RVA Shows You Must See This Week: October 5 – October 11

by | Oct 5, 2022 | MUSIC

Saturday, October 8, 7 PM
Second Annual John Prine Memorial Show, feat. Blush Face, Andy Jenkins, Julie Storey, Benjamin Shepherd, Tess Fisher, Jonathan Brown, Ward Harrison @ The Camel – $10 minimum donation (order tickets HERE)
Since the whole COVID thing happened, the passage of time has been weird. On one hand, it sometimes feels like the time before the pandemic came along was forever ago. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like everything that’s happened since those lockdowns first occurred has happened in the past two months. But here’s one sure way to understand just how much of our time we’ve spent living within the post-COVID world: It’s now been two and a half years since legendary singer-songwriter John Prine passed away from COVID back in April 2020 at the age of 73.

While he’s not exactly the most mainstream-famous singer-songwriter of the past half-century, John Prine has had a massive impact on many, many musicians since he released his groundbreaking self-titled debut back in 1971. The event Richmond record label Vocal Rest Records is holding at The Camel this Saturday is proof of Prine’s effect from right here in our own scene. Featuring seven different singer-songwriters from around Richmond, this second annual John Prine memorial concert will be stacked with talent, some carrying strong reputations with them. Indie rockers Blush Face, Spacebomb star Andy Jenkins, veteran local musician Benjamin Shepherd (who was never in Soundgarden), and Doll Baby frontwoman Julie Storey — who I’m delighted to see feeling well enough to play shows again after her medical struggles last year — make up some of the highlights on this stacked bill.

Will all of them be doing John Prine covers? If that’s the plan, they’ve certainly got plenty of excellent songs to choose from. From classic tracks like “Hello In There” and “Sam Stone” to standards like “Paradise” and “Angel From Montgomery” (which might be best known for its performances by Bonnie Raitt), Prine penned many incredible tunes over the course of his career. Personally, I really hope the night doesn’t go by without someone doing “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.” Regardless of the ratio of Prine songs to original tunes that we get from the performers on this bill, the evening is sure to be full of amazing sound. And here’s a really great thing — the proceeds from this event will be donated to Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, whose mission to preserve reproductive rights is all the more important since the Supreme Court got rid of Roe v. Wade. So: celebrate the life of an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, and help fight for the right to choose. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night, if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 5, 8 PM
Piranha Rama, Tiny Lights @ Fuzzy Cactus – $10
Well, we’ve certainly kept you apprised of the situation where Richmond mega-group Piranha Rama’s new album is concerned, but in case you’ve missed all of our other articles, let’s be perfectly clear about this: within the past week, the nine-piece psychedelic indie surf-grunge-pop ensemble has released a brand new album, Omniscient Cloud Cover. That’s big news right there, but when you hear the album yourself, you’ll realize just how big it is. From the ethereal pop of album opener “Daylight” to the spaced-out honky-tonk of “A Door” to the dirty funk of “Golden Blues,” this album has a ton of different styles to offer, and all of them are done with surefooted talent and panache by a crew of musical veterans that includes Chrissie Lozano (Ladygod, Fear Of Music), John Sizemore (The Milkstains), Bob Miller (Bio Ritmo), Tim Falen (Diamond Center, Ultra Flake), Reggie Pace (No BS! Brass Band)… that’s not even all of them! This band’s lineup is truly stacked, and comes with an impeccable pedigree.

So yeah, even if you haven’t already learned the full extent of Piranha Rama’s many-splendored talents, the above info should be reason enough for you to take a trip up to Northside for their release party tonight at Fuzzy Cactus. And even if you know backwards and forwards what Piranha Rama has to offer, you better get prepared, because the new album truly takes things to the next level. You could see for yourself right now (if you haven’t already) by navigating over to your favorite streaming service and cueing it up… but what would be even cooler is if you instead showed up at Fuzzy tonight, took in the fresh new sounds, and acquired a copy of it for yourself. I mean, assuming they have physical copies yet… given the state of the supply chain these days, who really knows? But that’s OK — just being there for the performance is privilege enough. Trust me.

