This is the first installment of the new year for RVA Magazine’s weekly live music preview column, and we’re beginning the year with a changing of the guard. For over three years now, our live music coverage has been handled by John Lewis Morgan, head honcho at One Way Richmond. Unfortunately, due to other responsibilities related to day jobs and running his own site, John has had to step down from his position covering live music here at RVA Magazine. We of course wish him the best, and hope to see him continue to shake things up with his site’s unique contribution to the local scene.
This is the first installment of the new year for RVA Magazine’s weekly live music preview column, and we’re beginning the year with a changing of the guard. For over three years now, our live music coverage has been handled by John Lewis Morgan, head honcho at One Way Richmond. Unfortunately, due to other responsibilities related to day jobs and running his own site, John has had to step down from his position covering live music here at RVA Magazine. We of course wish him the best, and hope to see him continue to shake things up with his site’s unique contribution to the local scene. However, the outstanding parade of live music in Richmond continues, so our weekly column will continue as well. Without further ado, let’s go!
Saturday, January 4, 2014, 7 PM
Science Team After Party featuring The Milkstains, Toxic Moxie, Navi, Heavy Midgets @ Gallery 5 – Free (Suggested Donation: $5)
I suppose the biggest news here is that RVA filmmakers Drew Bolduc and Michele Lombardi have completed their latest low-budget indie sci-fi/horror blockbuster, Science Team, and will be screening it at The Byrd Theatre this Saturday at 2 PM. It’s supposedly a “Super Secret Screening,” but the Facebook event page is public and they’re selling tickets on their website, so we assume we’re not letting any cats out of any bags here. If you liked Bolduc’s last film, The Taint (and you should have), or if you appreciated Troma’s Return To Class Of Nuke ‘Em High (which featured the talents of both Bolduc and Lombardi), you will definitely want to be on hand for RVA’s first look at Science Team!
But the big news for the purposes of this column is the After Party planned for Gallery 5 that evening. After you see the movie at The Byrd, after you go for post-film drinks and refreshments with the cast and crew at Portrait House, head over to the former fire station on W. Marshall St for an evening featuring some of the best rock n’ roll music RVA has to offer! Surf-garage maniacs The Milkstains will bring the noise at the top of the bill, blowin’ you away with tracks from their recent award-winning single, Hell Gel, as well as whatever else it crosses their fevered minds to play.
That’s not all, though, as you can also expect some killer funk-punk (meaning Gang Of Four, not Red Hot Chili Peppers, so leave the hacky sacks at home) tuneage from Toxic Moxie. Their excellent zombie-themed video for “Talking Hands,” from a few months ago, fits right in with the sci-fi/horror themes of Science Team, so their presence on this bill is highly appropriate. Then there’s some wild instrumental math-rock from Navi, who will leap around and fling sweat all over the place during their performance (you love it), plus a not-to-be-missed opening set from Heavy Midgets, who are preparing to knock the socks off this entire city in 2014 with the imminent release of their first full-length LP, Super King. I for one can’t wait. With DJ Marty Violence of the Steady Sounds crew on the turntables, keeping the sounds going between bands and throughout the night, this is surely going to be a party to remember! Or forget, depending on how many drinks you have… but either way, you better be there!
Thursday, January 2, 10 PM
Prisoner, Men’s Room, Unsacred, Heavy Midgets, Lugweight @ Strange Matter – $5
There may not be much going on on New Year’s Day (except college football), but that’s OK. Go to bed early, sleep off your hangover, and get ready for a night of rage, because Strange Matter will explode with hardcore fury on Thursday night! Prisoner hasn’t been around too long, but this dark, brutal hardcore band, featuring ex-members of Balaclava and Inter Arma, has impressed all comers with their fast, angry sounds! Now they’re about to head out on tour, and they’ll be kicking off their jaunt around the southern East Coast with a late show at the punkest club in town, Strange Matter. Come prepared for some serious circle pit action, and see these dudes off in proper fashion.
There’ll be plenty of other punk rock noise on this bill, with the angst-ridden chaos of Men’s Room being first on that list. These guys get that angry midtempo plod going on that a lot of the most downtrodden hardcore reprobates seem to love, so expect full cans of beer to be splattered all over the place during this set. Then there’s Unsacred, who have the same sort of dark, angry hardcore feel as Prisoner, only with more of an evil tinge. Where Prisoner have a definite Motorhead/biker-rock influence, Unsacred betray influences from Scandinavian black metal. I’d say “blackened hardcore,” but I’m afraid you’d think I was talking about Cajun chicken. These guys are way more evil than that.
