Friday, January 16, 9 PM
Second Annual Bad Grrrl Revue, feat. Hot Dolphin, Bitchmouth, Asylum, Kommunion, Dorthia Cottrell @ Strange Matter – $5
My, how time flies! A year ago, I was just starting to do this weekly column, and one of the first shows I wrote about was a punk show consisting entirely of female-fronted bands.
Friday, January 16, 9 PM
Second Annual Bad Grrrl Revue, feat. Hot Dolphin, Bitchmouth, Asylum, Kommunion, Dorthia Cottrell @ Strange Matter – $5
My, how time flies! A year ago, I was just starting to do this weekly column, and one of the first shows I wrote about was a punk show consisting entirely of female-fronted bands. The beginning of a new year brings with it not only my second year of writing these columns every Wednesday morning (and my 39th birthday next week… ugh) but the Second Annual Bad Grrrl Revue, returning with the goal of making that one awesome show an annual tradition! How cool is that?
Considering this show is a benefit for Girls Rock RVA, I’d say it’s very cool! And with three of the five bands from that show last year returning to the bill this year, you know you’re in for some great sounds! Hot Dolphin are heading the pack, still riding high after their October 2014 contribution to the Singles Club run by Raleigh label Negative Fun. These energetic garage-rockers get a major shot in the arm from the amped-up antics of frontwoman Lindsey Spurrier, who is guaranteed to keep your attention throughout this set. You could also say Asylum are riding high after their own recent EP on Vinyl Conflict–and that would be especially apt, since “Riding High” is the name of the first song on that EP! Look for this raging crust-punk crew to run you over with a high-speed Motorhead-inspired attack. It’ll be awesome.
The rest of the bill is filled out with equally awe-inspiring tuneage. Bitchmouth have a pretty amazing name and a fastcore sound that brings me back to the days of bandana thrash. Always stoked to see this band. Kommunion is a bit more of a wild card; I haven’t heard them, and can only tell you that they feature members from other fast, angry hardcore bands you may have seen around town–Barge, Last Words, No Tomorrow, etc. Will this band set it off in a similar vein? Only time will tell! A change of pace will be provided at the start of the show by Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, who kicks this whole thing off with a set of her beautifully gloomy solo tunes.
Wednesday, January 14, 9 PM
Sex Prisoner, Sex Dagger, Burn/Ward, Orgasm, Kommunion @ Strange Matter – $7
Seems like it could get slippery up in Strange Matter tonight, and not just because of the ice falling from the sky, either. Arizona’s Sex Prisoner is coming through town on their way to play the annual A389 Anniversary Bash, happening up in Baltimore this weekend. I tend to regard a band’s association with A389 as a symbol of quality, and that idea holds up here–Sex Prisoner’s mix of power-violence speed with sludge/mosh rage is pure awesomeness, like Rain On The Parade jamming with Infest and EyeHateGod or something. Still though, the name is a bit squicky–if these guys come near you with manacles, I advise retreating to a safe distance.
Meanwhile, Virginia Beach’s Sex Dagger have the kind of name that makes me want to make some dirty jokes; but all of them are way, way too wrong for me to put them in this column. Suffice to say that if you like your hardcore fast, mean, angry, and with a vague tinge of 70s rock lurking somewhere beneath all the blastbeats, you’ll enjoy the hell out of this band. The extremely distorted crust-punk sounds of Orgasm rounds out this trilogy of sex-related band names, while female-fronted grindcore ragers Burn/Ward represent for the usually more populous violence-related band name segment of the hardcore scene. Kommunion kicks things off with a sound I still haven’t heard since the last time I wrote about them 10 minutes ago, but I’m sure it’ll be worth hearing twice this week. Give yourself 20 extra minutes to scrape off your car and come on out to this shindig tonight!
Thursday, January 15, 7 PM
Watermedown (Photo by 27K Photography), Castle Of Genre, Die Twice @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I must admit, Watermedown are completely new to me, and I’m kinda wondering if this calls my emo credibility into question. A project headed up by Jonny Mays, who apparently even lives right here in Richmond (though from what I can tell by googling around, that’s a recent development), Watermedown stakes out its musical territory somewhere in the neighborhood of a lot of bands I really like: Into It. Over It., The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and Algernon Cadwallader all show up in the sounds present on Perfect Is Pointless, the group’s latest EP. But in the sense that one must question whether Into It. Over It. is truly a group, it seems that Watermedown is often just Jonny Mays all by his lonesome. So will this show be graced by a full electric band, or a solo acoustic performance? I really can’t tell, but the sad beauty of Mays’s songwriting should shine through regardless.
