Friday, October 24, 9 PM
White Laces, Diamond Center, Sundials, Heavy Midgets @ The Broadberry – $7 (order tickets HERE)
OK yes we were just talking about a White Laces show a couple weeks ago but that was in a different context and this show is nearly as important in its own way so once again, you have no excuse to miss it!
Friday, October 24, 9 PM
White Laces, Diamond Center, Sundials, Heavy Midgets @ The Broadberry – $7 (order tickets HERE)
OK yes we were just talking about a White Laces show a couple weeks ago but that was in a different context and this show is nearly as important in its own way so once again, you have no excuse to miss it! Landis Wine, Jay Ward, and Jimmy Held (plus a whole bunch of other people over the years) have been working really hard for quite a while to get White Laces to the point they’ve reached in 2014, and the release of their latest album, Trance, is the culmination of all that effort as well as the jumping off point for the next era of their career–which should only take them further. This show is a celebration of that release, an 11-song full-length available in three formats from three different labels–LP from Egghunt Records, cassette from Arrowhawk Records, and CD from Happenin’ Records. At the very least, vinyl and CD should be available at this show, so come prepared to drop some cash and take home a slab of awesome music from these hometown favorites!
In a year that’s seen them tour with Philly’s War On Drugs (who are certainly heavy hitters on the indie scene regardless of Mark Kozelek’s opinion of them) and have Stereogum solicit label contracts on their behalf, Trance is still White Laces’ biggest triumph of 2014, and perhaps of their entire career thus far. Both strengthening their foundation as a loud-guitar rock band and taking their fascination with electronic textures to a new level while gracing the listener with memorable choruses and pleasantly surprising juxtapositions on each new song that comes down the pike, Trance is an excellent album that does more than ever to make clear what an unusual and captivating band White Laces is. At a time when it seems like a lot of bands’ best trait is the ability to generate hype, White Laces are far more focused on making great music, and while their relative modesty as a band speaks well for them as people, it doesn’t give that music nearly as much credit as it deserves. See for yourself–stream Trance in its entirety right here:
One great thing about White Laces being a relatively modest band is that, instead of making this night entirely about them. they’re using their record release show as an opportunity to bring together several different local talents of equal quality and get a wider cross-section of the scene into the same room. So even if you haven’t discovered the greatness of White Laces quite yet, chances are you’ll find another RVA band you absolutely love on this bill. There’s the thoughtful, melodic punk rock of Sundials–who are about to release their own brand new EP, Kick, on Topshelf Records in a couple of weeks–as well as the hazy, sun-bleached psychedelia of the Diamond Center, who we’re all glad to see playing shows more often lately. Finally, one of Richmond’s most promising young bands, Heavy Midgets, will rock us all with their heavy, fuzzy version of indie rock. It’s all happening this Friday at The Broadberry–and it’s the exact kind of show this venue was brought into our lives to host, so it should be amazing on every level. I better see you there.
Wednesday, October 22, 9 PM
Dope Body, Navi, Men’s Room, New Turks, Kisser @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: https://dopebody.eventbrite.com/)
They’re back! Baltimore’s Dope Body makes it down to this city to knock all our heads off on a relatively regular basis, and thank god for that, because their blazing brand of noise rock is a blessing to us all. But this time, they’re coming with a brand new treat for us all–their third album, Lifer, was released yesterday by Drag City, and they’ll surely have a great deal of new material from the album for our listening enjoyment. Based on the advance singles from the album, it seems Dope Body are in a bit of an expansive mood, exploring longer running times and more stretched-out compositions than they’ve previously messed around with. If anything, this only cements their status as some kind of alternate-universe classic rock band; their music has always featured riffs that, treated slightly differently, could have shown up on albums by The Who or The Cars. Now they’re diving headlong into the whole “difficult, progressive third album” cliche pool, and dredging up muck-dripping pearls like “Repo Man” to present to us all.
