Saturday, April 25, 5 PM
RPG IPA Release, feat.
RPG Druglord, Roper & Furley, Lady God, Bummer’s Eve @ Hardywood – Free!
Turning metal bands into beer has become its own little cottage industry in the craft brewing world, and you can certainly see the reasoning. Nothing goes with raging heavy music and triumphant headbanging action like that golden amber liquid–or, you know, so they tell me.
Saturday, April 25, 5 PM
RPG IPA Release, feat.
RPG Druglord, Roper & Furley, Lady God, Bummer’s Eve @ Hardywood – Free!
Turning metal bands into beer has become its own little cottage industry in the craft brewing world, and you can certainly see the reasoning. Nothing goes with raging heavy music and triumphant headbanging action like that golden amber liquid–or, you know, so they tell me. At some point in this metal band/craft beer hybrid era, some local brewery was bound to get around to paying tribute to RVA’s Southern-rockin’, doom metallin’ heroes RPG, and what better brewery to do so than Hardywood? RPG has stood the test of time to deliver a wide variety of sounds, all united by their creative drive and spirit. Hardywood hasn’t been around quite as long, but this is one brewery whose hard work and inspired choices have made them an integral part of both the RVA beer world and the local music scene! The union here is a brilliant one, and it will surely produce a delicious IPA–if, you know, you go in for that sort of thing.
Sadly, we just got the news that this Saturday afternoon event will NOT actually produce a live set from RPG; bassist Bunny Wells dislocated his elbow and will be unable to perform. However, the always-powerful Druglord will be stepping in during RPG’s hour of need to fill in as headliners–and if you love RPG, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be stoked about that. These hardcore/metal veterans have unimpeachable ex-member cred (Unseen Force, Gruel, Four Walls Falling, etc), two excellent albums (Motherfucker Rising and Enter Venus) to their name, and are just as heavy and even doomier than RPG! They’ll close this show down with a display of mighty metal power that will make that new RPG IPA taste even better.
But wait, there’s more! Another RVA veteran supergroup is in the offing, and they’ll be letting everyone know what’s up at this show. Roper & Furley (sweet Three’s Company reference, y’all) feature members of Alabama Thunderpussy, Lazycain, El Presidente and more, and while they don’t actually have any music online that I can find, that’s enough of a pedigree to pique my interest right there. Lady God is also on the bill, and while it’s been tough to figure out exactly what this band of psychedelic rock n’ rollers have going on, I actually got an email clearing up some of the mystery after my last writeup of the band was full of inaccuracies. (Oops!) I can now officially report that this group features members of Hypercolor, Diamond Center, and Viva Viva, and have a second EP in the works for sometime this summer. Come to this show and learn what they’re all about! Recent Cincinnati-to-RVA transplants Bummer’s Eve will open up with some ramshackle garage rock awesomeness.
Wednesday, April 22, 8 PM
Consider The Source, Mister F @ The Broadberry – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Calling all music nerds! If you love mindblowing displays of technical prowess, then you owe it to yourself to head out to the Broadberry tonight. Consider The Source, the NYC-based trio who integrate prog complexity, jazz virtuosity, and Eastern tonality into an instrumental framework that is equal parts funk and metal, will be in town to make faces melt and heads explode. Guitarist Gabriel Marin’s unique double-necked instrument, which features a fretless neck and an integrated MIDI controller, is the most immediately impressive aspect of this band’s presentation, but you’ll soon realize that, potentially gimmicky instrumentation or no, these guys can blaze with the best of them. If you can keep track of their mathy grooves, you’re sure to nod your head a lot during this show. Upstate NY math-funkers Mister F will also be on the bill, laying down a groove that’s sure to appeal to the more jamtronica-inclined among you, at the very least. Get down with the noodly craziness tonight at the Broadberry!
Thursday, April 23, 8 PM
Cut the Architect’s Hand (photo by Through It All Photography), The Vomiting Dinosaurs, Organ Trail, Kryptcest @ McCormack’s – $5
Some amazing band names on display at McCormack’s in Shockoe Bottom Thursday night, y’all. It’s a metal show, so you can’t really expect any less, but really, when a bill confronts you with the name “The Vomiting Dinosaurs,” it’s hard not to do a double take. And of course, we denizens of RVA may have grown used to Cut The Architect’s Hand, but let’s be real–that’s a weird name too. What did the architect do to deserve that? OK but seriously, this RVA trio’s been bashing out tortured yet energetic 90s style chugging metallic hardcore for years and years now to relatively little acclaim, and it’s long past time the rest of this town started taking notice. If it takes them playing with a band called The Vomiting Dinosaurs, so be it.
