RVA Shows You Must See This Week 1/21-1/27

by | Jan 21, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, January 23, 5:30 PM
Slapshot, Night Birds, Barge, Friend Or Foe @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets here: http://slapshotbarge.eventbrite.com/)

Well damn, this right here is about as old-school as it gets.

Friday, January 23, 5:30 PM
Slapshot, Night Birds, Barge, Friend Or Foe @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets here: http://slapshotbarge.eventbrite.com/)

Well damn, this right here is about as old-school as it gets. Formed in the mid-80s by a bunch of Boston hardcore luminaries from seminal first-wave bands like Negative FX and DYS, Slapshot these days is basically just original singer Jack “Choke” Kelly backed by whatever excited young instrumentalists he can recruit. But that doesn’t diminish Slapshot’s credibility one iota–if anything, Choke’s angrier than ever, and even in 2014 I wouldn’t want to run into this guy in a dark alley. Check out the video for latest single “I Told You So” to see just how menacing this dude still is:

Slapshot is certainly a huge inspiration for all the tough-guy beatdown hardcore bands running around today, but that’s not all they have to offer. Integrating influences from metal and that working-class British strain of rockin’ rollin’ punk known as Oi!, these guys are able to shift tempos and moods to keep things interesting and fun, even as the anger always stays cranked up full-throttle. So yeah, get stoked for these guys, because unless Negative Approach comes back through sometime soon, you’re not gonna get another chance to get this close to the fundamental roots of hardcore.

Night Birds, a New Jersey punk band who makes Richmond a regular stop on their tours, will be on this bill as well. While these guys are rooted in much more of a post-garage surf/psych brand of punk rock than the angry hardcore of Slapshot, their equal love for stripped-down old-school rock n’ roll should tie this bill together quite easily. With local fastcore exponents Barge and mosh merchants Friend Or Foe opening this show, you can look forward to a total hardcore punk overdose from this bill. And it’ll wrap up early enough that the super-excited teenagers can still beat curfew home! And isn’t that what punk is really all about?

Wednesday, January 21, 8 PM
Arpetrio (Photo by Paula J. Quatkemeyer), 8t88 @ The Camel – $6

This is a weird one, but who doesn’t need an occasional dose of totally weird music to spice up their life? Arpetrio hail from Knoxville, and are an instrumental crew that will probably appeal to anyone digging on the recent growth in the “jam-tronica” scene. Let’s be honest, there’s a fine line between this stuff being fascinating and danceable and it being a total snooze. But Arpetrio isn’t just another Disco Biscuits ripoff or whatever–they actually manage to incorporate hip hop and EDM influences into their complicated prog-funk riffs without it seeming totally awkward, and in doing so, come up with, in my humble opinion, a more interesting sound than your typical jamtronica band is capable of, by a good bit.

Arpetrio are joined on this bill by locals 8t88, which is really just an outlet for the electronic explorations of one Will Hooper, he of such local math-rock groups as Way Shape Or Form, Cheyenne, and Midair. He’s mostly putting down his guitar in favor of keyboards and sequencers with this group, and the result is a chilled-out vibe reminiscent of hip hop beat tapes and mellow jazz grooves. It’s always cool to see someone who has made a name for themselves in one genre explore the possibilities of another, so come check out what Will Hooper’s got up his sleeve with this one, and stick around to dance along with Arpetrio. Keep your midweek interesting!

Thursday, January 22, 10 PM
Wildhoney, Expert Alterations, Big No, Mensroom @ Strange Matter – $8

Baltimore’s Wildhoney has recorded for Deranged Records, which might trick you into expecting some raw hardcore sounds from them when they come to town, but you’d be completely mistaken if that’s what you expected when you showed up at Strange Matter Thursday night. If you have an ounce of taste, though, you’d be very pleasantly surprised, as Wildhoney has gorgeous fuzzy pop goodness to shower down upon you like some sort of lo-fi reincarnation of Velocity Girl or Spooky-era Lush. Brand new LP Sleep Through It seems, from the pre-release single I’ve heard, to carry on with the outstandingly catchy goodness previously displayed on last year’s Seventeen Forever EP. Beautiful female vocals backed by a wall of glorious guitar fuzz is what’s on the agenda for this evening. It’s gonna rule.

