RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 11/5-11/11

by | Nov 5, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Thursday, November 6, 9 PM
Speedy Ortiz, Ex Hex, Sundials, The Ar-Kaics @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: http://speedyhex.eventbrite.com/)

OK, so it probably isn’t news to anyone reading this that rock n’ roll is alive and well in the year 2014. While it’s always awesome to see bands do some completely new thing with music, it’s not always necessary–just doing the tried-and-true rock thing well is enough to make any band worth your time.

Thursday, November 6, 9 PM
Speedy Ortiz, Ex Hex, Sundials, The Ar-Kaics @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: http://speedyhex.eventbrite.com/)

OK, so it probably isn’t news to anyone reading this that rock n’ roll is alive and well in the year 2014. While it’s always awesome to see bands do some completely new thing with music, it’s not always necessary–just doing the tried-and-true rock thing well is enough to make any band worth your time. Speedy Ortiz have been steadily accumulating popularity for the past couple of years, as they’ve brought their memorable take on early-90s alt-rock into the 21st century with a fresh vitality. They really took things to the next level with their most recent EP, Real Hair–the secret to which, we learned earlier this year, is that most of the songs from it are in drop D tuning. This gives the band a darker, heavier edge that makes their newest work–including “Bigger Party,” their contribution to this summer’s Adult Swim Singles Series–their best yet. If you haven’t caught their previous appearances on RVA stages, you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

I’ll go out on a limb and say you’re an even bigger fool if you miss Ex Hex. I caught them at Macrock earlier this year when they basically had no material out, and they totally blew me away with their extremely catchy rock n’ roll. Now that their debut album, the accurately-named Ex Hex Rips, is out and I’ve gotten a chance to learn the songs, I’m even more excited to dance around and sing along to them tomorrow night. If all that isn’t enough to get you interested, let me lay some ex-member cred on you–singer/guitarist Mary Timony is a 25-year veteran of the DC and NY indie scenes, best known for her time fronting Helium and playing guitar in Carrie Brownstein’s post-Sleater Kinney band Wild Flag. Bassist Betsy Wright may not be well-known outside VA, but those who’ve been going to local indie shows for a while have probably seen her fronting her old band, Charlottesville’s The Fire Tapes. And by the way, all three of these amazing ladies totally know how to dress–check out the outfits they rock in the video for “Waterfall”:

Where RVA bands are concerned, this show will be graced with the presence of Sundials, who just released their latest EP, Kick, on Topshelf Records yesterday. For a band with two great LPs already to their credit, it’s inspiring to see these guys, um, kick it up a notch on their latest release, but they really are better than ever, and they’ll prove it to you with a set of catchy-as-hell punk-infused power-pop on Thursday night. The Ar-Kaics will start things off with their memorable take on 60s garage-rock, capturing the perfect swaggering jangle and sneering bounce of that era’s perfectly coiffed juvenile delinquents both on their new self-titled album and when they play live. The most fun secret about this band is that they are ex-Pg. 99, but really, don’t assume that will have any effect on what you hear when they take the stage. This ain’t no screamo, just some good ol’ rock n’ roll!

Wednesday, November 5, 7 PM
The Paul Collins Beat, The Green Hearts, Paul Ivey, Cherry Pits @ Gallery 5 – $8

And speaking of good ol’ rock n’ roll, we’ll have plenty of it throughout the week here in Richmond rock city, starting tonight with a return appearance by the Paul Collins Beat. Collins and his band were in town earlier this year, playing a limited-entry gig at the sadly departed Empire. However, this time they’ll have plenty of room to move around, and if you didn’t make it to the show back in June, this is your perfect opportunity. The Paul Collins Beat are power-pop legends with 35 years of history behind them, and even though they were lamenting back when they started up that they didn’t fit in, their music has certainly stood the test of time and continues to rule even after nearly four decades. Head over to Gallery 5 to experience it live, with plenty of room for dancing!

The local talent that’ll be supporting Collins and his Beat on this show may not have the extensive history with which to demonstrate their power-pop cred, but they’ve got the musical chops to prove it in the live environment, and isn’t that all that counts? The Green Hearts name The Beat as the first of their influences on their facebook page, but they’re not slavish imitators–they’ve got plenty of their own catchy melodies, complete with rhythm guitar snarl to toughen them up, that they’ll be glad to lay on y’all tonight! Paul Ivey appears to be performing solo this night, and I have really only heard his work fronting the Rubes. But based on the quality of his tunes as performed with a backing band, I imagine a shift to solo will only affect the mood, and not the overall talent on display. The Cherry Pits, about whom I know very little, will be opening up–based on their ex-member factor (Eurotics, Nervous Ticks), though, I’m expecting great things.

