Friday, March 3, 8 PM
.gif From God, Listless, Majorel, Van Hagar @ 25 Watt – Free!
I don’t think it’s any secret that, even in a normal week, I miss a lot of the shows I write about in this column. Money, time, and energy are never available in quite the supply I’d like them to be. And that’s on a normal week. In a week like this one, during which I’ve spent two nights in the hospital since I last wrote to you, it’s gonna be even tougher to find me out and about. However, if you show up at 25 Watt this Friday night, I guarantee you’re gonna see me (even if I’m sitting in a chair the whole night). There’s just no way I’m gonna miss this show.
The presence of RVA’s finest sass-grind ensemble, .gif From God, at the top of the bill is only a small part of the reason why, but they’re a great place to start. Kicking off a brief weekend tour with this musical explosion, .gif are primed to tear your head off by bringing to bear all of the aggression, brutality, and ridiculous breakdown stylings showcased on debut EP Defragmented… Reformatted. Plus, with the band’s lineup back to peak 6-piece form in recent months, they’re fully prepared to do battle!
Yes, battle–when one band sets up face to face with another band and trade songs back and forth until one or both bands collapse. .gif From God and up-and-coming 6-piece ragers Listless will be facing off with one enormous, calamitous battle set at the climax of this musical evening. Listless are newer to the scene than .gif, but with members of Fetish Gear, Khonsu Djinn, Truman, This Land Is Now Dead, and more involved, they’ve certainly got the pedigree to prove that the hype is real. The most insane part: these two bands both have the same drummer! Expect percussion powerhouse John Crogan to be tested to his limit by this insane display of metal noise terror. And we’re the lucky fucks who get to see it all for FREE! With up-and-coming screamo radness from Majorel and power-violence sickness from Van Hagar also on the bill, this is a show you couldn’t afford to miss even if it did cost money! What more do you need?
Thursday, March 2, 9 PM
Post Sixty Five, Minor Poet, Majjin Boo, Will Wickham @ Vagabond – $5
VA is full of indie rock awesomeness lately, and it just seems to get cooler and more happening by the week. Witness this Thursday night display of indie coolness from new young Charlottesville and Richmond acts, complete with a new venue in the form of Vagabond (located down by the former site of Sixth Street Marketplace… the young among you have no idea what I’m even talking about right now, I know). Post Sixty Five hail from C-ville and have a glittering sound that pilfers equally from UK shoegaze, ambient post-rock, and the best of the recent emo revival bands. You’ll spend long minutes waiting for explosions that only rarely arrive, but are so worth it when they show up. It’ll be rad.
Then we have three Richmond acts, all of whom are relatively new to the scene, all of which have notable connections to what has come before from the indie rock youth of this scene. Minor Poet sees former Mad Extras frontman Andrew Carter joining up with members of Manatree and other cool local bands to make a more singer-songwriter style excursion into the lands of pop songcraft. Majjin Boo may not feature any faces that are familiar to me, but their math-rock soundcastles certainly hark back to sounds I’ve enjoyed in recent years from awesome local acts like Fight Cloud and Night Idea. Former Strumpet frontman Will Wickham opens up the evening with some new solo jams, which will apparently involve backing from some of his former bandmates and maybe even some Manatree crew. This is clearly going to be a lovely night, and a perfect opportunity to check out a new show space–which is always dope.
Friday, March 3, 7 PM
Windhand, Pilgrim, Heavy Temple @ The Broadberry – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
In Windhand, the powerhouse local doom metal troupe now nearly a decade strong, the heaviness remains crushing. Indeed, it’s as crushing as the grief and loss which can overtake a person after the departure of a cherished friend or loved one. And I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I want to go to a show and experience the musical version of that feeling?” We could get into all sorts of philosophical discursions about the benefits of experiencing every spectrum of human emotion in one’s life, and learning to fully understand each one and therefore being better prepared to deal with it when it overtakes you completely outside your control, blah blah blah… but my real answer is “because Windhand make grief sound beautiful.”
If you’ve heard their third album, 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Plodding tempos and repetitive metal riffs might seem a recipe for boredom, but when combined with the hypnotic vocals of Dorthia Cottrell and the multilayered sonic textures of guitarists Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan, the result is intense, inspiring, and impossible to turn away from. Windhand will be joined on this bill by some equally powerful heavy hitters from out of town, in the form of Rhode Island crushers Pilgrim and Philadelphia drone-doomers Heavy Temple. If you seek a deep emotional experience delivered at impossibly high volumes, the Broadberry should be your destination this Friday night.
