Thursday, December 22, 6 PM
The 2nd Annual Deau Eyes Holiday Party, feat. Deau Eyes (Photo by Lucienne Nghiem), Erin & The Wildfire, Ms. Jaylin Brown @ The HofGarden – $12 (order tickets HERE)
OK folks, as you read this, there are only four more shopping days until Christmas, and I’d say it’s high time we all got in the spirit. But don’t just take it from lil ol’ me — one of the most talented singers and songwriters in this fair city is encouraging the same thing, and she’ll be giving you the perfect opportunity to find your smile this holiday season with her second annual Deau Eyes Holiday Party, taking place tomorrow night at the HofGarden!
Of course, the singer-songwriter of which I speak is Deau Eyes frontwoman and mastermind Ali Thibodeau, who will be returning to Richmond from her weeklong Little Indie Christmas tour. She’s already played outdoors, bundled up and glowing on a snowy evening in Carmel, Indiana (check her Instagram for video footage from that one), and if that didn’t knock the smile off her face, you can be sure she’ll be positively beaming to take the stage at hometown favorite The HofGarden, where she’ll be bringing us a set full of tunes from her excellent second LP, Legacies — surely one of the more notable full-length albums to come out of this city in 2022. If the aforementioned Insta video is any indication, she’ll also have a few Christmas songs in her pocket to break out and give us all a little extra dose of Christmas cheer.
Of course, at a time like this, it’s always important to remember the less fortunate among us, and with that in mind, the Deau Eyes Holiday Party is a benefit this year for FeedMore, who’ll be ensuring that people in need get enough to eat this holiday. Along with the music, not just from Deau Eyes but from equally talented Richmond musicians Erin & The Wildfire and Ms. Jaylin Brown, there’ll also be raffles, caricatures that are apparently coming to us from the pen of Ali’s own father, an a bangin’ after-party at which you, yes YOU, will be able to sign up for live band karaoke. The form to do so is right here, and you’ll be able to pick from a list of 30 songs, including a few Christmas classics and plenty of karaoke anthems, on which you’ll be backed up by either Erin & The Wildfire or Deau Eyes. Is this the best Christmas gift two RVA bands ever gave their fans? It’s certainly up there — and if it was possible for this show to be even more of a can’t-miss classic in the making than it already is, the live band karaoke is certainly taking it there. So make sure you’re in the house for this one. Your Richmond Christmas won’t be complete without it.
OK, let me break character for a minute. Christmas week is always the slowest one of the year where live music is concerned, and I’ve got plenty of experience working around that issue. However, with Christmas Eve on a Saturday this year and Christmas on a Sunday, I’ve found myself facing a show calendar that is mostly empty. Shows pretty much dry up after Friday night, and don’t pick up again until next Wednesday — by which time, as you know, I will be on to next week’s column. I didn’t want to leave you with half a column this week, though, so I decided that since a ton of amazing shows are happening on Thursday and Friday this week, and pretty much on no other night, I’d say “damn the torpedoes” and just give you three shows apiece for those two nights. You might have to cram a lot of showgoing into a small portion of the week, but at least you’ll have a full plate of potential offerings. Right?
Anyway, here’s the rest of the column. Enjoy.
Wednesday, December 21, 7 PM
Safe Harbor‘s Theatre Project Fundraiser, feat. The Party Favors @ The Camel – $12 (order tickets HERE)
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Drew, who the heck are the Party Favors? When I google them, I just get listings on wedding-band-for-hire websites!” And you’re right! But cast your mind back to an interview we ran with Richmond prog-rock trio Halfcast earlier this year, on the occasion of their Hourglass Session video hitting RVA Mag TV. In the interivew, they talked about how they’d come up with an indie-band lifehack for avoiding the depressing reality of day jobs: starting a wedding band, featuring the three of them, along with a keyboardist and two singers. You guessed it — that wedding band is called The Party Favors.
So yeah, if you come to this show, what you’ll really be seeing is one of the more talented bands RVA has produced in recent years putting their chops into the service of playing mainstream crowd-pleasers and getting the mother of the bride and the groom’s tipsy uncles out onto the dancefloor. In this case, though, it’s the folks attending this fundraiser for Safe Harbor’s new Playwriting Workshop who’ll be getting lured into shaking their tailfeathers. It’s a very good cause; Safe Harbor’s staff and a local playwright will be working with survivors of intimate partner violence to help them create a fictional play relating to their own real-life experiences, hopefully arriving at healing through the creation of art. In addition to the door price, you’ll have a chance to further offer support by participating in a raffle which will feature the works of over 15 local artists. All this plus a chance to see Halfcast getting their Wedding Singer on? Sounds like a wonderful night to me.
