Tuesday, October 31, 9 PM
Fear Of Music plays Fear Of Music @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s that time again–Halloween, when all the good little rock n’ rollers get together to put on costumes by playing the music of other bands. The Halloween parties that have become Richmond traditions are still happening, and will doubtless be as awesome as ever, but this year I find myself drawn to a new thing that I’d enjoy seeing become a tradition of its own.
Fear Of Music, who’ve been plying their Talking Heads tribute band trade around town for years now, have decided to take things one step further this Halloween. Instead of their usual set pulling from the wide variety of awesome songs Talking Heads created over the course of their career, they’ll be drilling down and focusing on one Talking Heads album–specifically, the one that gave them their name. 1979’s Fear Of Music is best known today for its landmark single “Life During Wartime,” which features memorable lyrics involving a New York scenester attempting to survive the apocalypse. But of course this album also sees Talking Heads’ musical explorations into funk, disco, and sounds from around the world kicking into high gear, most notably with Dadaist disco opener “I Zimbra.”
Will RVA’s Fear Of Music have the chops to properly recreate Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music? In light of the group’s impressive pedigree, I think it’s a safe bet. And not only will they do that, they’ll add a second set featuring the jam-packed retrospective of the Heads’ best work that more closely resembles their usual work. Special guests will apparently be in the house to help out, though specifics on their identities are as yet unknown. Whoever they are, they’ll probably be wearing costumes–and you should be too. It is, after all, Halloween.
Wednesday, October 25, 5 PM
Radiator Hospital, Outer Spaces, Big Baby @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
The return of Philadelphia jangle-punk sensation Radiator Hospital is a big event for a certain segment of the RVA music scene, and considering how great this band is, the rest of you should probably get on board with the quickness as well. Led by singer/songwriter Sam Cook-Parrott, the group just released their fifth (and, by many accounts, best) album so far, Radiator Hospital Play The Songs You Like. Featuring songs with titles like “Long Distance Dedication,” “Pastoral Radio Hit, ” “Dance Number,” and “Old Refrain,” it seems the group is using this album to focus on the way music interacts with the world. Of course, that will become clearer once we’ve all had some time to give it a few listens. Get a jump on that at this show.
Baltimore-based Outer Spaces join Radiator Hospital on this trip down to good ol’ RVA, and while they don’t quite have the same sort of high profile in the scene as Radiator Hospital enjoy, it’s certainly not because they’re any less good. In fact, this band, the latest project from singer/songwriter Cara Beth Satalino, is a big personal favorite of mine. I’ve followed Satalino’s work since her early solo days over a decade ago, and from those early EPs to her previous band Witches and now through Outer Spaces, she’s maintained a consistently high level of songwriting. Last year’s debut full-length, A Shedding Snake, gives us a bushel of great tunes, enhanced by multi-instrumentalist Chester Gwazda’s frequent interjection of electric piano textures. With local geniuses Big Baby kicking off the whole thing, this is an incredible show from top to bottom.
Thursday, October 26, 6 PM
Shadow Age, True Body, Aerial Ruin @ Champion RVA – Free!
These free shows at Champion just keep on bringing the home runs, combining excellent local talent with rad up-and-comers from around the region to make for an evening of excellent sounds. The local stars on this particular bill are Shadow Age, who recently followed up their 2016 debut EP, Silaluk, with an excellent new EP called The Fall. Lineup changes since the previous EP see a slimmed-down, now synthless version of the band focusing more closely on frontman Aaron Tyree’s powerful guitar playing, which continues to evoke The Chameleons, Pornography-era Cure, and early Echo and the Bunnymen to superb effect. I was a big fan of their debut EP, but I might just like this new one even better. A full set like this is sure to be just what the doctor ordered.
