RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 10/15-10/21

by | Oct 15, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Saturday, October 18, 8 PM
Instant Pleasure Fest 2014, feat. Futurebirds, Avers, The Young Sinclairs, The Diamond Center, Lady God, Dave Watkins, DJ Harrison, Revolt Of the Apes, Stimulator Jones @ The Broadberry – $15 (order tickets HERE)

Psych heads around RVA are rejoicing this week, as the return of the Instant Pleasure Fest has come to the Broadberry this weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 8 PM
Instant Pleasure Fest 2014, feat. Futurebirds, Avers, The Young Sinclairs, The Diamond Center, Lady God, Dave Watkins, DJ Harrison, Revolt Of the Apes, Stimulator Jones @ The Broadberry – $15 (order tickets HERE)

Psych heads around RVA are rejoicing this week, as the return of the Instant Pleasure Fest has come to the Broadberry this weekend! Originally put together back in 2011 by the folks at Revolt Of The Apes, the effort to bring this festival back to life has been spearheaded by the members of Avers, who have done a lot to rejuvenate the psychedelic subgenre around RVA of late. Instant Pleasure Fest is now a one-day event taking place at The Broadberry this Saturday night, and will feature nine great performers for only $15–a great deal no matter how you slice it. What’s more, $2 of every ticket sold will go towards Amy Black’s Pink Ink Fund, which helps to support breast cancer survivors. There were also some free mix CDs available with purchase of tickets from local record stores Steady Sounds, Plan 9, and Monument City, but those might all be gone by now because I forgot to tell y’all about this a month ago when I heard about it. (Yes, Virginia, this can be a difficult job sometimes.) Still worth checking on, though.

Anyway, who are all these bands you’ll get to see and hear at The Broadberry on Saturday? Well, for starters, Futurebirds will be traveling up from Athens, Georgia to play for us all. This six-piece makes their way around to a sun-drenched psychedelic sound by way of country-rock sonics that are straight-up Gram Parsons at times. Mixing banjo, mandolin, and pedal steel, as well as four-part harmonies, into spaced-out yet laid back rock n’ roll tunes makes for a mind-expanding listen. Sit back, relax, and open your third eye.

The other big headliners on this bill are local heroes all. Avers have brought together of half a dozen local alt-rock superstars from such bands as The Trillions, Hypercolor, and The Head and The Heart to create a more rockin’ take on the whole psych thing, as shown on their excellent recent debut album, Empty Light. The Diamond Center haven’t been up and around too much, what with bandleaders Kyle Harris and Brandi Price being parents now, but they’re slowly making their way back into the world with their desert-fried Mazzy Star-meets-Brian Jonestown Massacre sound. Then there’s Roanoke’s Young Sinclairs, who revive the 60s with some prime garage-rock/sunshine-pop chestnuts, without ever descending into imitation. And we’ve still only talked about slightly less than half of the total bill! This show is going to be epic, people. So drop some acid or take some gingko biloba or whatever it is you hippies do before a show, and get ready to have your mind blown–regardless of your level of intoxication upon arrival.

Wednesday, October 15, 8 PM
Faceship, Brent McCormick @ The Camel – Free!

In case y’all haven’t heard, The Camel can have music til 2 AM now, by order of Richmond City Council. That’s gonna be an awesome thing to experience, so why not head down to The Camel and experience it tonight? Faceship will be playing, and this local trio is definitely digging into some sweet prog jams with their unusual guitar/piano/drums configuration. As with The Doors back in the day, the piano gives enough bottom-end to the sound so that you don’t miss the bass, and this frees both guitar and piano to take almost post-rock-ish trips into the stratosphere over some smooth, jazzy beats.

Local songwriter Brent McCormick (who may actually go by B. McCormick–sorry if I’m screwing that up) will open up with a set in which he’ll break out some solo acoustic tunes that are a little on the weird side. Maybe it’s just his voice, but his work definitely reminds me of Devendra Banhart and some of those other psychedelic folk performers that were dominating the scene a decade ago or so. Regardless of who’s influencing him, though, he’s got some catchy and original tunes, and his music will make a laid-back start to an evening that’s bound to turn into a celebration at some point. Bills like this are one of the best parts of wandering into The Camel on a weeknight, honestly, and it’s just going to be that much cooler now that they can go on until 2 AM. We’ll all be getting to bed a little later, but isn’t that half the fun?

Thursday, October 16, 8 PM
Red City Radio, Direct Hit, The Concussion Theory, Decide By Friday @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$14 at the door (order tickets HERE)

Folks, I’ll be the first to admit it–gruff-vocal pop-punk has become a bit of a cliche in recent years. Comparisons to Hot Water Music, Latterman, and Dillinger Four are just not the can’t-miss propositions they used to be five years ago. Therefore, when bands that are still actually doing that sound well come around, it needs to be acknowledged. Red City Radio’s second album, Titles, came out last year on Paper + Plastick and proved that something new can still be added to that sort of sound. Full of super-catchy tunes, it’s also got a thick, powerful guitar sound and a muscular rock production that makes it hit way harder and stick with you way longer than the typical band you hear, shrug, and go “my Latterman records are better than this.” I mean, OK, the second Latterman album might be better than this one, but it’s a narrow thing–and that’s high praise coming from me. So are you gonna go see these guys lay it down in a live environment? You’d be fools not to.

