Saturday, June 3, 2 PM
A Good Day In RVA IV: The Fourthcoming, feat. McKinley Dixon & Friends, The You Go Girls, Majjin Boo, The Milkstains, Fat Spirit, Blush Face, VV, Positive No, Opin, Dharma Bombs, Wester Green, Magnus Lush, Anousheh, Gull @ Hardywood – Free!
I don’t really get out too much anymore, y’all. For a girl who writes a lot about live music, I spend most nights typing into this machine, then crashing before midnight so I can get to work by 8 AM the next morning. It’s a bummer, and one of the biggest reasons that it’s a bummer is all the new RVA bands I haven’t gotten a chance to see live yet. Fortunately, the Good Day RVA folks are back yet again with the fourth edition of their annual summer-kickoff showcase of outstanding local bands, offering the perfect opportunity for all of us to catch up on what we’ve been missing around town while munching on awesome food-truck snacks and quaffing tasty craft beer (or Coke Zero if you roll like I roll). And since this show is free, on a weekend, and over before 11 PM, I might actually make it out! That would be a nice change.
There are some incredible artists on this bill, some of whom seem to have come out of nowhere and dominated the scene recently. This is most definitely true of McKinley Dixon, a talented local rapper whose 2016 LP Who Taught You To Hate Yourself? proves that he deserves all the positive attention he’s getting around town lately. Dixon and friends will be closing out the evening on the inside stage, while goofy punky rocker dudes The You Go Girls will be finishing up the outside festivities.
Other awesome newcomers to the local stage include VV, the ripping postpunk group that sees a whole bunch of local high-energy punks combining their talents to slay all comers. Then of course there’s Blush Face, an excellent new power-pop/indie-punk combo who’ve been lighting up stages all over town with their brilliant effervescence. Opin’s intriguing expansion of the sound frontman Landis Wine was exploring in White Laces is certainly worth close attention. And there are some stalwart veterans and beloved favorites like Gull, Fat Spirit, and The Milkstains on the bill to give everyone a few flavors we know we’ll like. All this plus tons of vendors, some great food, and that tasty Hardywood beer that everyone seems so stoked on–what more could you ask for? Well, actually, there is one more thing–bring sunblock. I got a wicked sunburn at the 2015 edition of this festival that still makes me shudder to recall. Don’t be like me–protect your skin. And then get ready to rock out!
Wednesday, May 31, 8 PM
Richard Lloyd, Peeling, Candy Spots @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s always nice when a living legend graces a local stage. Where punk rock cred is concerned, not many have as strong a record as Richard Lloyd. As a founding member of Television–one of the first generation of mid-70s CBGB regulars that formed the core of the early New York punk scene–Lloyd combined with Tom Verlaine to create an incredibly powerful twin-guitar attack that was showcased to brilliant effect on the band’s debut album, Marquee Moon. Lloyd played with Television on and off for over 30 years, also making his mark as a solo artist with the legendary 1985 album Field Of Fire, and joining punk pioneers Rocket From The Tombs in their post-Y2K reunion lineups (replacing deceased original guitarist Peter Laughner). He was even in Matthew Sweet’s band for a while, at the mid-90s height of Sweet’s career.
So yeah, dude’s done a lot! He’s also taught, produced, and continued working as a solo artist, most recently releasing a Jimi Hendrix homage entitled The Jamie Neverts Story. Right now, he’s on tour fronting a three-piece band that plays material from all phases of his solo career, as well as some choice cuts from Television’s classic Marquee Moon LP. His storming guitar skills take on added resonance in the live environment, and this is sure to be an electric evening of classic sounds. Canadian rock n’ rollers Peeling and local power-pop quintet The Candy Spots will warm up the crowd for Lloyd’s field of fire. Be prepared–this is a performance you won’t soon forget.
Thursday, June 1, 7 PM
Deadaires, Magnus Lush, The Rememberables @ Gallery 5 – Free!
