Saturday, November 15, 2 PM
RPG IPA release, feat. RPG, The Ar-Kaics, Sleepwalkers @ Hardywood – Free!
Craft beer and stoner metal–can you think of a more intrinsically Richmond connection than that?
Saturday, November 15, 2 PM
RPG IPA release, feat. RPG, The Ar-Kaics, Sleepwalkers @ Hardywood – Free!
Craft beer and stoner metal–can you think of a more intrinsically Richmond connection than that? I can’t, and it is therefore completely appropriate that this Saturday afternoon, Hardywood will honor long-running local stoner metal band RPG with its very own signature Hardywood IPA. Word from Hardywood has it that this 7% ABV brew will be “loud, bitter and inescapably black.” Seems fitting to associate this craft beer with a band whose most recent LP was called High Loathsome, don’t you think?
Speaking of which, RPG will be headlining this release party with a set of kickass tunes! That might seem needless to even mention, but with these guys becoming somewhat elusive in recent years, it’s not always a guarantee that we’ll be able to catch them in any given 6-month period. Therefore, you’ve got all the more reason to head down to Hardywood on Saturday and get ready to rock out! The beers will be pouring starting at 2 PM, but with music kicking off at 5:30, you’ll have a good 6 hours of merriment between kegs getting tapped and RPG hitting the stage, so you should be well and truly primed for some serious headbangs. The double-strength headache in the morning will be oh-so-worth it (says the guy who’s never drank a beer in his life… ahhhhahaha! Suffer, you boozehounds! Just kidding).
While you wait for RPG to take the stage, there’ll be some other quality local entertainment for you to take in as well. The Ar-Kaics will rock n’ roll you with their 60s garage throwback tunes, which certainly should get you tapping your foot. And Sleepwalkers, the new hotness from brothers Austin & Michael York (who are covered in detail in our most recent print issue, out now! Plug plug), will be bringing you the sounds of their debut LP, Greenwood Shade, and showing off their talented twist on the last half-century of high-quality pop music while they’re at it. It’ll be more fun than watching your favorite college football team narrowly lose in the final seconds of their game, that’s for sure.
Wednesday, November 12, 9 PM
Alvvays, Absolutely Free, Various Eggs @ Strange Matter – $12
I’ve been noticing a bit of a twee revival in recent years, and I’m definitely into it. Most people will probably need an explanation, though, so here it is: “twee” is a British slang term meaning “cloyingly sweet,” and was applied to a bunch of bands coming out of Olympia, Glasgow, and other places in the mid-80s (Beat Happening, Heavenly, The Pastels, etc). There are a bunch of bands on the scene right now that are bringing back the fuzzy-yet-jangly ramshackle pop sound of the classic 80s twee bands, and Alvvays are one of the best. Their self-titled debut album has created quite a stir this year, and lead single “Archie, Marry Me” is one of the best pure pop songs I’ve heard all year. Singer Molly Rankin has a gorgeous voice, and the band’s guitarists have no problem giving their music depth and contrast through judicious use of feedback. Alvvays are proof positive that, no matter how cute the whole “twee” thing is, it’s still a subgenre of punk rock.
Alvvays will be accompanied on this tour by Absolutely Free, a pretty rad band in their own right. These guys have a bit of a sleepier, more psychedelic sound, reminding me of Tame Impala at their best moments mixed with a bit of that shoegaze feel conjured up by bands like Primal Scream or The Verve in their early days. Alvvays may be the reason you’re coming out, but you don’t want to miss Absolutely Free either. And really, you don’t want to miss local openers Various Eggs either. These local indie-poppers aren’t quite in the twee ballpark, even though singer LJ Rafalko hits some Calvin Johnson-like low notes on their new single, “Don’t Call Me Honey.” The undercurrent of menace that shows up on a lot of Various Eggs’s music adds depth to their stripped-down indie rock sound, and makes them well worth your time.
Thursday, November 13, 9 PM
Forward (photo by Fuyuki Kataoka), Long Knife, Mercy Killings, Cretins @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: http://forwardjapan.eventbrite.com/)
For anyone balking at the idea that twee can be counted as punk rock, here’s a REAL punk show for you. Japanese hardcore band Forward, who’ve been around forever and are a core member of the Burning Spirits scene that gave us most of the best first-wave Japanese hardcore. Expect raging D-beat tunes, sped up to tempos that approach grindcore velocity, loaded with guitar solos, grinding guitar distortion, and surprisingly catchy melodies. Expect a lot of energetic stage moves, too. This one’s gonna be a blast.