Thursday, November 6, 7 PM
Designer, Navi, New Turks, Flesh Control @ Gallery 5 – $3

Wait, so Navi and New Turks are playing together again? To what benevolent forces do we owe thanks for this bonanza of two-piece noise-rock destruction being visited upon us on a near-weekly basis of late? Whoever they are, I’d be glad to offer up some prasada in thanks for yet another show where I can be assured all in attendance will get knocked on their asses by these four RVA geniuses. You know the drill by now, right? Navi = Jon Hawkins (guitar/effects pedalboard of doom/occasional frantic yells) + Kyle Flanagan (drums/cracked cymbal avalanche/flying hair) + spastic riffs galore. New Turks = Ethan Gensurowsky (bass guitar/angry rants/wristbands) + Louis Henninger (drums/headbangs) + AmRep-style noisecore grooves. It’s gonna rule.

And who is coming along with them on this particular ride into the sun? It’s the maniacal Boston-by-way-of-Nashville trio of terror, Designer, who will fit right in on this bill of noise blasts. Sometimes they’re more like a wall of lo-fi terror, while at other times they’re more into zany spasms of math-mosh that should make Navi fans feel right at home during their set. And regardless of what type of music they’ve got for us, they appear to be totally off the chain in the live environment, so don’t expect any dull moments from this crew. Leo Heinzel’s experimental solo project, Flesh Control, kicks things off, and from what I know of Leo, there’s really no way to predict what we’re gonna get from his set. But it’ll be interesting–bet on that.

Friday, November 7, 8:30 PM
Direct To Video 3 after party, feat. MC Nasdaq, Brian Morsberger, Diamond Blackhearted Boy, Contortionist Jazz Exotica, Caves Caverns, Afterhours @ Strange Matter – $3

We seem to have entered the wild noise portion of the column. Friday night’s show at Strange Matter is actually an after-party for Direct To Video 3, Dylan Languell’s third gathering of experimental short filmmakers to display their hallucinogenic projects on the big screen at the Byrd. That’ll be happening early Friday afternoon, and then that night everyone will reconvene for this after-party to get down with some equally hallucinogenic musical stylings. It makes sense–a lot of the musicians performing on this bill are also filmmakers who’ve exhibited their work in present or past editions of Direct To Video. For their music to be just as experimental and straight-up weird as their movies seems appropriate.

But none of that is to say that the show Friday night will be a trial to get through. There are some great performers on this bill, with a significant variety of genres on display. MC NASDAQ, an off-kilter rapper whose most recent mixtape, My Horse, scored a bewildered but positive review from Black Liquid, represents one extreme, with Caves Caverns, an improvisational psychedelic combo featuring theremin and saxophone, occupying the opposite pole. Inbetween lie sets from Diamond Blackhearted Boy, RVA’s own soulful noise hero, as well as Contortionist Jazz Exotica, who take their noise in the direction of confrontational performance art. With touring acts Brian Morsberger and Afterhours rounding things out, this evening promises to get pretty wild. See what music is like out on the fringes–after all, it’s Friday, and you ain’t got shit to do.

Saturday, November 8, 8:30 PM
Gull, Dumb Waiter, PT Burnem @ Gallery 5 – Free!

OK, so only a week or so after Nate Rappole returns to Snack Truck as their second drummer, we have the return of Nate Rappole in the guise of solo guitar/drum hero Gull. This oughta have the whole city cheering, right? One-man bands have a long and storied history, from rockabilly wildman Hasil Adkins to San Francisco wunderkind Ty Segall–but nobody does it quite like Gull. If you’ve never caught one of his shows, or perhaps run into him busking on the streets of Carytown, you’re in for a treat. Specifically, a man sitting behind a drum kit, playing it with both feet and one hand, while playing guitar with his other hand and singing into a mask equipped with a microphone. And if you’re really lucky, he might do his Beyonce cover. It’s gonna fucking rule, y’all.

Just as unique in their own unique way (yes, I did that on purpose) is Dumb Waiter, a jazz/punk/prog/metal hybrid instrumental quartet, who enjoy baffling listeners with their bizarrely danceable sax-driven craziness. They danced with puppets in their video for “Vegan Mustache Jazz,” and any band who dances with puppets is cool in my book. So come do wild puppet dances to these guys’ set, and have a blast! Also, check out PT Burnem, an itinerant rapper who’s been making RVA his base of operations for a few years now. His most recent project, D R O N E S, sees him collaborating with Swordplay and members of Double Rainbow, but this will be a solo set of politically-aware raps driven by difficult to classify but always amazing beats. Don’t sleep on this dude, he’s amazing. [NOTE: “Worst flyer ever” is apparently intentional. What’s the deal with Bud Light Lime anyway?]

Sunday, November 9, 5 PM
Villains, I The Reverend, Vilis, Nautilus @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)

You know, maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there’s somewhat of a renaissance in gloriously ignorant moshcore happening lately. From Code Orange to Sworn In to The Hell, it suddenly seems like there are bands springing up all over the place that would like nothing better than to knock you out with chugging mosh grooves chemically engineered to induce spinkicks. And a lot of them are really good, too! Take Villians, who hail from the Chicago suburb of Oswego. These guys are about to drop their new album, Freudian Slip, next week, and while I’ve only heard three songs from it, they are all tremendously brutal. Mosh grooves aplenty, yes, but with a significant helping of electronic noise damage, not to mention totally intense vocal screams that put across an inescapable air of emotional torment. This is music for being so upset you break everything in your room–though instead of doing some self-destructive shit like that, I’d recommend you just head over to Strange Matter on Sunday evening and freak out with the band and all the other kids who’ll be getting emo/ignorant in the pit.