This group is joined by a pair of out-of-town groups with some similarly downcast, memorable tunes. Norfolk’s True Body have a brand new two-song single to wow us with, and its gloomy baritone vocals and glimmering postpunk atmosphere strike many of the same notes as Shadow Age, but with a flavor entirely its own. This show is gonna be a real bonanza for the black-clad goth kids of this town, especially since the lineup is rounded out by Aerial Ruin. This atmospheric, mainly acoustic solo project is helmed by Erik Moggridge, a Pacific northwest musician with previous experience in a variety of heavier bands. Apparently this is his move in a quieter direction; recently released LP Nameless Sun also shows a great deal of hypnotic intensity to this group’s sound. Get some sun on your way to this one, because it’s gonna be all shadows once the music starts.
Friday, October 27, 6 PM
Neverkept, Telltale, We Call This Courage, Nine Line, Epiphany @ The Canal Club – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
We’re back at the Canal Club this Friday night, and as has become the trend with this particular venue over the past year or two, we’re enjoying some catchy emotional pop-punk sounds at an all-ages gig that one wouldn’t be off base to guess will mostly be populated by high school students (OK, and maybe some college kids too). But seriously, if you let that kind of thing run you off, you’ll miss out on a lot of good shit–as has always been true, the kids know what’s up. The word for this show is Neverkept, a brand new name for an established band who originally introduced themselves to the world under the name Count To Four. Shedding the name last year when founding singer/guitarist Mike Hayden was replaced by the duo of Lucas Cote (vocals) and Aaron Mong (guitar), the group still doesn’t have any music available from their current incarnation. However, a new album is in the works, and the group’s sure to have plenty of new music with which to regale fans who’ve come to expect the sort of strong, melodic combination of pop-punk, emo, and hardcore the band has been delivering for years now.
There are plenty of local groups on this bill as well, and the one we should probably mention first is plucky quartet We Call This Courage, who will be bringing a brand new album into the world at this show. Their self-titled six-song EP shows off a dynamite songwriting sense with killer melodies driven by a great deal of youthful energy. It’s what the Canal Club wants, and it’s what the Canal Club will get–never fear. Telltale are a newer local group who’ve just released their debut EP, Good Intentions. These guys are cleancut enough to pass for a boy band, but their lyrics tell a darker story of issues with relationships and substances. So yeah–they’re an emo band. Which is never a bad thing, by any means. Local newbies Nine Line and Epiphany round out this lineup of bands that need to finish up their sets before curfew–expect this one to go quick and feature lots of hyperactive dudes jumping around with guitars. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for that shit.
Saturday, October 28, 6 PM
Spooky Cool, Blush Face, Angelica Garcia, Private Cry @ Hardywood – Free!
Spooky Cool have been one of the more mysterious bands on the local indie scene over the past couple of years–grainy youtube footage was the only way you could learn about them for a long time, unless of course you went to the shows and learned for yourself. But all the buzz they’ve been picking up over that time has finally led to them poking their heads above the waterline, first with a new single, “Strange Rooms,” released last month, and now with a brand new video from the long-running local purveyors of music and filmic excellence, Good Day RVA. The group’s twining male-female vocal harmonies and strangely syncopated alt-rock riffs make a strong impression–though their inacessible air of mystery has no doubt ratcheted up the anticipation, making this overdue release all the more enjoyable.
Get your fill of Spooky Cool this Saturday night at a free show featuring a set from the band along with a premiere of the Good Day RVA video, which will be making its way to YouTube shortly afterwards. You’ll also get a heaping dose of the most excellent sounds from a variety of different subsections of the RVA indie world. Blush Face has grabbed quite a bit of attention on their own behalf with recent debut full-length What Do You Want? The group’s bouncy pop jangle is the kind of thing that worms under your skin and never lets go. The lineup is rounded out by recent local sensation Angelica Garcia, whose bold new sound has grabbed some high-profile attention from the likes of the New York Times recently; and newcomers Private Cry, who bring multi-layered vocals and an intriguing mix of instruments to bear on some vaguely psychedelicized alt-rock sounds in fascinating fashion. And all of this is available to you for the low low price of … absolutely nothing? Why the heck wouldn’t you go?
Sunday, October 29, 2 PM
Washers, Horizontal Hold @ Hardywood – Free!
