Posted by: Necci – Jan 22, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 9 PM
Waxahatchee, All Dogs, Cayetana, Little Master @ Strange Matter - $10 in advance (get tickets here: waxahatchee.eventbrite.com)
Though she's only been making music for a few years, Katie Crutchfield's had a remarkable career thus far. Since 2008, when they were still in high school, Katie and her twin sister Allison have been releasing great music at a highly prolific rate, both together (in PS Eliot, Bad Banana, and other projects) and separately. These days, Katie heads up Waxahatchee, which began as a solo acoustic project but became a much more complex affair on second LP Cerulean Salt, released last year to widespread critical acclaim. The songs on Cerulean Salt move from quiet acoustic tunes to full-band rockers, but all of them have in common Katie's brilliant, relatable lyrics and gorgeous, evocative voice. Her talent for wistful, yearning pop songs, underscored with a rough sincerity that always points back to her punk rock roots, makes Katie Crutchfield's work a must-listen regardless of what project she's fronting. We're not really sure what form Waxahatchee will take when they hit the Strange Matter stage this Saturday, but the important thing is that Katie Crutchfield will be there to sing for you. You better be there to listen.
All Dogs will also be along for the ride. This female-fronted poppy punk band from Ohio is the sort of band that will appeal to anyone with an appreciation for the work of the Crutchfield sisters--plus, it features members of the long-running and underrated Ohio band Delay, so you know there's some serious talent going into this one. Their new single on Salinas Records sounds great, and those songs are bound to sound even better live. Philly's Cayetana have a bit more of a jangle-pop edge than All Dogs, but they're still writing some great pop-punk songs, including their new single on Tiny Engines, "Hot Dad Calendar." We look forward to dancing to this one. Finally, local rockers Little Master, a Husker Du-ish crew led by the always-talented Tim Morris (Brainworms, Ultra Dolphins) open things up with their energetic power trio stomp. This will be a Saturday night to remember, so don't miss it!
Wednesday, January 22, 9:30 PM
Old Dominion Playboys, Ben Butterworth @ Cary St Cafe - Free!
Far be it from me to suggest that it's ever the wrong time of the week for loud, fast, angry rock n' roll, but let's face it--sometimes it's nice to change things up, hear something a bit more off the beaten path. Old Dominion Playboys offer you an opportunity to do exactly that with their enjoyable recreations of Western swing sounds that last dominated the airwaves nearly six decades ago. Think Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, or that Spade Cooley guy James Ellroy is always referencing in his crime novels (he had a popular TV show in LA in the 50s--can you imagine?).
Anyway, enough history lessons; Old Dominion Playboys exist right now, and they'll be at Cary Street Cafe tonight, ready to get you dancing. This local sextet will be making use of fiddle, pedal steel guitar, and a swinging rhythm section to generate the kind of toe-tapping groove you can't find just anywhere, and it's the perfect opportunity to dress up in all your Western finery and cut a rug with your sweetheart. So grab your bolo tie and Stetson hat, and we'll see you down at Cary Street Cafe. Local singer-songwriter Ben Butterworth will be kicking things off, so make sure you arrive on time!
Thursday, January 23, 9 PM
Twangtown Thursdays presents Red Light Rodeo (Photo by Tom Martinez), Joshua Bearman @ Balliceaux - Free!
And of course, one great country night deserves another, so what better way is there to follow up Old Dominion Playboys at Cary Street Cafe than with the latest edition of Twangtown Thursdays at Balliceaux? Bluegrass fans will be delighted to hear that local pickers Red Light Rodeo will be headlining this fine evening, delighting you with a repertoire of beloved standards as performed on guitar, mandolin, and upright bass by members of The Southern Belles and The Green Boys. Meanwhile, with Miss Alison Self out of town for a while, Twangtown Thursday house band Sweet Fern will have to skip this fine evening, but Alison's partner in crime, Joshua Bearman (also of the Hot Seats) will hold down the fort with a fine solo opening set. Guitars will be strumming, toes will be tapping, and the music will make a perfect soundtrack for hoisting a few brews (or so they tell me), so come have a great time down at Twangtown, aka Balliceaux, this Thursday night.
