RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 4/5-4/11


Friday, April 7 & Saturday April 8
UNITED BLOOD XI @ The Canal Club
Friday, April 7, 2 PM
Integrity, Terror, King Nine, God’s Hate, The Promise, Naysayer, Bent Life, Trail Of Lies, Lost Souls, Abuse Of Power, Krust, Friend Or Foe, Division Of Mind, Die Faster
Saturday, April 8, 12 noon
No Warning, Agnostic Front, Nails, Fire & Ice, Blind Justice, Piece By Piece, True Love, Protester, Dead & Dreaming, Wild Side, Jukai, Paper Trail, Day By Day, Midnight Sons, DC Disorder, Primitive Blast, Faze
$75 for weekend passes (order HERE), $45 for single day tickets (order Day One HERE, Day Two HERE)
Hardcore fans are stoked, because it’s that time of year once again! Time for the 11th Annual United Blood hardcore festival, happening this weekend at the Canal Club. I’ve been aware of this festival every year that I’ve been doing this column, but up until now I’ve never written about it because I’d always heard it was sold out weeks in advance. This year, though, it appears there are still a few advance tickets and weekend passes available, so if you’re still on the fence, now’s the time to pull the trigger!

United Blood has brought tons of hardcore talent into this city over the past decade, from heavy hitters of the current day to legendary bands who’ve reformed specifically for the occasion. This year has plenty of both. Each night is headlined by a double-shot of classic hardcore–Integrity and Terror Friday night; No Warning and Agnostic Front Saturday night. Agnostic Front are one of the most important hardcore bands of all time; after defining the original NYHC sound on debut LP Victim In Pain, they went on to create a template for the crossover sound you can hear to this day in bands like Municipal Waste and Power Trip on followup Cause For Alarm. Integrity’s Slayer-influenced, occult-informed metallic hardcore birthed an entire approach to both the metal and hardcore genres that made a huge impact on the scene for decades to come. Terror is a long-running hardcore supergroup spotlighting the intense vocals and incredible onstage antics of the notorious Scott Vogel. Recently reformed Canadian band No Warning was one of the most important bands of the early 00s renaissance that constituted the golden early days of Bridge 9 Records.

And that’s just the four headliners! This bill features over two dozen bands, encompassing the entire 30-plus year history of hardcore, all of which have tons of talent, energy, and velocity. Which is to say, they will knock your block off. Admittedly, all-day shows featuring 14 or 15 bands each can sometimes stretch the limits of one’s stamina, but this kind of event is the sort that you should definitely take in at least once in your life. And really, missing your chance to see not only Integrity, Agnostic Front, Terror, and No Warning but also The Promise, Nails, Fire & Ice, Bent Life, and so so many more all in the space of about 36 hours? Inexcusable. I have no idea how long tickets for this extravaganza will last, so smash those order links NOW. You won’t regret it.


Wednesday, April 5, 8 PM
Sundressed, Nominee, Something More, The Concussion Theory, YIKES @ Strange Matter – $8
I don’t think it’s any surprise that my personal tastes guide this column’s coverage to a significant extent. After all, a girl’s got to have a guidepost, right? “Emo” in all of its many forms is one of mine, and probably always will be. Therefore, I can’t help but be drawn to the bill hitting Strange Matter this very night. Tempe, AZ band Sundressed has partnered up with Austin, TX’s Nominee to bring an irresistible tour package to town, which will connect well with a similar crew from Maryland and a couple of excellent local representatives of the style. I’m way into it.

Sundressed lands on the softer side of the emo-pop spectrum, with a smooth and sweet sound full of passion and hooky melodies. Their brand new LP, A Little Less Together, offers quite a few catchy choruses for your singalong pleasure. Meanwhile, Nominee come from a slightly harsher spot on the spectrum, ultimately reminding me of the angst-ridden excellence showed off by Knuckle Puck on their first few EPs (and goddamn, I loved those EPs). MD’s Something More have a bit more of a power-pop influence at work, but they still know how to chug hard on the power chords when the climactic choruses arrive, in a way that mainly reminds me of early Saves The Day (back when they were awesome). And of course, locals The Concussion Theory and Yikes have already captured my fancy with previous gigs, so they’ll make a great appetizer for this night of radness.