Castle Of Genre, who will be heading down from the recently absorbed NoVA suburb of Gainesville (I remember when there were like four buildings in that town), are a band I’ve heard about, but mainly because their name is such a blatant non sequitur, it’s hard to forget. Musically, they show a similar facility with twisting, complex, but always catchy emo-derived riffing to that of Watermedown, so if you like one of these bands, you’re bound to like the other. And of course, local indie rockers Die Twice will kick things off, demonstrating their aptitude for fuzzy 90s-style guitar riffs. Show up at The Camel tomorrow night and join me in my fumbling attempts to keep up with the local scene–while experiencing none of my own feelings of inadequacy and shame! Yay!
Friday, January 16, 8 PM
Faded Lights, Kings @ The Camel – $7
So you thought that once you read our recent print article about the Jellowstone Records crew, that you’d be up on everything going on in that particular camp? Well, think again, because these guys are always hard at work on bringing the world new stuff. The latest Jellowstone project sees the members of Butcher Brown backing singer Bryce McCormick in a quintet known as Faded Lights. These guys are about to burst onto the scene with their debut EP, and this show celebrates its release, so you need to be there if you want to be in on the ground floor! You might be expecting jazz and funk from McCormick’s supporting cast here, but once these five musicians come together, the music they create as Faded Lights resembles very little else coming out of the Jellowstone camp–and isn’t that the best way to do it? Expect indie and postpunk influences, as well as some straight-up New Wave keyboard sounds, all overtop of dance beats that will get your feet moving immediately.
Kings will also get your feet moving immediately, as musical force of nature Kelli Strawbridge gets together with a whole bunch of his friends (no doubt including that entire Butcher Brown crew–and it’d also make sense to look out for appearances by Marcus Tenney, Reggie Pace, and other usual Jellowstone suspects) to create a massive tower of funk jams. If you think Kelli is electrifying in his role invoking James Brown for The Big Payback, just imagine how amazing it’ll be once he starts laying original tunes on you. Spoiler: VERY amazing.
Saturday, January 17, 5:30 PM
Lobo Marino, Gull, Dave Watkins, Swamp Trees @ Hardywood – Free!
If you’re a fan of psychedelic folk and other forms of musical experimentation that defy even that relatively wide-ranging categorization, you’re in luck, because this Saturday at Hardywood, you’ll get to enjoy a bonanza of RVA artists working at the peak of their abilities to create totally weird and completely compelling music. The peripatetic duo that makes up Lobo Marino are celebrating the recent completion of their video for “Holy River,” from 2014’s City Of Light LP, by none other than RVA Mag audio-visual compatriot Todd Raviotta. We haven’t seen the video yet ourselves (we’ll bring it to you as soon as we can, though!), but based on the excellent music and the always-high level of quality brought by Mr. Raviotta, it seems certain that this video is indeed worth celebrating–so come to Hardywood Saturday and do it up!
It’ll also be a treat to have the one-man band known as Gull in the house. Nate Rappole always tears it up on guitar, drum kit, mask-embedded microphone, and whatever else he decides to play at the same time as those other instruments, and despite his background in some truly excellent hardcore bands (Snack Truck, Ultra Dolphins, etc) he never lets genre pin him in when he’s really on a roll. Let’s see what he comes up with this time! Dave Watkins will be bringing us a solo set as well, which stands to reason will be his folk music rather than his collaborative experimental post-rock stylings–though you never know. Finally, Swamp Trees–another psychedelic folk band centered around a wandering couple–will open things up with some beautifully esoteric tunes.
Sunday, January 18, 9 PM
Gritter, Chrome Daddy Disco, Kid Is Qual @ Bandito’s – Free!
Sunday night, and you’re trying to wind your weekend down without doing something totally boring like going to sleep at 10 PM. Well of course I’m gonna tell you what I almost always tell you on nights like this–go to the show at Bandito’s. For a club that does maybe one show a week at most, these guys are super-reliable where awesome music is concerned. This week, there aren’t any genre-defining legends playing, but that’s OK, because this bill of veteran RVA acts is gonna do it up right for ya nonetheless. And as always, it’ll be free! What are you waiting for?
