RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 12/16-12/22

by | Dec 16, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Punks For Presents 10th Anniversary Weekend
Saturday, December 19, 9 PM
The Christmasfits, London Caroling, Menorah Threat @ Strange Matter – $10/$8 with canned goods
Sunday, December 20, 9 PM
Sleigher, Discember, Snobituary, Karoling Joke @ Bandito’s – Free! (Donations encouraged)

One of the great things about Christmas drawing nigh is the way the local music scene gets into the spirit with some great benefit shows!

Punks For Presents 10th Anniversary Weekend
Saturday, December 19, 9 PM
The Christmasfits, London Caroling, Menorah Threat @ Strange Matter – $10/$8 with canned goods
Sunday, December 20, 9 PM
Sleigher, Discember, Snobituary, Karoling Joke @ Bandito’s – Free! (Donations encouraged)

One of the great things about Christmas drawing nigh is the way the local music scene gets into the spirit with some great benefit shows! Not only does it ensure that those going through a rough time get a little bit of help to get through the cold winter months, it often brings out the creative side of RVA’s musicians in ways you wouldn’t expect. Punks For Presents have been doing their charitable thing every holiday season for the past decade now, and they managed to get together three excellent Christmas-themed cover shows for this year, two of which are taking place this weekend!

OK yes, the first one was LAST weekend, and I didn’t write about it because I somehow completely missed that it was happening. My bad, yo! Let’s all put any further FOMO to rest and mark our calendars right now for the other two 2015 Punks For Presents extravaganzas! The first one takes place at Strange Matter on Saturday night, and will cost you 2 dollars less than the asking price if you bring a can of food (though the facebook event specifies “no creamed corn”–are they serious, or is this a Twin Peaks reference?).

Anyway, both of this weekend’s Punks For Presents shows are headlined by veteran Christmas-themed cover bands; Saturday night will bring you the last ever show by The Christmasfits. Therefore, if you ever wanted to see what happens when “I want your skulls” becomes the rallying cry for a ghoul composing their Christmas list, you better show up! Then on Sunday at Bandito’s, we’ve got a set from Sleigher, who will be raining snow from the lacerated sky! Or something like that. Saturday night will be rounded out by Clash cover band London Caroling, along with Menorah Threat–who will combine Minor Threat tunes with some Jewish holiday spirit! Sunday’s show features Discember (Discharge covers–this is Santa control!), Snobituary (pronounced “Snow-bituary” not “Snob-ituary,” I’m guessing), and Karoling Joke (Santa is not our god?). This is going to be a superfun blast of holiday-themed silliness and singalongs to punk and metal tunes you know and love–so get in the spirit already!

Wednesday, December 16, 5 PM
Handguns, ROAM, Broadside, Sudden Suspension, Kept At Bay, Centerfolds, Conquering Rome @ The Canal Club – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)

There are a couple of non-holiday-themed shows happening this week, and this is one of them. But never fear, there will still be plenty of fun to be had at The Canal Club this evening! Handguns may have a weirdly tough-sounding name but these fresh-faced young men are as bouncy and upbeat as pop-punk gets. They just dropped their third album, Disenchanted, and it’s just as likely to get you bouncing up and down with a big grin on your face as all the classic tunes you know and love from their past records.

Plus, on this tour, Handguns will be joined by UK pop-punkers Roam, who are about to drop their debut full-length, Backbone, in January. Pop-punk as a genre has generally been ruled by Americans, but Roam are following in the footsteps of countrymen Neck Deep, showing that the boys from across the pond can get you bouncing and inspire some deep emotions just as well as any American band can! And we haven’t even talked about the reason RVA kids will be most stoked about this show–local heroes Broadside will be performing as well! Their Victory LP Old Bones knocked it out of the park last summer–come let these hometown boys thrill you with a killer set. And don’t be late, because not only will you also get some killer jams from Midwestern up-and-comers Sudden Suspension, there are three more great bands–Kept At Bay, Centerfolds, and Conquering Rome–who’ll be getting things started with some killer local flavor! It’s gonna be a blast!

Thursday, December 17, 9 PM
A Very Star Wars Christmas Party, feat. The Milkstains, Imaginary Sons, Venus Guytrap, The Wimps @ The Camel – Free!