Forward will be accompanied by a whole bunch of other bands that should appeal to the spiky-haired bullet-belt-wearing punk fucking rocker in all of us. Long Knife have that out-of-control rockin’ punk edge that marked bands like Poison Idea and 9 Shocks Terror, so expect plenty of drunken mayhem when these guys play–and look for new records by both them and Forward at the merch table afterwards. Mercy Killings are a somewhat mysterious D-beat punk band from elsewhere in VA, if memory serves. It’s tough to find info about this band online, but I did learn that multiple members have recently recovered from serious medical issues, so go to this show and congratulate these dudes on making it back to health and raging on. RVA maniacs Cretins kick the whole thing off in furious fashion. Get stoked!
Friday November 14, 10 PM
That Manic Canned Food Drive, feat. Those Manic Seas, Grand Piano @ Balliceaux – Free (canned food donations requested)
Listen, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are a million things going on this Friday night. But sometimes even with six different shows to pick from, there’s one that obviously stands out. This Friday, you have the opportunity to hit up a free show featuring some great music for a great cause–why not take advantage? Those Manic Seas, that danceable alt-rock trio with the television-headed mannequin singer, will be taking over Balliceaux for the evening, rocking the room and raffling off merch items in exchange for canned food donations. Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away, Christmas will be here before we know it, and the weather turning cold always means a rougher go for the least fortunate among us. You’ve probably got a whole bunch of cans in your cabinet that you’ve never gotten around to cooking, and someone struggling to feed their family could use those a lot more than you could. So what the hell, right? Come donate!
In addition to the charitable opportunity and the killer set promised by Those Manic Seas, you can also look forward to an enchanting set from Pittsburgh’s unique indie-rockers, Grand Piano. These guys really have a lot going on; in addition to the intricate guitar-driven math-rock stylings that should appeal to fans of RVA bands like Night Idea or Houdan The Mystic, Grand Piano also bring in a two-piece horn section and occasional touches of pedal steel guitar in a genre-hopping musical odyssey that pulls jazz, blues, country, and soul into their potent sonic mix. It’s not the kind of thing you see every day, so bring some cans of Campbell’s soup or store-brand green beans and come down to Balliceaux to enjoy some fine out-of-the-ordinary alt-rock stylings from two great bands!
Saturday, November 15, 9 PM
Sounds Of RVA 4th BDay Party with Humungus, Hoboknife, Seraph, Bearstorm, 45 AD @ Emilio’s – $5
Four years into her incredibly wide-ranging coverage of the RVA music scene, Sarah Moore Lindsey is still going strong–and her love of metal seems to only get stronger. In celebration of her blog’s fourth birthday, she’ll be taking over Emilio’s on W. Broad St to bring you five local metal acts for only $5! This is a bargain at twice the price, and you should make it a priority to head over early and catch every one of these acts. The too-rarely-spotted thrash metal maniacs of Humungus are the headliners here, and they’ll surely be drinkin’ plenty of beers as they roll over all in attendance with their blazing solos and driving riffs.
But that’s just the beginning! The mysterious (and seemingly dangerous, based on the name) Hoboknife will also be bringing their dark, scary version of black metal to the Emilio’s stage this night, previewing the new LP they’ve been working on for months and knocking your head off with some gloriously murky blast beats. Seraph will attempt to avoid pulverizing the building’s foundation with their shuddering bass breakdowns and powerful deathcore riffs, and Bearstorm will unleash some truly lengthy black/death metal epics in the finest Enslaved tradition. It all kicks off with a set from 45 AD, who’ve got a bit of a Southern-fried twist on D-beat/crust for you all. This night, the Sounds Of RVA will be metal.
Sunday, November 16, 7:30 PM
QueerMatter: a benefit for ROSMY, feat. Dead Fame, Toxic Moxie, My Darling Fury @ Strange Matter – $10 suggested donation
Here’s another great cause featuring great bands happening somewhere in RVA this week. ROSMY has been an invaluable resource for non-hetero youth in the area for over two decades now, and a bunch of local bands that feature LGBTQ members are coming together to throw a benefit show for this important local support group. Inspired by a relative paucity of queer representation in the musical acts at VA Pride Fest this year, Danny Reyes of My Darling Fury and Sadie Powers of Dead Fame put together a showcase of bands that do feature members of the LGBTQ community for this benefit. Which is a pretty great thing, if you ask me. It’s nice for everyone to be reminded that the music scene isn’t all straight white males, and that music made by queer people has a lot more variety and distinction than stereotypes about disco and showtunes might lead the less enlightened to believe.
