Those around me continue to insist that it is Fall, with their pumpkin spices and their “spooky season” vibes, but I for one am not a person who rushes transitions. It is inevitable however that the leaves will soon change, and the outside shows start slinking back indoors for earlier cooler nights. There are plenty of weeknight shows, but if you work early, or you’ve got the kids in tow, those aren’t always an option, so I’ll lay out some weekend shows for you that are absolutely worth your Saturday night. It’s looking like a huge week for punk and it’s variants here in the city, with a little bit of out of town alternative thrown in just for good measure. On this week’s SOUND CHECK pop-punk heroes Bowling for Soup will be performing down in Shockoe Bottom, The Camel showcases a heap of black musician led punk groups, and more local releases from some of Richmond’s hidden gems.
Out of town acts to see
Bowling For Soup
9/7 @ The Canal Club
No, I’m not kidding. As a teenager getting into pop punk in the late 2000s I discovered Bowling For Soup after first watching the television program Phineas and Ferb — for which Bowling For Soup performed the theme song. Most notable however for their hit 2004 single “1985,” this group has changed a little bit in line up in the last few years, but remains largely the same as singer Jaret Reddick still fronts alongside life long friend Chris Burney on guitar. I was positively inspired by this energetic group of weirdos jumping around stage singing nasaly songs about having fun and how much the things they don’t like really and truly suck, and we disliked the same things! Though they are by no means innovators of the genre, not releasing their first album self-titled album until 1996, two years after Green Day’s genre defining Dookie, but they represent a successful group who found a sound, stuck to it, and now more than 25 years after their initial release are still playing tunes for people who want to hear them.
9/5 @ Richmond Music Hall
Doors: 7 pm
Though their bio on Spotify does not inspire hope, Your Neighbors promise of hiring “world-class producers and extremely talented musicians” is kept up in every one of his releases I had the time to check out. Releasing up to nine singles in one year, Your Neighbors take the spray and pray approach to music with at times almost monthly releases of new singles, and a wide range of genres, though they tend to always default to a variant on pop, indie or alternative rock. A real mixed bag of energy, I can’t really promise from which era of their music Your Neighbors will be drawing from for this performance, but if you like the idea of not knowing what you’re getting yourself into, then this very well could be the perfect show for you.
My favorite track from Your Neighbors:
Local & Regional acts to see
Punk Black Richmond
9/7 @ The Camel
Doors: 7 pm
They have just one track available on Spotify, but you should absolutely listen to their self-titled EP on Bandcamp by Eight Inner Gates. Though the list of their releases isn’t long, the high production quality and realized sound spells out a hopeful future for this deep underground group skirting around the fringes of the Richmond scene. Get out there and support these local artists to help with their shift into the spotlight.
I saw Railgun perform at the end of 2022, and they were a riot. Now you wouldn’t necessarily expect a heavy punk rock group to be the height of comedy, but this group has so much personality, stage presence and above all you can see the comradely and friendship shine through in the banter they engage in while on stage. They’ve got a pretty good back catalogue that you can check out on streaming platforms that you should absolutely dive into before this week’s show.
The Rack have been kicking around since 2019 and seem to have figured themselves out. The pop-iest of the groups in this lineup, their hard driving sound has a much more polished finish and familiar structure than is often associated with the rawer side of punk music, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to rock along with the best of them. Check out their music online in case you’re interested to hear them before this stacked showcase.
The rawest, and perhaps heaviest group on this list, Armagideon Time do what they do, and they don’t care what you think. Their extremely short EP Crime As Theatre was released last year, and at five songs long but not evening cracking 10 minutes gives each song an average runtime of less than two minutes each. Armagideon Time flies through each and everyone one of their tracks with heavily distorted guitars, absolutely dominating percussion. So chock full of anger and disturbia, this group may not be for everyone, but those who love this brand of angry, heavy rock music now know where to find it.
Local & regional Releases
A few months ago I talked about Tyler Donavan‘s single release, and now he’s gone ahead and put out a whole album. Due to an emergency surgery that left Donavan in a wheel chair, the rapper thought that he would never walk again. However, through the extreme power of will (and a lot of work) he is up again and back on the scene in the Norfolk area. This is absolutely a talent to watch as Donavan’s eccentric personality shines through in his bouncy flow and magnetic persona. Walk out the halls of a disquieting high school and into Donavan’s life as he chronicles a journey and challenges most would not dare to take on.
My favorite track from GASPING4AIR:
Top photo courtesy of Bowling For Soup