Thursday, April 6, 7 PM
Flying Brick Library Housewarming, feat. Jake Mayday, Andrew Alli @ Gallery 5 – Free!
This is technically a show, in that there is music happening during this event. And it’s at a venue I send you to on a regular basis–the awesome DIY art/performance space Gallery 5. But the main point of this event is not the music, in fact, but instead to welcome the Flying Brick Library to its new home within the excellent Richmond Independent Zine Library, a dope project preserving non-mainstream history for posterity. I’ve been stoked about RIZL since its inception, and I’m glad to see its resources growing! The Flying Brick was a project I heard rumors about, more than ever directly encountered. After all, this radical political library was located in someone’s basement, from what I heard, and I never felt like I knew anyone involved well enough to find a way in there.

That’s probably the best part of this entire event–not just that I will finally be able to easily access the many resources provided by the Flying Brick, but that the entire RVA community will be able to! After all, with the political direction of this country looking particularly dark, there’s a lot to fight against, and a lot of causes to support through thoughtful action. The Flying Brick Library is sure to open some minds and teach some things to those with the inclination to learn–and its new location in Gallery 5 will make that so much easier! So come out to Gallery 5 this Thursday night, hang with some cool people who helped make all this possible, and hear some great heartfelt acoustic tunes from the excellent singer-songwriter Jake Mayday, as well as some incredible blues harmonica wailing from the masterful Andrew Alli! These tunes will invigorate and inspire you, but make no mistake, this night is really about the expansion of the amazing resources that RIZL and the Flying Brick Library are and have been. I for one am way into that.


Friday, April 7, 9 PM
Valient Thorr, Cruelsifix, Dr. No @ Wonderland – $10
It’s been years now since Valient Thorr frontman Valient Himself became a citizen of our fair city, and while he’s been relatively easy to see around in his role as vocalist for the excellent post-hardcore band Brief Lives, it’s been rare that he’s appeared with the band that made him a household name. However, this weekend provides one of those rare opportunities for the citizens of RVA to get their Valient Thorr fix, and I suggest you take advantage!

It’s really quite remarkable how long this excellent Southern-fried power metal band has been out there doing their thing. Last year they released their seventh album, Old Salt, and it shows the band at the top of their game, with blazing riffs and wailing vocals aplenty. Expect them to elevate Wonderland to another plane entirely this Friday night–but don’t expect to be able to casually roll in around midnight or anything. With a set from Cruelsifix–a new local metal supergroup featuring members of Cannabis Corpse, Decay Crawler, and more– happening just before Valient Thorr takes the stage, this show has plenty to offer besides an incredible headlining set. In fact, you’d be best advised to arrive well before openers Dr. No even get set up–after all, in my experience, Wonderland fills up quick, and you don’t wanna be hearing the action from the sidewalk.


Saturday, April 8, 8 PM
Vermord, Belial, Aborning, Goremonger, Decap Attak, Fetus Omelet @ 25 Watt – $10
Ripping metal savagery arising from the depths of Shockoe Bottom? It must be yet another Between 2 Beers show at 25 Watt. This show is headlined by two out of town bands bringing us two excellent takes on the black metal genre–and that’s always music to my ears. Vermord hails from the Baltimore area, and they know metal up there. Between the slow decay of their formerly thriving industrial metropolis and their proximity to the annual Maryland Death Fest, it’d be more remarkable if Baltimore did NOT regularly issue forth speed-thrash excellence such as this. There are no frills to Vermord’s sound–they dive right in at hyperspeed and pretty much never let up.

Belial, on the other hand, come from the UK, and bring with them a way more industrialized and multilayered take on black metal. Listening to their most recent EP, the just-released Nihil Est, I find myself thinking of Meshuggah just a bit. There’s a strangely djent-y progressive tightness to the performance, as well as a tendency to go for midtempo rather than hyperspeed, that stands out in unusual fashion. I also hear a bit of Decapitated’s brutal tech-death approach, and even a little bit of that Sworn In-style breakdown mosh–a strange but intriguing combination. I haven’t left myself a ton of space but I should definitely mention some ripping drum-machine-powered goregrind on offer from Georgia degenerates Aborning, as well as some similar noise from truly tasteless projects Goremonger and Fetus Omelet (definitely a warning for those easily offended on these last two). Finally, some crossover metallic punk from Philly’s Decap Attak rounds out the bill… is this six touring bands with no locals? You’re crazy for this one, Cory!


