Tuesday, February 8, 7 PM
Scott Burton & Scott Clark @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Back when the pandemic started, I had a vague idea of what the live music scene would be like as it came to an end. I thought touring would be all but nonexistent, and that everyone would just be focusing on the artists in their area were doing, because playing one show in a certain controlled circumstance and then going home would be way less unsafe than going on tour, being in hotels and tour buses and different crowded venues every night for months. That’s what I expected in, like, September 2020.
Of course, if you’ve been following this column since it returned to action last November, you’re sure to have noticed that what’s really going on is that everyone who used to make a living by being a touring musician is absolutely desperate after a year of no income and will risk whatever they have to risk just to get the cash flowing back in. Meanwhile, local artists who work day jobs or studio gigs or whatever have the luxury of skipping the crowded concert halls and waiting until things get safer, somewhere further down the road. It’s exactly the opposite of what I thought was coming.
And that’s fine! Really, people should do whatever works for them, and be as safe as they need to be to protect themselves and feel comfortable. Conversely, if you’ve gotta eat, and you’ve gotta take risks to do so, believe me, I get it — my other job places me in busy retail stores. The problem I’m having, as a regionally focused music journalist, is that it’s harder than ever to get any kind of handle on what’s happening in the Richmond music scene. I used to keep up by doing this column; these days, though, I mostly write about touring musicians. That, though, is why I’m so delighted to be able to present this week’s featured show, in which two veterans of the Richmond jazz, progressive, and experimental music scenes come together for the first time in ages to let everyone in town in on exactly what they’ve got going on these days.
Scott Burton and Scott Clark used to have a duo together, way back when I first started writing about Richmond music for RVA Mag. It was called SCUO, and that duo played out regularly circa 2011 or thereabouts. With Burton on guitar and Clark on drums, the two would join together to create intricate aural displays, often relying on improvisation to expand on the brilliant ideas each brought to the table. Of course, all of that was a long time ago. Scott Clark has gone on to be a bandleader who creates percussion-oriented ensemble epics focused on telling stories both romantic and political, most recently on his 2021 LP This Darkness. Scott Burton, meanwhile, has played in jazz, folk, and indie bands including Glows In The Dark and Luray, as well as remaining a prolific solo artist who uses guitars and electronics to create multi-layered experimental works under his own name, such as 2020’s The Boxer’s Omen.
Tuesday night isn’t usually a night on which particularly urgent displays of live musical virtuosity take place. However, this is a very notable exception, as Scott Burton and Scott Clark will team up once again to present three sets of their brilliant musical creations at The Camel. Scott Burton will open the evening with a solo set, followed by a solo set from Scott Clark. Then, Burton and Clark will take the stage together to give us all an idea of how far they’ve come since the halcyon days of SCUO. It’s one of the few shows I can point to in recent weeks that will give you an essential opportunity to learn exactly what’s going on in one corner of the Richmond scene. That’s why it’s all the more important that you take advantage of it.
Wednesday, February 2, 8 PM
Ana Popovic @ The Tin Pan – $45-$51.50 (order tickets HERE)
Mark your calendars: this article stands as the first time I’ve ever written the phrase “Serbian shredder.” But hey, when you get the chance to whip out an aria of alliteration like that one, you’ve got to seize the succulent opportunity (forgive me — I’ve been reading James Ellroy’s new novel). Ana Popovic is the Serbian shredder in question, a blues guitarist hailing from Belgrade who has been making waves in the blues-rock underground since the waning days of the last century. It’s not exactly in the mainstream spotlight, but the world of 21st century blues loves her, and she’s had multiple albums land at the top of the Billboard blues chart over the years.
All of this is to say that if, in the year 2022, you have an appetite to see someone who plays like a reincarnated version of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and also happens to be a statuesque blonde Serbian lady who knows how to rock a pair of knee-length leather boots, you really owe it to yourself to make it out to The Tin Pan tonight and see Ana Popovic tear the place up. She’s got credentials; her last album, 2018’s Like It On Top, featured production from blues superstar Keb’ Mo’ and guest appearances by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Robben Ford. Plus, as the album title might have tipped off, she’s a fan of female empowerment. Which may or may not explain the boots. Anyway, the woman can play like crazy, and isn’t that what it’s all about? I think so. And this is my column. So go see Ana Popovic at the Tin Pan. I have spoken.
