Saturday, December 27, 8 PM
Butcher Brown, Avers, Sam Reed Syndicate @ The Camel – $7
The week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is always going to be a bit of a weird one, due to traveling, family functions, weird work hours, traffic, etc. But writing this week off as a total loss for live music would be a big mistake.
Saturday, December 27, 8 PM
Butcher Brown, Avers, Sam Reed Syndicate @ The Camel – $7
The week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is always going to be a bit of a weird one, due to traveling, family functions, weird work hours, traffic, etc. But writing this week off as a total loss for live music would be a big mistake. If you’ve been following the local RVA music scene at all over the past few months, then you know just how interesting this triple bill will be. Getting the opportunity to see heavy hitters from completely different scenes come together for an evening of collaborative entertainment is a rare treat, and you’re going to want to be there to catch the unique results.
Butcher Brown, of course, are the flagship band for new RVA label Jellowstone, which began less than a year ago but has made a big splash in the local scene (as can be seen in the cover story from our latest print issue–read it here if you haven’t already). Led by Jellowstone studio mastermind Devonne Harris, this keyboard-driven jazz quartet will bring the funk in a major way when they hit the stage. And if recent performances are any indication, you can expect some talented guests from the Jellowstone family to be on board as well–Reggie Pace and Marcus Tenney of No BS! Brass Band being the most likely suspects.
Avers is a completely different sort of band–a sextet that brings together members of several local indie bands (Hypercolor, The Trillions, The Head And The Heart, Farm Vegas, etc) to create hazy, hypnotic psychedelia. Having played their first show almost exactly one year before this Broadberry appearance, Avers will be in a celebratory mood. They’ll be bringing us standout tunes from their debut album, Empty Light, plus in all likelihood some of the new tunes they’ve got waiting in the wings for a followup. On top of all that, they too will have Marcus Tenney, Reggie Pace, and possibly Devonne Harris sitting in for a couple of songs, so we’ll all get to see what happens when Avers and Jellowstone come together. With Photosynthesizers vocalist Sam Reed leading her solo project, the Sam Reed Syndicate, through an opening set, this evening will be complete. So shake off your post-Christmas lassitude and head out to the Camel Saturday night!
Friday, December 26, 8 PM
Sleepwalkers, New Boss, Kitten N’ Heat @ The Broadberry – $7 (order tickets HERE)
It’s an age-old story–you set aside several days for festive togetherness around the Christmas holiday, but by the afternoon of December 26, you’ve played with all your new toys and you’re bored. Not to worry, RVA music fans–Sleepwalkers have you covered! The official Sleepwalkers Day After Christmas party is happening at the Broadberry Friday night, and it’s the perfect cure for your post-holiday stir-craziness! I’m sure it’s no surprise that a group who began their recording career with a Christmas single last year is throwing a holiday-related live showcase–and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see these guys bust out their 2014 Christmas single, “Under The Christmas Tree,” for this set as well. So show up with plenty of Christmas spirit in tow. And of course, be prepared to hear a whole bunch of tunes from their rockin’ 2014 debut album, Greenwood Shade, as well!
New Boss will also be performing at this post-Christmas get-together, and these Charlottesvillains are fully prepared to rock RVA with their toe-tapping brand of noise pop. This sextet mixes fuzzed-out guitars with lovely female vocals and bouncy melodies in a manner that should easily appeal to fans of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart or Veronica Falls. I know a lot less about Kitten N’ Heat–their name is a clever pun, but beyond that google yields only listings for this very show. So they’ll be a total surprise for all involved, but knowing Sleepwalkers’ impeccable taste, it’s sure to be a pleasant one.
Friday, December 26, 9 PM
Prisoner, Captives, Prayer Group, Flesh Control, Coteries @ Strange Matter – $5
Meanwhile, the day after Christmas brings business as usual for the local punk/metal/noise scene–so if spending a day or two with your relatives has left you in the perfect mood for headbanging and circle pits, head over to Strange Matter for Prisoner’s winter tour kickoff show. With the weather looking totally gross here in RVA, these dudes are heading south to bring their harsh biker crust jams to sunny Florida (and several other places on the East Coast). They’ll be warming up at the top of this five-band bill, and if you want to get rolled over by some of the most dark and brutal hardcore since the last Tragedy LP came out, make sure you’re in attendance.
Prisoner will be accompanied on this bill by several other local groups dispensing harsh noise of all types. Captives have a bit more of a black metal tinge to their dark, heavy, sped-up hardcore/metal hybrid, but will certainly please everyone looking for even more loud brutal rage than Prisoner is already planning to offer up. Prayer Group don’t have any music online that I can find, but the fact that they feature members of Gifts From Enola and Equestrians leads me to expect a bit more of an epic sound from these guys. Flesh Control has been laying waste to RVA venues with his unique brand of improvised noise for years now, so if you haven’t experienced that yet, you need to get on board. Finally, Coteries are a new noise ensemble who’ll start the evening by blowing out the eardrums of anyone not adequately prepared. Bring your earplugs and wear your steel-toed boots to this one.
