RVA Shows You Must See This Week:3/8-3/14


Friday, March 10, 8 PM
RRFP Benefit, feat. Sha Shakusky, Cell Saga, Wabeya, The Parlor, The Smirks @ Gallery 5 – Donations requested
It’s that time of year again, folks! Everyone starts getting antsy from the cold weather, spring is quickly approaching, and the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project’s annual Bowl-A-Thon is kicking into high gear! Every year, there are several different bowling teams out there competing for your donations in order to keep women’s right to choose alive. No matter which team you donate to, the cause is what’s most important, but it is always nice when enthusiastic participants come together and create awesome activities to sweeten the pot. This Friday night, feminist art-punk collective Elbow Room’s RRFP bowling team, “The Roomies,” are throwing a rad rock n roll show/dance party at Gallery 5, and it’ll be the most fun you ever had helping to keep reproductive freedom alive!

There are a lot of great things about this particular party, but let’s start with the music. The rock bands will take the stage earlier in the night, so show up on time to catch some catchy garage-punk fun from The Smirks, a hot young RVA band who’ve been building up a buzz around town for quite a while now. Albany, NY indie-dance troupe The Parlor are also an early highlight of the evening, getting everyone shaking with their catchy disco-influenced alt-pop sounds.

As the hour grows later, things will shift in a more electronic-dance direction, first with the experimental beats of Wabeya. Cell Saga, the solo project of Listless/Fetish Gear guitar-slinger Sophia Lakis, will up the ante, before the house is brought down in a blissful explosion of beats by the sensational Sha Shakusky. And if all of this isn’t enough to draw you out (it certainly should be… just sayin), the night is also doubling as the release party for Elbow Room’s latest zine, this one made up solely of contributions from people of color within the community. It’s an important issue of one of the raddest independent publications currently being produced in this town, and you are gonna need a copy! So bring your donations for RRFP, bring a few bucks for a zine, and bring your dancing shoes, because this is gonna be a night for geting down!


Wednesday, March 8, 6 PM
Moose Blood, Trophy Eyes, Boston Manor, A Will Away, She’s A Legend @ The Canal Club – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Wow, y’all, I’m so glad I checked the Canal Club show calendar one more time before writing this column! If I hadn’t told you about this Moose Blood show, I’d never have forgiven myself. This UK band has been one of my biggest faves over the past couple of years, initially charming me with their 2014 debut LP I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time. That album found the band mingling classic British alt-rock sounds with obvious influence from the US emo and pop-punk scenes. They’ve recently released a rad followup, Blush, which takes a bit more of an introspective approach and therefore doesn’t grab your attention with as many unforgettable bangers straight out of the gate, but rewards repeated listens and is every bit as charming in its more low-key feel.

So yeah, Moose Blood’s gonna be in town tonight, and anyone with a taste for catchy, emotional rock n’ roll is gonna want to be in the house when they take the stage at The Canal Club. New jams like “Honey” and “Knuckles” are gonna take their rightful place alongside first LP bangers like “Kelly Kapowski” and “Gum” and we’re all gonna be in seventh heaven. Moose Blood are accompanied on this American tour by several other excellent emo acts–UK rockers Trophy Eyes and Boston Manor (no, they aren’t from Boston, MA after all!), plus Connecticut’s A Will Away. With locals She’s A Legend opening up, this is a jam-packed bill of rad emo jams, and you would be a fool to miss it.


Thursday, March 9, 7 PM
Ian Sweet, Ovlov, Positive No @ Gallery 5 – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s another exciting bill to liven up yet another potentially-boring weeknight! Ian Sweet are a killer new band whose debut LP, Shapeshifter, came out last fall and knocked out all who heard it with its hypnotic emo-shoegaze vibe. The lead guitar lines that decorate these songs aren’t too different from the tangled, borderline-mathy leads laid down by excellent bands like Algernon Cadwallader or Ethel Meserve (showing my age with that reference), but the reverb-drenched fuzz layer overtop of the whole thing added plenty of entrancing textures to make the whole thing unforgettable. Singer Jillian Medford’s excellent vocals are the icing on the delicious musical cake this band offers us.

