Saturday, October 10, 6 PM
Richmond Zine Fest Afterparty, feat. Mostly Crying, Atta Girl, Colectivo Caliban, Yaya @ Gallery 5 – Free!
OK, yes, I partly picked this event as my featured show of the week in order to shine some light on Richmond Zine Fest.
Saturday, October 10, 6 PM
Richmond Zine Fest Afterparty, feat. Mostly Crying, Atta Girl, Colectivo Caliban, Yaya @ Gallery 5 – Free!
OK, yes, I partly picked this event as my featured show of the week in order to shine some light on Richmond Zine Fest. The 9th edition of this annual event is happening between 11 AM and 4 PM on Saturday, ending a couple of hours before this event kicks off. With the internet’s gradual rise causing a corresponding fall in print publication of all types, zines aren’t as ubiquitous as they once were in the 90s. But they’re still the best way to encounter the creative thoughts of real people, coming directly to you unmediated by the publishing industry and its many restrictions. Before you go to any show this Saturday, you should head over to the library and check out some of the many publishers, both local and from out of town, who’ll be displaying their wares for your purchasing pleasure.
But then after Zine Fest is over, once you get some dinner or a disco nap, you should head back up to Gallery 5, because a whole bunch of zinesters and other awesome people will be partying with some great bands you’re sure to enjoy. It’s kind of surprising that Mostly Crying are headlining this show, considering they’ve only played one show before. However, that set (at the First Time’s The Charm show Elbow Room put on at Strange Matter back in June) started a lot of people talking, and this return engagement is both buzzworthy and highly anticipated. Come see this all-female trio bash out a raging, sludgy set of originals that sound like Babes In Toyland doing a Flipper covers set. Yes, it’s that awesome.
The evening will also feature another First Time’s The Charm vet–Atta Girl, a punky indie-pop band featuring members of Sundials, Springtime, and This Land Is Now Dead, playing music that doesn’t sound like any of their other bands. It rules and is a ton of fun, though, and that’s what matters. A change of pace will be provided by dance/music/performance art group Colectivo Caliban, who bring a touch of experimental sophistication to this evening’s bill. The whole thing starts out with a gorgeously moody set of solo guitar tunes from Yaya. Buy zines during the day, then dance the night away!
Wednesday, October 7, 9 PM
KEN Mode, Child Bite, Garrett Jamieson, Prayer Group @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets here: http://kenmoderva.eventbrite.com/)
Hey, Canadian noise-metal band KEN Mode is back in town, and of course they have a different bass player than they had last time they were here. That previous visit was in support of their excellent fifth album, 2013’s Entrench, and as great as that one was, they’ve bettered themselves with this year’s follow-up, Success. Between the stripped-bare and gleaming Steve Albini production and the sonic resemblance to tension-riddled math-rock noise of the early 90s (a resemblance the band has stated is intentional), this record sounds outstanding and rocks like crazy. Meanwhile, the lyrics express a profound ambivalence where modern society’s idea of worthwhile goals are concerned–and believe me, I relate to that. Regardless of whether this band is “failing at fun” as they state in one of the new album’s best songs, this performance is guaranteed to be intense and cathartic. Get on KEN Mode’s wavelength–you’ll be glad you did.
The fact that KEN Mode are doing this tour with comedian Garrett Jamieson on board as an opener is strangely appropriate–Jamieson’s nervously absurd comedy is a bizarrely apt flipside to KEN Mode’s unease with modern society, and one could certainly see a resemblance, in theme if not in sound, between the band and the comedian. Meanwhile, Child Bite’s psychedelic take on noisy punk splits the difference between the two, ending up somewhere in the neighborhood of the Butthole Surfers in their prime (i.e. way before they did that “Pepper” song you kids remember from alt-rock radio). Local noise-rockers Prayer Group kick the whole show off with some ideologically aligned rage. Should be dope.