Friday, January 24, 7 PM
Clair Morgan, Mittenfields, Those Manic Seas, Ocean Vs. Daughter @ Gallery 5 - $5
As RVA indie-rock bills go, this one is stacked, and it's headlined by one of the strongest up-and-coming artists this city's indie scene has to offer: Clair Morgan. Now, the question is going to arise eventually, so let's just get it out there right now--yes, Clair Morgan is a guy. "Clair" is the male form of "Claire," it's just a really uncommon name in 2014. Then again, if you're unfamiliar enough with Clair Morgan's music that you were gonna be surprised to see a guy fronting the band that will take the Gallery 5 stage this Friday night, you're already kinda blowing it, because that would also mean you haven't heard his amazing album from last year, No Notes. On this 10-song collection, Morgan and his band take what could have been an average collection of well-produced indie tunes in the hands of another and spice them up with complex time signatures, creative single-note guitar melodies, and brilliant vocals and lyrics. In a live setting, the energetic aspects of Morgan's music get pushed to the fore, and they dish out some great rockin' indie music that's guaranteed to get you dancing.
But Morgan and his band are not the only reasons for you to spend your Friday night at Gallery 5 this week. Also on the bill are the triple-guitar warriors from Washington DC, Mittenfields, who lay down interconnected guitar leads with a dexterity that keeps things multi-layered without allowing their music to ever get too busy. Underneath all that, singer/bassist Dave Mann adds vocal lines that recall Travis Morrison of the Dismemberment Plan at his less nerdy moments, and drummer Brian Moran clatters away behind his kit, keeping a deceptively complex rhythm without ever drawing your attention from the guitars, guitars, guitars that make this band's sound so special. Then there's Those Manic Seas, the local trio who become a quartet with the addition of their cyborg singer, whose vocals are broadcast from a television screen embedded into his mannequin head. Which shouldn't by any means distract you from the excellent dance-punk sounds of this band's fun, entertaining songs. They'd be memorable even without the technologically-enhanced vocal situation, for sure. Ocean Vs. Daughter kicks the whole evening off. This keyboard-driven crew have been to Prague, but these days lead vocalist Flanna Sheridan makes her home in RVA, and she and her atmospheric songs will get this evening of fine indie sounds started off right.
Saturday, January 25, 3 PM
Alarms And Controls In-store Performance @ Steady Sounds - Free!
Friends, if you were into the great Dischord Records bands of the 90s, you need to be at Steady Sounds this Saturday afternoon. Alarms And Controls continues the legacy of superstar DC musicians Chris Hamley (Circus Lupus) and Vin Novara (Crownhate Ruin), who apparently tried to start a band over a decade ago, but were never really able to gel until 2012, when Hamley finally returned to Novara's house for his long-forgotten amp. The overdue jam session that ensued was a blessing to us all, because Hamley's complicated, counter-intuitive riffing and Novara's technical, mathy drumming were made for each other. Alarms And Controls just released an album on Dischord entitled Clovis Points, and while that album doesn't have the driving heaviness of Hamley and Novara's famous 90s bands, the complexity is still there and the wallop their previous bands packed has been replaced by a more intriguing exploration of perfectly off-kilter melodies. We doubt many of our current readers were there to see Crownhate Ruin's jaw-dropping performance in the basement of Citizen Gallery (the rubble of which is now buried beneath Ramz Hall) back in 1995, so show up at Steady Sounds this Saturday afternoon and watch Novara lay waste to his drum kit over some great riffs from Hamley and bassist Arthur Noll, and then pick up a copy of their new album. You may not know you need it right now, but once you see these guys play, you will learn.
