RVA Shows You Must See This Week: December 7 – December 13

by | Dec 7, 2022 | MUSIC

Friday, December 9 & Saturday, December 10, 6 PM (both nights)
The Final Ghost Of Pop
Night One: Deli Kings, Prabir Trio, Danger Birds, Tiny Lights, The Fake Smiles, Rikki Rakki, Jonathan Brown, Alex Dimas
Night Two: Zepp Repp, Madferit, 1996
@Gallery 5 – $15/single night, $20/both nights (order tickets HERE)
Eras are ending all over the place lately, and here’s the latest to draw to a close — the Ghost Of Pop era, in which longtime Richmond singer, guitarist, songwriter, bandleader, scientist, and all-around renaissance man Prabir Mehta hosted a yearly event featuring some of the best new musical talent to come out of RVA that year, over the course of two nights at Gallery 5. This event started back in the early days of Gallery 5, but this weekend will be the last time we encounter it here in RVA. The fact that Prabir managed to do something like 16 of these over the past couple of decades certainly speaks well for its value as an event and a showcase for the best music Richmond has to offer. We won’t see its like again.

Having said that, we’ve still got one more opportunity to head over to Gallery 5 and be haunted by the best music coming out of Richmond right now — we’d be fools not to take it. Especially considering the stacked lineup of talent available for our perusal. At the top of the list is Deli Kings, who’ve been generating a big buzz locally for the past few years now. Their self-titled three-song EP entered the world a couple of weeks ago, fulfilling the promise of the singles they’ve been releasing over the summer and acting as a great showcase for their tuneful, upbeat alternative rock. This event will be their last performance in Richmond before the end of 2022, and now that we all know the songs, it’s a great time to go out and shake it to their always-killer live show.

From there, Friday night’s got a veritable bonanza of original Richmond musical talent, from the latest vehicle for Mr. Mehta’s killer Beatlesque power-pop, Prabir Trio, and the rollicking rock n’ roll of Rikki Rakki; to less familiar but certainly deserving local up-and-comers like Danger Birds and Tiny Lights. There’s a lot to appreciate on Friday night’s lineup, and a big part of that will be getting to hear so many new Richmond musicians — some of whom you’re sure to be hearing for the first time — alongside some talented veterans who will assure us we’re getting our money’s worth even before we walk in the door. And then there’s Saturday, when everyone’s just gonna let their hair down and have some fun with a few local tribute acts, from the recently established — Madferit, the fun-loving and semi-delusionally grandiose Oasis tribute band featuring members of Rough Age — to the long-running — Zepp Repp, aka Zep Replica, the Led Zeppelin tribute group featuring Palm Palm’s Charlie Glenn doing his best Jimmy Page. And of course, there’s also Prabir’s own tribute band — 1996, who give us their takes on the best songs from their eponymous year. There promises to be even more fun in store for us all on Saturday night, as we give Ghost Of Pop its big sendoff into that long good musical night. Do yourself a favor — shell out for the two-day pass. You won’t want to miss a minute.

Wednesday, December 7, 7 PM
Woman Crush Wednesday, feat. Caroline Vain, Pink Window, TenderNest, D.R. Price @ The Camel – $7 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Wednesday night is still early enough in the week that there’s always the possibility of struggling to find some good tunes to listen to. But that’s never true of the first Wednesday of each month, when Bri Bevan’s social media-inspired showcase, Woman Crush Wednesdays, takes over The Camel. Month after month, Bri finds great new and overlooked groups and artists, all of them featuring women up front and in charge, to charm us all with. This time around, she’s brought out Caroline Vain, who apparently got her start on the London singer-songwriter scene before relocating to Richmond last year. She sure sounds American when she sings — was her arrival in Richmond a homecoming? I’m not sure, but it’s not really important.