Thursday, October 8, 9 PM
Buck Gooter, Pop. 1280, Bermuda Triangles, Neurology @ 25 Watt – $7
Things are gonna get heavy and weird at 25 Watt on Thursday night. If you’ve been hanging around in the more adventurous segments of Richmond’s underground music scene anytime in the last several years, you already know that, simply by virtue of Buck Gooter’s name up there at the top of the bill. This multi-generational duo of Terry Turtle and Billy Brat (plus whatever machines they augment their vocals and guitar with) have generated a lot of bizarre noise over the years, and recently celebrated a decade of their fascinating oddness with the release of the First Decade LP on Feeding Tube Records. Come get a taste of what they’ve been up to for the past 10 years, and see what year 11 has in store, at 25 Watt tomorrow night. And pick up a copy of the LP while you’re at it!
Buck Gooter is far from the only heavy weird band hitting the 25 Watt stage that night, though. Pop. 1280, named after one of legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson’s most unsettling novels, have a psychedelic, punk-rooted approach to the industrial genre that makes them far different from the usual Teutonic warriors who operate under the auspices of that genre. This band has much more in common with the Birthday Party, or some sort of cross between Ministry in their late-80s prime and early White Zombie (the stuff from before “Thunder Kiss 65” is way weirder and way better than you’d expect). Come let these guys rip your head off with their pounding noise–it’s guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience. Percussion-obsessed experimental geniuses Bermuda Triangles and up-and-coming experimental crew Neurology open things up.
Friday, October 9, 9:30 PM
Spirit Caravan, Valkyrie, Night Magic @ Hardywood – $13 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets here: http://spiritcaravanhardywood.eventbrite.com)
Things are getting dark–not to mention spooky–at Hardywood on Friday night. Doom legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich is headed to town with his recently-reformed late-90s band, Spirit Caravan, and he’s going to take all of Hardywood down into the dark depths of his soul for an evening of powerfully gloomy riffage. Now, I admit I’ve never really gotten the hype behind Wino’s most famous band, Saint Vitus (I know, I know); however, that does not hold true for Spirit Caravan at all. Something about this trio’s apocalyptic mood and gritty Sabbath-informed 70s-metal sound just does it for me. If any of Wino’s bands were gonna get me out of the house, this is the one. And considering how much more it seems like everyone else likes his music than I do, this probably means Spirit Caravan are one of the best doom-metal bands of all time. Respond accordingly.
If Spirit Caravan were the only band on this bill, that would more than justify the ticket price (and then some). But luckily for you, the opening bands are nearly as formidable as Wino and co. Valkyrie, like Spirit Caravan, have only recently returned to full-time action. Valkyrie used to regularly wow crowds around RVA back in the mid-2000s, but due to guitarist Pete Adams having joined Baroness in 2007, their recent Relapse release, Shadows, has a much higher profile than the band has had before. They rule as much as they always have, though–rest assured of that. Night Magic, the latest from members of Hour Of 13, Balaclava, and Vorator (among others) will open things up with some riff magic of their own. Fortify yourself with some fine craft brews (you know, if that’s your thing), because major headbangs are on the menu this evening.
Saturday, October 10, 9 PM
Makthaverskan, Lower, Shadow Age, Teen Death @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://makthaverskanlower.eventbrite.com/)
I’m going to acknowledge a normally-ignored contradiction of this column. Whenever I pick a feature show, I also tell you to go to another show on the same night. Usually both shows are at the same time, and you have to pick one. But sometimes, they’re at different times, and you should probably expend the extra energy to go to both. I’m taking things to a new level this time: after hitting up the Richmond Zine Fest in the morning/early afternoon and the Zine Fest Afterparty at Gallery 5 in the evening, it is mandatory that you head over to Strange Matter for a late-night show starring the one and only Makthaverskan. Chug a Red Bull, grab a drink, score a slice of pizza at Christian’s on the way over–do whatever you have to do, but BE THERE.
I’m full of urgency about this one because Swedish indie-pop heartthrobs Makthaverskan released one of the loveliest slices of pure pop to hit my ears in 2014, the tremendous Makthaverskan II, featuring incredible single “Asleep”–which should by all rights have been a chart-dominating smash. Oh, to live in that world. Anyway, the band were set to hit Richmond back in the spring with rad post-hardcore groups Self Defense Family and Creative Adult, but visa issues kept them away, and fans like me were forced to miss them (the aforementioned bands were still great, so I survived). I am NOT going to let it happen again, and neither should you! And good god, I still haven’t even mentioned Lower, who I caught at Strange Matter during their tour with Iceage two years ago. They came out of nowhere to knock me out back then, and with the subsequent release of their debut full-length, Seek Warmer Climes, locked down another spot in my 2014 best-of list. To get both of these bands on one bill is an amazing treat we’re unlikely to receive again–don’t miss out! Catch excellent VA bands Shadow Age and Teen Death in the opening slots as well, and end your day 15 hours after it began in just as awesome a fashion.
