Sunday, December 27, 11:30 AM
Sunday Brunch feat. Camp Howard, Night Idea, The Wimps @ The Camel – Free!
It’s appropriate that this column runs on Wednesday, as the divide between pre-Christmas business as usual and Christmas-week slowdown really became obvious between Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. In fact, things don’t really pick back up here in RVA until Sunday.
Sunday, December 27, 11:30 AM
Sunday Brunch feat. Camp Howard, Night Idea, The Wimps @ The Camel – Free!
It’s appropriate that this column runs on Wednesday, as the divide between pre-Christmas business as usual and Christmas-week slowdown really became obvious between Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. In fact, things don’t really pick back up here in RVA until Sunday. Everyone’s gotta go back to work as usual on Monday after the long Christmas weekend, but if you were planning to take it slow on Sunday, spending most of the day gathering up your stuff and making your way back from your parents’ house (or, alternately, sleeping til noon and not putting on real clothes until just before dinner), you should consider an alternative plan in light of what’s going on at the Camel that day.
Usually, the Camel’s Sunday brunch entertainment is just some pleasant background music from talented instrumentalists around the scene who are taking it easy and providing nice atmosphere for your hangover eggs. But this Sunday caps off Christmas weekend with a proper show featuring multiple excellent local bands, all kicking off before noon! Singer-songwriter Nic Perea will be bringing out his super-tight alt-pop band, Camp Howard, to perform for you. These guys have some lovely sounds with which to grace your eardrums; you can easily continue your conversation during their set, but I have a feeling you’ll soon find yourself listening more closely.
There’s plenty more where that came from, too! The boys of Night Idea will be dishing out some math-rock to go along with your various fried pork products. And The Wimps will kick the day off at the crack of noon with some pleasant power-pop tuneage. The whole thing is free, so you can spend your Christmas cash on a heaping plate of breakfast food–and some delicious craft beer, if that’s your thing. Ease your way back into normal, post-holiday life by having a pleasant morning with great music and great pals at The Camel!
Wednesday, December 23, 9 PM
Charles Owens Quartet @ Balliceaux – Free!
If you’re down for some live music over the next few days, you really can’t do better than enjoying some nice relaxing jazz sounds to get you into the Christmas spirit. Charles Owens and his new Quartet have some of that for you tonight at Balliceaux. Those keeping up with every move the Jellowstone crew makes (and if that isn’t you, wake up already!) are doubtless already aware of Owens’s recent Trio record on Jellowstone, A Day With Us, in which saxophonist Owens joins up with Butcher Brown members Andrew Randazzo and Devonne Harris to lay down some excellent bebop sounds. The Quartet is largely the same group, only with Harris moving from drums to Fender Rhodes electric piano and Kings/Big Payback superstar Kelli Strawbridge taking his place behind the kit.
So what do these four virtuosos have on offer for you on the night before Christmas Eve? You might well expect some Christmas standards done up jazz-style–and you’ll almost certainly get what you expect in that department. But the group also has some smooth and delicious arrangements of popular rock n’ soul songs to offer you, as you can see by checking out their latest demo on Soundcloud. Everything from The Beatles to Marvin Gaye promises to appear on the set list, and you might just catch some fine original tunes thrown in there as well! So come see what the latest addition to the Jellowstone roster has to offer, and ease on into your holiday weekend.
Thursday, December 24, 9 PM
DJ Williams Projekt @ The Camel – Free!
A lot of us will be making lengthy commutes in order to see family and/or friends over the Christmas holidays, so Richmond may very well empty out a bit on Christmas Eve. But if you’re sticking around town and don’t have to stay home and set up some elaborate bonanza for your kids to find under the tree in the morning, you can’t do much better than heading out to The Camel and spending the night before Christmas with the DJ Williams Projekt.
You may be aware of DJ Williams due to his role in Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, or just because he shows up all over town on a regular basis, jamming with groups like Mekong Xpress and the Big Payback. But when he’s in the driver’s seat, his talents really come to the fore. Soul, jazz, rock n’ roll and more all get thrown into the musical blender to produce a high quality jam session incorporating some of the most talented musicians in the city, aka Williams’ backing band. And the show is free, so you really can’t afford to miss it! Unless you’re going to be stuck in traffic on 95 at that point, of course…
Sunday, December 27, 9 PM
Joey Molinaro, Flesh Control, Yohimbe, Mu Zak City, Fake Object, Negative Space @ Strange Matter – $7
Sunday night brings us back to a somewhat normal state of affairs in the RVA music scene, and brings my column to the first show of the week you’ll actually have to pay money for. It’s a hell of a show, too, as one-man grindcore juggernaut Joey Molinaro hits town with violin in hand to give you one of the weirdest metal sets you’ve ever seen. Molinaro has grind cred–his work appeared on Gridlink’s outstanding 2014 album Longhena, and he’s released some pretty wild solo stuff in his own right. I just discovered his I Who Will Forever Evil Yet Do Forever Good album from this past summer, and it’s been blowing my mind with its strange combination of dissonant violin like something out of Niccolo Paganini’s nightmares, blasting drum machines, and high-pitched screamed vocals to delight fans of Jerome’s Dream, or alternately, Macabre. This is sick shit.