Wildhoney will be on tour with fellow Baltimoreans Expert Alterations, who appear to be taking a leave of absence from their job at a tailor shop to bring their New Zealand-style jangly pop sounds to the masses (note: I actually have no idea what these guys do for a living when they’re not on tour). If you’re a fan of the Verlaines, the Bats, or the Clean, you’re in for a treat. And even if you don’t know those bands (for shame! Get googling!), you’re sure to enjoy the no-frills catchiness these dudes bring to the table. Big No, an indie rock project from guitarist Nathan Grice (who I suppose I will always associate with Crestfallen, even though, yes, that was a long time ago); and Mensroom, a punk-as-fuck local band featuring everyone’s favorite health insurance broker, will start things off right.

Friday, January 23, 8 PM
VA Powershift fundraiser, feat. Basmati, Houdan The Mystic, Fight Cloud, Shrunk @ Gallery 5 – $5 suggested donation

Every few weeks or so, there’s another “bunch of Subterranea Collective bands get together and attempt to out-math each other” show, and I always get a huge kick out of it. This is the latest example of such a thing, and it’s for a good cause. The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition is trying to send a team of representatives to the VA Powershift conference happening next month in Fredericksburg, where they’ll spend two days making plans to further the causes of “environmental, social, economic, and educational justice” in VA. I don’t know about you, but I’m in favor of such things. And even if you’re feeling too apathetic to summon up feelings about such things one way or the other, you will hopefully find the thought of throwing down five measly bucks to watch a whole bunch of extremely talented musicians festoon the room with tangled riffs and complex yet catchy melodies. Right?

Basmati are taking the lead on this bill, and based on their recently-released full-length cassette, BAZ, I can see why. There’s no shortage of ideas happening in the Basmati camp, and as weird as their tunes can sometimes be, they’re also tremendously capable of getting stuck in your head for long periods of time. Of course, let’s not forget about Houdan The Mystic and Fight Cloud either, themselves fresh off the release of a new split tape that showcases the best sides of both bands. Course, I’m still just waiting for Fight Cloud to put out an official release featuring “Pipe Dreams,” but their split with Houdan The Mystic has been more than sufficient to hold me over til that happens. Shrunk are a brand new RVA indie band with more of a slacker-ish Pavement/Velvet Underground vibe than the mathy fireworks of the Subterranea bands, so they’ll ease you into this evening of complex catchiness.

Saturday, January 24, 10 PM
Cherry Pits, Post Pink @ En Su Boca – Donations requested

To tell you the truth, I can’t say a ton about this show, simply because something that seems impossible in the year 2015 has happened–you can’t listen to recordings by either of these bands on the internet. OK, that’s not entirely true–Baltimore’s Post Pink are on youtube playing at a generator show in a field somewhere, at least until the cops show up and bust them after three songs. Meanwhile, Cherry Pits apparently played live on WRIR last October, but the podcast file isn’t up anymore. So my ability to report on what this show has on offer is highly limited.

But I can say this much–Post Pink appear to be a female quartet playing energetic No Wave-style bass-driven postpunk (which makes sense given their name). Cherry Pits feature members of Eurotics and Nervous Ticks doing garage-rock/power-pop–or so rumor indicates. And En Su Boca sells tacos–that much I can 100% confirm. So this Saturday night, score some tacos and then stick around to see how good these bands actually are, without having listened to them first. That way, you young folks can find out what it was actually like to go to shows in the 90s.

Sunday, January 25, 9 PM
Buck Gooter, Manzara, Monsignor @ Bandito’s – Free!

There comes a time in every RVA fan of underground music’s life when they must confront and grapple with the sheer weirdness of Buck Gooter. Consisting of a young singer, a middle-aged guitarist, and a whole bunch of bizarre industrial-style effects, they’re the kind of band that will throw you for a loop no matter how prepared you think you are. Are they some kind of alternate-universe version of the Butthole Surfers? Perhaps a post-Y2k update on the room-clearing early days of the Swans? Or something even weirder than that? It’s up to you to decide both what the heck you think these guys are doing and whether you like it, but you certainly should witness their live antics at least one time before you die. And this Sunday at Bandito’s, those of you who are already converted to the cause will have a chance to pick up their new album, The Spider’s Eyes.

