Friday, October 14, 6:30 PM
Faye, Gnawing, Young Scum @ Hardywood – Free!
When you’re part of a thriving DIY music scene in one particular city or state, it can be easy to think you know everything that’s going on in that world. Meanwhile, you might be missing something pretty great that’s happening only a few hours away. I’m sure that’s the case for some of us where Charlotte-based indie rock trio Faye is concerned; while we might have caught wind of their excellent self-titled debut EP when it dropped back in 2016, a lot’s happened since then, and the pandemic era has made it challenging enough to keep up with what’s happening in our own city. So the fact that it’s taken Faye six years to release a follow-up to that debut only makes it more likely that kids here in Richmond will have forgotten all about this band from just a few hours south of us.
Well, if that did happen to you, it’s time to re-acquaint yourself, because Faye just released their first full-length, You’re Better, back in August on Self-Aware Records, and damn… it’s great! The songwriting team of guitarist Susan Plante and bassist Sarah Blumenthal (both of them sing) is dynamite, and their collaboration on this collection of tunes results in a series of tracks that incorporate the punkier fuzz of Blumenthal’s other musical project, Alright, while also evoking some classic 90s sounds that are sure to appeal to fans of groups like Sleater-Kinney and Velocity Girl. On songs like “No Vibes” and “Mortal Kombat,” lyrical expressions of frustration with the slings and arrows of everyday life pair perfectly with the distorted pop riffs laid down by this power trio.
The whole thing is sure to be great in a live environment — and what’s more, it’s sure to fit in extremely well with the two Richmond bands joining Faye on this bill. Gnawing’s grungey twang and Young Scum’s indie-pop jangle are an excellent match for the sort of guitar-driven melodic crunch Faye dishes out. And best of all, the whole thing is free! I’m not sure how Hardywood navigates shows these days — they don’t do too many anymore, it seems, and that’s not really that big a surprise considering as far as I can tell the room they used to do them in isn’t part of Hardywood’s complex anymore. Nonetheless, I’m glad to see them hosting even the occasional infrequent show. Make sure you get there on time for this one — there’s a firm ending time of 9:30, so if you roll up at 8 you’ll have missed a good bit of the action. My advice: head straight over after work. God knows there’ll be some tasty beverages waiting for you.
Wednesday, October 12, 7 PM
Orange Doors, Big Fundamental, Bone Machine, Mad Abbey @ The Camel – $12 (order tickets HERE)
From North Carolina to South Carolina, this week’s column offers us multiple chances to explore the sounds of the mid-Atlantic indie underground. For example, Charleston’s Orange Doors, who will be playing at the Camel tonight. This psychedelic ensemble released their latest album, Slaphappy, back in fall 2020, so in light of what sort of environment it arrived into, it’s understandable that it took them two years to make it up to Richmond as part of a tour showing it off. Nonetheless, Slaphappy has not dulled a single iota in the time it’s been in the world, and if anything still sounds as fresh as the day it was released.
Orange Doors have a variegated, unpredictable sound that moves from technical dance grooves to lush psychedelic soundscapes and even at times into found sound and total musical deconstruction. If there’s one thing you can’t say about this band, it’s that they’re predictable. This, of course, is exactly why you should go see them. Any band with as dynamic a sound as this one is sure to be full of surprises in the live environment, and over the course of a full set, they’re sure to hit upon moments that will to fans of everything from Neutral Milk Hotel to Primus. Plus, they’re playing with a trio of Richmond underground rock bands, all of whom deserve more attention than they get around the city. This entire show will be a treat — make sure you’re there to appreciate it.
Thursday, October 13, 6 PM
House & Home, Bleak, Downhaul, Wasted Space @ Bandito’s – $10
Word reached me recently that Bandito’s is focusing more on live music events. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but boy, I sure hope it is — back in the halcyon days before the pandemic, I used to tell anyone who would listen that Bandito’s was secretly the best-sounding venue in the entire damn city. More shows at that place can’t be anything but good for the Richmond live music scene as a whole. If this show is any indication, it apparently means that sometimes there’ll be a door charge now, but that seems like a small price to pay for the opportunity to see a show that you can always count on to sound outstanding.