Sunday, January 26, 9 PM
No Tomorrow, Repellers, Asylum, Prisoner, Mercy Killings @ Strange Matter - $7
All right, now this is some serious hardcore punk for you to finish out your weekend. No Tomorrow, from Wilmington NC, are finishing up a tour here in RVA because apparently their drummer lives here now. I'm too out of the loop to know these dudes personally, but I do know seriously brutal D-beat when I hear it, and these guys have got it going on! This is fast, crusty, "noise not music" at its finest, complete with gruff, growling vocals and studded black denim vests you can practically hear in their riffs. No Tomorrow are proudly carrying the banner for classic bands like Doom and His Hero Is Gone, so seeing them on the Strange Matter stage will doubtlessly be a treat.
And No Tomorrow is just the tip of the iceberg. Philadelphia crustcore group Repellers will also be performing, and these guys add a foreboding tinge to their sound with spooky intros, as well as varying up their songwriting with obvious influences drawn from the harsh frozen wastelands of Scandinavian metal. Spooky, distorted vocals, gloomy breakdowns, and plenty of that d-beat sound that you always want from crust bands all add together to make Repellers a must-see live experience. They may repel the squares, but the true punks will be attracted to Strange Matter this Sunday night. Especially since Mercy Killings will be on the bill too. This crew of mysterious guys from Virginia Beach, North Carolina, and RVA will be dealing out some angry old-school hardcore that actually has very little crust to it, but should definitely appeal to all the diehard D-beat fans in the audience tonight. Crust and mosh, unite! Local bands Asylum (female-fronted crustcore) and Prisoner (dark doomy hardcore) will open things up and get the circle pit churning.
Monday, January 27, 9 PM
Acoustic Death Country Blues featuring Brandon Marcey, Dorthia Cottrell (photo courtesy FoodPunk), TJ Childers, Gabrielle Bishop @ Strange Matter - $5
This certainly promises to be interesting. At this show, members of local metal bands like Cough, Windhand, and Inter Arma will be presenting solo sets of acoustic music. I've seen Inter Arma drummer TJ Childers play acoustically before, and Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell has been doing acoustic music since before she was even in Windhand, so it's not like this is out of nowhere. Nonetheless, I won't pretend I entirely know what to expect from this show. Its title gives us a hint: "death country blues" seems like a pretty fair description of what you'd get if these musicians reduced their normally loud, heavy doom metal tunes down to their most minimal core. We've seen a bit of this from other doom metal musicians in recent times as well: Mike Scheidt of YOB, Scott "Wino" Weinrich of Saint Vitus, and Steve Von Till of Neurosis have all had some interesting musical explorations in the world of solo acoustic music. So what will we get from these three well-known Richmond metal figures (plus Gabrielle Bishop, whom I for one am totally unfamiliar with) when they take the stage with nothing more than an acoustic guitar? I may not know the answer, but I am definitely interested to find out. Come to Strange Matter Monday night, and you can find out too.
Tuesday, January 28, 9 PM
Jack Of Heart, Christi, Naked Baby, Reid Magette @ Strange Matter - $7
This is gonna be a fun night! Jack Of Heart are a French garage-rock group who write catchy, fun pop tunes but play them with a rough n' tumble lo-fi punk spirit. They've got that oddball spirit that The Cramps would've loved, so it's probably fair to expect a ragin' out of control live show from these guys. They even cover "Primitive" by The Groupies, which you may be familiar with from The Cramps covering it on Psychedelic Jungle. So yeah, if you're down with the wild n' crazy garage underground, you'll love Jack Of Heart!
Some RVA bands in the same vein will be performing on this bill as well. I haven't personally heard Christi, but word has it the band brings together the female members of ne'er-do-well RVA garage/punk bands The Ar-Kaics, The Cales, and Leatherdaddy, so I expect great things. Meanwile, Naked Baby brings you half of the now-departed Eurotics playing some jangly, snotty rock n' roll that will fit well in this lineup. The whole evening starts out with Reid Magette laying down some raging, snarling power-pop. This show will have you sweating and shaking--it's the perfect reason to head out of the house on a cold winter's Tuesday night!
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it's happening--email me: [email protected].
By Andrew Necci