And really, I think everyone in this city already knows everything there is to know about Direct Hit, considering how many times they’ve rolled through town over the past several years. Plus, they’ve done split EPs with both Hold Tight and the Haverchucks, so their RVA credentials are impeccable at this point. But last year’s Brainless God LP might have been their best work yet (it sure had an awesome title), so if you haven’t caught up with the Direct Hit dudes in a while, this is a prime opportunity. Hell, even if you saw them the last two times they played here, you should know you’re in for a good time when they come back. So come down and dance. Up and coming local emo kids The Concussion Theory will open up, along with brand new RVA punk rockers Decide By Friday.

Friday, October 17, 8:30 PM
Horsehead, Ben Miller Band, Eric Hunter & The Distractions @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)

Ladies and gentlemen, Horsehead are back! These local alt-country mainstays have been making music in RVA for longer than you may realize–they’re currently working on their fifth album, which they’ll be recording this fall, and they’ve got some songs for it already finished and added to their live repertoire. Last time I personally caught Horsehead live was over the summer, and they really impressed me with their live sound and songwriting chops. I mean, I’ve known these guys had the skills to pay the bills, but something about it connected with me perfectly that night, and I was really glad to be hearing their blend of early-70s Stones, Uncle Tupelo, and the Drive-By Truckers. You’ll be enjoying it too if you make it out to The Camel this Friday night–especially since the band will be debuting their brand new fifth member, Ben Wilson, on keyboards. They’ve already released an acoustic version of “Dear Radio,” a mournful ballad they’re planning to put on the next record, showcasing Wilson’s talents on keyboard, so check that out and get stoked for this Friday night!

There’ll be other sonic treats for you to enjoy at the show as well. For one thing, the Ben Miller Band is in town. This band has nothing to do with either the owner of Bad Grrrl Records or the guy who some people call Maurice. Ben Miller and his band play a fired-up mix of bluegrass and folk music that has a bit of a punk rock energy to it, as demonstrated by Miller’s hybrid mohawk/beard hairstyle (he’s kinda got the Mr. T thing going on…) They just released an album called Any Way Shape Or Form on New West Records, and it sounds pretty great, so catching them live should be a lot of fun. Local quintet Eric Hunter & The Distractions open up with some tuneful, twangified rock n’ roll. Get into it!

Saturday, October 18, 8 PM
Il Sogno Del Marinaio, The Vacant Stairs, Imaginary Sons @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)

I shouldn’t have to tell you guys who the heck Mike Watt is. To put it another way: I’ve been telling you who Mike Watt is and why you should care for years, and if you don’t know by now, I’m VERY disappointed in you. But I also get that you might see the name Il Sogno del Marinaio and not realize “Oh hey, that’s one of Mike Watt’s bands,” so a heads up from me is surely in order. Formerly of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE, currently of the Stooges’ modern incarnation, Watt also leads the Secondmen, the Missingmen, and Il Sogno del Marinaio, the band he’ll be fronting on this trip through Richmond.

As might be obvious from the name, this band sees Watt, in his usual post on bass and vocals, fronting a band made up of Italian musicians which originally formed in Italy. Guitarist Stefano Pilia and drummer Andrea Belfi come together with Watt to form a jazzy, contemplative trio that is perfect backing music for some of Watt’s more pensive vocal lines (longtime followers of his work may be reminded of fIREHOSE’s 1987 tune “Operation Solitaire”). This certainly won’t be the kind of high-energy show Watt’s been known for at times in the past, but it’ll give him the chance to show off his stupendous chops, and the audience a chance to get into a deep, deep groove with one of the all-time masters of the bass guitar. If, like me, you missed it a couple years ago when Watt came through with the Missingmen, you do not want to blow it twice in a row. Be there! Opening support will come from longtime RVA rockers the Vacant Stairs and relative newcomers Imaginary Sons. Should be sweet!

Sunday, October 19, 5 PM
Xerxes, Two Inch Astronaut, Caust, Colony @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://xerxes.eventbrite.com/)

Now this show is guaranteed to be energetic! Louisville’s Xerxes are the sort of band that sometimes people call post-hardcore, I guess because they’re not tough guys or whatever? Sure, they aren’t exactly the type of band you’d want to floorpunch to, and yes, I suppose they have some melodic riffs at points, but the screamed vocals, pedal-to-the-metal tempos, and noisy, furious guitars all say “hardcore” to me. If you’re a fan of Touche Amore, State Faults, Defeater, or any other bands like that, you’re gonna dig the hell out of Xerxes–we can argue about the terminology later. These guys are about to come out with a new album called Collision Blonde on No Sleep Records, which features production from Mr. Into It. Over It. himself, Evan Weiss. If you needed any more cred-related reasons to go to this show, welp, there you are. Trust me, though–the music’s all the reason you need.