Thursday, February 3, 7 PM
Deathcrown, Maul, Wharflurch, Cut The Architect’s Hand @ Another Round Bar And Grill – $10
Death fuckin’ metal: that’s what this show’s all about. Deathcrown, who top the bill with a heaping helping of shredtastic brutality, have a solid pedigree where Richmond metal is concerned, standing as the third band in a row to unite vocalist Mikael Parks (who has done time in Arsis) and guitarist Tommy Gunn (who got his start in Richmond death metal legends Disinterment). The two previously worked together in Narsilion and Immortal Avenger, and Deathcrown carries on the legacy of both bands by dishing out the proper headbanging riffs. If you’ve been following Richmond’s metal scene for a while, you know what you’re in for with these guys, so come prepared to bang your head.
This show pairs Deathcrown with two touring bands who hail from opposite sides of the country — Maul are from the frozen wastelands of Fargo, North Dakota; Wharflurch originate from death metal’s spiritual homeland of Florida — but have one very important thing in common: they make up two-thirds of a recent three-way split EP called Myxophobia, a celebration of the irrational fear of slime. Yes, seriously. Maul’s single 13-minute contribution demonstrates the fact that their heritage pulls equally from death and doom metal, giving them a sound that should appeal to fans of both Autopsy and Corrupted. Meanwhile, Wharflurch bring us two tracks that, combined, come in just under nine minutes, and are much more focused on creating an atmosphere of blackened thrash terror. The Death-like vibes here are no surprise for a band hailing from Florida, but they’re welcome nonetheless. Local veterans Cut The Architect’s Hand get things started on this evening of powerful heavyosity. Get ready.
Friday, February 4, 8 PM
Black Plastic, No Moniker, Midnite Taxi, Modern City Living @ The Dark Room – $7 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
And here’s another country heard from. The Dark Room at the Hofheimer Building brings us an evening of local indie sounds for everyone who might be wondering what’s up with that particular musical world. Black Plastic are topping this bill, and they’ve been around for several years now, but have still only released five songs total — and some of those have been demo-quality solo tracks. Sure enough, as has been the case for their entire run thus far, if you want to get the full impact of what Black Plastic are up to, you’re going to have to be there in person. Because while those uptempo rockin’ riffs and catchy choruses sound pretty good even as demos, they’re never gonna come close to what you’ll hear when they play live.
No Moniker’s been on the Richmond scene for a few years now as well, and while it was pretty easy to think at one point that you knew what they had in store for you, they really raised the bar last summer with the release of the “Either/Or” single, which featured Shormey and showed off a decidedly more funky aspect of the band’s sound. Supposedly there’s a full album where that track came from; hopefully they’ll bust out a few more of those tracks during this Dark Room set. Midnite Taxi (this is the correct spelling; disregard the flyer above) are brand new, if the fact that their debut EP, Somehow, came out less than six weeks ago is any indication. They’ve got a catchy, breezy indie feel on those six tracks, which at times almost makes me think of Vampire Weekend. Am I crazy? Catch their set and find out for yourself. Modern City Living will get things started, and I think this project used to be called Modern Flower, but that’s about all I can tell you. Very mysterious.
Saturday, February 5, 9 PM
Future Projektor, I Am The Liquor, Earth Dog Mothership @ Bandito’s – Free!
Speaking (as we were a couple of blurbs ago) of local metal, here’s another round, though not at Another Round this time. Instead, this three-band gig takes place at Bandito’s, home of the best nachos in the world (or at least the city) and what at least was in pre-pandemic days secretly the best-sounding live music space in town. Future Projektor are sure to honor the excellent acoustics in that place; if you read our recent profile of guitarist/bandleader Adam Kravitz, you know that this instrumental trio specializes in psychedelic space-metal soundscapes, which are generally performed accompanied by projections of abstract films. Their riffs make you feel like you’re sailing through space and watching the stars fly past, in the most epic way possible. This is gonna be sweet.
