RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 7/26-8/1


Saturday, July 29, 8 PM
Ice Cream Support Group presents Ice Cream Anniversary Bash: Year One, feat. Dazeases, DJ Skrt Skrt, DJ Des, Mango X Jafar Flowers @ Strange Matter – $5
No contest on this one, folks–this is definitely the most important show happening in RVA this week, and it’s being brought to us by the most interesting artistic movement in town right now. Ice Cream Support Group is an organization put together by young people of color from the local LGBT community. Their interests are wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary, and they place a great deal of emphasis on helping people learn how to express themselves through mediums and with tools that may normally seem inaccessible. Really, though, if you know Ice Cream Support Group, it’s probably through their Ice Cream Social dance nights, which started about a year ago and have only gained momentum since.

The Ice Cream Social nights began with a variety of different queer DJs spinning all sorts of different music in an accepting environment. Rather than focusing on one sound throughout the night, these events give different DJs the opportunity to play whatever they enjoy most, and allow people with different tastes to come together in an inclusive space. The Year One Anniversary Bash takes the original Ice Cream Social idea and expands upon it. The night will feature a variety of different performers, some spinning tunes for dancing, some performing live, some doing something somewhere in between.

The evening will feature a variety of performers associated with the Ice Cream Support Group project, including the group’s best-known member, Dazeases. On a hot streak with the recent release of her EP Local Slut on Egghunt Records, Dazeases has recently completed a followup EP entitled Minneapolis, download codes for which will be available at this show. The evening will also feature a collaborative live performance by electronic artist Mango and spoken word artist/BLVCKPUNX frontperson Jafar Flowers. Apparently this performance will feature some sort of livestreamed element, though what that will mean will not be revealed until the time comes. Ice Cream Social mainstays DJ Skrt Skrt and DJ Des will also be on hand spinning tunes of all varieties to get everyone dancing. It’s a revolution you can dance to–which is really what we’ve all been looking for, right?


Wednesday, July 26, 9 PM
Institute, Slump, Stake, Serqet @ Strange Matter – $10
Tonight brings us a welcome mid-week blast of noise, presented to us by the punk rock heads over at Vinyl Conflict. The headliners for this night of punk madness are Institute, a Texas band who’ve recently released their third LP, Subordination, on Sacred Bones Records. For a label better known these days for weird stuff like Zola Jesus and Jenny Hval, a relatively straightforward dark UK-influenced punk group like Institute might seem like a bit of a stretch, but if anything the band harks back to earlier Sacred Bones days when they were releasing the early, heavy LPs by New York’s The Men (back before those guys turned into a classic rock act or whatever). The same driving, gothic energy that fueled those early records by The Men stands out here, making Subordination a far more riveting listen than the typical dark punk stuff, which, let’s face it, is pretty thick on the ground these days.

Institute will be joined on this bill by a trio of fresh new RVA punk faces. Slump are if anything the most established, though that just means that they’ve got recorded material that dates from late 2016. Their recent split EP with True Body finds this band heading straight for deep space with some lengthy psychedelic epics that feature a ferocious heart. Fans of Hawkwind should definitely be paying attention to these guys. Meanwhile, Stake is the latest from former Nervous Ticks frontman Chaz Tick, who at least on the band’s demo is just ripping out some spooky rockin’ jams over a drum machine backbeat. Perhaps he’ll be hooking up the Roland at Strange Matter tonight, though who can tell for sure. Serqet opens up and features people from some local indie psych-drone projects bashing out some psychedelic punk with definite gothic overtones. In other words, they’ll be the perfect introduction to this entire night of pitch-black sounds.


Thursday, July 27, 8 PM
Zen Mother, Shadow Age, Gull, Nu Depth @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
So it’s Thursday night. You’ve got one more work day to make it through before the weekend, and you’ll need to marshal all of your strength if you want to make it. Believe me, I know the feel. Might I advise attending the Zen Mother show at Strange Matter? This intriguing project is sure to give you the kind of mind-wipe you’ll need to clear your head and summon all of your energy for the long work day on Friday. And really, for the rest of your working life until you retire. It’s that kind of thing.