I have no idea how hard y’all party, but if you’ve followed my previous instructions as to show attendance for the week, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about–after all, if you get too sloppy at Hardywood Saturday night, you can just crash in your car and drag your messy bedhead self back to Hardywood at 2 PM the next afternoon. You should probably go home and get a shower and some breakfast first, though–or at least I would, but far be it from me to tell you how to live, you maniacs.
I will tell you that attendance at this Sunday afternoon show over at Hardywood will bring a great deal of light into your life, if you choose to accept it. The main attraction on this bill is Washers, a new band bringing together the talents of Stuart Holt (Sports Bar), Brad Perry (Worn In Red), and Joel Alford (Pity Party). This band’s fun power-pop sound is exactly what you’d expect from some of these guys, with a heavier edge brought in by the rest of them. It’s tight–go see for yourself. And check out North Carolina’s Horizontal Hold while you’re at it; this group’s herky-jerky postpunk sound harks back to early 80s NYC No Wave without all that early-80s Manhattan grottiness. The whole thing is free, and it’ll be over in time for you to go get some dinner and head back out for yet another show! Or just hit the sack early. I honestly wouldn’t blame you.
Monday, October 30, 8 PM
LA Witch, Guantanamo Baywatch, The Smirks, Sick Bags @ The Camel – $12 (order tickets HERE)
The world of garage rock gets weirder and spookier with every passing year, and I for one think that’s great. After all, there are only so many new versions of “Dirty Robber” and “Psycho” we can all hear without getting bored. LA Witch is certainly not going to bore you. This trio, predictably hailing from Los Angeles, have a lot of venom and vigor to their sound, as well as a great deal of ominous reverb, simultaneously resembling the moody punk garage sounds of prime early Cramps and the psychedelic, um, witchery of bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The results, as documented on their brand new self-titled LP from Suicide Squeeze, are incredible. Much the same can be expected from their performance Monday night. Get down with it.
And you garage freaks will get a special bonus, as this one night sees them criscrossing the tour paths of Portland-based Suicide Squeeze labelmates Guantanamo Baywatch, who bring a ripping surf-driven sound to town to get all of us dancing. These guys just released their latest LP, Desert Center, back in August, and its deep dive into speedy mutant surf instrumental territory is matched in intensity by its haunting vocal numbers, many of which have a doomed 50s-retro vibe sure to thrill all assembled. Local garage-damaged young punk snots The Smirks will be on the bill to let the elders know how its done, while Sick Bags sees some former members of local punk louts The Ladies bringing a more openly retro style to their still-antisocial vibe. Don’t miss a minute of this one, folks, it’s sure to be a blast.
Tuesday, October 31, 6:30 PM
Citizen, Sorority Noise, Great Grandpa @ The Canal Club – $17 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
When their first album came out in 2013, Citizen got lumped in with that whole emo-revival thing. At the time of their 2015 followup, they got thrown into the post-hardcore shoegaze crowd. Now, in 2017, their third album, Aim To Please, has been released, and it shows this group to have a sound that’s held true through every attempt to pigeonhole them. The emo aspects are still there. The post-hardcore vibes and ringing shoegaze guitars are still in the mix as well. But at the end of the day, what this band does best is killer melodies with an undeniable infusion of passion and heartache. And they’re still doing it as well as ever, so going to see them live is still a really great idea.
Sorority Noise came together from the ashes of a couple early emo-revival bands, but quickly staked out territory well outside their original expectations. Their most recent album, You’re Not As _____ As You Think (yes, it’s really a blank), continues to explore new sounds that move from slightly-twisted melodic punk to strange ambient gothic vibes, all while digging deeper into the sorts of emotional issues that plague us all. All in all, they’re a great pairing with Citizen, and all the Canal Club kids are sure to eat it up. The evening will kick off with a set from Seattle’s Great Grandpa, who orbit some of the same styles Citizen and Sorority Noise are swirling around, but mix in doses of shoegaze and 90s alt-rock to keep things lively.
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): [email protected] [yes, my email is through GayRVA, don’t get weird about it]