Joining Dope Body on this quest to rock Richmond as weirdly as possible is a crew of RVA bands very well suited to the task. Navi will undoubtedly get the whole room jumping around to their mostly-instrumental spastic noise-punk tunes. Men’s Room, who just released a new EP entitled I Quit this summer, have a set of antisocial drunken-stagger punk rage to unleash upon us all–and if this is how these dudes get their aggressions out, who are we to complain? New Turks are another duo pummeling you with low-end riffs, which hit all the harder for their lack of guitar. Finally, St. Louis band Kisser will round this whole bill out with a dose of scuzz-punk fuzz. I sure hope Strange Matter is stocked up on PBR for this one.
Thursday, October 23, 9 PM
Merchandise, Ninos Du Brasil, Bermuda Triangles, Dead Fame, DJ Ben Speed @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://merch.eventbrite.com/)
With apologies to S*M*A*S*H and Menswear, this here is the REAL New Wave of the New Wave. Merchandise’s first few albums, with their drum machine-driven gothic fuzz, evoked bands like The Birthday Party or early Jesus And Mary Chain while slowly moving towards memorable dark melodies of the sort that many 80s goth bands also aspired to. However, with this year’s After The End, their first album for 4AD, Merchandise have basically reinvented themselves. Similar influences are still floating in their gene pool, but between their replacement of the drum machine with a real drummer and their move in the direction of clean-guitar melodies, they’re now headed straight for mid-80s Anglophile territory. The phrase “big music” comes to mind, but that probably won’t mean anything to most of you, and since I’ve already dropped one totally dated old-man music reference in this writeup, let me explain: U2 circa Unforgettable Fire. Simple Minds circa Breakfast Club soundtrack. Midnight Oil. Big Country. Yeah, you know what’s up. These jams were designed to be heard live and loud, so come get the full experience and check out exactly where Merchandise are headed these days.
They’ll be accompanied on this and every show on the current tour by Ninos Du Brasil, a strange Italian percussion duo who recently remixed a Merchandise song to disorienting effect. These guys have a pretty experimental feel to their work, which makes them well-paired with Richmonders Bermuda Triangles, who will also be on this show laying down their own percussion-packed brand of postpunk. Meanwhile, Dead Fame have a sound that comes much closer to Merchandise’s mid-period work, calling to mind bands like New Order and The Chameleons in a way that Merchandise don’t quite anymore. Regardless, it’ll be a familiar and welcomed sound for any longtime Merchandise fans who happen to catch their set–and of course, for all the homegrown RVA fans that Dead Fame’s been accumulating lately. DJ Ben Speed will keep the tunes rolling before and between bands, so be prepared for an evening of dance beats and big sounds.
Friday, October 24, 9 PM
WRIR Monster Mashquerade, feat. Toxic Moxie, PT Burnem, Circle Two @ The Camel – $5-10 donation
With Halloween only a week away, Halloweek will be kicking off in fine style this Friday night, and while there’ll be plenty for you Allhallows-minded folks to do that night and for at least 7 days afterward, you really can’t go wrong by kicking the whole thing off with WRIR at their 7th Annual Monster Mashquerade at The Camel. This show is also taking place during WRIR’s Fall Fund Drive, so your admission price is actually a donation to keep this community-oriented radio station on the air–certainly a worthy goal. And of course, because it’s Halloween, it’s a costume party, and there will be a contest featuring prizes awarded to best costume and best mask–so do it up right, masqueraders!
I haven’t even mentioned the music yet, and that might be the best part of this whole thing! Engaging in the long-running Halloween tradition of bands dressing up as other bands, this party will feature a set from Circle Two, a Germs tribute band whose Darby Crash impersonator better be rehearsing the phrase “Somebody give me a beer” in the mirror right now. Also on the bill will be a couple of performers doing their own music. First, there’s Toxic Moxie, who tend to hit the stage wearing costumes anyway and should therefore be particularly decked-out this time around, and whose disco-punk tunes will have the crowd dancing up a storm. Then there’s rapper PT Burnem, who has tongue-twisting rhyme styles for days and plenty of catchy beats to get you moving. With WRIR DJs on the turntables keeping the music going all night, this is going to be a party to remember, so paint a blue circle on your black t-shirt and come on down!