Oh, for me to tell you who these bands actually are? Sure, I can do that. Gritter are one of the best-kept secrets in the local metal scene–a bunch of talented guys who’ve honed their chops over decades in this scene, fronted by a tortured poet with a voice of pure rage. Is Ryan Kent RVA’s own Jim Morrison? If I told you he was, I’d be selling him short. Eat your tacos quickly, because when they hit the stage, Gritter is gonna level this place. Meanwhile, Chrome Daddy Disco are a bunch of beer-swillin’ roustabouts keeping alive the days of pink Cadillacs, pomaded pompadours, and wild n’ crazy rockabilly. These guys are always a blast. Finally, the recently slimmed-down Kid Is Qual carries on with their mission to bring funky bass to the masses. Lead bassist Jon Sullivan is the only four-string slinger left in the band at this point, but the guy’s got enough talent (and effects pedals) to make his band sound like a regular low-end orchestra up there. Get ready to dance!
Monday, January 19, 8 PM
Karma To Burn, Sierra, Fire Faithful @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://karmatoburn.eventbrite.com/)
Wow, this brings back memories. Back when I first started going to shows in Richmond circa 1994, Morgantown, WV’s Karma To Burn played here so often I thought they were a local band for about a year. These instrumental shredders had a heavy metal sound somewhere between Don Caballero and Pantera, and had absolutely no need to add vocals to the mix due to their sheer shredding prowess. However, they were a bit ahead of their time, and their first record label forced them to add a vocalist for their 1997 self-titled debut. This musical shotgun wedding didn’t really work out, though, and Karma To Burn soldiered on for quite a while longer, lurking just under the radar of the mainstream metal scene.
These days, though, it seems the world has caught up with what this trio is doing. With bands like Pelican, Russian Circles, and Animals As Leaders gaining plenty of success with no vocals anywhere in evidence, Karma To Burn’s star has risen once again, and the band–which split up for most of the 2000s but returned to action for 2010’s Appalachian Incantation–has finally started to gain the acclaim they’ve long deserved. So whether you were around 20 years ago, seeing these guys when they’d just started out and were coming through Richmond every three months, or you’re too young to have caught any of those shows and want to find out what every metalhead in this town 20 years ago already knew all about, you should absolutely show up at Strange Matter next Monday night and immerse yourself in the world of heavy, raging grooves that Karma To Burn will open up for you that night. They’ll be joined by Canadian metalheads Sierra and RVA stoner-rockers Fire Faithful, so the awesome tunes will be coming for you all night long. Prepare yourself.
Tuesday, January 20, 6 PM
Four Year Strong, Comeback Kid, Handguns, Expire, Heart To Heart @ The Broadberry – $16 (order tickets HERE)
Ahhhh this is gonna rule! Back in 2010, I was really stoked about a style of music that was being called “easycore” in a lot of places–catchy pop-punk with thick production and a tendency towards outright chunka-chunk breakdowns that could turn their songs into Earth Crisis pastiches for 15 seconds at a time before launching right back into sugary-sweet pop-punk riffs. Fireworks, Set Your Goals, Such Gold–all these bands were sweet, but the sweetest of them all were Four Year Strong, whose grammatically-challenged name could do nothing to dampen my fandom in the face of the sonic gems all over 2010’s Enemy Of The World. The attempt at musical maturity that marred 2011 followup In Some Way Shape Or Form has thankfully been banished for their new EP, Go Down In History, which reminded me all over again of everything I loved about Four Year Strong four years ago, and made me super excited to see them when they come to the Broadberry on Tuesday! Who’s with me?
If you’re thinking, “I dunno, Andrew, easycore’s a bit cheesy,” well, I hear you, but don’t stop reading yet! Comeback Kid are also on this bill, and while these guys may share Four Year Strong’s metallic edge and tendency towards breakdowns, there’s nothing “easy” about them. Comeback Kid are deadly serious, with screamed vocals, intense lyrics, and an angry vitality that was showcased to powerful effect on 2014’s Die Knowing. Their set won’t sound exactly like the one their touring partners are gonna give us, but it’s definitely just as worth looking forward to. Handguns are more on the Four Year Strong side of things, with some super-catchy pop-punk tunes about love and loss for you, while Expire is an up-and-coming hardcore band with serious appeal to those who are most excited about Comeback Kid. California’s Heart To Heart will kick off an evening of both melodic and non-melodic hardcore excellence. And I can’t wait.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]