Speaking of this Winchester death/grind band, whose geographic isolation has to have played a role in them coming up with such a truly bizarre moniker, once you get past the sheer weirdness of the name, they actually kick much ass! Their Worship The Porcelain God album (I know, right?) just came out a couple months ago on CD and cassette, and it seems a safe bet that they’ll be selling it at the show. You’ll definitely want a memento of their harsh, low-frequency riffing, blast beats, and deep growling vocals. And if you dig that, you should also be digging Maryland’s Organ Trail, who get a bit more Exhumed-style gore-metal with it, but are still all about the growls, blast beats, and downtuned guitars. Kryptcest, who come from VA Beach and are a dark horse candidate for weirdest name on this bill, open things up with some totally blurry goregrind messiness.
Friday, April 24, 5 PM
Jeff Rosenstock, Chumped, Cross Eyed, Bare Thoughts @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://jeffrosenstock.eventbrite.com/)
Jeff Rosenstock is a very important figure in today’s modern pop-punk scene. Having started out as the frontman (and, often, only member) of Long Island ska-punk band Bomb The Music Industry, Rosenstock pretty much invented the whole “give away your music for free on the internet” model of musical career (I remember downloading albums from his website in like 2003). Thankfully he also got away from the whole ska thing after a while, and revealed himself as an incredibly talented power-pop songwriter in the process. Now that BTMI is gone, Rosenstock not only fronts Antarctigo Vespucci but has also kickstarted his solo career with the recent release of We Cool?, which dropped a couple months ago and is full of super-catchy tunes you will definitely enjoy bopping around to. I’m pretty sure the man is touring with a backing band too, so you won’t have to worry that the songs will lose power in the transition to solo performances. Awesome!
Chumped are pretty rad themselves. This Brooklyn band knocked everyone out six months or so ago with the release of their latest full-length, Teenage Retirement, on which they showed their ability to integrate rad early-90s alternative sounds with the crunchy no-frills bliss of the best modern pop-punk (using same phrase twice in same writeup alert). Their catchy tunes are pure catnip for fans of Lemuria, Nona, and The Candy Hearts, and their performance will have you swaying and swooning for sure. Where RVA musical action is concerned, no worries–this show has got you covered: pizza-fueled Hold Tight/Springtime crossover project Cross Eyed will open up along with VU-style jangle-poppers Bare Thoughts. Head straight to Strange Matter after work, because you don’t want to miss a minute of this.
Saturday, April 25, 8 PM
Imaginary Sons, Dalton Dash, Nicky C & The RSB, Devon Hammer @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
A rock n’ roll show that also doubles as a film presentation and secret origin story? I’m definitely enough of a nerd to be WAY into that! Imaginary Sons are a super-fun catchy rock n’ roll band from RVA who love to take the stage in crazy costumes and get the crowd hype with their wild antics. Now they’ve decided to lay out the entire mythos around which their band is constructed in a four-part series of shows that will also feature short film presentations. You’ve gotta admire the commitment if nothing else, right? This is the first of those shows, featuring Days Of Future Origins Past Part 1: Spaceman Jones. The short film will explain where the first of the four Imaginary Sons members came from, and you’ll have to keep an eye out for the follow-up shows explaining the other three members, which will be happening once a month now through July. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted, because this promises to be fun!
In addition to the multimedia extravaganza Imaginary Sons will give you for a headlining performance, there are three more bands playing on this bill, all of which are coming from a totally different place than the Sons themselves. First off, there’s Dalton Dash, a local bluegrass band who keep it fast and energetic–as bluegrass is supposed to be–and have been known to turn into a heavy-blues act called Dalton Smash on occasion (they won’t be doing that on this night, but it’s still a fun fact to know). Blues-rockers Nicky C and the RSB (which stands for RattleSnake Bites) will also perform, and HeadlessMantis’s Devon Hammer will open up with a solo set, about which I do not know much; maybe it’ll be the same sort of swamp-blues punk he gets up to in his usual band, or maybe something quite different. Either way, it should be just as entertaining as the rest of this evening is guaranteed to be.
Sunday, April 26, 8 PM
Among The Rocks And Roots, Gamelan Raga Kusuma, Fat Spirit, Richard Ripper, Slow News Day In The Vampire World, LRKR @ Strange Matter – $8
Among The Rocks And Roots are quite the experience. If you’ve seen them, you know what I’m talking about–lengthy, evolving explorations of rhythmic grooves and rumbling noise, broken up by occasional bouts of screaming catharsis. Swans, Man Is The Bastard, and Faust all seem like obvious reference points for these gentlemen; at the same time, what they’re doing isn’t really that much like anything else happening on the musical landscape in RVA or anywhere else. Previously, it wasn’t that easy to get down with what these dudes were doing–if you didn’t make it out to catch one of their frequent sets at Strange Matter, Gallery 5, or 25 Watt, all you had to go by was primitive audience live recordings uploaded to their bandcamp. That’s all about to change now, though, as Among The Rocks And Roots prepare to release their debut, Samudra Garba Pathe, on Hand To Mouth Tapes. This four-song release apparently runs 82 minutes in length–which, yes, means every time you saw them and they played nonstop for 20 or more minutes, that was just one song. So this release will be more Among The Rocks And Roots you’ve ever had the opportunity to hear at one time before, and Sunday night, you’ll be able to purchase it and then catch a raging live set from these high priests of low-end noise!