And what’s really great about Ian Sweet’s trip to RVA this Thursday is that they’re accompanied by Ovlov, an excellent band who were originally tarred with the whole “emo revival” brush (I mean, that’s why I initially checked them out), but separated themselves from the pack with a sincere love of J Mascis-style crooning vocals over huge waves of distorted guitar. Ovlov haven’t done much since the immediate aftermath of 2013’s AM, but their recent release of a Little Elephant session featuring two new songs offers welcome hope of a return to productivity in the near future. Will they have even more new jams when they hit RVA tomorrow night? We can certainly hope! Positive No are one of my favorite local bands, so it’s kinda criminal that I’ve left them this little room at the end of this writeup, but just show up on time and catch their set, and all will be forgiven.


Friday, March 10, 9 PM
Royal Thunder, Book Of Wyrms, High Canyon @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Things are getting epic down at Strange Matter this Friday night. Royal Thunder are returning to this city and bringing the first hints of their forthcoming third LP, Wick. So far, advance single “April Showers” suggests that the band is moving even further into the prog-metal direction than on previous releases. It would have been easy in previous years to fall back on the “doom metal” genre descriptor for this Georgia quartet, but that was always an overly simplified tag for a band who pulled influences from folk, blues, southern rock and soul into their orbit effortlessly. Honestly, singer Mlny Parsons sounds more than ever like a biker-metal version of Heart’s Ann Wilson on the new song, and for those who might be confused, let me clarify: that is a compliment! Sure, things got pretty weak by the late 80s, but you can’t deny that “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” are killer jams!

Oh golly, let’s get back on track. Royal Thunder are joined on this bill by Richmond locals Book Of Wyrms, whose riff-oriented midtempo rock n’ roll, complete with witchy female vocals of their own, make a perfect pairing with the Atlanta-based headliners. These raging RVA rockers rang in 2017 with the release of their debut full-length, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (love that title), on Twin Earth Records, so they’ve got plenty of rad new jams to hit you with. The night will start with brand-new local doom project High Canyon, which features members of Polar Bear Club and Close Talker taking things in a whole new direction. You won’t want to miss this! And by the way, if you’re feeling ambitious about your night’s plans and have a little extra cash to spend, show up at Strange Matter a few hours early and catch Goodnight Brooklyn, the documentary about legendary DIY club Death By Audio, starting at 6 PM. Make a full night of it! Why not?

Saturday, March 11, 8 PM
Negative Gemini, Dazeases, Bien, DJ Skrt Skrt @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Friends, where local electronic music is concerned, it really does not get better than the amazing bill on tap for you at Strange Matter this Saturday night. Not only does this show feature Negative Gemini, returning to her hometown to take RVA by storm once more, it also features musical powerhouse Dazeases, the first name in RVA electronic music over the past year or two. Best of all, Dazeases will be celebrating the release of her long-awaited Egghunt Records EP, Local Slut, which you will finally be able to obtain yourself after months of feverish anticipation.

Even without the Dazeases EP release, this show would be safely in the category of must-attend. Negative Gemini reappearing on a Richmond stage for the first time in two years is an event in and of itself. Since departing for Brooklyn’s greener pastures, her Body Work LP has demonstrated a major advance in Negative Gemini’s musical powers, with its hypnotic grooves and ethereal melodies making a perfect pairing for one another. Meanwhile, here in RVA, Dazeases has established her spookily powerful ambient R&B sound, which is sure to bear full flower on her brand new EP. Really, if you care about electronic music at all, you can’t afford to miss this show. Opening sets from Bien and DJ Skrt Skrt round out the evening of amazing sounds. Expect minds to be blown.