Let’s get back to the holiday hijinks, shall we? I suppose we should call this a Christmas party of sorts, but in all reality it’s a celebration of the new Star Wars movie that came out this week. I’m sure there are some for whom this amounts to a holiday all by itself. People are flipping out about this all over the place, and if you’re on social media at all, I’m sure you can’t escape it any more than I can. Which is cool if that’s your thing, I suppose–personally, I’ve never been a Star Wars fanatic, so I figure I’ll catch this thing on Netflix when all the hype has died down. But I know some of you have dusted off your lightsabers and are running around in Darth Vader masks in the middle of the week, so this is a party for you!

There’ll be a ton of great local rock n’ roll sounds to enjoy at this party, inbetween all the Star Wars tomfoolery. The Milkstains are the kings of scuzzy rockin’ around these parts, pulling from the best, most raging sounds of multiple genres and multiple eras to create a wild hybrid that sounds like Mudhoney, Blue Cheer, Dick Dale, and Dinosaur Jr all did acid together and made a longhaired power trio baby. The fact that they’re paired on this bill with beer-swilling, Cheap Trick-loving interplanetary travelers Imaginary Sons is just sheer genius and will make this possibly the most over-the-top insane (and insanely fun) rock n’ roll show of the year! And there’s more awesomeness to be had on this bill, too! Venus Guytrap will give you some feisty, punky alt-rock with soulful vocals, while The Wimps will kick things off with power-pop excellence the likes of which you will tremendously enjoy discovering. Get out your Darth Maul double-blade lightsaber and come party like a rockstar at this blast of holiday sci-fi zaniness!

Friday, December 18, 8 PM
21st Annual Hamaganza, feat. Diamond Heist, League Of Space Pirates, Summerhaus, Iggy Plop, and more! @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)

Y’all, I gotta tell ya, it was a tough call as to whether I should pick this night of pork-tastic holiday celebration for my feature show or go with the Punks For Presents double-header. Please don’t think that the choice I ultimately made means I would recommend missing this show for any reason at all. For the wee ones among us who haven’t learned enough of their Richmond pop-culture history, the name “Dirtwoman” may not ring with quite the legendary luster that RVA veterans know it deserves–if you are one of those unfortunate few, get thee to wikipedia for a crash course (or listen to me talk about Dirtwoman on Cut The Cord Radio about a year and a half ago–this is ridiculous, possibly hilarious, definitely NSFW, but has all the details you need).

Anyway, once you’re adequately prepared for the majesty of Dirtwoman and her role as the star attraction for Hamaganza, you can also get excited for yet another night of holiday tribute action! Diamond Heist, in which members of several prominent local bands get together to perform the music of Neil Diamond, will be taking this party into overdrive, while Iggy Plop and the Spooges will be busting out some “Raw Power” awesomeness for all you crazed proto-punkers out there. On the non-tribute band tip, League Of Space Pirates will be touching down on Earth for a rare terrestrial appearance, and local radio personality Melissa Chase will be bringing her band, Summerhaus, out for a rockin’ set as well! It’s all topped off by some hilarious and (if past years are any predictor) totally bizarre comedy from Herschel Stratego and a variety of other local comedy stars. Really though, Dirtwoman’s the star of this show, and considering how rarely she appears in public these days, you really don’t wanna miss this chance to see her do her thing in the flesh. Wow, that sounds really filthy. But hey, if you were ever gonna let your imagination run wild, this is definitely the night to do it.

Saturday, December 19, 7 PM
16th Annual Skalidays, feat. Murphy’s Kids, Mighty Joshua, Neighborhood Friendly, Major And The Monbacks, Nesta @ The Broadberry – $10 (order tickets HERE)

More holiday party action, and this event comes to you from the kings of RVA ska-punk, Murphy’s Kids. This is the 16th annual Skalidays, which means these guys have kept this tradition going since the days when every town had a dozen ska bands. The fact that they’re still around 16 years later might be seen by some as passe, or an indication that they didn’t know when to quit. However, I must say, if doing what you love to do regardless of anyone else’s opinion of it is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I salute Murphy’s Kids, and I know from experience that they know how to throw a killer party full of upbeat, danceable tunes that’ll keep you skanking for hours. So I’m not here to throw shade, and anyone who is doing so–you should be ashamed.