Thursday, October 6, 6:30 PM
Toad The Wet Sprocket, Chris Pureka @ The National – $35-$66 (order tickets HERE)
There’s a lot of reverence today for the era in the early 90s when all the underground rock bands started hitting the airwaves and signaled a move into the next generation of musical creativity. You know what I mean — that three-year stretch in which first Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden (among others), then Green Day, the Offspring, and Rancid (again, among others) brought the sounds of grunge and punk into the mainstream. That was a great era. As someone who was around for it, though, I’ve gotta tell ya, I always had a soft spot for the bands who came along in the years before that big explosion and found a way to break through without a big movement attached. In this very column, I have written in the past about other bands from that era, like The Connells and BoDeans, but today, it’s Toad the Wet Sprocket’s turn. And I’m glad, because Toad The Wet Sprocket are a great band.

If you remember these California guys, it’s probably because of the string of hit singles they released in the earliest days of the 1990s: “All I Want,” “Walk On The Ocean,” “Fall Down,” “Something’s Always Wrong”… yeah, they had some jams. But even though the Toad boys have spent some time apart in the decades since, they are still an active band today, with three of the four members that were part of their classic lineup still in the mix. What’s more, last year they released a new album, Starting Now — only their second since the dawn of the new millennium — and tracks like “Transient Whales” and “Hold On” show that they’ve still got a ton of chops. Thirty years after they first made a big impact with their classic album Fear, Toad The Wet Sprocket are still a great band, and you’re certainly not going to want to miss their set at The National this Thursday night. P.S. When I checked, there were not that many tickets left, so you better be quick on this one, folks.

Friday, October 7, 7 PM
Remi Wolf, Jordana @ The National – $25 in advance, $30 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Regardless of how the retirement-age ladies I work with at my retail job see me, the truth is: at 46, I’m pretty old in music scene years. However, I try my best not to turn into a mom-rocker, and one of the ways I do that sort of thing is by paying attention to the stuff that’s getting hype with people young enough to be my children. Lately I’ve been catching a buzz from the shadowy world of zoomer music discourse (i.e. social media) around Remi Wolf, the California-based singer-songwriter who will be hitting the National this Friday night. Having recently discovered her 2021 debut album, Juno, I gotta say, the hype is entirely deserved — to the point that I’m just gonna tell you right now that you need to grab your tickets for this show at the National before it sells the heck out.

If you’re one of my fellow olds who hasn’t yet gotten the word on Remi Wolf, though, let me give you a few more details. First of all, calling her a singer-songwriter might give you certain ideas in a column with a picture of John Prine at the top, so let me make clear that Remi Wolf’s music takes the form of gorgeous technicolor soulful pop, full of lush arrangements and funky grooves, over which Remi unleashes her incredible voice. She moves from the kind of vocal gymnastics that we’d normally associate with someone like Jill Scott to a hyperactive delivery that manages to evoke hip hop aesthetics even as it remains extremely melodic. If you’ve ever wondered what a 21st century Lauryn Hill who’d been exposed to stuff like Lizzo and MIA might sound like, well, Remi Wolf is here to show you. And you better bring your dancing shoes, because this is one gig during which it’ll be impossible to keep still. Get stoked.

Saturday, October 8, 9 PM
Sick Thoughts, Mel Machete, Black Button @ Fuzzy Cactus – $10
Spare a thought for Jay Reatard. I don’t hear his name too much these days (maybe because his punk rock pseudonym is more than a little problematic in the 2K20s?), but dude was incredibly talented, and I feel like even after a decade-plus career, he was still really just hitting his stride when he passed away at 29. It’s a shame we lost all the great records Jay Reatard could have brought into the world if he’d lived to a ripe old age, but thankfully, others have come along since to assume his crown and prove themselves as equally talented purveyors of degenerate punk rock that’s not-so-secretly fueled by a powerful pop sensibility. My latest discovery in this realm is a Baltimore-based songwriter named Drew Owen, who brings his music into the world under the name Sick Thoughts.