Maryland’s Two Inch Astronaut are also coming down for this one, and post-hardcore seems a bit better as a descriptor for these guys. Their midtempo riffing, melodic vocals, and vaguely off-kilter hints at math rock all lend themselves to a quick and easy Dismemberment Plan comparison, but these guys are also heavier and more straightforward than that band ever was, so how about another DC comparison? Jawbox. Somewhere between the D-Plan and Jawbox. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Caust, from elsewhere in VA, have the same sort of appeal as Xerxes, though I’d say their music more closely resembles 90s bands that screamed and rolled on the floor, such as Inkwell or Closure (or Saetia, for the more youthful among you). RVA up-and-comers Colony will open up, and this band featuring Aaron Tyree (In Circles) and Davey Bales (Lost Tribe) will turn all the lights off and evoke The Chameleons or Seventeen Seconds-era Cure for you. You will enjoy every minute of it. I promise.

Monday, October 20, 9 PM
Shy Low, Pompeii, From Fragile Seeds @ Strange Matter – $7

Fans of dramatic atmospheres and epic post-rock sounds will be in heaven Monday night at Strange Matter. Two great post-rock bands will be coming together to turn Strange Matter’s dark, spooky interior into a backdrop for soaring flights of musical fancy and imaginary game-winning drives by Texas high school football teams. Or something like that. Pompeii are indeed from Texas, which means it could just as easily have been them soundtracking the Friday Night Lights movie rather than Explosions In The Sky, but that was a long time ago and I’m sure they’ve put that all behind them. These days, they’re releasing their third LP, Loom–in fact, it came out yesterday–and as their first LP in five years, it’s proving that Pompeii still have a solid command over their dramatic soundscapes and emotional musical climaxes. I don’t want to beat you over the head with post-rock signifiers too much, but seriously, this record is epic and awesome and everything you want from that whole genre–even incorporating gorgeous lead vocals from guitarist Dean Stafford.

Shy Low do not have a vocalist, but anyone who has been following the rise of this local post-rock quartet knows they don’t need them. Their 2013 10 inch EP Binary Opposition stretched two songs over 25 minutes, with long, slow buildups eventually culminating in loud, enormous crescendos. Yes, Shy Low are following the Godspeed You Black Emperor model, and it’s totally awesome. Plus, the fact that their drummer’s name is Sean Doody offers me the perfect opportunity to start a rumor that they are ex-members of Self Defense Family… but no, that’s not true, it’s a completely different Sean Doody. Anyway, From Fragile Seeds are also playing this show, and these guys are probably the closest to a conventional post-hardcore/emo sound of any of the bands on the bill. Previously a quartet featuring a lot of dueling lead guitar lines, these guys recently slimmed down to a trio, so it’ll be interesting to see how their songs sound with a focus on the rhythms and the riffs. But let’s be real, From Fragile Seeds always deliver. As will this whole show.

Tuesday, October 21, 9 PM
Agent Orange, The Architects, Chrome Daddy Disco @ Bandito’s – Free!

Oh man… I don’t know about all of you, but this has been a rough last couple of months. I have definitely felt like I was living in darkness at points here… perfect time for Mike Palm and the boys to come to town and blow me away with some downbeat surf-infused punk fucking rock. Seriously, don’t you love it when Bandito’s will host some old-school legend on a random weeknight? I can eat nachos, you drink one of those drinks with salt on the rim of the glass if that’s your thing, and we can all mosh it up in the band room with bellies full of delicious Tex-Mex food! Everyone wins, especially when the band coming through is the almighty Agent Orange.

Agent Orange has been around since 1979, which means they put out their first record when I was 3 years old… and I’m no spring chicken. Amazingly, Mike Palm is still leading the band, dishing out his Dick Dale-style leads over spooky, ominous punk riffs while singing about the same sort of dead-end kids who show up in the music of TSOL, The Adolescents, and other classic Cali punk rock from the era. And then they throw in a surf instrumental every now and then to shake things up. Agent Orange don’t make it out on tour that often these days, but their 2010 Halloween single proved that they’ve still got a lot left in the tank, so expect a kickass show from these Cali legends. They’ll be joined by Kansas City’s The Architects (not to be confused with UK metalcore band Architects), who recently released a combination album/graphic novel called Border Wars: Episode II, and have a swaggering garage-punk sound that kind of reminds me of The Murder City Devils. Local rockabilly kingpins Chrome Daddy Disco will open things up for this Tuesday night blast of mayhem.

Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: andrew@rvamag.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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