Friday, March 24, 8 PM
Eternal Summers, Opin, Dumb Waiter, Big Baby, DJ Resin @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s time to draw back the curtains, Richmond! In the words of Biz Markie, it’s spring again, and not a moment too soon. Things can get pretty dark around this town, what with all of us showing up for angry metal shows at 10 PM wearing all black, but the (really quite active) Virginia indie pop scene is more than capable of letting the sun shine in, starting with this excellent Friday night gig at Strange Matter.
Our dueling headliners on this evening will be the always-scintillating Roanoke trio Eternal Summers and brand new RVA indie supergroup Opin. Eternal Summers are still riding high on the back-to-back excellence of their last two LPs, 2014’s The Drop Beneath and 2015’s Gold And Stone. After two years, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that this crew will have a few new tunes for the true heads as well. Meanwhile, Opin brings together former White Laces leader/chief songwriter Landis Wine and that band’s keyboardist, Tori Hovater, along with Night Idea’s Ethan Johnstone and Navi’s Jon Hawkins, giving me a perfect excuse to use the 10-letter “s” word (supergroup, duh).
Forming shortly after the demise of White Laces, Opin hit the ground running, recording their debut album with Philadelphia producer Jeff Zeigler (who also recorded the last two White Laces LPs). Having only played their first shows a few months ago, it’s remarkable to see their debut LP on Egghunt Records being released into the world already, but it’s just an indicator of how strong their sound really is. Opin undoubtedly continues some elements of the White Laces sound, but are less embedded in the world of rock guitars, incorporating more electronic textures and instrumentation into their final product. The result will be a treat for White Laces fans and newcomers alike. With this show also featuring opening sets from local math-rock powerhouse Dumb Waiter and indie-pop rookie sensations Big Baby, plus a soundtrack provided by DJ Resin (aka Citrus City’s Manny Lemus), this will be a can’t miss evening and a great opportunity to warm up your weekend with some fine Virginia sounds.
Wednesday, March 22, 8 PM
Sha Shakusky, ing, Pallas, Cream Dream @ Strange Matter – $6
A fun midweek detour comes to us from the crowd hangin’ around that whole Citrus City concern. There’s been a lot to be gained by paying attention to what those folks are up to lately, and this show is just the latest example. While the promoters are engaging in the smart move of putting the local artist sure to keep heads in the club and feet moving on the dance floor in the headlining position, out-of-town travelers Pallas and ing have just as much to offer the discriminating RVA music fan as our beloved Sha Shakusky. Pallas hail from Atlanta, and bring us some frenetic postpunk jams that could have come right out of the early 80s NYC No Wave scene, if it weren’t for their far more straightforward catchiness.
Meanwhile, ing are making a shorter trip down from Charlottesville for the evening–let’s hope for their sake that none of them have work early tomorrow. The ringing guitars and gorgeous vocals on display from this group remind me of some of the best SpinART and Slumberland recording artists I was super-into back in the early 90s, and I hope that ancient reference doesn’t throw too many of you. If you dig the post-C86 jangle-pop sound (god, these references just keep getting more ancient), you’ll enjoy what ing has to offer for sure. With fun local trio Cream Dream kicking things off and the aforementioned Sha Shakusky closing the show with a powerful set sure to get your feet moving and your heart pounding, this is a can’t-miss evening. So don’t miss it, jerk!
Thursday, March 23, 8 PM
Gull, Parlor Walls, Get In The Car @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$7 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Y’all, I am legit excited about this one. I had a passing familiarity with Parlor Walls frontwoman Alyse Lamb’s previous project, EULA, but her new group came right out of nowhere and knocked me out with its distinctive, memorable, and totally charming sound. Recently expanding from a guitar/drums duo into a trio with the addition of saxophonist Kate Mohanty, this band has tapped into a hybrid sound pulling from the cool early 80s postpunk sound of UK bands like Scritti Politti and Essential Logic while also incorporating some of that prime funk-informed Fugazi rhythmic tension. Brand new LP Opposites is a mindblower of a listen, and the band is all set to wipe the floor with everyone in attendance at Gallery 5 this Thursday. I for one look forward to it.