There are three other bands on this bill, only one of whom is from Richmond, and I must admit I’m not previously familiar with any of them. I The Reverend, the locals in the bunch, have a bit of a deathcore vibe, with super-deep vocals and brown-note breakdowns to destroy your headphones in one fell swoop. However, there’s more to them than just this, with multiple dimensions added to their sound through the use of ambient atmospherics and the occasional melodic guitar lead breaking through the thunderous bass chugs. Baltimore’s Vilis, formerly known as I Am Intention, will also bring you some heavy deathcore sounds, while NoVA band Nautilus will open up with a sound that I have not actually heard–but considering they label themselves “down-tempo” on their facebook page, is probably either more brutal deathcore, or maybe some chill-out room jams to ease you into the mood for the evening. I’m kidding, I can’t imagine these guys actually sound like Bonobo. We now return to your previously scheduled mosh, already in progress.

Monday, November 10, 8 PM
Meghann Wright, The Green Gallows, Lili & The Dirty Moccasins @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets here: https://meghanngreen.eventbrite.com/)

A lot of modern country music is total garbage (potentially controversial opinion alert!), but that’s all the more reason to get excited when one stumbles across an actual good artist working in that often-maligned field. Meghann Wright is my latest discovery in the world of country music, and perhaps it helps that she’s actually from Brooklyn rather than Nashville, that she’s totally able to rock out at times, and that she’s not afraid to drop some f-bombs when the occasion merits it. The chorus for her excellent first single includes the line “I need some motherfuckin’ cocaine,” and while I can’t get behind the sentiment at all (white powder drugs are bad news, y’all, and I don’t care if you think I’m a pansy for saying so), it is admittedly a lot of fun to hear her sing it. She’s also able to get emotional, as she does on the disconcerting yet charming “I Left My Heart In Brooklyn”–a countrified ballad like this is something I’d expect to be written about a city south of the Mason-Dixon line, but that’s part of its charm, really. Expect plenty of charm and sass in equal measures from Meghann Wright’s set Monday night.

Her tourmates The Green Gallows are also hailing from New York, and rather than making country music, these folks are going for old-school bluegrass and folk. Weirdly enough, they also make better music in this genre than you’d ever expect from a bunch of New Yorkers–regardless of the fact that the dudes in the band have really big beards. Expect some fun sounds from this quartet, as well as from local group Lili & The Dirty Moccasins. Headed up by Elizabeth Fagan, this loose crew of local musicians uses instrumentation that’s rare in modern times (spoons, kazoo, accordion, etc) to create fun, upbeat roots music with a Saturday-night barn dance feel. They’ve got a new album they’re in the process of recording, which will hopefully be released sometime towards the beginning of 2015, and you can get a live preview of the songs they’ll be filling the album with by showing up on time to this show! You won’t regret it–this will be a fun night of twangy sounds all around.

Tuesday, November 11, 5 PM
Antarctigo Vespucci, Hard Girls, Close Talker, Reps @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://antarctigo.eventbrite.com/)

The latest names in buzzworthy pop-punk always seem to make it to Richmond sooner or later through the good graces of Stay Sweet Records, and next Tuesday night is just the latest example. Antarctigo Vespucci (a name that gives me fits every time I try to type it) is a new duo combining the talents of Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music Industry) to create a super-catchy band with Weezer-style chunky power-pop riffs and keyboard flourishes. Tunes like “I’m Giving Up On U2” (sadly just a lost-love song and not a rant about how Bono and The Edge suck now–total missed opportunity) and “Don’t Die In Yr Hometown” are bound to get all the Against Me and Archers Of Loaf fans in RVA dancing, and if you download the album–of course it’s free, Jeff Rosenstock literally invented giving away your music for free on the internet–you’ll be able to sing along with all the eminently anthemic choruses this band has in store for you! What are you waiting for? Do it up!

And get stoked for Hard Girls as well, who are back to RVA for the second time in three months, ready to rock you with their unexpectedly-heavy version of pop punk. Since they were here, these Cali dudes followed in the footsteps of local boys Sundials in releasing a collection of older EPs on Asian Man Records. Entitled Hard Hard Girls, this record should be available for purchase when these guys show up here on Tuesday (assuming they didn’t sell all their copies at Fest), and you’ll wanna get your grubby mitts on a copy! Even if you don’t have the cash, though, seeing them rock out live will probably be joyous enough to make your entire night so much better. Local pop-punks Close Talker, who have the distinction of being the only band with actual records released on Stay Sweet Records, will act as support for this show. Plus, it’ll all start off with the debut performance of Reps, a new quartet bringing together Jeff Byers (Wow Owls), Mike Morris (Pink Razors), Billy Mutter, and Zach Nelson (both of Missives). Jeff tells me they sound like “Superchunk or The Hives–somewhere in that area.” Sounds cool to me! Show up on time and check these dudes out.


Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: andrew@rvamag.com.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.

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