A Richmond appearance by hot new Florida band Deadaires is exciting enough all on its own, but with such a friendly price tag, this show frankly becomes unmissable. Deadaires have mainly been getting hype due to having been formed by ex-Against Me! bassist Andrew Seward, but just as intriguing to myself and any other fans of 90s post-hardcore from Florida is the connection the band has with True North, whose We Speak In Code LP knocked everyone out 17 long years ago when it was released. Deadaires brings Seward together with True North frontman Ryan Murphy to update the chunky post-hardcore sound of their former bands for the 2010s, complete with some choppy, syncopated rhythmic energy that hearkens back to Jawbox (appropriately enough, J. Robbins mixed their self-titled debut album).
The bands Deadaires will be connecting with on this particular Richmond jaunt are fitting for what the Florida band brings to the table. Locals Magnus Lush have drawn a lot of attention for their own Fugazi-influenced version of post-hardcore, and the recent addition of keyboardist Tori Hovater to the band accentuates their foreboding gothic elements as well. DC’s The Rememberables see longtime hardcore/grind drummer Chris Moore (Magrudergrind, Coke Bust, Sick Fix, etc) branching out, holding down the throne for this post-hardcore group with a strong melodic sense. I guess this is growing up. Thankfully, maturity sounds good on all three of these bands, so chase away your night-before-payday blues at Gallery 5. And you can save the couch-cushion change for a late-night Taco Bell run.
Friday, June 2, 8 PM
AFI, Souvenirs @ The National – $23 in advance/$28 day of show (order tickets HERE)
AFI sure have been through a lot of evolution in their quarter-century of existence. From the early days when the acronym meant “Asking For It” and their big song was “I Want A Mohawk (But Mom Won’t Let Me Get One)” to the “A Fire Inside”/Black Sails In The Sunset era of gothic-tinged melodic hardcore was quite the quantum leap, and that all happened before the 90s were even over! Since achieving mainstream success with 2003’s Sing the Sorrow, Davey Havok and co. have continued to explore the gothic realms they initially only hinted at.
Even though Havok’s left the androgynous look that made him such a Hot Topic heartthrob behind in favor of a more butch look in recent years, the band has retained its dark melodic sense, and showcase their latest catchy creations on their recently released tenth album, the self-titled AFI (as opposed to the 1998 A Fire Inside EP). New songs like “Snow Cats” and “White Offerings” show that the band, while a bit less punk than they once were, still have a lot to offer. Plus, it seems likely that they’ll still break out “Girl’s Not Grey” at some point during their performance at The National on Friday. So no matter what era was your favorite (I admit, I’m still most into Black Sails), this performance, which promises to be a high-energy emotional release, is still a great way to kick off your weekend.
Saturday, June 3, 7 PM
The Weak Days, Yikes, Eaves, Justin Johnson @ Comm Room – $5 suggested donation
Those of you who are paying attention are sure to notice, so I’ll just go ahead and cop to it right now: I have an article about The Weak Days coming up in the next issue of RVA Magazine. Since beginning work on the piece, I’ve found myself returning over and over to the band’s as-yet-unreleased EP Tight, which is coming later this summer from their own label, Running Around Records. Let me just tell you now, even if you were stoked on the Weak Days before, this EP contains far more than enough to demonstrate that they’ve taken things to the next level with their latest material. It may not be out yet, but you’re sure to hear a lot of the songs from Tight when this high-energy duo performs at Comm Room Saturday night.
The Weak Days are probably not a universally known band around town, but they should be. Their mix of passion, sincerity, and humor helps them tackle tough subjects in their lyrics without becoming didactic, and their catchy emo-pop riffage makes each new song more enjoyable than the last. Fans of Into It. Over It., Taking Back Sunday, and The Hotelier are sure to find a lot to love here. As for the bands they’re sharing a bill with, Yikes has a hard-driving 80s college-rock energy that mixes well with their emotionally-driven vocal sound. They’ve played a bunch of shows lately, and if you haven’t caught them yet, you really should. Eaves is a brand-new project with a more ambient guitar sound, but a similar emotional focus, to the other bands on the bill. And all I can tell you about Justin Johnson is that this show is a celebration of his birthday, and he is NOT the California guitarist who has an electric guitar made out of a shovel. But hey, wish him a happy birthday anyway! And check out The Weak Days now, before everyone else is telling you how great they are in six months.