Zen Mother is a project combining the talents of former Charlottesvillain Adam Smith, who previously fronted the cleverly named Invisible Hand, and Monika Knot of the intriguing solo project Nordra. The two of them come together to create humming soundscapes with a gothic vibe and an ambient feel, even as they open up vast spaces within your mind, across which echo reverberating synths for ages. Brand new LP I Was Made To Be Like Her is somehow both unsettling and serene, and in a live environment these tunes will be perfect for a night of cleansing meditation on the dance floor. Zen Mother are joined on this tour by the illustrious electro lunatic known as Nu Depth, and will play host to local faves Shadow Age and Gull. Expect this night to open your eyes. And afterwards, you’ll sleep like a baby.


Friday, July 28, 8 PM
Cold Beaches, The Smirks, Halfcast, Black Mold Jesus @ Gallery 5 – $6
It’s a shame that I’m just getting clued into Cold Beaches, the project spotlighting the songwriting talent of Sophia Nadia. A shame, because Sophia’s about to leave town, and pretty soon we won’t have that many chances to see her play. Fortunately for us, there is one more chance–this Friday night at Gallery 5. Cold Beaches will say farewell to Richmond with an evening of jangle-guitar pop and razor-sharp lyrics. Tunes like “Boring” and “Band Boy” leave me thinking of Colleen Green or Best Coast, and should have an audience full of dreamy indie kids swaying even as Sophia Nadia spits verbal barbs and exes, would-be suitors, and boring band boys everywhere. It’ll be a blast.

And of course, you get a set from The Smirks as part of this excellent evening. I’ve written about this band a bunch lately, so I don’t want to belabor the point too much, but the fact is, The Smirks are one of the most vital young musical projects happening around RVA right now. Their garage-pop snark is impossible to resist. They make an excellent pairing with Cold Beaches. And if you haven’t discovered both of these bands, you really need to make it to Gallery 5 this Friday night. After all, who knows when you’ll be able to catch Cold Beaches in town again? Chunky metallic post-hardcore from Halfcast and total weirdness from the intriguingly named Black Mold Jesus will start the night out. Get into it.


Saturday, July 29, 8 PM
Massa Nera, Infant Island, Tavishi, Samarra, In Wolves Clothing @ The Comm Room – $3-5 donation for touring bands
Holy shit. This is one incredibly exciting bill right here. The two touring bands coming together at the top of this bill are both excellent examples of the amazing stuff getting cranked out by the scene most people refer to as “screamo” these days (I will continue to think of it as “chaotic hardcore” because I’m a thousand years old). Massa Nera come to us from New Jersey with a riveting mix of dynamic songcraft and outright ferocity. The quieter moments on their recent EP, No Estamos Separados, remind me of Indian Summer or Funeral Diner. Meanwhile, when they crank it up and really go for it, they channel Portraits Of Past and Shotmaker to excellent effect. I know, I know, you’re not a HearttataCk reader in 1999, you don’t know these reference points. Suffice it to say that this band is incredible, and are going to get your blood flowing and your passions inflamed. Which sounds kinda dirty, but I didn’t mean it that way, I swear! Anyway, moving on…

Infant Island hails from a mere hour north of here, in Fredericksburg. The last time I knew anything about that town’s scene, it was wall to wall violent metalcore, so I’m super-glad to discover some intriguing new sounds from up that way. Infant Island brings more of an Envy-style epic element to their tuneage than Massa Nera, but both have a lot of intensity to drop on the Comm Room this Saturday night, so if that’s your thing, make sure you’re in attendance. I’ll be there–after all, my band (Samarra) is opening the show. We are not quite done with our new EP, though it will be online in the very near future. That said, you’ll hear all the songs from it on Saturday night. You’ll also hear a fascinating set from electro-science-noise project Tavishi, as well as the live debut of In Wolves Clothing, which brings together the remnants of short-lived local project Pigeon Meeting with members of Skull Kid and Mothlight to tear our heads off in awesome new ways.