Richmond’s own House & Home are a great band to see anywhere, let alone Bandito’s: their rocked-out take on emotional post-hardcore has always been excellent, and they recently followed up their 2020 debut LP, Find Sense. Feel Love. Make Light, with a new EP called Everything Is Sacred, which might just be their best work yet. They’re currently on tour with Bleak, a band that hails from southwest New Mexico, just across the border from west Texas frontier towns like Lubbock and Odessa. That’s football country right there, and Bleak’s heavy take on that same post-hardcore sound certainly could inspire some on-field skirmishes, at least if their new single, “God,” is any indication. Here in Richmond we just bang our heads in the pit, for the most part — this’ll be a good show for that. And it’ll sound awesome too. Get stoked!
Friday, October 14, 6:30 PM
Rosette presents: John Luther Adams Is… So Hot Right Now @ Reveille United Methodist Church – Free (Donations encouraged)
Rosette is an all-female string quartet from here in Richmond whose members are involved with a variety of other local musical projects, from the Richmond Symphony and Classical Revolution to Goldrush and various Spacebomb Records productions. With their “So Hot Right Now” concert series, they like to honor the work of a particular modern composer, performing that composer’s work across a series of local concerts. I really appreciate this concert series, as it treats classical music not as a stuffy, unchanging canon of masterpieces by composers who are all long dead, but as a living music scene full of talent and creativity. I’m glad to see another installment come around this month.
This time around, it’s composer John Luther Adams getting the “So Hot Right Now” treatment. Like previous composers Rosette have spotlighted, he’s still an active composer and performer — in fact, Adams released a new album just last month, capturing a live performance of his hour-long 2014 work, Sila: The Breath Of The World. A longtime resident of Alaska, Adams started out as an environmental activist, but was inspired by the nature and environment of his northern Alaska home to devote his life fully to music, which he believes can do more than politics to change the world. God, I hope he’s right. Rosette will be performing five of Adams’ pieces during this performance, including “Dream of the Canyon Wren,” as well as two pieces from his longer work, Canticles Of The Sky. This performance at Reveille UMC is the third of five performances Rosette are doing this month as part of this concert series, so if you don’t catch this one, make sure you catch their pop-up afternoon performance at the East End Library on the following day, or their final performance at Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education on October 21. Trust me, this concert series is worth your time.
Saturday, October 15, 2 PM
Vomit Forth, Simulakra, Snuffed On Sight, Khlysty @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
A lot of people think of movies when they hear the term “matinee.” Others think of legendary afternoon hardcore shows at CBGB, or other classic venues. However, I doubt too many of us associate matinee shows with death metal. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what you’ll get if you head over to The Camel this Saturday afternoon at 2 PM — a death metal matinee. There’s a first time for everything, I suppose. Headlining this one is Vomit Forth, a brutal death metal powerhouse hailing from Connecticut and currently on tour behind their brand new Century Media release, Seething Malevolence.
Mixing influences from classic east coast death metal like Internal Bleeding and Suffocation with noisier elements drawn from groups like Full Of Hell or even noise artist Prurient (who makes a guest appearance on the album’s intro), Vomit Forth bring the all the headbanging, double-bass rattling, guitar chugging, low-end vocal rumbling, and gory lyrics that you know and love from many classic death metal groups of the past. Fellow Northeasterners Simulakra, who actually hail from Delaware, will also be on hand to bring the sort of shred-tastic genius they show off on their latest album, The Infection Spreads. If Vomit Forth are pure 100% death metal, Simulakra are a bit closer to the line that separates thrashing death metal from very heavy hardcore, and are sure to appeal to fans of bands like The Faceless and Animosity. San Francisco band Snuffed On Sight rounds out the touring trifecta with some properly guttural death grind, while Richmond newcomers Khlysty will get things started with some fast, heavy, brutal metal damage. And after all that, you’ll probably walk out to find the sun still out. Crazy moments like this are what life’s really all about; don’t deny yourself that opportunity.
Sunday, October 16, 7 PM
Igor & the Red Elvises @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
There aren’t many bands out here with a story wilder than that of Igor & The Red Elvises. Dating back to the early 90s, the Red Elvises were originally a Soviet-era folk rock group called Limpopo, who evolved into the Red Elvises after moving to America and falling in love with the sounds of American genres like rockabilly, surf music, funk, and reggae. They proceeded to put together a group mixing Russian expatriates with American members who got where they were coming from, and started releasing records like Grooving To The Moscow Beat and Surfing In Siberia. As the group evolved and lineups changed, their sound also evolved, incorporating more traditional Russian and Ukrainian music, as well as other genres — everything from folk to disco.