Sunday, October 11, 9 PM
Torch Runner, Ostraca, Empty Hands, Treatment @ 25 Watt – $5
End your weekend with some total grind craziness at 25 Watt! North Carolina’s Torch Runner picks up where fellow NC residents Dead In The Dirt left off on their second LP, 2014’s Endless Nothing. The album shifts throughout from blinding speed to harsh, filthy sludge, hitting tempo changes on a dime and rocketing through 14 songs so quickly your head will spin. Between the black-metal-ish vocals (reminiscent of one-time split-mates Young And In The Way) and the gritty, downtuned guitar sound (which pulls straight from the His Hero Is Gone/Tragedy playbook), this band has all the tools it needs to wipe the floor with you. Stand back when they hit the stage, it’s gonna get crazy.
Opening this show will be a Richmond band just as powerful, if a lot less likely to bust out insane speed runs. Metallic hardcore trio Ostraca are largely content to stick to medium tempos on debut full-length Deathless, released earlier this year by Middle Man Records, but their complex songwriting, atmospheric intros, and apocalyptic crescendos all contribute to their powerful overall effect–which is only intensified by their maniacal live performances. Up-and-coming blackened hardcore crew Empty Hands and local sludgecore fiends Treatment will get this party started. Batten down the hatches.
Monday, October 12, 7 PM
Cannibal Corpse, Cattle Decapitation, Soreption, Left Cross @ The Broadberry – $25 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been nearly three decades and the founders of New York-style death metal are still going strong. Over two decades after they performed their classic “Hammer Smashed Face” during a memorable scene from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, these dudes have proven that they’re a lot more than just a random band from a 90s comedy film. Last year’s A Skeletal Domain was their thirteenth album, and its wall of chugging riffs, growling vocals, and double-bass drums constitutes a musical steamroller guaranteed to crush/kill/destroy you–though, if Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics are any indication, chances are you’ll just come back to life as a brain-eating, headbanging death metal zombie.
So come, you zombie, down to the Broadberry on Monday night, and bang your head to the vicious sounds of Cannibal Corpse! And don’t wander in late enough to miss the opening bands, because Cattle Decapitation have an equally vicious death metal attack primed and ready to drop on your head. You’ll love every second of it, and you’ll probably also love Sweden’s Soreption, whose incredibly tight tech-death attack is reminiscent of the almighty Decapitated (that’s high praise coming from me). RVA metallers Left Cross kick things off to round out an incredible bill of skull-crushing heaviness.
Tuesday, October 13, 7 PM
Lady God, Annabelle Chairlegs, Abbie Morin, Lucy Dacus @ Gallery 5 – $5
OK, this show might not be as big a deal as some of the others in the column this week, but I have to tell you, it looks like it’s gonna be a ton of fun. This night of talented female-led musical projects is headed up by Lady God, who’re still riding high on the recent release of their second EP, Lady God #2. That record’s psych-pop jams are a delicious taste, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Come see what this talented trio has in store for you.
You should also be stoked about Annabelle Chairlegs, a killer psychedelic project from Austin, Texas which combines a strong post-VU swagger with some sun-drenched vibes a la Mazzy Star/Diamond Center, then stirs in plenty of jangly pop energy. Their Watermelon Summer cassette is an excellent listening experience, and their live performance is sure to be a total blast. Abbie Morin is a Vermont-based singer-songwriter who may or may not have a band along with her to help recreate the country-pop brilliance of her debut full-length, Shadowproof. Regardless, her songs are sure to enchant you–and all you RVA peeps should surely know by now that Lucy Dacus’s songs will do the same. So come out and dance the night away to some killer sounds from some talented women (and men, too–can’t forget them).
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]