Meanwhile, Manzara will also be on hand. I’ve previously explained that this band certainly appears to be Canary Oh Canary with a new bass player, but little info beyond that has come down the pike anytime recently. Regardless, singer/guitarist Michael Harl is a good enough musician and vocalist to make any of his projects worth checking out, and if this band sounds anything like Canary Oh Canary–or even if it doesn’t–you’ll be lucky to catch them. The mysterious Monsignor will open up, and while this is apparently the band’s first show, word has it their music has been over four years in the making. Perhaps you should be prepared for incredibly painstaking musicianship. Or maybe they just spent that long in the woodshed making sure they wrote a set of really, really good songs. Either way, surely worth a listen–and hey, the price is right!

Monday, January 26, 9 PM
Parentheses, HeadlessMantis, Suneater, Various Eggs @ Strange Matter – $5

I had a bunch to say earlier in this column about the Subterranea Collective and what those guys have been up to around town for the past couple of years, but what’s crazy is that those bands are already becoming the established faves behind which a new generation of talented upstarts is encroaching. I refer, of course, to Parentheses, as well as a whole bunch of other new bands in this town, some of which are also on this bill. Parentheses are the big stars here, and for a band I’d never heard of six months ago, I can certainly see why they’re drawing headliner status for this show–these guys are really talented! Last year’s single “12 Years” carried on in the tradition of emo legends American Football, integrating sadly beautiful vocal melodies with complex intertwining guitar arrangements and off-kilter beats. These guys have promised to bring us new tunes in the new year, too, so hopefully this show will demonstrate just how much farther they’ve already come since 2014 drew to a close.

HeadlessMantis is another new band on the come-up, but these guys are doing a bit of a different thing–more of that bassless energy-overloaded math-core power-duo thing, a la Navi or early Snack Truck or something. But having said that, there’s definitely a raw rock n’ roll flavor injected into these guys’ sound, which makes me think they’re also more than aware of bands like The White Stripes and the (early) Black Keys. Regardless, they make a lot of noise and have a lot of fun, so they’re well worth checking out. Suneater is doing an epic-prog-psych thing that seems to pull equally from Coheed and Cambria, the Mars Volta, Jane’s Addiction, and Smashing Pumpkins–it’s unorthodox, but you might say it’s beautiful. Various Eggs start the evening off with their dark, enchanting indie rock tunes. Get into it.

Tuesday, January 27,
Downfall Of Gaia (Photo by Suss Mackenzie), Ostraca, Left Cross, High Priest @ Strange Matter – $8

Germany has been the place to go for extremely dark and heavy metal/hardcore hybrids for a long time. Therefore Downfall Of Gaia takes their place in a long and noble tradition, one they’re extending even farther into the depths than Acme and Systral ever thought about descending. Their latest album, Aeon Unveils The Throne Of Decay, is full of epics that run the gamut from crushing doom noise to blasting black metal speed–always under cover of a choking, atmospheric darkness that tries with every passing moment to crush the life out of you. I can’t imagine what kind of oppressive hellscape these guys will turn Strange Matter into when they show up there next Tuesday, but I’d be willing to bet it’s gonna be awesome as hell.

Ostraca may not be a name you immediately recognize, but those of you who’ve been following what’s going on in the Virginia post-hardcore/screamo scene for a while will probably jump to attention once you know that this is the band formerly known as Kilgore Trout. And honestly, it bothers the hell out of me to call these guys “post-” anything, or to use the dreaded 7-letter S word to describe them. To my 90s-addled brain, this just sounds like harsh, downtuned hardcore with occasional octave-chord breaks, a la Funeral Diner. But then again, everyone called Funeral Diner screamo back in the day too… my point is, these guys are good. Better than any novelty genre label that could be slapped onto them. Go see them. And arrive on time so you can catch sets by brand new local bands Left Cross (featuring members of Unsacred and Burn/Ward, so I’m guessing Miguel Falcon plays guitar for them) and High Priest (featuring a singer with a really epic beard). This night is gonna rule.


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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