Saturday, October 25, 9 PM
Brother Ali, Bambu, DJ Last Word, Mally, Gritty City @ The Broadberry – $15 in advance/$18 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes it seems like there are too many features on hip hop albums these days, but features certainly aren’t all bad, because sometimes they help you find amazing rappers you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. Brother Ali first came to my attention when I heard his verses on Atmosphere’s “Cats Van Bags” back in 2003. From there, I found Ali’s 2003 album, Shadows On The Sun, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. It’s great to hear that he’s coming to Richmond, especially since he’s stayed a fascinating and skilled artist over the entire decade since I discovered him. Last year’s digital-only release, Left In The Deck, was a 10-song, 30-minute EP designed to flow like a demo tape, featuring production handled entirely by Jake One. Ali’s soulful, emotionally-driven flow is spotlighted to outstanding effect on this entire record, and it just goes to show how much this talented emcee has to offer.
This show has a good bit to offer as well, with Bambu, MaLLy, and DJ Last Word rolling along with Ali on the Home Away From Home Tour. Filipino-American emcee Bambu used to be in Native Guns, a California hip hop trio, but he released solo material before that group started up and he’s continued to do so since they broke up, recently running a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund his next album, Party Worker. That album isn’t quite out yet, but preview single “Welcome To The Party” shows off Bambu’s incredible mic skills and working-class/immigrant consciousness to stunning effect. His whole set should be pretty amazing. DJ Last Word is known for his live mixing skills, and if I understand correctly, he’ll be showing those off as the backing DJ for both Brother Ali and Bambu’s sets–plus, I’d expect, some interim DJ sets? Don’t quote me on any of the format details for this show, but do show up early, because Minneapolis rapper MaLLy is hosting the show, and RVA’s own producers of high-quality homegrown hip hop, Gritty City, will be opening up the evening. It’ll be great all the way through, so go ahead and show up early; once you’re there, you won’t have to worry about missing anything.
Sunday, October 26, 9 PM
Big No (photo by Joe Howl), Heavy Midgets, Gilmore Guys @ Bandito’s – Free!
A lot of amazing shows happen in this town every week, but they aren’t always the sorts of shows that immediately jump out as being amazingly important. Sometimes there’s neither a high-profile out-of-town headliner or a momentous occasion for the local music scene to celebrate–but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go! Sunday night at Bandito’s will feature a trio of local RVA acts with a paucity of headline-grabbing details; however, as is often the case with bands from this city full of amazing music, it’s going to be an evening packed with awesome sounds by talented instrumentalists who have a ton of original ideas. And it’s free, so you’re only ripping yourself off by not going.
Big No brings together a bunch of veteran musicians from all over the country to crank out some darkly catchy alt-pop tuneage. Led by Nathan Grice, formerly of Crestfallen and Parlor Scouts, among many others, the band is constructed around the interplay between Grice’s guitar and the keyboard stylings of Heather Jerabeck, and has featured drumming from a bunch of RVA’s most talented percussionists, with the position currently being filled by none other than Navi’s Kyle Flanagan. I’ve already told you a whole bunch about Heavy Midgets once this column, so scroll up if you missed it, then come back here and read about Gilmore Guys. This trio-plus-drum-machine crew is led by local weirdo comedian David Marie-Garland, and makes some pretty weird pop/noise sounds that are both catchier and odder than you initially expect. This bill does not exactly feature a bunch of bands that sound alike, but isn’t that a big part of the fun? Come see what these representatives from three completely different corners of the scene have to offer.