These days, the only original member remaining in the Red Elvises is frontman Igor Yuzov, which is why they go by Igor & the Red Elvises now. They’ve still got the same fun rock n’ roll spirit that always animated their music, though, and they continue to incorporate obvious touches of their Soviet Union roots — most prominently, the giant triangular bass guitar, in the style of legendary Soviet rock band Gorky Park, that the current Red Elvises bass player still performs with onstage. Igor & the Red Elvises are also not above tweaking uptight sensibilities and poking fun at those who take life too seriously. So really, if what you want from your Sunday night is a big ol’ rock n’ roll party that’ll make you forget, at least for a couple of hours, about how bleak it really is out in the world today, Igor & the Red Elvises are, like the column header says, a must-see. Go to the Camel this Sunday night and twist like Uma Thurman with them.
Monday, October 17, 7 PM
Terror Cell, .gif From God, Flesh Machine, Circle Breaker @ Ipanema – $3-$5 (sliding scale admission)
I have no idea how Ipanema is going to hold up to this one, y’all. Richmond’s Terror Cell are part of a veritable wave of incredibly heavy bands that have risen up in Richmond over the past few years, including Black Matter Device and TVLPA, who they actually share members with. Led by Joey Woodard, whose day job is as a body piercer over at Heroes & Ghosts, Terror Cell has been together for a few years now, cranking out metallic grooves full of distorted fury and outright noise. Now they’re taking things to a new level with their new album, Caustic Light, released just last week by Fisher King Records. This performance at Ipanema will act as a record release celebration for this album, and between the sheer metal fury sure to be on display during Terror Cell’s set and the cramming of a roomful of excited hardcore, metal, and screamo kids into a room this tiny with ceilings as low as Ipanema’s, I really wouldn’t be surprised if this entire venue imploded by the end of this show.
The fact that .gif From God are on the bill isn’t exactly going to make the situation any calmer. It’s been three years since this seven-piece havoc machine put the Richmond screamo and metalcore scenes on the worldwide map with their release of approximation_of_a_human on Prosthetic Records. At this point, we’ve all gotta be champing at the bit for some new music from these screaming noise grind maniacs. Will they give it to us at this show? Honestly, I won’t even be mad if they don’t — it’s just such a treat to get to see .gif From God do their thing, even a set of older material is still sure to make the whole place explode. Relative newcomers to the Richmond scene Flesh Machine and Circle Breaker will round things out, the former with a set of chaotic noisecore, while the latter will bring a raw and punishing take on metallic hardcore to the proceedings. Regardless of how things turn out, finding out is sure to be extremely entertaining. Be there.
Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 PM
Christopher Cross @ The National – $25-$50 (order tickets HERE)
All right, folks, it’s time to find out who is serious about yacht rock. Because while I’m sure plenty of us have danced on New Year’s Eve at a Three Sheets To The Wind show, or made a “yah mo be there” joke when Michael McDonald came on the sound system at the local bar, I can’t imagine too many of us have seen a true yacht rock OG in action. We get the chance to change that this Tuesday night, though, as Christopher Cross comes to town on his 40th anniversary tour, bringing a set list full of soft rock classics for all of us to sing and sway along to. OK, Cross’s first big hit single, “Ride Like The Wind,” actually hit the charts 44 years ago, but hey… the pandemic screwed up a lot of plans. Give the guy a mulligan on this one.
As a card-carrying Old Lady, I actually remember when Christopher Cross’s music was all over the radio. I remember hearing “Ride Like The Wind” and “Arthur’s Theme” (that “when you get caught between the moon and New York City” song) playing (at a reasonable volume, of course) during rides home from school in my mother’s car. These are songs about happy times and smooth sailing, originally the music of choice for well-off yuppies whose membership in the Baby Boom generation saw all of them living in nice houses and driving fancy cars by the time they were 40. Meanwhile, I’m closing in on 50 and still need to work three jobs just to keep the bills paid. Born too late, I guess. But I’m not bitter! If anything, I’m in the perfect mental state to have songs like “Sailing” and “Never Be The Same” soothe my troubled mind. Maybe you are too! If so, head down to The National this Tuesday night and relax into the smooth softness of Christopher Cross’s prototypical yacht rock genius.
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