The three bands on this bill will do a good bit to open the minds of anyone working from those outdated stereotypes. My Darling Fury’s atmospheric indie rock sound features complex instrumentation acting in concert as support for singer Danny Reyes’ gorgeous vocals, featuring a multi-octave range that he explores to the fullest extent. By contrast, Toxic Moxie put on an incredibly energetic live show that goes perfectly with their upbeat, hyperactive take on dance-punk a la Gang Of Four or Moving Units. They do have one thing in common with My Darling Fury–vocalist Sera Stavroula is just as incredibly talented as My Darling Fury’s Danny Reyes, a fact that’s impossible to miss in a live environment. And of course, Dead Fame will contribute their darkly cosmopolitan postpunk sound to the proceedings, enriching everyone’s night with excellent tunes like “Girl Undone” and “Joan Crawford” (during which you can probably expect singer Michael Means to break out a wire coathanger). So yes, a thoroughly awesome musical program all around–and in support of a group that helps make sure 15 year olds going to crappy high schools in the suburbs know they’re not alone. What’s not to love?
Monday, November 17, 8 PM
Parasytic, Visions Of War, Sex Dwarf, Wrathcobra, No Tomorrow @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://parasytic.eventbrite.com/)
I’m not sure how it happened, but I somehow missed the Parasytic era. I can remember hearing about this band starting up, how it had members of Alabama Thunderpussy and Cannabis Corpse, how it had a lot of the same qualities as all that dark, angry hardcore I so loved when bands from Tennessee and Canada (His Hero Is Gone, Born Dead Icons, etc) were doing it in the late 90s… and yet, in spite of all that, I never did see Parasytic live. I never really heard about a breakup happening either, but sometime after the release of their Poison Minds LP on Relapse, they just kinda stopped playing shows. Well, luckily for me–and, presumably, a lot of other people–they have returned to headline a raging show full of crust-punk annihilation at Strange Matter Monday night. So I guess we all better show up and start the pit, huh? Seems like the best course of action.
Parasytic will be joined on this fine evening by two European bands and two American bands. Belgium’s Visions Of War take D-beat to a totally guttural level, with death metal-style growly vocals over extremely muddy riffs and that ever-propulsive Discharge beat. Sweden’s Sex Dwarf have a rather suggestive name, but all their music suggests is total noise-punk destruction. Their speedy punk riffage comes at you through a thick haze of trebly distortion and gallons of reverb soaking into everything. Wear earplugs for these guys’ set, because they’ll blow out your eardrums for sure. America will be represented on the bill by Pittsburgh’s Wrathcobra, who’ve got some seriously gloomy downtuned metal crust for you. And North Carolina noisemakers No Tomorrow will kick the whole evening off with some rollicking throwback hardcore jams. Everyone’s gonna sweat through their denim vests tonight!
Tuesday, November 18, 9 PM
Cold Fronts, Don Babylon, Moss @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets here: https://coldfronts.eventbrite.com/)
I haven’t heard Seymour Stein’s name mentioned in a long time, and I could probably be forgiven for thinking that the Sire Records founder had retired a while back. But apparently I was wrong–he’s still making moves, signing bands, and working on actualizing his vision of a world populated by power-pop bands with great guitar players and impossibly catchy choruses. Most recently, he discovered Philadelphia’s Cold Fronts by walking by the band playing on the street at SXSW a year ago and going, “Who is this band? Sign them!” OK, maybe it didn’t go down quite like that (if not, it was pretty close), but the upshot is that Cold Fronts Forever, the band’s debut EP, just dropped on Warner Bros Records. Its first single, “Hit Me,” is pure power-pop bliss featuring crunchy guitars, upbeat tempos, and one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard all year–as if you’d expected any less.
Why am I telling you all this? Oh come on, you already know, but what the hell, I’ll play along. Cold Fronts are coming to RVA next Tuesday, taking over the Strange Matter stage to bring us all the sounds that captivated Seymour Stein on that Austin, TX street. We’ll all be dancing our cares away once this group of gorgeous guitar-slinging boys starts to play, and we’ll never want it to end! Seriously, it’ll be great. And what will make it even better is the addition of up-and-coming local alt-rock group Don Babylon, who’ve got a Weezer-ish sensibility that will fit right in on this power-pop bill. Moss will start things off with a bit of a different thing–somewhat ambient electro-synth-pop–but it should be fun nonetheless.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]