What is important is the high quality of her songs, as showcased on her most recent single, “Better.” Mixing a touch of country-style rhythms into what is fundamentally a strong shot of super-catchy indie-pop keeps Caroline Vain’s music intriguing and enjoyable. When she’s got a whole set to stretch out for, chances are we’ll get even more hidden gems from her back catalog. As with a lot of Woman Crush Wednesdays, the other artists on this bill are a bit harder to figure out. Pink Window has played a few shows around the state, but hasn’t released any music I can track down online. TenderNest is another recent transplant, coming to Richmond from Rutledge, MO of all places, and has some simple yet memorable folk melodies with which to grace our ears. And D.R. Price’s R&B songcraft, as shown off on recent LP Soul Ties, has a definite hip hop flavor in the rhythms. All of it adds up to a great Wednesday night of local tunes from talents you might not have given the attention they deserve just yet. So don’t sit around bored tonight — make sure you get out to The Camel for this (and every) Woman Crush Wednesday.

Thursday, December 8, 7 PM
The Spill Canvas, Mom Rock @ The Canal Club – $25 in advance, $30 day of show (order tickets )
Back in the early 00s, the whole “emo” thing went mainstream on the back of artists with (debatable) connections to the history of the genre, and a lot of my friends bailed out on it. I stuck around, though, and refusing to be a snob rewarded me with some killer music throughout the 00s and beyond. One band that caught my attention back then and has stuck with me in the two decades or so since is The Spill Canvas, a quintet who are almost the only proof I have that South Dakota has redeeming qualities. It’s hard to believe it really has been two decades since I discovered this group, but considering their coming through Richmond on a tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of their third album, I guess I’ve gotta reckon with it sooner or later.

Said third album, the memorably titled No Really, I’m Fine, became The Spill Canvas’s biggest hit when it was released in 2007. Featuring their best-known single, “All Over You,” it hit #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers charts, and got the band onto tours with high-profile groups like OneRepublic and Plain White T’s. They stayed true to their original sound, though; indeed, they just released a new album, Conduit, last year. It’s their first new material in nearly a decade, and it shows that they still have a solid grasp on all of the things that made them great back in the day. That said, it’s their most successful album, now fifteen years old, that the group will focus on when they come to Richmond — and that’s not going to make anyone sad. Full of energetic emo-pop tunes with memorable choruses, No Really, I’m Fine holds up just as well today as it did in 2007, and whether you were stoked on it at the time or are just discovering it now, The Spill Canvas are sure to put on a great show when they perform this album at The Canal Club. Don’t miss out.

Friday, December 9, 8 PM
Prayer Group, Rid Of Me (photo by Keith Baillargeon), Thousandaire @ Bandito’s – Free?
Now this is exciting. Whether you call the genre this trio of groups brings to Bandito’s Friday night postpunk, noise-rock, chaotic metal, or something entirely different, this evening will surely please any fans of loud, heavy, hard-hitting sounds. Richmond’s Prayer Group are at the top of the bill, and while this band hasn’t been active on the live music scene in the post-pandemic era, they’ve continued to make music — Michael Dose, the LP they released back at the beginning of 2022, might not have gotten that much attention locally, but now that they’re playing live again, it’s high time that changes. For a band that already showed off plentiful talent on their earlier EPs, their debut full-length still manages to take things to the next level, hitting hard as hell in a manner sure to please fans of Young Widows, Jesus Lizard, and the like.

Just as important to the overall awesomeness of this event, though, is Philadelphia’s Rid Of Me, who are also going to be a highlight of this killer night at my favorite nacho spot in RVA (put THAT in your poll, boss!). Their late 2021 LP, Traveling, is incredible, and shares a fair amount of common factors with the new Prayer Group LP, but where Prayer Group goes for punishing midtempo heavyosity, Rid Of Me brings a high-energy drive and some powerful vocals from frontperson Itarya Rosenberg that put the band closer to reference points like Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu than the heavier noise of Prayer Group. One thing’s for sure, though — seeing Rid Of Me will be every bit as essential as catching Prayer Group. Rounding out the bill, Atlanta trio Thousandaire (named after something I am only on rare occasions, and only for a day at a time until the rent’s paid) get some noisy, sludgy, yet fundamentally punk rather than metal grooves going on. You might even compare these guys to slowcore groups of decades past — Codiene, say, or Seam. These are the same slow, melodic rock riffs — they just come with way more distortion when Thousandaire bring them to us. And as we know, adding distortion makes everything better. (P.S. Not sure about the price on this one — bring some bucks to be on the safe side. You can buy tacos with the money you don’t spend on the door price. Win-win!)

