RVA Shows You Must See This Week: December 14 – December 20

by | Dec 14, 2022 | MUSIC

Friday, December 16, 7 PM
No BS! 12th Annual Canned Food Drive, feat. No BS! Brass Band (Photo by Lauren Serpa), Lunch $pecial @ The Broadberry – $15 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This one should just be obligatory at this point, right? I mean, after all, it’s Christmas, No BS! Brass Band are one of the biggest bands in this city, and they’ve been doing this annual charity food drive for over a decade now — so we all know to mark our calendars by now, don’t we? And we all know to expect an absolute blast of an evening, as No BS! Brass once again take over The Broadberry and fill it full of their unique punk/soul/hip-hop influenced take on traditional brass-band jazz, Richmond style.

But of course, this year, there’s an even bigger reason to show up, as 2022 has marked a new phase in No BS! Brass’s lengthy and storied career. This year they released Undying, their first new album since pre-pandemic days, and the first one to capture their ongoing collaboration with powerful local soul diva Sam Reed on vinyl. No BS!’s knack for killer tunes that will get you dancing as soon as they kick things off remains untouched, but adding Reed’s vocals to the proceedings has only taken things to a new higher level. And if you haven’t seen this new incarnation of No BS! Brass play since they released their new album, an evening like this one, for a good cause, is the perfect time to reintroduce yourself to one of the best musical ensembles this city has to offer.

But wait, there’s more! This year’s edition also features a set from up-and-coming Richmond rapper Lunch $pecial, a captivating goofball with a live jazz-funk band called The Cafeteria backing him up. If you read the column regularly, you know I just discovered Lunch $pecial last week, but I’ve been making up for lost time with the Apple Music streams, and I gotta tell ya, this guy is the real deal. Pay attention now before all your friends are making fun of you for being late to the party. And don’t be late to this party at the Broadberry, either! Bring cans of food to help out those in need this Christmas, and get a second helping of holiday cheer when No BS! Brass hit the stage. This one will be enough all on its own to get you through the rest of the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 14, 7 PM
Agnostic Front, Richmond Vampire, Grand Scheme @ The Canal Club – $18 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
In the world of hardcore, there are only a few bands whose names must be mentioned as part of any introduction to the genre. Agnostic Front is one of those names; when I was young and first getting into hardcore, they were one of the first half-dozen or so bands everyone heard about. And they cemented their original legacy in the live environment; not everyone will agree, but if you ask me, it’s 1989’s Live At CBGB that is the most essential place to start with Agnostic Front’s extensive catalog. From the fast and tough classics of their early hardcore material to the more metallic material they started exploring on their landmark album Cause For Alarm — one of the most essential founding documents of the metal-hardcore movement known as crossover — they hit all the high points, and showed off the energy, rage, and spontaneous brilliance that marked their live shows, then and now.

Agnostic Front started on a new phase of their career in the mid-90s, and have continued to make music ever since, but they continue to recognize the crucial importance of their 80s material. Not only did they recently release a new single featuring rerecorded versions of “The Eliminator” and “Toxic Shock,” two of the best songs from Cause For Alarm, they also have made it clear that they’ll be playing a lot of classic 80s material on their current tour. Maybe this is just the old lady in me talking, but I still think that’s their best stuff. So whether you’ve seen Agnostic Front a dozen times or never caught them before, your best advice remains to get your ticket immediately (if you haven’t already) and get to this show tonight. Opening sets from upstart local hardcore bands Richmond Vampire and Grand Scheme will only further sweeten the pot on a show that’s mandatory for any true hardcore fan. Do it.

Thursday, December 15, 8 PM
Ostraca, .gif From God, Hold Me Down @ Bandito’s – $5
I don’t know if this Thursday night show at Bandito’s will create the same type of excitement in other people as it does for me, but I gotta tell ya, this three-band bill on a weeknight, featuring a trio of Richmond bands, has me as hyped as if some long-awaited tour was rolling through town. Ostraca and .gif From God are two of the leading lights in what I suppose I should refer to as Richmond’s screamo scene, and neither of them have been all that active in the recent past. Ostraca’s third album, Enemy, came out back in 2018, and they haven’t even played many shows over the past few years. .gif From God has also kept things relatively quiet since the release of their debut full-length, Approximation Of A Human, back in 2019. The way the pandemic put strain on smaller bands, I was sort of worried that neither of these excellent groups would return to action once the music world started opening up again. Thankfully, this show, along with a few others featuring one or the other of these bands, has come along to make me feel like my fears are quite unfounded.