Sunday, June 4, 8 PM
Dirty Dishes, Kindling, Teen Death @ Gallery 5 – $6
I have been known to have my fingers in quite a few pies around this town, which I figure is more than anything a side effect of Richmond being a relatively small city. Frankly, if you don’t expect all the music journalists to have bands and book shows, you should probably move somewhere with more people in it. Anyway, I bring all this up because I’ve booked a gig for Kindling before. They’re old friends, and they’re a super rad band, so I was glad to do so. This time around, they’re coming to Richmond in the company of Dirty Dishes, whose bass-heavy fuzz-pop sensibility fits in well with Kindling’s shoegaze-guitar overload.
Both of these bands have recently released new EPs that can act as tastes of what is to come for both. On the Dirty 7 inch EP, Dirty Dishes are a foreboding duo with some seriously rumbling bass. The band is set to hit the studio after the end of this tour, so chances are we’ll be hearing a new LP with a similar vibe before much longer. Meanwhile, the more prolific Kindling contrast their energetic February 2017 EP No Generation with the fuzzier, more melody-focused April 2017 split LP with Kestrels. If previous experience is any guide, though, the common denominator with this band remains incredibly loud, overdriven guitars washing over you, with a surprising melodic undercurrent provided by the quiet yet penetrating vocal harmonies. Melodic punk trio Teen Death are a bit of a contrast as local support, but they’re sure to keep you dancing regardless. So hey–go see my friends play! I have firsthand knowledge of what they have to offer, and it is well worth your time.
Monday, June 5, 8 PM
Lucid Traveler, AD.UL.T, Faceship, Gloom Merchants @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK, so local group Lucid Traveler are the biggest name on this bill, and are undoubtedly closing out this show. Which is as it should be–the popular locals bring it home so no one ditches out before the touring band plays. But as far as I’m concerned, the most intriguing act on this four-band Monday night bill at The Camel is the touring band. AD.UL.T may get into some pretty wild punctuation with their name (to be honest, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to speak it out loud, so it’s a good thing I only have to type it), but that’s nothing compared to the far-out-ness of their music. The fact that this band has a solid basis in hardcore punk is understandable in light of the fact that they feature ex-members of Fat History Month, but it’s their extensive explorations into the world of psychedelia that adds the most intriguing qualities to their sound.
Debut EP No, thank you. sees AD.UL.T mixing wilder effects drawn straight from early Butthole Surfers albums (which date from a solid decade prior to “Pepper”) with some of the cosmische-influenced riff rumbles that marked the early work of The Flaming Lips (which were released at least 10 years before “Do You Realize”). A more modern comparison might be to the “shitgaze” bands of the last decade–Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit, etc. This stuff is weird, and might get a bit goofy at times, but it’s definitely intriguing. The more conventional psychedelic sounds of Lucid Traveler may carry some of the same influences, but the results they create are worlds apart, with much more of a funk-derived groove shaping their sound. The more ambient space-rock vibes of Faceship are on a similar plane, while DC’s Gloom Merchants land closer to the AD.UL.T end of things. All of it is wild, cool, and a good reason to leave the house on a Monday night. God knows we all need one of those.
Tuesday, June 6, 8 PM
Giuda, The James Badfellows, Sick Bags @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Europe produces a lot of great rock n’ roll these days. Typically I think of the more northerly reaches of the continent when I say such a thing, but while Giuda’s most recent LP, Speaks Evil, was released by Swedish label Burning Heart, the band themselves hail from the Mediterranean shores of Italy. I sure can’t hate on that–after all, my ancestors come from that same area. And considering how catchy the many great tunes on Speaks Evil actually are, there’s no reason for any thoughts of Giuda to inspire any reaction other than a smile.
So hey, leave it to Vinyl Conflict to bring a rad European band like this one to our humble hometown, Richmond VA. The Giuda performance at Strange Matter is set to be quite an event, and not just because of the powerful AC/DC-meets-Dictators swagger of the headliners themselves. DJ’s D-FX and VIV VIV will be spinning great tunes between bands, sticking to flawless punk, oi, glam, and soul singles and giving you a break from the typical “soundman throws on a random CD that everyone ignores” between-band routine. Plus, local punky rockers The James Badfellows and Sick Bags will be doing all they can to get the crowd in the mood with some killer opening sets. Look out, all you rock n’ rollers! This is gonna be a great time–one you don’t wanna miss!
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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