Monday, October 27, 6 PM
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, The Hotelier, Rozwell Kid, Posture & The Grizzly, Manatree @ The Broadberry – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I remind regular readers of this column every couple weeks or so that I am an emo kid from way back and am therefore ridiculously excited about all the bands lumped into the so-called “emo revival” and love it when any of them come to town. Lo, the time has come again for me to drop that same spiel upon you, only this time moreso, because The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die have, over the course of the past year or so, gone from being a band I was a little wary about (and not just because of their name, either) to being maybe my favorite band from that whole scene. Their show with Into It. Over It. at Strange Matter back in the spring was a pretty intense emotional experience for me, and since then they’ve only impressed me more. Their recently released LP Between Bodies is a collaboration with poet Chris Zizzamia, and it only further cements my conviction that TWIABP are actually the emo Hawkwind. We’ll all get a chance to see that for ourselves when they hit town on Monday, too, because Zizzamia is on tour with them, and their current set list mixes atmospheric emo hits like “Picture Of A Tree That Doesn’t Look Okay” with poetry-infused ambient post-rock interludes like “Precipice.” Should be fucking amazing. I’m totally on board.
And, god, that doesn’t even account for the fact that The Hotelier are on this bill as well. This amazing Massachusetts band is more straightforward emo than TWIABP ever thought about being, but they invest just as much intelligence and critical thought into their songwriting (learn more about that by reading our excellent interview with them from their last RVA trip this past July). That was demonstrated by their masterpiece of a second album, this year’s Home Like Noplace Is There, which features crushing pearls of brilliance like “Your Deep Rest” and “Life In Drag.” You can probably expect their set to feature these songs as well, and they will knock you the fuck out, dude. Seriously, I can’t wait. Rozwell Kid and Posture & The Grizzly, a couple of other excellent emo bands, will round out the touring company for this show, and local teenage quartet Manatree will open things up. I’d tell you all about how great all three of those bands are too, but I used up too much space already. Regardless, you don’t want to miss a moment of this talent-overstuffed bill, so just take my word for it. Show up on time–and look for me in the front row. Or don’t, but I assure you I’ll be there regardless.
Tuesday, October 28, 8 PM
The Flatliners, Single Mothers, Solids, Cross Eyed @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://flatliners.eventbrite.com/)
If catchy, heartfelt punk rock is your thing, this show is gonna make you very happy. Ontario’s Flatliners will be coming through town in support of their fourth LP, Dead Language, which came out last year on Fat Wreck Chords. This record (wreck chord?) combines some of the best trends in pop-punk over the past 20 or 30 years, from the gruff sincerity of Hot Water Music and the heartland riffing of mid-period Gaslight Anthem to the rolling melodic bass lines of Crimpshrine and the uptempo drumming of NOFX. It’s like, a quarter-century in, a pop-punk band has figured out how to harness all the greatest elements of their chosen genre without allowing any of them to drag them over the line into cheesy cliches that only appeal to 14 year old Hot Topic shoppers. The Flatliners can be enjoyed equally by grownups tapping into the energy of their long-lost youth and wide-eyed teenagers getting a ride to the show from their parents because they don’t have a license yet, and there’s something truly beautiful about that. You should be a part of it when they hit town this Tuesday.
Fellow Canadians Single Mothers are far less pop and far more punk than The Flatliners, but despite the fact that they’re yelling at you rather than singing, and forsaking chorus hooks for raging riffs, these guys will have you dancing just as much as The Flatliners will. Negative Qualities is their new LP, and it has more than enough vigor and vitriol to go around, so get ready for some serious sneers during these guys’ set. Montreal duo Solids, who will round out this triple Canadian threat, have more of a post-punk vibe for you, though their new album, Blame Confusion, should raise the pulse rate of anyone who likes music at all. Their spastically catchy songs are this show’s secret weapon, and are worth the price of admission all on their own–though, considering how good their tourmates are, you really should probably stick around for the whole show. Cross Eyed, that RVA band of Domino’s Pizza employees, will kick things off with some upbeat punk rock to get you in the mood for one of those medium two-topping specials I order way too frequently. But whatever. Punk rock > pizza. Yeah, I said it.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]