Ostraca and .gif From God are both killer live acts, so even if you’ve been listening to the records on a regular basis since the last time you saw them, you’re really going to want to catch them in person at this show. From the epic songcraft and cinematic rage of Ostraca’s complex diatribes to the concise, razor-sharp fury of .gif From God’s chaotic sasscore, both of these groups are going to bring a great deal of ferocious noise to the table at this show. And best of all, Hold Me Down is joining them on this bill, for a strong opening dose of noisy, sludgy metal, driven by programmed beats and featuring some truly brutal riffage, all backed up by the unrelenting programmed beats that give this group an edge quite unlike other bands within their scene. These guys released a new LP, Powerless, about six months ago, and it’s full of tunes that are sure to have plenty of destructive power in a live environment. Catch every minute of this one — you won’t regret it.

Friday, December 16, 10 PM
Dead Billionaires, Soraya Silene, Riley Ely @ Ipanema – $10
It’s been nice to see Ipanema host so many shows in recent weeks, and here’s another killer one to add to that praiseworthy list. Dead Billionaires are still raising funds through Kickstarter to release their debut album early next year, and this show will find them filming a video for a single for that upcoming album. Want a chance to be in the front rocking out when that clip hits the YouTube airways next year and starts getting shared all over social media? This is your chance! Plus, you’ll just have the chance to enjoy a set by Dead Billionaires. Their rocking indie sound ensures that this is always a treat, even if making a music video isn’t involved.

The other two musicians on this bill also have quite a bit to offer in their own right. Soraya Silene, who apparently got her start in Richmond but recently returned from an extended sojourn in New York City, has recruited a five-piece band to accompany her original tunes and augment their soulful indie-pop sound. Recent singles, including the Christmas-themed “One Wish,” have definite indie torch-song vibes; after you see this set, you’ll be carrying a torch for Soraya Silene. Opening up will be Riley Ely, a young newcomer to the local singer-songwriter scene whose first two singles have a laid-back Americana vibe. What Ely will bring to a full set is an unknown quantity as yet, but arriving on time and finding out should definitely be worth it.

Saturday, December 17, 7 PM
Lacking, Desolus, Bruiser, Pain Directive, Sabel, Space Holder @ Powers BMX – $7-10
This Saturday night, head over to the Bike Shop for a real rager. No, I’m not saying this show will be a nonstop party or anything — though it might be. More importantly to the subject at hand, though, it’s gonna be a night of fast, angry, heavy music, by a variety of different groups from the mid-Atlantic region, all of whom are united despite the space between their respective genres by a sincere desire to rip shit up. Lacking are at the top of the bill, and one listen to their blink-and-you-miss-it side of their recent split with Roadpig will let you know why this Fredericksburg quartet deserves to close out this evening. Not only does their thick-necked power violence sound have enough raging speed to knock your socks clean off, but their intense stage presence is sure to result in quite the performance. Don’t miss these guys.

But really, don’t miss any of the bands on this bill. DC thrash trio Desolus run closer to the denim-vest/spiked-gauntlet energy of classic mid-80s thrash — think first-LP Slayer or prime mid-80s material by German thrash metal legends Destruction — but they’re gonna hit every bit as hard as Lacking will when they’re on the stage. Relative newcomers Bruiser, who hail from right here in Richmond, have more of a metallic punk sound, but if that makes you think it won’t be all that tough, one listen to the demo they released a couple weeks ago will be more than sufficient to change your mind. DC’s Pain Directive play raw, fast, old-school hardcore with some strong pit-starting energy — expect things to get wild during their set. I know far less about Sabel and Space Holder than I do about the other four bands on this bill, but the fact that they’re playing this show is a decent endorsement in and of itself. Hit this show up, but make sure you’re ready for serious circle pit action. It seems highly likely for this one.