The local groups on this bill are sure to please anyone who found that previous paragraph appealing. After all, Gull, the solo project of former Ultra Dolphins/Snack Truck dynamo Nate Rappole, has been growing, changing, building, and incorporating all sorts of new aspects throughout its nearly decade-long existence. With electronic loops and multilayered sonic textures expanding the original guitar/drums one-man band thing Gull were doing to the point of near unrecognizability, Gull has become a completely fascinating and unpredictable exploration into the limits of sound. Who knows what he’ll come up with on this night, but whatever it ends up being, you won’t want to miss it. Skronking keyboard-driven noise rock up-and-comers Get In The Car get the party started with some energetic sounds sure to grab your attention from moment one. Don’t miss any of this one.
Friday, March 24, 8 PM
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Benefit, feat. Black Liquid, Fat Spirit, Among The Rocks And Roots @ Gallery 5 – $6 in advance/$8 at the door (order tickets HERE)
In these trying times, it can be tough to figure out exactly what we can all do to advance the cause of civil rights and protecting the marginalized from government persecution. Calling your Congressperson is one route, participating in protests is another. But if you’re a busy tired person with limited time on your hands, donations to righteous organizations are also very important. In that vein, we present the first of two benefit shows for worthy causes taking place in Richmond this weekend. Friday night sees Gallery 5 giving us three local artists, with the money from the door being donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The nation’s oldest civil rights organization is currently engaged in a fund drive based around Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, and if the kind of shit the Trump Administration has been up to thus far is any indication, we’re going to need all the legally-informed resistance we can over the next four years.
OK, let me get off my soapbox and tell you why it’s worth it to spend your admission price on this show instead of just mailing it straight to the NAACP LDF instead. This varied bill showcases a variety of different standout RVA artists, all of whom excel in their own field. From the street-level hip hop fury of Black Liquid, who has been dishing out massive amounts of fiery, politically-aware rhymes for nearly a decade now, to the powerful noisy alt-rock energy of Fat Spirit, to the epic experimental rage of drum/bass duo Among the Rocks and Roots, this show will present a variety of wild sounds for your musical enlightenment. I doubt there are all that many of us in this town who have equal familiarity with all three of these artists, and they’re all well worth an extensive focus, so open your mind to a wide variety of local sounds while you donate to support important political action. It’ll do you good and help others as well.
Saturday, March 25, 2 PM
All-Day Standing Rock Benefit Market/Show/Party, feat. Shadow Age, Suneater, Don Babylon, The You Go Girls, Stephanie, Jafar Flowers, Cell Saga, Mango, DJ Skrt Skrt @ Strange Matter – $5-20 suggested donation
This huge event is really three events in one, and while it would be easy to focus on the middle portion of the day, during which a five-band show will be taking place, I would be remiss if I failed to spotlight the entirety of what will be occurring at Strange Matter over the course of nearly 12 hours this Saturday. Since the Trump administration has chosen to double down on the aggression against indigenous people and their allies defending their land from government encroachment by a dangerous oil pipeline, the protesters at Standing Rock are facing more aggression than ever, and certainly need all the help we can give them. So if you’re not stuck at work this Saturday, you could do a lot worse than spending the day at Strange Matter giving the Standing Rock protesters your support.
The day will begin with a free marketplace featuring dozens of independent vendors, starting at 2 PM. The full list is available at the link above. Personally, I’m more stoked about the performances from five excellent local bands, which will take place between 6 and 10 PM or thereabouts. Shadow Age’s gothic spookiness is at the top of the bill for a reason, while the catchy alternative rock of Don Babylon and the wild grunge metal of Suneater are also major incentives to show up. Once the rockin’ is over, Ice Cream Support Group will be finishing out the evening by taking over the club for one of their Ice Cream Socials–which are fast becoming the best dance parties in town. I’m not going into too much detail on any one point here, but that’s just because there’s so much to get stoked about as part of this one event! Pull a $20 out of the ATM and throw it in the pot–you’ll not only help out an important cause but get more than your money’s worth in terms of entertainment and positive vibes.