Saturday, December 10, 6:30 PM
Loathe, Static Dress, Omerta, Unity TX @ The Canal Club – $18 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve only recently discovered Loathe, a UK band that made a profound impression on quite a few people with their 2020 LP, I Let It In And It Took Everything. It’s been interesting to discover them based on their most recent work, because it seems a lot of people who are more familiar with what they were doing early in their career still see them as a pretty straightforward metalcore band. I must say, though, if they were only that, it’d be way less likely that I’d be telling you to go see them this Saturday night. Instead, to my ears, Loathe have a sound that isn’t easily pinned into one genre. They do mix in screamed vocals, and at times they still dish out a heavy, pounding riff, but what really make Loathe’s 2020 LP — and it’s all-instrumental followup, The Things They Believe — stand out are the many moments in which they indulge in what turns out to be a stunning talent for ambient melodies.

The melodies Loathe showcase on standout tracks like “Two Way Mirror” and “Is It Realy You?” constitute the same sort of unpredictable yet high-quality left turn in the direction of shoegaze fuzz and melodic emotion that we saw in the past from Jesu circa Conqueror, or Alcest circa Shelter. The lingering metallic elements within Loathe’s music are still more prominent than the quieter, cleaner, more melodic moments. However, it’s those melodic moments you keep coming back to. This is the main reason you should check out Loathe when they hit The Canal Club on Saturday night: this appears to be a band on the verge of a breakthrough. Catch them now, before all your hipster metalhead friends are talking about them in two years after their next album comes out. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 11, 7 PM
Flag On The Moon 7, feat. Radio B, Nickelus F, Michael Millions, Noah-O, Chance Fischer, Black Liq, T.R.I.G., Big B, Rep!, Skinnyy Hendrixx, TROY, Tre Awthenicc, PT Vell, Corey Jah, Music by Hip Hop Henry and Melodic, Hosted by Spielburg and Sev @ The Broadberry – $20 in advance, $30 at the door (order tickets HERE)
If you’re a follower of Richmond hip hop, this is one show you look forward to all year — Flag On The Moon: the annual event bringing together the trio of rappers who constitute Association Of Great Minds. All three of AGM’s leading lights are superstars in the Richmond hip hop scene, but of course we’ve gotta start the conversation around all of them with the man who is the reason for the season, the man whose birthday the annual Flag On The Moon show was originally put together to celebrate: Radio B. A prolific veteran of the Richmond hip hop game, Radio’s just as well known for his shepherding of the Richmond battle rap scene through Southpaw Battle Coalition as he is for his many excellent hip hop releases. The most recent of those is Stop Looking For Noise, a powerful full-length collections of tracks he put together with producer Don Dubious and released this summer. If you haven’t checked it out yet, collect your latepass at the front office and then proceed directly to your favorite streaming service. There are still a few days left to get familiar before you hit the Broadberry this Sunday. Get on it.

But don’t stop there, because there are a lot of other excellent rappers on this bill we gotta talk about. First, the other two AGM guys — it’s been a quiet couple of years for Nickelus F, with no new projects since 2019’s two-volume Gold Mine series, but recent guest spots on tracks by folks like Illa Styles and OG Illa prove his skills remain at the highest level. And of course, Michael Millions showed off his talents at the highest level earlier this year with the release of “Black Man,” on which he collaborated with Butcher Brown. So yeah, AGM’s got plenty of excellence coming for you, as if you didn’t know. But there’s a lot more you’ll get with your price of admission to this event, so you’d be foolish to roll in late and miss highlights like: Noah-O, who brought his A game in a big way on this summer’s Trillipino mixtape; BlackLiq, who’ll be here to remind everyone that just because he’s got a punk rock band now doesn’t mean he forgot how to rhyme; Skinnyy Hendrixx, whose Smooth League Villain really might be the hottest shit outta Richmond since D’Angelo (at least to hear him tell it; gotta say, I’m 90% convinced); PT Vell, whose two-part Aviation series is pure awesomeness; Big B, who showed us all what he’s got with his smooth, jazzy, and oh-so-catchy new album, Clock On The Wall… so many more, y’all, but I’m out of space! Look, just buy a ticket, show up, and get a deep dive into all corners of the Richmond hip hop scene, live and uncut.