Sunday, December 18, 8 PM
Antichrist Siege Machine, Miasmatic Necrosis, Thantifaxath, Killing Pace @ The Camel – $15 in advance, $18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This show lets you know where you stand from the start, beginning with the fact that it’s headlined by Richmond rippers Antichrist Siege Machine. This duo has been a local purveyor par excellence of dark and filthy noise from somewhere between black metal, grind, and very dark hardcore for several years now. They kicked things up a notch or three last year when they released Purifying Blade, their first LP of filthy, pitch-black metallic grind. Indeed, they bring such a high-quality strain of this particular subgenre’s fruits that they might very well be worth the price of admission on their own. Fortunately for us all, we get some pretty amazing bonus sets in the bargain.

The first comes from Miasmatic Necrosis, a goregrind group whose name sounds straight out of an early Carcass album. If you’ve heard that band’s legendary Symphonies of Sickness LP, you have at least some idea of what you’re in for here, though there are also strong doses mixed in of goregrind maniacs Exhumed and Cannibal Corpse at their most bloodthirsty. 2020 LP Apex Profane, which blew through 21 songs in about as many minutes, offers a good idea of the brutal, blood-streaked metal violence we can all look forward to from these guys. Get stoked. Then there’s Thantifaxath, the semi-mysterious Canadian trio whose black metal epics are every bit as complex and dynamic as Miasmatic Necrosis’s are concise and brutal. Fans of classic Scandinavian acts like Enslaved and Emperor will find a lot to like about this band, who aren’t afraid to inject hints of melody into what is fundamentally an intense and heavy as hell metal sound. Opening up the entire evening will be Richmonders Killing Pace, whose speedy hardcore bears an undeniable influence from crossover, classic thrash, and modern hardcore at its most brutal. All of these bands have a ton to offer — be there and benefit from it all.

Monday, December 19, 7 PM
Charm Offensive, Paint On It, Bright Arc, Julie Storey @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
That’s enough metal for one week, right? I mean, I love the heavy sounds, but sometimes what you really need in your life is some catchy indie pop tunes. That’s what Charm Offensive appears to provide. I say “appears” because they’re a pretty new band here in the RVA, and as of now I’ve only heard a few clips from social media sites. No full songs to appraise, no studio-quality recordings, just snatches of sound from a rehearsal room or a basement. Nonetheless, this group has me intrigued. They’ve got some strong melodies, catchy vocals, and just a hint of that whole shoegaze guitar haze lacing through everything. It’s a winning recipe, if you ask me. Certainly winning enough to spend your Monday night checking out.

Of the three other performers on this bill, the one I’m most familiar with is Julie Storey, frontwoman for local punkish power-pop quartet Doll Baby, and a talented singer-songwriter highly worth listening to even when she isn’t backed by a band. Her name on this flyer should be more than enough inducement to show up on time and catch every note she plays. In the interim between the end of her set and the start of Charm Offensive’s, we’ve got two other local groups set on getting their names out there and proving their worth. Paint On It is a keyboard-driven rock n’ roll group with some catchy tracks that should please folks who dig bands like Local H, or maybe Ben Folds at his most rockin’. Bright Arc have a bit more shoegaze going on than Charm Offensive, but retain a strong energy that makes their tunes upbeat and fun even through the hazy guitars. All of these groups have quite a bit to offer, if you ask me, and you’d be doing yourself a favor to spend your Monday night catching them all at The Camel. So yeah, make it happen.

Tuesday, December 20, 7:30 PM
Shockoe Sessions Live, feat. Weldon Hill @ In Your Ear – $10 (order tickets HERE)
In these early days of the week, when not a lot of live music is going on, it’s nice to have a few mainstays to depend on. Shockoe Sessions at In Your Ear are always a great part of any Tuesday night, and their last live session of 2022 is no exception. This time around, they’re presenting pianist Dr. Weldon Hill, a returning guest on Shockoe Sessions, though he’s got a different sort of thing going on this time than he did last time he was on back in 2020.

Specifically, it’s a collection of “Christmas classics with a twist,” and whether that means we’ll get new, jazzier arrangements of the tunes we’re all hearing in every store these days, or something a little less expected, either way it should be a nice time. After all, we could all use a little more inducement to get in the Christmas spirit, right? Think of this as Dr. Weldon Hill and Shockoe Sessions giving you a little gift of their own. Maybe your heart will even grow three sizes this Tuesday night, just like the Grinch’s did. You never know.

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): drew@gayrva.com

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.

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