Saturday, March 4, 8 PM
Sons Of An Illustrious Father, Dharma Bombs, Sammi Lanzetta @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There are things I could tell you about Sons Of An Illustrious Father, the genre-hopping, instrument-switching trio from New York, that would make you curious about them without knowing anything about their music. Indeed, I’m sure you could learn those things through a quick google. I’m gonna go ahead and skip it though, as I actually saw this band deliver an incredible set in my living room last spring, and have been so fully won over by their musical talent that I feel sorta bad even mentioning whatever TMZ-chasing fact might lead you to show up regardless. So how about I just tell you what you’ll be in for when Sons Of An Illustrious Father take the stage?
Here goes: these three musical wunderkinds combine percussion, keyboards, and stringed instruments in brilliant and intriguing ways, no matter who is occupying which instrument at that particular moment. And all of them sing like angels, while giving their audience a quick tour through a variety of different musical styles from the past 50 to 75 years of American sonic evolution–always with a strong, soulful backing. You’re sure to be as captivated as I was a year ago. So ignore what non-musical hype you are able to turn up–in fact, maybe skip that google search entirely. Show up at Gallery 5 this Saturday night, take in awesome opening sets from Dharma Bombs and Sammi Lanzetta, and then feast your ears on the rich musical palette this group has to offer. I promise you will not regret it.
Sunday, March 5, 7 PM
Erin Tobey, Middle Children, Big NO @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$6 at the door (order tickets HERE)
It’s always nice to get an update from our prodigal compatriots out there in Bloomington, Indiana. Erin Tobey, who is actually a Bloomington native, lived in Richmond for several years a decade or so ago, long enough to join Pink Razors and play with that fun local pop-punk crew for the last few years of their existence. Since then, Tobey and former Pink Razors frontman Jeff Grant have been musically and romantically linked, engaging in multiple musical projects since returning to Bloomington–most notably Fat Shadow.
Tobey released another solo album, the first in something like a decade, last year, and that album, Middlemaze, is a great showcase for her songwriting. She uses a variety of different approaches, from slow-burning indie torch songs, a la Angel Olson, to funky guitar jams that bop like Tuneyards, and is backed on the album by the aforementioned Mr. Grant and her brother, the artist once known as Matty Popchart. No word on whether Jeff and Matt will join her in her appearance at Gallery 5, but even if she’s on her own, some old friends are sure to want to say hello. Which is not to even mention the many new friends that the excellent sounds contained on Middlemaze are sure to have won her. Tobey is accompanied to Richmond by fellow Bloomingtonians Middle Children, and local RVA psych-hazers Big NO will offer local support. It’ll be a fine evening of musical entertainment and chill hangs. Don’t miss out.
Monday, March 6, 7:30 PM
Ryan Adams, Phoebe Bridgers @ The National – $43 in advance/$48 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I know Ryan Adams is a musician with a controversial and polarizing reputation out there in the underground music world, and I can accept that. I’m willing to take whatever heat this gets me, but I’ll go ahead and stick my neck out by saying that I don’t think the man’s ever made a completely bad album. From his alt-country crowd-pleasers and alt-rock attention-getters to his random excursions into COC-style crossover thrash and Taylor Swift cover albums, I’ve always found plenty to enjoy about everything he does.
Therefore, regardless of my recognition that, jeez, yeah, $43 is a lot of scratch, I’m gonna go ahead and say that, assuming time and money are no object, you should spend at least one of the two nights Adams will be spending at The National this week taking in whatever he has to offer. Whether he busts out some old Heartbreaker-era jams, pleases the dilettantes in the crowd with 2001 hit “New York, New York,” or crafts a Rock N Roll-heavy set just to make me kick myself that I didn’t save up the money to buy a ticket myself (it’s my personal fave of his albums. I know, I know), you’re sure to get plenty of great music delivered by one of the most talented middle-aged straight white guys on the mainstream rock scene these days. And I don’t make that endorsement lightly.
Tuesday, March 7, 8 PM
Kane Strang, Young Scum, Opin @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
You might not know this if your only exposure to the country’s culture comes from Flight Of The Conchords and the Lord Of The Rings movie franchise, but New Zealand has an incredibly strong history of producing brilliantly off-kilter underground pop artists. Going back to the earliest efforts of Chris Knox (Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs, etc) and The Clean, then drawing a line forward through the Flying Nun Records era (see The Bats, Straitjacket Fits, The Verlaines, The Chills, etc etc), you find an unbroken tradition of guitar-slinging genius.
Kane Strang is just the latest example of an incredibly talented pop songwriter with a taste for post-Velvets guitar strum and lyrical weirdness. Latest single “Oh, So You’re Off I See” picks up where 2016 debut LP Blue Cheese left off, and those who enjoy a teensy bit of weirdness layered in with your incredibly catchy and gorgeous power pop guitars will find heaven when this talented Kiwi takes the stage. Opening sets will feature the impossibly tight, reliably gorgeous indie pop sounds of Young Scum, and the intriguing new explorations from post-White Laces project Opin, so this will be a bulletproof evening in terms of pop awesomeness. Which is always a treat.
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): firstname.lastname@example.org
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