Monday, December 12, 7 PM
Lunch $pecial & Lucy’s Holiday Party, feat. Lunch $pecial and The Cafeteria, Lucy Bonino, Chandler, Charlie Ross, Young Wabo, Hannah Land, Dysphonia @ The Camel – $8 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Every once in a while, a night when it’s often difficult to locate any live music happening around town manages to produce one of the more interesting events happening over the course of the week. Honestly, not every week is like that. But this week, The Camel (of course The Camel, how many other places around town regularly host shows on a Monday?) brings us a fun evening co-headlined by rapper Lunch $pecial and comedian Lucy Bonino. Let’s talk about Lunch $pecial first, who is backed live by a keyboard/bass/drums trio called The Cafeteria; I hadn’t heard of him before this show, and I honestly think that’s down to the inherent camouflage of his name. Much like the 80s California hardcore band Free Beer, a name like Lunch $pecial on a flyer is just as likely to be confused for a tempting non-musical offering of the venue as it is to be recognized as a performer.

It’d be a shame to miss out on Lunch $pecial because you’re expecting him to be some cheap tacos, though — this Richmond rapper’s music brings a guaranteed good time. Catchy, jazzy, and melodic music acts as a pleasing sound bed for his hyperactive, amusing lyricism. He hasn’t released too much yet, but he recently followed up his 2021 EP, Pink Blues, with a couple of really catchy singles. This includes “Paste,” which sees him teaming up with Fellaair and fellow Monday night performer Chandler, both of whom seem talented and fun in their own right (though only Chandler is playing this show). Speaking of talented and fun, local comedian Lucy Bonino is the other headliner on this bill, and just as Lunch $pecial is bringing a few hip hop support acts, Lucy’s got some other comedians with her to keep us all laughing between musical performances. If you haven’t caught up with Lucy Bonino at one of the various comedy events around town, you might have heard her telling a hilarious story about figuring out she was queer and then immediately vomiting on the 2019 Live In Richmond episode of the RISK podcast. She’s certain to have you in stitches, just as Lunch $pecial’s certain to keep your head nodding… and probably making you laugh some too, because, as he tells us between verses on “Paste,” his raps are really funny. See for yourself — come out to the Camel and liven up your Monday night.

Tuesday, December 13, 7 PM
John R. Miller, Taylor Kingman @ The Camel – $18 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets )
I dig country music, but you might not know it if you ever hang out with me. I’m not often playing anything that sounds like the kind of country music that gets played on the radio. All that glossy shit with blazing solos straight out of the glam metal power ballads I loved when I was in junior high, mixed with the exaggerated twangs and endless stream of lyrical cliches… I’m not with it. I am into artists with down-to-earth sounds that incorporate modern musical evolutions without losing sight of country music tradition. That’s why I’m into John R. Miller. He’s no Brantley Gilbert or Luke Combs — he’s much closer to John Prine or Kris Kristofferson.

Hailing from West Virginia, Miller released his debut LP, Depreciated, last year, and it’s a great listen, full of the classic country melancholy, documenting the travails of the working class in America. Hailing from Eastern Appalachia, the man knows of what he speaks — and since you and I have to try and scrape out a living here in 2022 America, we do too. The fact that Miller references places in his songs where some of us have relatives (or, as they say where I grew up, kin) only makes him more relatable, and less like all that terrible modern mainstream country that turns me off so much. If that sounds good to you, then The Camel is where you want to be this Tuesday night. This guy’s got some great songs for you, if you’re willing to listen. Take my advice: be willing.

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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