OK, now that we’ve gotten that little rant out of the way, let’s all talk about how awesome this show’s gonna be! Not only will Murphy’s Kids be busting out a set of great tunes both old and new, the rarely-seen RVA ska-punk veterans Neighborhood Friendly will be making a return appearance for the first time in… what, half a year? Who knows when they’ll hit the stage again, so come check ’em out while you have the opportunity! Mighty Joshua will be on hand to bring the classic roots rock reggae sound, and openers Nesta will hook you up on that score as well. The bill is rounded out by blue-eyed soul merchants Major And The Monbacks, who’ve been doing a lot recently to make a name for themselves and will definitely show and prove when they hit the Broadberry stage Saturday night. Dig into the back of the closet, get out your checkered tie and porkpie hat, and see if you still fit into that old Fred Perry polo, because the time has come once again for you to celebrate Skalidays!

Sunday, December 20, 6 PM
Sea Of Storms, Fk Mt., Teen Death, Smoke Break @ Strange Matter – $6

This show is not a party–or at least, it’s not a holiday party. Maybe you could say it’s a super-emotional pop-punk party, but by that definition, any show any of these bands play is a party. OK, so what’s wrong with that? Fair enough–let’s all get stoked for the super-emotional pop-punk party happening Sunday evening at Strange Matter! (Please ignore the fact that I wrote the first half of this paragraph as a conversation between me and myself.) Your headliners are Sea Of Storms, one of my personal favorite local bands, who were responsible for one of my favorite albums of 2015. Dead Weight is a powerful slab of killer songs that has earned many repeat plays from me this year, and watching this band crank out the tuneage live is bound to be a blast–as it always is. Even if you’re feeling some feels about the lyrics to “Cedar Run”–as I always am.

South Carolina’s Fk Mt. are also on the bill here, and while I’ve come up with quite a few variations on what their name could actually mean (Fake Meat? Fork Moat? Fuck Mountain?), I’ve only got one thing to say about their music–it rules. Well OK, here’s some more–these guys have a ton of energy, some great hooks, and a killer sound. Pop-punk is probably a fair genre tag, but if you’re expecting something predictable and rehashed, you’re going to be blown away by what you actually get from this legitimately original and incredibly talented band. I could say much the same thing about Teen Death (now featuring a member of Springtime as well as two members of Hold Tight) and Smoke Break (featuring members of a million different local bands, all of whom are outstanding). Really, you can’t lose with this bill. I’m not entirely sure it costs $6–the word I received didn’t seem… entirely official. But honestly, if you end up paying a couple bucks more, rest assured you’ll still get way more than your money’s worth.

Tuesday, December 22, 9 PM
Father Sunflower & The Golden Rays, Dyrt, Coteries, Thieves Of Shiloh, Yoga Demon @ Strange Matter – $3

It’s coming on Christmas, and they’re cutting down trees. They’re also cutting down on live shows. I honestly don’t know of a single show you can go to in this town on Monday the 21st. Thankfully, there is something happening on Tuesday, before everyone bails out of town to drive back to their ancestral homes or whatever. And this holiday party has nothing to do with baby Jesus finding no room at the inn, or any of those other Christian traditions. This is a party to celebrate the winter solstice–an evening of psychedelic and experimental music to pay tribute to the longest night of the year by filling it with sound. Father Sunflower & The Golden Rays, the latest from dynamic psychedelic duo Christian and Stephanie Brady (who’ve previously performed under the names Palindrone and Meadows) and friends, will top the bill with some buzzing, humming psych sounds featuring ethereal vocals and some killer organ vibes.

Things get weirder and less predictable from there (and that’s a pretty weird/unpredictable starting point in the grand scheme of things, so batten the hatches). Solo noise acts Dyrt and Coteries will both pummel the listeners with their own individual brands of harsh electronic horror. Thieves Of Shiloh, in which Caves Caverns axeman J.K. unleashes a veritable wall of synths upon the unsuspecting masses, should also be quite an invigorating challenge to take in and appreciate. Yoga Demon, in which Joey Fitchett pummels his drums and triggers chaotic streams of looping synthesized sounds, will also get pretty freaky. There’ll be a lot of darkness in which to frolic this fine evening–use this opportunity to come into Strange Matter and get ritualistic.


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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