What’s even cooler about this show is that the duo has curated a varied and eclectic evening of musical performances to accompany their set. Fans of RVA underground rock music are surely aware of Fat Spirit, who’ll be bringing their excellent alt-rock jams to the Strange Matter stage. But have you heard Gamelan Raga Kusuma? This community ensemble plays gamelan, the orchestral percussion of Bali and Java–which is amazing if you haven’t heard it–and will on this night be staging a multimedia performance involving shadowplay! Sounds to me like it’ll be cool as hell. Then we’ll also get some noisy sounds from Navi/Coteries side project Richard Ripper, as well as some ambient/experimental weirdness from Slow News Day In The Vampire World. Finally, Norfolk sonic collective LRKR will lurk their way to the stage to blast us with some severely strange improvisations. Billed as a showcase of “the finest in Richmond’s outsider music scene,” this evening is sure to deliver. Come explore some unfamiliar sounds, jam to some familiar ones, and then get out of your head with Among The Rocks And Roots. It’ll be rad.
Monday, April 27, 9 PM
The Answer Grand Opening Celebration, feat. Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns (Art by Dave Klemencic) @ The Answer Brewpub – Free!
OK yes, even though I don’t drink beer, for the second time in one short week I am writing about a beer-related musical event in this column. But like, really, why not? After all, on a purely statistical basis, the chance that you, the reader, also do not drink beer is at least a thousand to one. And even if you’re like me and committed to sobriety, all that really means is that it’ll be easier for you and I to drive home from seeing a good band in a fun place where everyone else is drunk. Nothing wrong with that, right?
So anyway, The Answer Brewpub, as you probably already know if you’re a regular reader of this website, is the latest venture from An Bui of Mekong. He’s brought in some other beer experts to spin Mekong’s prominent sideline in the craft brew business into its own brewpub, located just down the block from Mekong! And next week is The Answer’s weeklong Grand Opening celebration. Monday night means RVA Appreciation Night, the long-running beginning-of-the-week throwdown at Mekong, moves up the street to The Answer and brings Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns with it. This incredibly talented pickup band featuring members of Kings, DJ Williams Projekt, The Big Payback, and many other local heavyweights getting funky all night long is the perfect soundtrack to that blissful feeling you experience when you realize you’ve at least gotten through one day of the work week. So go jam out, check out An’s new place, drink some beer if that’s your thing, and have a blast! Maybe even check back in on Tuesday, too, because Butcher Brown will be there then… (all the details about the Grand Opening celebration, which lasts all week, can be found here).
Tuesday, April 28, 9 PM
US Christmas, Generation Of Vipers (photo by Dave Killebrew), Sinister Haze, Slowing @ Strange Matter – $8
It’s Tuesday night, and headbangs are fucking MANDATORY, y’all–Generation of Vipers are coming to town. I know, I know, most of you are more stoked about North Carolina space-rangers US Christmas, aka USX, who’ve been longtime friends to the RVA music scene but haven’t actually come around for a live performance in a hot minute. I get that, and I’m stoked to see them too–really. But you guys, Tennessee trio Generation Of Vipers has been so important to me over the past six months, well… if you ask me, they are absolutely the reason to show up to this show. Their album Coffin Wisdom leveled me upon first listen several months ago, and has just continued to do so as the weeks have followed. Its seven songs have that same crushing, epic heaviness that was present in large amounts on Yautja’s excellent 2014 album Songs Of Descent–and if you heard that album, or have heard me rave about that band before, you know we’re in rarefied air here. Look, stay for US Christmas afterwards–there’s no way you’ll regret it, that band rules. But if you have to quit your job to make it to Strange Matter in time to catch Generation Of Vipers on Tuesday night, do that shit. It is a matter of utmost importance.
Whew. Anyway, there are other bands on this show as well, and I don’t want to understate their radness by going on too long or getting too ridiculous about Generation Of Vipers (I know, too late). RVA stoners Sinister Haze, featuring members of Cough, Dry Spell, and Balaclava getting heavy and doomy with it, will kick off their upcoming tour with this opening set, so come see them off in fine RVA fashion, and get stoked to hear Brandon Marcey scream (because it’s gonna happen, I assure you). Slowing is a new project bringing together former members of The Catalyst, Souvenir’s Young America, and Crater (among others) to create a dark doom/country hybrid that is equal parts Neil Young and Saint Vitus. That’s also something you do not want to miss. I don’t care if it is Tuesday night, get your ass to Strange Matter for this show. You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]