The latest Sick Thoughts album is Heaven Is No Fun, released only a few weeks in the past by Total Punk Records. It only takes a quick glance down the running order, where you’ll see tracks like “Wake Up Drunk,” “I’m Gonna Waste You,” and “Mother, I Love Satan,” to realize that this really is a slab of total punk. However, beneath all of Owen’s tunes about degenerate violence and, um, sick thoughts are some incredibly catchy riffs and some very well-constructed pop songs that are sure to get stuck in your head all day, the same way all those old Ramones songs about sniffing glue and Jay Reatard songs about blood visions used to. When Sick Thoughts hit Fuzzy Cactus this weekend, they’re sure to be bringing a wave of wild rockin’ through the place with them, so get ready for a set filled with the catchiest, most memorable pit-starting punk anthems you’ve heard in a long time. Local openers Mel Machete, whose swaggering garage stomp never disappoints, and Black Button, which features members of Slump and Teenage Cenobite getting truly frantic, will provide excellent support for this night of rock n’ roll debauchery.

Sunday, October 10, 6 PM
Real Friends, With Confidence, The Home Team, Taylor Acorn @ The Canal Club – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve definitely spent some time with the music of Real Friends over the years. Back in the days when I was a lonely, self-conscious egg who couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t connect with other people, those early Real Friends EPs — Everyone That Dragged You Here and Three Songs About The Past Year Of My Life, among others — could frequently be heard blasting from the little boombox I kept in the corner of my attic room back then. The strong, emotion-driven lyrics of frontman Dan Lambton were just as important to me as the powerful riffs and energetic melodies the music delivered (even if he did use the phrase “bony knees” a little too often in those early days). I really dug the first couple of Real Friends albums, Maybe This Place Is The Same And We’re Just Changing and The Home Inside My Head, but I somewhat lost track of them over the past few years.

Imagine my surprise when I went to write about this show and discovered that Dan Lambton actually left Real Friends after their third LP, 2018’s Composure. The departure was apparently amicable, and Real Friends have since continued with a new vocalist, Cody Muraro, but I gotta admit I was a little nervous to check out the music they’ve released since bringing Muraro into the fold. That said, I am much relieved to report that the two EPs Real Friends have released since Muraro joined, 2021’s Torn In Two and the recently released “Always Lose”/”Tell Me You’re Sorry” single, are every bit as great as the classic Real Friends EPs of a decade ago. Therefore I can once again recommend with confidence that everyone reading this should go see Real Friends when they come to the Canal Club this Sunday night. And speaking of With Confidence, the Australian pop-punk band will join Real Friends on this date, bringing their janglier, more pop-oriented take on the genre to American kids who are sure to enjoy dancing to their many catchy tunes. It’s gonna be a great night for heartfelt anthems, and you really should be part of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 7 PM
Izzy Oram Brown, FLKL, Mackenzie Roark @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
We’ve reached the end of the show-column week, and once again we’re looking to The Camel to come through in the clutch and bring us a night of excellent live music on a night of the week when there’s sadly not that much to be had. And while Monday night finds the Camel hosting a drag show — which may be a bit outside the scope of this column, but still gets my full seal of approval for those whose interests lean that way (I mean, it’s a talent contest called “The Least Bad Drag Performer Of This Particular Group” — how can you not love that?) — Tuesday sees them bringing us a night of excellent music in the fashion that makes us all ever-so-thankful for their continued existence.

Specifically, this evening brings us a set from singer-songwriter Izzy Oram Brown, who recently released her debut EP, Mess. Full of quiet yearning, subtle guitar playing, and gorgeous vocal melodies, this EP might slip by you if you don’t pay close attention and allow yourself to fully absorb its brilliance. However, with Oram Brown onstage directly in front of you, it’s going to be impossible to miss her sophisticated guitar stylings and complex arrangements, the sorts of things that make Mess a good bit more than just another sad-girl-with-guitar record. Don’t get me wrong, if you dig that sort of thing, you’ll dig Izzy Oram Brown. But even if you don’t normally dig that sort of thing, Izzy Oram Brown is talented enough to convert you. By the time you’ve heard her whole set, you’re sure to be a fervent fan. She’ll be joined on this bill by the louder and more energetic sounds of local indie-poppers FLKL, plus an opening set during which Mackenzie Roark gives us all a sneak preview of the LP she’s releasing later this month, Rollin’ High, Feelin’ Low. If the advance singles are any indication, this one’s gonna be a banger, so that sneak preview is just what the doctor ordered. Take advantage of this Tuesday night opportunity; its like won’t come around again soon.


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): <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

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

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