Saturday, December 27, 8 PM
She’s A Legend, Keep, Pillowtalk, Rhombus, Secret Stuff @ Strange Matter – $7
It’s taken me a while to catch up with She’s A Legend. This local band has been showing up on bills around town for a while, and after a while I couldn’t help but take notice. Their complex yet poppy alt-rock sound is showcased well on their recent album, Flight Patterns & Fistfights, and since these guys have recently moved to Charlottesville, you should definitely take advantage of the fact that they’ll be back in town this weekend to learn more about what they have going on. They’re just one of several different traveling bands rolling through town to play on this bill, though. Keep, which features members of Turnover, will be heading up from VA Beach, and they’ll be laying some totally spaced-out melodies, interspersed with walls of gorgeous shoegaze noise, on us all.
There will be bands from outside Virginia playing too–Memphis’s Pillowtalk has a similar sort of appeal as Keep, but are slightly less shoegaze and slightly more post-rock influenced. Think Moving Mountains or Junius rather than Whirr or Nothing. Then there’s Secret Stuff, an emo band from Nashville who’ll be starting things off. Finally, fuzzy indie rockers Rhombus are another VA band–though with a home address in Chesapeake, they’re also going to be traveling. Perhaps on this show, it’s the bands who are trying to get away from their families after Christmas.
Sunday, December 28, 7 PM
Dark Star Orchestra @ The National – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK, I have a confession to make, and hopefully it doesn’t ruin my punk cred forever. I’ve been kinda getting into the Grateful Dead recently. Not like new favorite band status or anything–let’s not get crazy. The goofy excesses and annoying hillbilly bounce of their worst material still bums me out (side 3 of Live/Dead is awful), but I’ve finally started to see why so many people actually like them, and I have listened to them a whole bunch over the last 6 months or so. With Jerry Garcia nearly 20 years gone, I’ll never get to see a real Dead show myself, but this Sunday, RVA will have the opportunity to check out the next best thing–a performance by long-running Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra.
I don’t know, maybe you’ve really got to buy into the whole Deadhead trip to appreciate what these guys do–I’m sure it will seem bizarre to some of you. But those who are wondering what took me so long will probably appreciate this. See, what Dark Star Orchestra do is pick out a particular Grateful Dead live set from some point in their lengthy career as constantly touring jam warriors, and replicate it in its entirety for their own performance. For example, just in the past month, they’ve done sets the Dead played in 1982, 1973, and 1979. What past Dead date will they recreate here in RVA next Sunday? You’ll have to show up to find out, but regardless, this first show on DSO’s Cosmic New Year’s Tour should certainly be a mind-expanding trip. (As long as they don’t play “Turn On Your Love Light.” Ugh.)
Monday, December 29, 9 PM
Matt Conner, Alison Self, SLA @ Sound Of Music – $5
Next week’s gonna be weird, because we’re all gonna have to go back to work despite the impending spectacle of debauchery and sleep deprivation that is New Year’s Eve, looming midweek to take down the unwary. With all that going on, you may not want to kick off your week with anything too heavy–and if that’s how you’re feeling, this show at Sound Of Music Studios will be perfect for you. Matt Conner is probably better known around town for his loud and heavy work as the frontman for stoner rockers RPG, but he’s been doing solo acoustic gigs for the past few years, quietly building up a solid repertoire of mournful country-style tunes that should be appreciated by any local fans of Tim Barry’s solo work. This show is apparently his last time performing as a solo act, at least for the foreseeable future, so if you enjoy his quieter material, you better show up to Sound Of Music next Monday–otherwise, who knows when you’ll hear it again.
Alison Self has no plans to quit anytime soon, and if there’s one thing her career as an old-time country/folk singer around town has proven, it’s that she always finds a way to bring the tunes to the people of Richmond. From excellent originals to classics by the Carter Family and Patsy Cline, Alison’s always got some great songs in store for you, and this show should be no different. SLA, about whom I know nothing other than the fact that Patty Hearst is presumably NOT a member, will open this whole thing up.
Tuesday, December 30, 8 PM
Fear Of Music, Toxic Moxie @ The Broadberry – $7
Yup, it’s another tribute band–the second in three days. But just as Dark Star Orchestra are from from “just another tribute band,” Fear Of Music has some pretty standout qualities that make them well worth your time–and not just the fact that you’ll never see a live set by the real Talking Heads again, either. This band brings together members of quite a few talented local groups, of several different genres–Bio Ritmo, Hypercolor, and DJ Williams Projekt, just to name a few. That musicians from funk, salsa, and indie/psych groups would all come together to recreate the music of the Talking Heads just makes sense when you think about it–after all, Talking Heads encompassed all those genres and more in their best work. And Fear Of Music will remind you all over again why Talking Heads are so important to the past 40 years of musical history.
Toxic Moxie is not a tribute band but a young up-and-coming local act with a whole bunch of great original material. They’re also the perfect opener for Fear Of Music, as they’re the first current RVA band I’d point to as an example of modern musicians carrying on the Talking Heads legacy. They’ve got the perfect mixture of funky groove and postpunk fire, and Sera Stavroula’s voice overtop of it all is just about the most awesome thing possible. It may be “Burning Down the House” or “Girlfriend Is Better” that you show up for, but Toxic Moxie are gonna be a big part of the evening, be sure of that. Whether you’re already a rabid fan or have yet to be converted, this is a band you won’t wanna miss.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]