Sunday, March 12, 7 PM
Magnus Lush, Hand Grenade Job, Bad Magic @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$6 at the door (order tickets HERE)
There’s a lot of amazing stuff happening up in DC these days–and I was not always a girl who was willing to admit such a thing about our less-ignored neighbors to the north. These days, though, how can I deny it? Priests, Gauche, Cigarette, and the other Sister Polygon artists I’ve discovered in recent years are all proof that DC has it going on. Hand Grenade Job is the latest example of what I’m talking about. This duo, featuring former members of DC heavy hitters Turboslut and Pygmylush, take things in a slightly different direction than their credentials might lead you to expect on their brand new Sister Polygon release, Devotionals. These ambient acoustic tunes are more reminiscent of something you might hear from Tattle Tale or Vashti Bunyan than the sort of angry punk you might have thought you were in for.

Nonetheless, Hand Grenade Job provides a powerful and memorable sound that you might need to stay quiet and listen closely for in a live environment, but is sure to hit you over the head once you really tune in. Make sure you pay attention. And of course, give your attention to Magnus Lush and Bad Magic as well. The former, a tight postpunk combo with obvious chops, recently added keyboards to create deeper layers of sonic attack, with excellent results. The latter have more of an introspective, melodic alt-rock sound, but make no mistake, the approach is both down to earth and punk as fuck. This bill is compact and compressed and the show should go by quickly, but there won’t be a less-than-perfect moment to be found, and you’re sure to wish it had lasted longer. Don’t blink.


Monday, March 13, 6 PM
A Benefit For Cory Nicholas, feat. Gritty City, 1NF1N1T8, Risala, Crucial Rip, Mangalitsa, The Smirks, Half Decent, Merrin Karas, Bridges Will Burn @ Strange Matter – $5-20 suggested donation
This is the world we live in–a world where one of the hardest-working guys in the RVA music scene can find himself disadvantaged enough that his medical bills after a bicycle accident are more than he can handle. This is how we take care of each other these days–we throw benefit shows when friends get sick, and we come together to make sure they don’t end up bankrupt because of broken bones. As a system, it’s far from ideal, but it’s all we’ve got anytime in the near future, so the least we can all do is pull together in people’s times of need. Cory Nicholas, the majordomo of the Between 2 Beers show booking conglomerate and one of the coolest and most helpful people on the local scene, needs our help to get back on his feet after sustaining some serious injuries. That’s why this show is happening.

Fortunately, a whole ton of artists from the metal, punk, and hip hop scenes are willing to contribute their efforts to the cause. If you dig the kind of music that Cory often brings to us at Shockoe Bottom venues like 25 Watt and McCormacks, then this is one occasion where you’ll be better served stopping by Strange Matter on a Monday night. With 9 different groups on the bill, from the grimy hip hop of the Gritty City Records crew to the raging death metal of Crucial Rip and the bouncy garage punk of the Smirks, there’s something to make this show worth everyone’s while. And if you go to shows in this town at all, chances are very good that in the past year or two, you’ve been to an event Cory’s done some work to make happen. Give back to the people who make your scene as cool as it is–and rock out for something like 6 hours in the process! Really, how can you not?


Tuesday, March 14, 8 PM
Antelope King, Pissing Contest, Dr. No, Love Roses @ Strange Matter – $5
Strange Matter’s Locals Only series just continues to deliver. At least once a month, and often more frequently than that, there’s a night of bands from right here in RVA that no self-respecting local music fan has any excuse to miss. This coming Tuesday, the lineup is headed up by Antelope King, who’ve been working their way into the hearts of many around this city by cranking out some solid Unwound-inspired mathematically complex hardcore. They’re certainly the most cerebral band on this bill, and make quite the contrast with raging party punks Pissing Contest. These guys have a lot of socially-unacceptable uptempo noise for you, and you’re gonna be unable to resist running in a circle throughout their set.

What about the two bands on the lower half of the bill? I know less about them, but early impressions are positive. Dr. No seem to have a thrashy mosh-core vibe about them, with what sure sound like Pantera and Harm’s Way influences coming through in their chunky riffs. I dig it. Love Roses are more of a ramshackle punk rock crew, and I find myself wondering how anyone could ever hate a band with a song called “You’re Cool But Your Friends Are Assholes”? I sure can’t! All four of these bands seem like solid hits, so don’t miss this grand slam of a local show. It’s gonna rule!


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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