that’s what we need in these troubled times. Opening sets from Pittsburgh thrashers Concealed Blade and DC ruffians Genocide Pact are sure to sweeten the pot even further, so go ahead and buy your tickets now before this sells out and you’re left thrashing by yourself on the front sidewalk.
Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 PM
Sun Organ, Clasp, Ceremonial Scissors, Yaya, The Smirks @ The Community Room at Rag And Bones Bicycle Co-Op – $3-5 suggested donation
Things are getting interesting over in Scott’s Addition. Rag And Bones Bicycle Co-Op has been hosting the occasional DIY event for a while now, but their recent opening of the Community Room space adjoining the shop has helped them kick things into higher gear, which is super cool. Tonight in that space, my sometime compatriots in Great Dismal are presenting a bill that is less screamo/hardcore and more lo-fi DIY/indie pop, in the tradition of bills typically presented by my other sometime compatriots Elbow Room and Sour Presents. It’s all coming together, y’all! What’s not to love about that?
Sun Organ comes to us on tour from Philly, where they’ve been doing a lo-fi bedroom version of the sad shoegaze sound for a fair bit of time now. Fans of Pavement or the less noisy Velvet Underground songs should enjoy what they hear from this troupe. Clasp are another lo-fi Philly crew with a gorgeous pop sensibility, though based on the single song I’ve been able to hear online, I’d expect more of a Lilys/Rocketship vibe from this crew (apologies to those of you who don’t get my early-90s US indie scene references… I’m old, I can’t help it). This show will also feature a performance from solo artist Yaya, who incorporates effects and tape loops into a set of solo vocal/guitar songs and in so doing brings out some amazing, affecting sonic layers. Local garage punks The Smirks are also on the bill, as is the first performance from experimental musician(s) Ceremonial Scissors, about which I know very little. What I do know about this gig is more than enough to constitute reason to go, though, so brighten up your midweek with a trip over to Rag And Bones tonight.
Thursday, February 23, 8 PM
Luray, Manatree, Winstons, Pinkerton Raid @ Strange Matter – $8
Local indie-folk crew Luray have been around for several years now, according to their facebook page, but I have to be honest and say that I only started hearing their name in the last six months or so. In light of the fact that they feature Scott Burton (Glows In The Dark/Amazing Ghost) on guitar, I’m surprised at that fact, but I never said I knew everything that was happening in the Richmond scene, so maybe this is just another time I need a #latepass. Whether you do too, or you’ve known about Luray for years and are now scoffing at my ignorance, we can surely all agree about the understated beauty of their music, which spotlights the amazing vocals and up-front banjo playing of frontwoman Shannon Carey. At this point, seeing them live is probably long overdue, at least on my account, so I’m fortunate that they’re playing this Thursday night at Strange Matter.
Manatree is joining them, and I’ve been watching this band of barely-not-teenagers rock it out since back when they were all still in high school and none of them had a driver’s license. They’ve only gotten better in the intervening years, and they were pretty damn great when they were all 15, so that’s really saying something. If you’re not up on this band’s math-rock-informed fusing of REM and Q And Not U, you need to get familiar. Durham-based touring act Pinkerton Raid are coming through to share their brand new LP, Tolerance Ends, Love Begins, with the RVA massive this night as well, and with a sound that lands somewhere around the midpoint between Luray and Manatree, there couldn’t be a more appropriate triple bill. New local crew the Winstons kick things off on a night of radness.
Friday, February 24, 7 PM
Don Babylon, Black Mold Jesus, HeadlessMantis, Toward Space @ Gallery 5 – $5 (order tickets HERE)
I remember a couple of years ago when it seemed like all the young rockers in town were going bananas over Don Babylon. I caught them at a Gallery 5 show and was amazed to see how many kids in the crowd were clearly in the house to see this middle-of-the-bill band I’d never heard of before. The snarly rock n’ roll they cranked out had an appeal I could certainly understand–elements of Weezer and The Strokes came through a classic garage-band approach. It was an instant attention-grabber. Over the past year or so, I haven’t heard the name Don Babylon around town as much, and I was just starting to wonder if the band had gone the way of many promising young bands when I discovered their brand new debut LP, Babe, on Bandcamp.
Don Babylon, which has slimmed down from a quartet to a trio since I last caught up with them, still has the same grungy rock sound they had before, and the songwriting shows some real solid chops undergirding those dirty guitars. If putting this album together is what lowered the band’s profile for several months, it was certainly worth the wait, and the party for its release this Friday at Gallery 5 is a great way for this band to return to full speed ahead! They’ll be joined on the bill by fellow RVA raw rockers HeadlessMantis and Toward Space, as well as something called Black Mold Jesus that doesn’t exist anywhere online except in ads for this show. I’m guessing it’ll be dirty, sloppy, and awesome, though. Let’s all find out together!
Saturday, February 25, 9 PM
ANIMAL presents Shira, Toxic Moxie, Zooanzoo, Cell Saga @ Strange Matter – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Two things you can know if ANIMAL is putting on the show: one, that members of the LGBTQ community will be heavily represented on the bill, and two, that you’re gonna dance. This continues to be true in a big way this Saturday night, as ANIMAL brings us a performance from New York musician Shira. This singer/songwriter/producer hails from Israel via Brooklyn and brings us a hypnotically funky, gloriously bizarre sonic hybrid on her latest album, Subtle Creature. The resemblance to artists like Tuneyards and Annie Lennox is surely not coincidental, but it’s welcome regardless. This is one lady who’s going to have you moving your feet for sure.