Thursday, December 22, 7 PM
The Second Annual Christmas To The Bone Tour, feat. J. Roddy Walston @ The Broadberry – $30 in advance, $35 day of show (order tickets HERE)
His longtime backing band, The Business, may still be on hiatus, but you just can’t keep a good rock n’ roll wildman down, so it’s really no surprise that J. Roddy Walston is back for another year of his holiday extravaganza, known as Christmas To The Bone! This time around, he’s released an actual solo single in conjunction with this ten-city Yuletide jaunt, and just as you’d expect from everything J. Roddy’s previously done, it’s a banger! “Is It Christmas Tonight?” is his attempt at contributing to the Christmas-music canon, and as an invigorating shot in the arm for a played-out and often snoozeworthy genre, it’s up there with the Best Coast Christmas song as one of the best original holiday tunes I’ve heard in the last decade or so. In fact, I’d say it ranks up there with Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody,” a song that’s rightfully a classic in the UK, even if we Americans can’t seem to figure it out. Maybe J. Roddy’s homegrown spin on this variety of Christmas tune will be the one to break through here in the good ol’ USA.
But enough pontificating about that — what are we getting from this year’s installment of Christmas To The Bone? OK, on one hand, I gotta admit I’m not sure. No info about who’s backing J. Roddy on these performances has been released. Members of his old crew, The Business? Members of his latest project, the Richmond supergroup known as Palm Palm? A completely different ensemble? No clue. But honestly, it’s not like we need a ton of info about who is part of the band, or what their set will consist of. It’s enough to know that J. Roddy Walston — who I called a rock n’ roll wildman back at the beginning of this blurb for a reason — will be taking the stage with the full intention of giving everyone an entire evening’s worth of entertainment. This man has never lacked in killer tunes, never found himself in need of more energy, never failed to deliver a sweaty romp of a rockin’ great night in RVA. For a relatively blind bet, this is the closest to a sure thing you’re ever gonna get in Richmond music. Show up ready to sing along with the new Christmas single, and let J. Roddy take the wheel from there. He’ll take you on the ride of your life.
Thursday, December 22, 6 PM
Ben Butterworth And His Band, Saw Black And The Toys, Kenneka Cook, Jonathan Facka @ The Camel – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
How about one more Christmas throwdown for your Thursday night? Yeah, why not? Here’s one happening over at the Camel, featuring local singer-songwriter Ben Butterworth at the top of the bill. Butterworth laid a pretty excellent slab of rockin on us all about a year ago when he released his latest LP, Purgatory Emporium. Its top-notch songcraft slides back and forth between a variety of related genres — indie, alt-country, classic rock, Americana, and more — and it’s full of singalong tunes guaranteed to hang around the fringes of your consciousness all day. It’s not like I’ve seen Butterworth’s set list for this show in advance or anything, but it seems highly likely that he’ll be breaking out many of the best Purgatory Emporium tunes. What’s more, he’ll have a backing band full of formidable local talents in their own right; Tyler Meacham on keys and vocals, Chip Hale (Moosetrap) on bass, Matt Walton (Former Champions) on guitar, and Aaron Zarrow (Southern Belles) on drums. So you know they’ll be making Ben’s songs sound their absolute best.
Saw Black And The Toys are another highlight of this excellent bill; this group reunites local singer songwriter Justin Black with the backing band he worked with in 2019 on Christmas In The Background. A holiday album consisting mostly of original tunes, its quiet, pensive sound is reminiscent of Neil Young, or early Simon & Garfunkel, and its lyrics ground it very much in the modern world, where LGBTQ family members are welcome around the Christmas dinner table too. Three years after the 100-copy limited edition of the album sold out, it’ll be lovely to see these folks getting together again to remind us all of the subtle yet indelible charms of their holiday tunes. With Richmond singer-songwriters Kenneka Cook and Jonathan Facka rounding out this bill, this should be a lovely evening of well-written tunes to put you in the proper frame of mind for the holiday season.
Friday, December 23, 2 PM
R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND @ Get Tight Lounge – Free!
This one is just a tradition at this point, and I don’t know that I really need to say all that much about it to make it clear that it’s a tradition you better not miss out on. Andrew Randazzo, helmsman of the R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND, is best known as the bassist for Butcher Brown. However, he’s long made clear his affection for the West Coast jazz stylings of Vince Guaraldi, the pianist best known for his legendary Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, and every year he brings a crew of his talented musician friends together to recreate those tunes in some lucky Richmond venue or another. This year, it’s the Get Tight Lounge, where Randazzo will heavily spice up the holiday songs of Vince Guaraldi’s simple piano trio at the head of a band consisting of over a dozen musicians.