Sunday, July 30, 5 PM
Radio B, Ray Manley vs. Nunn Nunn, Chillum Allah vs. Paine The Poet, T.R.I.G. vs. Face @ The Camel – $10
Radio B is one of the biggest names in Richmond hip hop right now. Between his membership in Association Of Great Minds along with top-level local spitters Nickelus F and Michael Millions, and excellent previous releases like TENTHSNDHRS and Whole Foods, he’s done a lot to prove that he deserves every bit of the spotlight he receives. This year’s Sunday’s Best EP sees Radio B continuing to show his simultaneous rapping and production skills with a jazzy, multilayered release full of brilliant lyrical insights. Now Radio B is taking that EP to the next level, bringing it to The Camel’s stage this Sunday night backed by a full live band. The presentation is labeled “Sunday’s Best Unplugged,” but whether or not it will truly be acoustic or just free of samples remains to be seen. Either way, it’s an essential evening’s entertainment, sure to reveal some new sides of this excellent EP (which just might be Radio B’s best yet).

As for the rest of the entertainment on this bill, well, lately it seems like rap battles are happening more and more often. The truth may just be that they’re gaining more and more prominence though, since there are quite a few rap battles taking place at The Camel lately. This night brings you three more, hosted by the Southpaw Battle Coalition (another of Radio B’s affiliations) and featuring some braggodocious emcees who will all attempt to prove they have the skills to back up their tough talk. Some of these guys (notably Chillum Allah) show up most often online cutting wrestling-style promos on their upcoming opponents. What could be cooler than that? You wanna catch this night of hardcore mic skills, y’all. It’s guaranteed to be even more entertaining than Monday Night RAW.


Monday, July 31, 8 PM
Soft Grip, Guilt Parade, Mad Existence, Nosebleed, Division Of Mind @ Strange Matter – $7
Earlier in the column I was talking about chaotic hardcore. And now, this night will bring us several bands that play hardcore of the completely non-chaotic variety. It’s straightforward, it’s heavy, it’s speedy, and it’s built for maximum toughness and intensity. Expect a fair bit of mosh pit action for these bands. Soft Grip is a brand new band, but between their lineup featuring members of popular DMV-area hardcore rippers Angel Dust and their excellent 2016 EP, Devil Plays Nowhere, they’ve more than earned their spot at the top of the bill.

Meanwhile, Guilt Parade, also hailing from the DC area, have a bit less ex-member cred but a bit more street-level buzz getting the kids excited. Their two demo EPs show a band with a ton of energy that’s ready to get out there on the floor and rip shit up. Expect to see a whole lot of caffeinated teenagers doing exactly that during their set. Well-known locals Mad Existence, meanwhile, will be taking the stage for the last time, so this is an opportunity to give these beloved local heroes one last mosh tribute. Fellow local ragers Nosebleed will be there to comfort you with their continued relatively sane existence, while brand new mosh fiends Division Of Mind will kick things off with a solid dose of anger to get shit going. Wear your combat boots to this one, kids–it’s gonna be a hot time in the circle pit tonight!


Tuesday, August 1, 7 PM
Floral Print, Camp Howard, Young Scum, Fat Spirit @ Gallery 5 – $6 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
And from a Monday night full of raw hardcore (as opposed to RAW wrestling… two references in one column? I guess I’m having a particularly dorky week) to this Tuesday of intricate yet soothing math-pop sounds… the contrasts don’t get any bigger than that, folks! But there’s always something refreshing about making big changes from night to night, keeping your ears limber, and not giving yourself the chance to let it all run together. Floral Print are sure to help you out with all of this. Their lovely tunes sit somewhere between the mellower math-rock sounds the kids favor in these post-Tera Melos days, the jangly indie pop sound beloved by the Citrus City/Crystal Pistol RVA youth nation, and some minor-chord fueled emotion that I wouldn’t shorten to “emo,” by any means, but… the resemblance is still kinda there, nonetheless.

As for local support, this show is a potpourri of indie rock brilliance from right here in the RVA. Each group has their own unique twist on the sound, too, from Camp Howard’s precision pop strum to Young Scum’s catchy, subtly complex bounce. Fat Spirit splits the difference with a slightly more 90s-indebted alt-rock roar. All of it is great. All of it is worth your time. The one thing I can’t decide is whether this is the sort of event to which one should wear a floral print dress. Perfect for the season, or a little too “that guy“? You decide!


Special for this month only! My fiancee and I are getting married on the other side of the country and we’re making a zine about it! Help us make the whole thing happen, get yourself a copy of the zine plus some other cool perks, and help our dreams come true! You can do that right here: http://igg.me/at/drew-n-saras-wedding-album We will be eternally grateful for anything you can throw our way!

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: