Friday, December 19, 9:30 PM
No BS! Brass Band, Gina Sobel & The Mighty Fine @ The Broadberry – $12 ($8 w/canned goods)
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! And all that jazz.
Friday, December 19, 9:30 PM
No BS! Brass Band, Gina Sobel & The Mighty Fine @ The Broadberry – $12 ($8 w/canned goods)
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! And all that jazz. Long lines, endless traffic, and obnoxious advertising blaring at you from every flat surface can make everyone a bit grumpy about Christmas. But thankfully, it also tends to awaken the giving spirit in a lot of people’s hearts. The Richmond music scene has never been negligent where this is concerned, and there are numerous other annual charity shows happening this weekend as well as the one we’re talking about right now, from Hamaganza, starring the legendary Dirtwoman, to Skalidays, a production of veteran RVA ska-punkers Murphy’s Kids.
Shoutouts to all these events, of course, but if you’re only going to go to one charity musical event this weekend, I highly recommend you head over to the Broadberry and join No BS! Brass Band for their annual canned food drive. Sometimes it seems like this band is such a Richmond institution that they don’t even need an introduction–and I’m sure for most of you that’s true–but there’s no reason not to remind everyone that this dozen-or-so member collective brings the traditional New Orleans brass band form into the 21st century by integrating everything from hip hop and funk influences to Led Zeppelin and Rush covers. No matter what they’re doing, No BS! are always having fun, and while you’re watching them, you will too!
Gina Sobel & the Mighty Fine are also on the bill, and while this quintet is made up of jazz musicians, their group efforts are lent to down n’ dirty blues-rock tunes, driven by Sobel’s sax and flute playing. This band will certainly provide an excellent warmup for No BS! Brass Band, and the whole night is a great way to pull together some food donations for those in need. And considering you’ll get $4 off your admission price by bringing some canned food, it’s definitely a great deal for you as well. What’s not to like? So this weekend, get in the Christmas spirit at least for one night–even if you do have to get up the next morning and go deal with the mall. It’s good for the soul.
Wednesday, December 17, 9 PM
Baby Baby, The Sacred Teachers, Young Scum, The French Media @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: https://babybaby.eventbrite.com/)
Oh man, this is gonna be a lot of fun. Baby Baby are an Atlanta rock n’ roll band with a lot of energy and attitude, and they’re coming to RVA to collaborate with some local bands of a similar persuasion and give you a full evening of loud noise that just don’t give a fuck. If you’re anything like me, the name Baby Baby makes you think of the Notorious BIG, and while Baby Baby sound nothing like “Juicy” (frontman Fontez Brooks even wears a t-shirt in the band’s “Haters” video that says “This is not rap”), their music is just as likely to get the whole club moving. They aren’t total noise or anything; in fact, there’s a little bit of that Williamsburg postpunk dance groove happening on some of their songs. But everything Baby Baby does is designed to get you rockin’, and there is ample reason to believe their mission will be a success.
As for the RVA bands on this bill, they’re led by a group we haven’t heard from very often of late. The Sacred Teachers haven’t played a ton of shows in the past year or so, at least that I’ve heard about, but if this show marks their triumphant return to the live arena, that’s definitely a welcome development. These guys have a bit of an Iggy & the Stooges thing going on, and singer Boney Loner is not what anyone would call restrained. Expect great songs and wacky hijinks from these folks. The other two bands on this bill are newer presences on the scene, but Young Scum’s jangly garage-rock tunes and awesome name certainly show promise, while The French Media’s bassless rock jams are both catchy and loud despite their minimalist construction. Come to Strange Matter tonight ready to party and rock out, because that is definitely what’s gonna happen.
Thursday, December 18, 7 PM
Basmati, Malatese, The Cales @ Gallery 5 – $3
Basmati are one of quite a few local bands around that whole Gallery 5/Subterranea Collective scene that kind of defy description. Their mixture of alternative rock, prog complexity, indie experimentation, and catchy melodies that can at times, underneath all the weirdness, be characterized as outright pop adds up to something quite unique. While some resemblances to other local bands, such as Fight Cloud and Night Idea, can certainly be detected, Basmati have their own twist on things, which must be heard if you’re really going to understand it. With the release of their new album, BAZ, they’re offering every music fan in town the opportunity to get on their level. This show celebrates the release of that album on cassette from Hand To Mouth Tapes, and you should really come out and score yourself a copy.
But as much as you might be tempted to run straight home and listen to it, you should also stick around to see not only Basmati’s headlining performance, but the opening sets from Malatese and The Cales as well. Malatese hail from Harrisonburg, and bring the increased art-damage quotient of the JMU underground scene to Richmond with them for this performance, which is sure to be both raucous and danceable. These dudes released a cassette EP on Bad Grrrl Records earlier this year, and if that’s not a symbol of quality, I don’t know what is. Speaking of which, openers The Cales also have a Bad Grrrl EP to their credit, and their laid-back sound and lo-fi sensibility is reminiscent of a cross between Pavement and Kurt Vile. Three bands for three bucks is an extremely good deal–in fact, you’ll be ripping yourself off if you miss it.
Friday, December 19, 10 PM
Lady God (photo by Ashley Covington), Sports Bar, The Welcome Hips @ Strange Matter – $5
If there’s one thing Lady God have proven over their short period of existence, it’s that they totally understand how to make a scene full of jaded clubgoers get excited about a new band. The fact that they brought a bus full of people out into the country for their debut EP release is but the most obvious way in which this band has worked hard to get people talking about them. And I guess it’s working, because here I am telling you to go see them at Strange Matter on Friday night. They do have a double 7 inch called Lady God Presents: The Pebbles available (that’s what the bus trip was about) but so far, I’ve only heard one song from it. And yet, I admit it, I am very curious about this band. The psych/garage sounds of this band, which feature some excellent male/female dual vocals, certainly appeal to me at first glance, but I feel like I won’t really know what Lady God are about until I see them play. So let’s go to this show and find out together, shall we? By the way, there’s a commercial for this show, which strikes me as totally in character for something involving Lady God. I could be wrong, though.
Sports Bar is not nearly as mysterious a proposition; this local garage-punk band has a proven track record of short, sweet noise-pop classics. Their tunes often celebrate a low-ambition, high-enjoyment lifestyle, but they also are capable of changes of pace that reveal a sweet, yearning side to these fun party punks. Rest assured, these dudes will deliver the goods. The Welcome Hips open the night with some fun surf-inflected rock n’ roll sounds, which should fit right in with the other two bands on this bill.
Saturday, December 20, 7 PM
Cannabis Corpse (photo by Luna Duran), Mammoth Grinder, Inanimate Existence @ The Broadberry – $11 in advance, $13 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Cannabis Corpse has returned home just in time for a very death metal Christmas celebration this Saturday at The Broadberry. Actually, I’m kidding–there’s not really anything Christmas-y about this weekend’s heaviest show, unless the sound guy is on the ball enough to play the King Diamond Christmas song between bands. Nope, instead this show is all about the Hall brothers bringing you their punishing-yet-humorous, THC-infused take on death metal. Their most recent album, From Wisdom To Baked, was the first with bassist LandPhil (Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan) also taking lead vocals, and they’ve had yet another lineup change since that album was released, with Brandon Ellis (Arsis) debuting on lead guitar only a month or so ago. This is probably your first chance to see the latest incarnation of Cannabis Corpse hit the stage, but that doesn’t mean you should spend any less time headbanging!
Cannabis Corpse will be joined on this bill by Mammoth Grinder, an Austin, TX-based powerhouse that combines death metal’s low-end rumble with a distinctly punk-sounding D-beat edge. Their latest album, Underworlds, has excellent production quality but a raw, out-of-control feel that can’t be denied. There are even a few outright mosh breakdowns that show up on occasion to add to the heaviness. Cali’s Inanimate Existence will open the show with a much more intricate version of death metal, featuring lock-tight arrangements, complex time changes, and tons of blastbeats for your listening pleasure. Pay close attention to what these guys are doing, lest you get lost in the riffs.
Sunday, December 21, 7 PM
VVEIHNACHTSMARKT After Party, feat. Valkyrie (Photo by G.Enxel Photography), Valient Thorr, Demon Eye, Corsair @ Strange Matter – $12
You can definitely make a full day of it at Strange Matter this Sunday if you want. They’ll be throwing an all-day holiday market with the intimidatingly German name of VVEIHNACHTSMARKT, featuring over two dozen craft vendors from the local area and surrounding regions. If you need last-minute gifts–or just haven’t started your Christmas shopping at all–this is the place to go. However, if you’re done with your shopping and just want to rock, that option is also available! Show up at 7 PM for the VVEIHNACHTSMARKT, and hail the return of VA metal warriors Valkyrie. Guitarist Pete Adams is playing with Baroness these days, and that connection appears to have helped these guys get a leg up in the world of metal, as they’ve just signed to Relapse! Their first album on that powerhouse label comes out in early 2015, so this is a great time to celebrate the retro-stoner metallers taking the next step in conquering the world!
Speaking of triumphant shit, Valient Thorr will also be in the house to rock all in attendance. These guys started out in North Carolina, but these days singer Valient Himself is living in Richmond, so of course he had to bring the rest of his bandmates to town for a performance. I wasn’t kidding a couple of sentences ago–Valient Thorr really do have a triumphant sound, which harks back to the classic power metal of a few decades ago. Judas Priest and Iron Maiden fans will get a big kick out of this band, and everyone should be prepared to raise their fist and sing along! Raleigh’s Demon Eye and Charlottesville’s Corsair will round out this bill in fine fashion: Demon Eye have a classic spooky retro metal sound comparable to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, while Corsair gets simultaneously technical and incredibly catchy with their rockin’ metal sounds.
Monday, December 22, 8 PM
Lemuria, Prince, Cross Eyed, Victory Party @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets here: https://lemuriarva.eventbrite.com/)
OK, yes, Lemuria comes through town relatively regularly, and pretty much all of us have seen them by now. But if you’re sitting there thinking “I’ll just catch ’em next time,” I strongly urge you to rethink that plan. Because this isn’t just any Lemuria show. This time around, everyone who buys an advance ticket gets a free tour-exclusive 7 inch from Lemuria. That’s a pretty goddamn great deal, right? I’m not sure if the single they’ll be giving you with your advance ticket purchase is that new single Mitch Clem did a comic book for or some other single, but considering how good Lemuria’s EPs always are, it seems obvious that it’ll be worth getting regardless. Do you have your ticket yet? I’m gonna buy mine right now!
Lemuria are accompanied on this tour by Prince, an Austin band whose band-naming motivation is totally confusing to me. I know lots of you are trying to make an “artist formerly known as” joke right now, but Prince Rogers Nelson went back to performing under his actual first name back in 2000, so all these guys have really accomplished is saddling themselves with a moniker that will make them doubly impossible to google. It’s a shame, too, because they are an excellent band, mixing upbeat pop-punk with the old-school punk sounds of The Damned, Generation X, and Stiff Little Fingers. The fact is, these guys rule–maybe even almost as much as the real Prince. Energetic punks Cross Eyed (featuring members of Hold Tight and Springtime) and Victory Party (who just dropped their debut album, which is great) will open this whole thing up.
Tuesday, December 23, 8 PM
The Congress, The Southern Belles @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The Congress are apparently from Richmond, though I never heard about them until after they already had moved to Denver, where they’ve been for several years now. However, they make it back to town on a regular basis, and it makes a ton of sense that they’d roll through right before Christmas. After all, they’ve probably got family in the area they’re planning to go see. First, though, they’ll rock out for all their old and new RVA fans at The Camel. These guys are very talented, and have been known to direct their musical energies in quite a few different directions, but in the live arena, you probably should expect some bluesy, funky, rock n’ roll of the classic persuasion. Think Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, stuff like that. These guys have plenty of covers in their repertoire with which to augment their original material, so they’ll surely show you a good time at this Christmas Eve Eve show.
They’ll be joined by a Richmond band with a very similar approach and mentality. If it’s still pretty easy to keep up with The Congress even though they’re living in Denver these days, it’s simplicity itself for RVA peeps to know exactly what’s going on with The Southern Belles. Their residencies at Cary Street Cafe and The Camel over the past couple of years have given the local scene frequent infusions of their psychedelic country/rock hybrid, and their constant touring has ensured that this quartet always hits the stage sounding their best. They’re the perfect band to join with The Congress in rocking all the RVA rock n’ rollers into the Christmas holiday, so celebrate what for many of us will be the last night of freedom before several days of hanging out with relatives by coming down to The Camel and letting loose!
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.