There’s a ton of other sick shit on the bill too, with something like half a dozen of RVA’s best noise maniacs lining up to provide entertainment of the harshest, heaviest sort as openers for Mr. Molinaro. Flesh Control is the one you’re most likely to know–Leo Heinzel’s been practicing his dark arts around this town for a number of years now, and a lot of you already know the kind of noisy transcendence to expect from this one. Fake Object, who I primarily know for their split with fellow RVA noisenik Coteries, will perform as well, as will Yohimbe, Mu Zak City, and Negative Space. I’m not really even sure what to expect from those last few, but experimentation seems to be the order of the day, so be prepared–it’s gonna blow you away.
Monday, December 28, 6:30 PM
Capsize, The Obsolete Man, Ruin, Born Hollow, Set For Tomorrow @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I will straight up admit that I’m a new convert to the cause of Equal Vision recording artists Capsize. I don’t think I’d even heard them a week ago. But then I discovered their brand new single, “You Won’t Come Home The Same,” and realized that they’re one of the best bands in the world of melodic, emotional hardcore right now. If you disagree, maybe we just have divergent tastes, but you better click that link first and make sure, because holy hell that is a great song. In the heavier parts, I hear classic heavy hardcore sounds that could easily have been drawn from bands like Hope Conspiracy or Unbroken. The melodic choruses, with their mixture of clean vocals and passionate screams, are closer to prime-era Underoath–a band I’ve sorely missed since their departure.
I’ve listened to a whole bunch of earlier Capsize material since hearing the new single, and I now feel qualified to say that it both carries on a consistent path of solid material that this band’s been on for a while, and represents a new apex in their sound. Suffice to say, I’m sold, and you’ll probably see me at this show Monday night (depending on how much Xmas loot I bring in, of course). You’ll definitely see a whole bunch of other VA metalcore bands on the bill, most of which I hadn’t previously heard. Lynchburg’s The Obsolete Man win the award for best Twilight Zone reference (and have some pretty sick vocals), while Ruin wins the “ungoogleable band name” trophy for 2015. Usually when I give bands shit for being ungoogleable, it’s because it took me 5 minutes instead of 5 seconds to find their website. I was literally unable to find Ruin’s website AT ALL. So yeah, I have no idea what they sound like. But fuck it, Capsize is reason enough to attend this show all by themselves. Make it so!
Tuesday, December 29, 8 PM
Furnsss, Cool Dad, Young Scum, Colin Thibodeauxx @ Strange Matter – $5
Lo-fi indie pop really has become a thing over the past few years. It’s been a real surprise to me, to see so many younger kids picking up guitars for the first time and coming out with songs that sound like The Modern Lovers and The Vaselines. Maybe the kids have discovered K Records, or their dad’s Velvet Underground albums (reissues from the 90s, because their dads are my age… eep), but whatever’s causing the situation, it’s resulting in some really pleasant sounds that I am looking forward to more of. Furnsss and Cool Dad, who are hitting Strange Matter next Tuesday, are familiar to me because they’ve both played my living room at some point. It’s good to see these Connecticut-based bands graduate to club shows. And it’s definitely cool that now a lot more of you will get a chance to find out what they have to offer–which is definitely great.
Also, if you haven’t caught on to the whole Young Scum thing, this is your perfect opportunity. I’ve told you about these guys before, and how good the two split EPs they released this summer both were. If you didn’t heed my advice then, now’s the time, because this band is only going upwards from here. Jump on the bandwagon now so you can say you were into them before everyone else. And catch the opening set from Colin Thibodeauxx, a singer-songwriter with a talented backing band who’ll get your feet tapping. It’s kind of amazing that a show which could have taken place in my living room last summer is now happening at Strange Matter–I’m glad to see all of these bands gaining traction. Be part of the movement, and come spend your Tuesday night dancing to these fine pop sounds! This show is sure to make you smile.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]