Sunday, April 9, 3 PM
Bonus Roll, The Rizzos, Silver Twin @ Strange Matter – $5
Hey, be real with me–were you planning to do anything important on your Sunday afternoon? I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there with the kinds of obnoxious jobs that force you to spend such times working, but if you’re lucky enough to be free of that sort of garbage, you’re probably gonna be found lingering over brunch somewhere, or lolled on your couch watching a movie you’ve seen five times already. This Sunday afternoon, though, you’re in luck! There’s a much better alternative at Strange Matter.

Specifically, the super-fun Brooklyn band The Rizzos will be giving us a set of their catchy rock n’ roll sounds. It’s no surprise to hear a band named after pretty much the best character in Grease having some snarly garage vibes mixed into their sound, but the alt-rock touches that flow through will also appeal to fans of bands like Speedy Ortiz and Lemuria. New locals Bonus Roll will be performing as well, and they’re certainly worth checking out as they both feature ex-members of Imaginary Sons and see that band’s rockin’ power-pop legacy taken to the next step. Brand new project Silver Twin, featuring some players you’ve probably encountered around the local indie scene, kicks off the show with the first live performance of their career! Get off the couch and get stoked!


Monday, April 10, 9 PM
UV-TV, Bad Magic, Haircut, Womajich Dialyseiz @ Strange Matter – $5
It can be tough to get yourself out of the house on a Monday night. The first day back to work after a weekend is always so difficult–and if you worked through the weekend, you’re probably more exhausted. Listen–I get it. When I got home this past Monday night, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. But if you can get yourself down to Strange Matter this Monday night, any difficult feelings will be washed away by the glorious sounds this show has to offer.

Fone one thing, it’s the release show for Bad Magic’s new tape, Harsh Surrender, and considering that this local trio is always worth hearing and witnessing, this bit of a sweetener to the pot should make this bill impossible to resist. And then there’s the catchy postpunk-in-that-way-that-really-they’re-entirely-punk-and-just-super-creative Florida group, UV-TV, who are coming through in support of their excellent LP Glass, released last month on Deranged Records. It’s hard to nail down this band’s sound (see above), but luckily, it’s really easy to dance to their tunes, so let’s not worry about genre classifications, shall we? Rockin’ Charlottesville punk band Haircut and local all-femme improvisational ensemble Womajich Dialyseiz round out this bill of killer sounds. Dig.


Tuesday, April 11, 9 PM
Jonathan Richman (featuring Tommy Larkins on the drums!) @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Oh my god. First let me say that I don’t know if anyone else is playing this show, and then let me also say that it should not matter to you. Jonathan Richman is reason enough to go to a show all by himself. Richman was punk before punk was even defined, founding The Modern Lovers in 1970 and giving the world such classic early punk tunes as “Road Runner” and “Pablo Picasso” before moving on to explore a sweeter, more pop-driven style of music after the original Modern Lovers disbanded.

A second, quieter and prettier incarnation of the Modern Lovers lasted for close to a decade, but since the mid-80s Richman has pretty much been a solo act, touring with an acoustic guitar and a drummer so that he can keep things relatively quiet and perform without further damaging his hearing. He’s still making music, too–Ishkode! Ishkode!, his 16th solo album since 1989’s self-titled effort and first in half a decade, was released last year. Those who clamor for the classic Velvet Underground-influenced sounds of the early Modern Lovers may be slightly let down by Richman’s current acoustic sound, influenced by reggae and African sounds but still fundamentally grounded in American music. However, the man is a unique and fascinating musical genius, and those who are willing to accept his work on his own terms will find a talented artist who’s still making great music and giving excellent performances nearly a half-century after his career began. Don’t miss this one.


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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