Sunday, March 26, 8 PM
Caveman Cult, Vorator, ASM, R-Complex @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
OK, this is where the dark stuff I talked about back at the beginning of the column comes in. Caveman Cult features members of Florida heavy hitters like Torche, Shitstorm, and Urban Warfare, but none of that knowledge is enough to prepare you for what you’ll be greeted by when this rage-filled crew hits the stage. The blasting, scorching, superheated death metal/goregrind hybrid this group cranks out simultaneously reminds me of the most primitive black metal to ascend from the forests of Norway in the early 90s (Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger and Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal are decent signposts) and the filthiest of the blurry hyperspeed death metal acts to appear in the last decade (think Last Days Of Humanity). Are you prepared for the vicious onslaught? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
More dark stuff is on tap for this show as well, courtesy of three local bands that deal out varying degrees of metal rage. Vorator are somewhere between black metal and the heaviest of 80s thrash, with some truly blazing guitars to light up the landscape with infernal fire. ASM, whose name stands for Anti-Christ Siege Machine because of course it does, are on the scene with some blackened grind noise for all the headbangers out there. R-Complex brings forth darkness by eschewing conventional drum kits entirely, in favor of spooky pianos and programmed loops. This is the soundtrack to your own personal horror movie. Get ready for a lesson in violence.
Monday, March 27, 8 PM
Twin Drugs, Carry Fisher, Udo, Fly Vut @ Strange Matter – $5
We’re somewhere over a year into the series, and Strange Matter’s Locals Only series continues to bring the fire, constantly introducing me to new local bands that have a ton going for them and deserve to be on everyone’s radar. Twin Drugs is my latest awesome discovery; this heavy-fuzz shoegaze project rides the indistinct melodies and storming tremolo-bent guitars of the genre with aplomb, bringing to mind modern greats like Wildhoney as well as classic legends like the Lilys or the Swirlies. I’m stoked–I’ve just found my new favorite band.
If Twin Drugs aren’t it for you, though, never fear–there’s a bunch of other awesome local talent on this bill. Carry Fisher sees frontman and Woodbridge transplant Eric Muniec hooking up with local heavyweights Max Henry Gottesman (Gottem/Nametags) and Cory Chubb (Smoke Break/Sundials) to bring us a scrappy new pop-punk band, with the emphasis refreshingly on PUNK. This bill is rounded out by Udo, who don’t have a website but do have quite a bit of buzz, considering their high-profile connections to Magnus Lush, Snack Truck, and others. Weirdo sound artist Fly Vut has been working magic on the periphery of the local scene for years–get familiar! All of this stuff has the potential to turn your head right round, and for $5 on a Monday night, you really can’t ask for more.
Tuesday, March 28, 7 PM
James McCartney, Sid Kingsley, Jonathan Meadows @ The Camel – $15 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’m throwing you a curveball to cap off this week of shows, and before you even ask, yes, that is indeed Paul McCartney’s kid. In other hands, the arrival of James McCartney to town could be treated in roughly the same manner that former Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz’s band got when they came through town a few years ago. But there is something here besides the novelty of seeing a sorta-famous guy on the stage–I swear.
McCartney’s early days as a musician saw him working as a sideman in his famous dad’s band, but he’s been making music on his own for most of a decade now, and he’s found a few really good songs in the process. Honestly, it’s not too different than hearing Jakob Dylan’s work all those years ago when the Wallflowers first came out–clearly, the influence of their famous dads is hard to shake. At the same time, there’s real talent there, and the songwriting shows a talent all their own. McCartney is currently touring the US on the back of his second solo LP, The Blackberry Train, and you can expect him to rock those tunes out in a bit more of a discordant fashion than his dad–notoriously the most strait-laced Beatle–ever would have done. Local singer-songwriter Sid Kingsley will open up, as will Jonathan Meadows, who you might know as the bassist for The Congress–he’s doing a solo set this night. This is gonna be a lovely evening of fine music. You should really check it out.
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): email@example.com
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