I Am The Liquor are another metallic Richmond trio, though these guys do feature vocals. They also have much more of a driving midtempo riff-metal feel to their overall sound; if you’re someone who thought the transition from Kyuss to Queens Of The Stone Age was a decided step down for Josh Homme, you’ll probably enjoy the sort of pedal-to-the-metal old-school sound that I Am The Liquor deliver so well on. There’s even a cowbell, and you know you love that! Earth Dog Mothership is a newcomer to the local scene, but their heavy sound should fit right in with the rest of this bill. So yeah, be there! And since it’s a free show, bring some cash for some tacos or something. It’d be a crime to let such a prime munching opportunity go to waste.
Sunday, February 6, 8 PM
Wine & Warpaint, Azure Wolf, Dropping Ugly @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Some people will tell you the emo revival of the 2010s is played out. Rest assured, I am not one of those people. I have a pretty much endless appetite for heartfelt, guitar-driven tunes full of melody, drama, and strong emotion. Isn’t that what all the best music has to offer? Of course it is. And there’s a lot of that kind of thing all over Richmonders Wine & Warpaint’s debut EP, Homeless, which came out back in 2018. Which makes me glad to see that this show will act as somewhat of an unofficial release party for their next single, “Static.”
By the time this show happens, the song will be available all over the internet, but as it is right now, I have only heard tiny snatches of it. Based on how much I dig Homeless, though, I’m more than ready for it. And I’m definitely ready for a live performance from this group — the kind all of us will be treated to at the Camel this Sunday night. We’ll also be treated to a performance from Azure Wolf, a four-piece melodic indie group from the unlikely hamlet of Winchester, Virginia, who one would imagine will absolutely bring their A-game for this trip to the big city. Richmond power-pop trio Dropping Ugly will open things up with some tunes that are likely to remind you at least a little bit of Joe Jackson. Which is always awesome.
Monday, February 7, 7:30 PM
Waxahatchee, Madi Diaz @ The National – $22.50 in advance, $27.50 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Everyone in the world of melodic punk and indie rock knows Waxahatchee by now, right? All the punk kids remember singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield — who basically is Waxahatchee — from her days playing with her twin sister Allison in PS Eliot, but she’s gone on to quite a bit of mainstream success in the years since she went solo under the Waxahatchee name and started making quieter, more introspective music that’s gone quite far from her punk rock origins. Her most recent album, Saint Cloud, won awards as a country record, and took her to a performance at last year’s Newport Folk Festival.
All of it is very well deserved. Whether Waxahatchee is playing as a full band or a solo act, the strength of Katie’s songwriting — which really does have a lot of country to it, even if that feels a little weird to me as a diehard punk rocker who is also a big fan — is undeniable. And it absolutely deserves to be heard by the kind of audience Waxahatchee gets at a big venue like The National. It doesn’t ultimately matter, though, whether you’re surrounded by a thousand others or listening by yourself in your darkened room at night. The music of Waxahatchee has the ability to speak to your soul, and connect with the kinds of deep emotions that most of us never really put out there. It is truly amazing stuff. And you really should go see Katie Crutchfield and her band put it all out there, live and in person. This isn’t the kind of show you’ll see anywhere else.
Tuesday, February 8, 7 PM
GosT, True Body @ The Canal Club – $16 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There are a lot of musical terms that get thrown around in the modern era that instantly arouse my skepticism. And I know a lot of other people out there feel the same way. For that reason, I’m going to warn all of you not to panic when I tell you that GosT is most often described as “synthwave.” I don’t know WTF that term is supposed to mean, but I know what I hear when I listen to GosT, and to me, their music is clearly and obviously industrial. And it’s straight-up classic industrial too — the exact kind of thing all the black-clad Front 242 and Sisters Of Mercy fans who crowd into Fallout for their Dark Entries nights want to hear.
In fact, I imagine this show is only at The Canal Club rather than Fallout because GosT is getting pretty damn popular these days. The latest LP from what amounts to the solo project of industrial musician James Lollar is called Rites Of Love And Reverence, and it’s got a serious buzz, branching out to find fans everywhere from the worlds of synth pop and house to the more electronic end of the metal and noise scenes. One listen and you can totally understand, too; whether you’re coming to this show to bang your head or stomp around the dance floor in your polished black 20-hole Docs, GosT is going to be the perfect soundtrack. An essential opening set from Virginia goth geniuses True Body will get this one started in fine fashion, so don’t be late.
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@example.com