That band will include luminaries like Charles Owens (Charles Owens Trio/Quartet), JC Kuhl (Agents Of Good Roots), Sam Koff (No BS! Brass),.Suzi Fischer (The Big Payback), Trey Pollard (Spacebomb House Band), Randazzo’s Butcher Brown bandmates Marcus Tenney and Devonne Harris, and quite a few more. They’ll be doing two sets over at Get Tight Lounge, one at 3 PM Friday and another at 5. So if you can get the afternoon off work, you can hang out the whole time — especially since it’s free! Best of all, you can hit up this performance and still have time to catch at least one of the other two Friday shows I’m about to tell you about. You’ve really got zero excuse on this one. That said, why would you even TRY to get out of this one? It’s one of Richmond’s most reliable Christmas-time treats. Take advantage of it.
Friday, December 23, 9 PM
Dirty Pop Presents: Sweet & Dirty, feat. Moneybag Monroe, Lez Pop, Beauty Supply, Veronica Venom, Sweet Pickles @ Fallout – $5
Late Friday evening, things will be getting steamy in classic Shockoe Bottom fashion down at Fallout, the members only goth-fetish club that’s become one of several sanctuaries for Richmond’s LGBTQ community over the past decade or so. And that’s a really positive thing at times like this; the cisgender/hetero among my readership may not realize this, but a lot of us don’t have the most welcoming of family homes to go back to. Even if we are welcome there, we might not be able to bring our partners, or maybe no one will call us the right name or use the right pronouns. It’s nice for the queers to have somewhere to go where they know they’ll be accepted at Christmastime, and that’s definitely what Fallout is providing with this here shindig.
So what’s going down? A whole lot! For one thing, the drag performer known as Melanin Monroe will be unleashing her hip hop alter ego, Moneybag Monroe, who will headline the evening with a [fire emoji] performance that’s sure to include her delightful Dirty South-style single, “Where The Hood N****s At?” If you haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know this one, you’re definitely in for a treat. Additional tuneage will be provided by the DJ, producer, and RVA queer phenomenon known as Lez Pop, who has been masterminding these Dirty Pop events at Fallout for the past few months and will hopefully continue to do so regularly in 2023 and beyond. DJ Beauty Supply, the alter ego of Knifing Around bassist Jack Wolfe, will also be contributing to the dance floor vibes, and there’ll be drag performances from Veronica Venom and Sweet Pickles that you do not want to miss. All this plus live tarot readings, vendors, photo booths, and a whole lot more! If you’re looking for community this holiday season, you can find it on the dance floor at Fallout this Friday night.
Friday, December 23, 8 PM
Krampusnacht 2022, feat. Silico, Eustace, Mere Exposure Effect, Humanitarian Deficit, Elastictone @ Another Round Bar And Grill – $10
Let’s end our Friday night, and our Christmas week of shows, with a bit of a wild card. This one is likely to get weird — which won’t be big news to you if you noticed that this evening at Lakeside’s Another Round Bar And Grill is titled “Krampusnacht 2022,” even though the dedicated holiday calendar followers among us are sure to be aware that Krampusnacht was two weeks ago. Why let a calendar rule your life, though? Any excuse for a Christmas Eve Eve (that’s not a typo) slammer full of heavy, loud, and at times downright bizarre bands is a good excuse as far as I’m concerned. This bill full of local up-and-comers is headlined by Silico, a local ensemble with a recently released EP called Hivemind. On record, this group is heavy yet somewhat proggy, their stretched-out song structures showing versatility even as the heaviest moments let you know these folks aren’t playing around — not even a little bit. It’ll be cool to see what they unleash when they’re live on stage, right in front of you in real time.
As for Eustace, this local group’s been generating somewhat of a bubbling-under buzz around town, but their live debut EP, Eustace 22, makes it tough to figure out exactly what it is they’re going for. Veering from crunchy metalcore tunes topped with raging screams to moments that sound more like alternative rock and feature downright melodic singing, this band touches on a variety of sounds in a typical set right now. Regardless of which direction they go this Friday night, it certainly won’t bore you. As for the other bands on the bill, Mere Exposure Effect are an experimental duo made up of baritone guitar and drums, who apparently take some inspiration from Beat poet legend Allen Ginsberg. Humanitarian Deficit are a whirlwind of lo-fi punk rock chaos with some admirable energy and some downright throat-destroying screams. And Elastictone are a strange experimental breakbeat punk band… or something like that? It’s really hard to tell without seeing them play. So show up at Lakeside’s favorite spot for heavy music and get the lowdown for yourself. It’ll be the best Christmas Eve Eve ever.
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): firstname.lastname@example.org