What’s more, Heavy Midgets are on this bill too, so you can catch them twice in one week. Considering in a couple months you’ll be spinning their new LP multiple times a day, this is definitely a good thing. With mysterious locals Lugweight kicking things off, this show is sure to keep you smiling all the way through.
Friday, January 3, 9 PM
The Southern Belles, The Trongone Band @ The Camel – price at door
Up and coming blues-rock-jam-funk-etc band The Southern Belles have had quite the year in 2013, and one of the highlights was their First Friday residency at The Camel. We’ve recently gotten the word that this residency will continue throughout 2014, and if last year is any indication, we can only imagine that this indicates even bigger and better developments on the horizon for the Belles! They kick things off for 2014 with special guests The Trongone Band, a real-life family band made up of bassist John Trongone Sr and his two sons, drummer Johnny and guitarist Andrew. With the addition of talented but non-related saxophonist Matt Zavitz, they’ve taken the next step with their own brand of jam-funk-blues-rock sounds, and you can check that out when they open for the Belles at The Camel this Friday!
Best of all, there’ll be a third set taking place between the two main sets at this show, in which the Southern Belles and Trongone Band crews will combine their talents onstage for a jam session of Grateful Dead tunes. I know a lot of the jam fans in RVA will be stoked to check this out, so come down to the Camel on First Friday and get your groove on!
Saturday, January 4, 3 PM
Armageddon Fest featuring This Or The Apocalypse, Shai Hulud, Sirens And Sailors, Immoralist, The Man The Martyr, Captive Eyes, All About Autumn, Handsome Bandits @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/ $15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Well, we’re not sure what happened that required this show to be moved to Strange Matter (based on Kingdom’s web presence suddenly diminishing severely, we are a little concerned…), but if you did buy tickets already, you should be advised to skip Walnut Alley in Shockoe Bottom in favor for good ol’ Grace Street, because that’s where this is going down. And regardless of location, you’re guaranteed a ton of metalcore fury with the amazing dual headliners of This Or The Apocalypse and Shai Hulud.
This Or The Apocalypse just dropped a new single, “Damaged Good,” continuing the tradition of heavy, powerful, but vaguely melodic metalcore that they’ve established on their four previous albums. These guys never get too complex with it, but the riffs they write are brutal and memorable enough to keep you nodding your head–or, in a live setting, moshing it up. Meanwhile, Shai Hulud basically invented the melodic metalcore sound that bands like Misery Signals and Trivium have had so much subsequent success with. Despite their revolving-door lineups (lead guitarist Matt Fox is the only original member, and bassist Matt Fletcher the only other member who has been in the band for more than two years), Shai Hulud continues to deliver the goods in a way none of their imitators have ever hoped to match. On tour supporting their fourth album, 2013’s Race Beyond The Sun, you can expect to hear Fox, Fletcher, and whoever else is rounding out their lineup play classic tunes from all era’s of the band’s legendary career.
As is a longstanding Kingdom tradition, a ton of other bands are on this bill, from TOTA/Shai Hulud tourmates Sirens And Sailors to RVA deathcore sludgemasters Immoralist, as well as a bunch of up-and-coming bands from random towns around VA like Hampton (The Man The Martyr), Salem (Handsome Bandits), and Lynchburg (All About Autumn). What will these openers be like? We’re really not sure! But they’ll keep the music going all day and get you hyped in preparation for that moment when the headliners hit the stage! So whether you’re an idealistic young metalcore hero with visions of crowdsurfing dancing behind your eyes, or a jaded old head looking to relive the glory of your youth by screaming along when Shai Hulud plays “Hardly” [NOTE: I cannot guarantee they will play this song], get your tickets now, and get stoked to have the most metalcore Saturday of the new year!