The local artists who will round out this bill are all worth the price of admission entirely on their own as well, so the fact that you can grab a ticket for this quadruple-stacked bill right now for only $7 makes it a steal of the first order. I shouldn’t even have to tell you anything about Toxic Moxie at this point–you should just know to go see ’em already. But “Gang Of Four/Hot Chip/Metric-inspired multi-gender down n’ dirty disco punk outstandingness” is enough to get my point across, right? So let’s devote the rest of this paragraph to Zooanzoo and Cell Saga, a couple of sonic collage artists from right here in town who experiment with noise and push the limits of technology to bring you something completely unlike everything you’ve heard before. And at least at some points, it’ll have a driving beat underneath it all. Get stoked.
Sunday, February 26, 7 PM
Lisa/Liza, Wester Green, Greef, Julie Karr @ Gallery 5 – $5 (order tickets HERE)
There was this moment in music history, a little over a decade ago, when strange, often ambient acoustic music was all the rage. People called it psychedelic folk, and I got way into it. These days, I don’t hear too much that reminds me of the glory days of Devendra Banhart, White Magic, and the early work of Joanna Newsom, more’s the pity. However, Portland, Maine-based artist Lisa/Liza has brought forth a similar musical sensibility, and I for one am quite excited to hear such a thing. I’m not quite sure how such a thing will translate live (I’m thinking the assembled throngs that turn out to Gallery 5 Sunday night will have to be very, very quiet during the performance), but I can tell you this much: Lisa/Liza’s 2016 album Deserts Of Youth has a hypnotic grandeur that makes me want to learn more.
Local artists Wester Green and Julie Karr have a similar bare-bones aesthetic, though each draws from a slightly different inspirational well. Wester Green dips into the trippy, prog-jazz influenced world that certain Tim Buckley albums come from, and lands somewhere in the vicinity of bygone RVA freaks Wolf//Goat–which is a nice thing, as that project disappeared into the ether way too quickly. Julie Karr is drawing more from the downbeat folk-blues well that also brought water to artists as diverse as Robert Johnson and Sixteen Horsepower. Her incredible voice will sear her brilliant songcraft into your memory. Last-minute addition Greef, also hailing from Portland and presumably making the trip down in Lisa/Liza’s company, adds a strange lo-fi bonus sound to the whole evening. Dig it.
Monday, February 27, 8 PM
Josie McQueen, Sleave, Suneater, Carpet Pissers @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $5 (order tickets HERE)
I mentioned earlier how Don Babylon were the out-of-nowhere new hot local band for me in 2014. Well, Josie McQueen is the band that played that role last year. I feel like I’ve heard that they already existed elsewhere and moved here as a band in the past couple of years, which would certainly explain a lot. All I know for sure, though, is that this powerful rock n’ roll band has a wire-tight sound and some bulletproof alt-rock hooks that’ll have you humming songs like “Say What You Will” for days at a time. With their debut full-length, Organic Machine, just about to drop, and a US tour impending, the band decided to celebrate the launch of both this Monday night at Capital Ale House–hardly the most predictable place to find a young up-and-coming local band throwing a big musical party, but what the hell, right? One thing’s for sure, the place serves beer–and I know a lot of you love that stuff!
There are a whole bunch of other local bands on this bill, all of which have some amount of 90s alt-rock embedded in their DNA, and all of which should be a kick in the ass to watch. Sleave mixes some of that good ol’ gruff emotional Florida pop-punk vibe into their Weezer/Blink 182 riffage, and honestly when I listen to their 2016 EP Gold I wonder why I haven’t been paying more attention to these guys so far. Suneater toe that post-Grateful Dead prog-rock line at times but seem much more inspired by Jane’s Addiction, the Mars Volta, and even Every Time I Die at times, ultimately reminding me of a mixtape I would have made in 1994 and making listening to them a real thrill. Carpet Pissers appear to be a post-Sublime ska-coustic goof, but whether they’re just a silly fun opener or a band who ultimately deserve your full attention, the stakes are pretty low for that opening slot, so all should be good regardless. Make your Monday night rad, and do so in a relatively unlikely location with a bunch of cool bands! I’m Drew Necci and I approve this message.
Tuesday, February 28, 7 PM
Os Mutantes, Major And The Monbacks @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Oh man. This Tuesday night is going to bring quite a difficult decision for a lot of true music fans. Not only are Power Trip and Iron Reagan tearing it up at The Broadberry, legendary Brazilian psych-Tropicalia group Os Mutantes are hitting the Capital Ale House stage downtown! It’s a tough decision, but l can tell you right now that there’s no real wrong answer. After all, Os Mutantes are one of the most important artists to come out of South America in the 1960s, right up there with tropicalia superstars Caetono Veloso and Gilberto Gil.
At a time of heavy government repression, the artists involved in the tropicalia movement mixed traditional Brazilian folk sounds with the modern inspirations floating south from the northern hemisphere, in a variety of different ways. Os Mutantes latched onto the psychedelic garage sound, and mixed distorted guitars and strange sonic textures into pop soundscapes as inspired by the Beatles as it was by traditional Brazillian and African rhythms. The group released a series of inspirational, highly sought-after albums in the late 60s and early 70s that legendarily inspired such important artists as David Byrne and Kurt Cobain. Original guitarist/vocalist Sergio Dias reformed the band with a new lineup about a decade ago, and new albums like Haih Or Amortecedor and Fool Metal Jack have shown the band to still carry an authentic psychedelic sound and vision forward into the 21st century. You will not regret catching these Brazilian psych legends as they take Capital Ale House on a trip that won’t soon be forgotten. If you have the scratch, I highly recommend grabbing a ticket and taking a rocket ride with Os Mutantes.
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