Sunday, January 5, 8 PM
Silent Music Revival, featuring The Green Boys @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Lobo Marino’s Jameson Price is back in town, so his long-running project The Silent Music Revival is back on! If you haven’t been to any of the previous showings of this unique event Jameson has coordinated in RVA over the past several years, this Sunday is the perfect time for you to start! As with every installment of The Silent Music Revival, this event features an RVA band creating an impromptu score for a classic silent film. That’s right, impromptu–they’ve never seen the film they’re scoring, so they have no idea what will happen next, and all juxtapositions between music and moving image must occur entirely spontaneously. There’s no way to predict how these events will go, but it’s always a fascinating show, no matter who is involved.
This time around, Jameson has paired local bluegrass/folk band The Green Boys with the classic Buster Keaton comedy, Sherlock Jr (1924). In this film, Keaton, a down-on-his-luck movie projectionist, attempts to win the heart of a local girl while in competition with a more suave (but equally broke) rival. In a typical Keaton scenario, the film parodies the popular Sherlock Holmes detective stories by having Keaton attempt to solve a crime. However, it’s also noteworthy for its complex and expensive stunts, which were more elaborate than Keaton’s typical work and thus took longer to film. It also incorporates a film-within-a-film technique that blurs the lines of the filmic narrative in a pioneering and fascinating manner. Getting to see this film with an original score provided by The Green Boys, a quartet led by brothers Ryan and Sean Green and mingling the best of classic folk and country sounds with a decidedly modern twist, should be a fascinating and unique experience. With admission being free, the price is certainly right!
Monday, January 6, 5 PM
Speedy Ortiz, Grass Is Green, Sundials, Spit-Take @ Strange Matter – $8 (advance tickets here: http://speedy.eventbrite.com/)
Well this is a treat! Hot on the heels of taking the #5 spot in RVA Mag’s Top 25 Albums of 2013 with their debut full-length, Major Arcana, Massachusetts indie-rockers Speedy Ortiz have returned to RVA for the first time since wowing everybody with their performance at last year’s inaugural Fall Line Fest. This guitar-slinging quartet hasn’t slowed down at all in the new year, and are set to drop their newest EP, Real Hair, in February on Carpark Records. Considering the release date is over a month after their RVA show, chances are they won’t have copies of it for sale yet, but they’ll probably be gracing our ears with new material, and if it lives up to the excellence of previous hit singles “Tiger Tank” and “Taylor Swift,” we can certainly expect great things!
Speedy Ortiz may be reason enough to come out to the show, but they’re far from the only good reasons to attend that this bill has to offer! Boston’s Grass Is Green are on tour with Speedy, and their complex but melodic indie sounds will surely be a pleasure to experience in the live arena. Their new album, Vacation Vinny, is due out on Exploding In Sound Records only a week after they come through RVA, so advance copies may indeed be in the offing for this band! Only one way to find out, right? With additional support from talented, introspective RVA melodic punkers Sundials, as well as Connecticut indie-emo crew Spit-Take, this show will sound great from the moment the doors open until Speedy Ortiz finishes their set. Don’t miss a moment of the action–be there!
Tuesday, January 7, 9 PM
Sokea Piste, Vulgar, Atrocious Kontrol @ Strange Matter – $7
Are you down for some punk-as-fuck Scandi thrash? I hope you said yes, because that’s what Strange Matter has in store for you this Tuesday night! They’re bringing us the wild, energetic punk stylings of Sokea Piste, all the way from Tampere, Finland! That’s right, the town that produced legendary D-beat pioneers Tampere SS (my crust-punk ex-roommates had comprehensive record collections) brings us a new group with a sound quite a bit more wide-ranging than the typical Scandinavian D-beat you might expect. These guys claim as influences anything from Rudimentary Peni to Mission Of Burma, and they come up with some really catchy tunes as a result. Since it’s actually cold enough in RVA right now to break out your painted leather jackets, we expect to see everyone representing like the cover of a classic Finnish thrash EP at this show.
You’ll also get a chance to check out some excellent new sounds in local punk rock–Atrocious Kontrol is a new band from members of Orgasm (whatever that means), and they’re bringing the impressively pissed-off D-beat sounds for this, their second show ever. Meanwhile, making their RVA live debut will be Harrisonburg’s Vulgar, an even angrier, more bare-bones punk band than the other two on this bill. Perhaps these openers will see some refinement once they get a few more live dates under their belts, but seeing them now at their rawest and most primal will certainly be interesting, so show up on time!
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]