Friday, January 2, 10 PM
Occultist, Krang, Hoboknife @ Wonderland – price at door
So here it is–the first really great RVA metal show of the new year! And it’s happening at Wonderland, a venue whose future was uncertain at times in 2014.
Friday, January 2, 10 PM
Occultist, Krang, Hoboknife @ Wonderland – price at door
So here it is–the first really great RVA metal show of the new year! And it’s happening at Wonderland, a venue whose future was uncertain at times in 2014. After losing their liquor license last fall, Wonderland’s owner had to do a lot of no-doubt-obnoxious wrangling with local officials to get everything restored–which finally happened at the beginning of December. Things are running smoothly once again for the punkest bar in Shockoe Bottom, but I’m sure the months of lost sales didn’t help their overall situation, so you should definitely head down there this Friday night and grab some food and beverages before the show.
But don’t load up too heavily, because there’s a lot of raging metal for you to take in, and you’re going to want to be in proper fighting form. Of course, we all know how great Occultist is–their mix of d-beat crust, crossover thrash, and tinges of black metal was displayed to excellent effect on their 2013 full-length, Death Sigils, and they also bashed out a pretty great Plasmatics cover for their 2014 split with Baltimore’s Noisem. So yeah, by now you should be quite familiar–which is no excuse not to get your face ripped off by them once again on Friday!
Occultist will be accompanied on this bill by Chicago’s Krang, who will begin their two-week tour with Occultist on this very evening. The two bands are well-suited to share stages on a nightly basis; Krang’s mix of thrashy riffs and raw vocals, with the occasional dip into foreboding metal atmosphere, is very similar to that of Occultist, so if you dig one of these bands, you’ll surely enjoy both. Local metallers Hoboknife will start the whole thing off right, helping to propel all of us into a new year that will hopefully be better, more fun, and definitely more metal than the one before!
Wednesday, December 31, 9 PM
Jackass Flats, Matt Jones and The Bobs, Russell Lacy @ The Camel – $20 in advance, $25 at the door (order tickets HERE)
The final night of 2014 is certainly filled with a million happenings in which you could take part, and far be it from us to recommend you skip out on the RVA NYE celebration happening at Brown’s Island. But, on the off chance you’re more interested in live music within an enclosed and heated space than you are in standing outside in below-freezing temperatures, you can’t do better than heading over to the Camel and catching Jackass Flats’ very Beatles New Year celebration. These bluegrass boys from out Sandston way will be foregoing their usual repertoire to bring all in attendance a set of Beatles tunes with which to say goodbye to 2014 once and for all. The poster features a quote from “I’ve Got A Feeling” (no it is NOT a Black Eyed Peas song), so you can probably expect that one to make the set list. Beyond that, your guess is as good as ours, so let’s all head down to the Camel tomorrow night and find out!
We’ll also get to enjoy a set from Matt Jones and the Bobs, a Radford-based country/bluegrass crew who will certainly have some original material to share with us from their debut album, Brother’s Hymn, which they released earlier in 2014. Their toe-tapping tunes will surely fill any void that may be left by Jackass Flats’ choice to forgo their own tunes in favor of a Beatles set, so if that thought was worrying you, worry no more! On top of all that, local singer/songwriter Russell Lacy, he of Grease Trigger notoriety, will be on hand to open up the show with some solo songs. You can also expect a champagne toast (free with ticket purchase) and some hors d’ouevres to nosh on, so come prepared to ring in the new year, let your hair down, and have a good time.
Thursday, January 1, 9 PM
The Big Payback, The Flavor Project @ The Camel – $7
If the last night of the old year is a good night to party, then certainly the first night of the new year offers just as good an excuse–and the Big Payback are here to make sure you spend the first night of 2015 dancing your ass off. Their Champagne Campaign will take over the Camel this Thursday night with a ton of James Brown tunes brought to you by a cast of local music superstars! Holidays are always a good time for tribute bands, and it’s impossible not to get down when James Brown’s music is playing. What more convincing do you need?
If indeed you do need any, The Flavor Project might be able to provide. This crew, led by local musical mainstay Gabriel Santamaria, incorporates male and female vocals, funky wah-wah guitar, a crack horn section, and influences running from soul to Latin jazz to hip hop. You may not know their music as well as you know The Big Payback’s, but they’ve got plenty of funky grooves to get stuck in your head and help you warm up for an evening of nonstop dance action. So after you’ve spent a long day gorging on college football playoffs and delivery pizza, come out to the Camel and get ready to sweat away all those calories you’ve spent the day taking in. It’ll be good for your body and your soul.
Friday, January 2, 9 PM
Proxy, Unholy Thoughts, Lost Tribe, Slugz @ Strange Matter – $10
Once the holidays are over, it’s back to business as usual, and over at Strange Matter this Friday night that means hardcore punk. Montreal’s Proxy will be hitting town, and while I can’t quite figure out why all of their song titles are listed in both English and Russian on their Bandcamp page, I know one thing for sure–this band has spent a good bit of time listening to Motorhead. I think there are probably some early 80s UK and Scandinavian hardcore influences rolled up into their sound, but those rollicking basslines and gravelly-yet-melodic vocals just make me think “Lemmy” every time. So if you like Motorhead (and who the hell doesn’t?), you really need to be at Strange Matter for these guys’ set.
Let’s be real, though, you also need to be there for three of the best hardcore punk bands making music in Richmond today. Unholy Thoughts are carrying on that blazing old-school hardcore tradition that’s been a Richmond calling card since the early 2000s at least. Members of Government Warning and Southside Stranglers being in this band just makes their ability to knock out two-minute ragers with aplomb that much more predictable. Lost Tribe have been taking things in a more gothic direction for years now with their smoke machines and spooky, atmospheric keyboards, and the recent release of their full-length, Solace, only solidifies their already formidable reputation. Slugz will kick things off with their own brand of fast, melodic punk tunes, which were also spotlighted on their recent full-length, a self-titled effort released by Feel It Records. Plenty of snot n’ spit goes into making these guys the rippers they are, so bring a bandana and get ready to circle pit.
Saturday, January 3, 9 PM
Violent Outburst, Semper Eadem, RHDP, Omega Boys @ Strange Matter – $7
That’s right, it’s the second half of a hardcore doubleheader happening at Strange Matter this weekend. If Friday night was raging, this will be downright brutal. Violent Outburst have been somewhat elusive in recent months–as tends to be the case with some of these super-angry hardcore bands, I’ve found, so you better see ’em while you can this Saturday night. This old-school crew of Negative Approach fans, featuring members of Wasted Time, Socialcide, Mad World, and other great angry hardcore bands from VA, are here to bring you all the jams from the EP they put out last year known as Survival Signs. And since that EP crammed four songs into somewhere around 9 minutes of vinyl, you can probably expect a few other songs too. Get ready to point fingers and scream along.
There are other rippers of a similar bent filling up the bill on this no-frills evening of beatdown music. Semper Eadem, who hail from DC, have that same sort of early 80s hardcore riffing going on, but bring a hint of Oi with the football-chant-ish vocal styles. RHDP have a bit of an Asian flair to their metallic hardcore, but are actually from Virginia Beach–and probably own a Teengenerate record for every Gauze record in their collection, if my ears can be trusted. Finally, we’ve got RVA locals Omega Boys, featuring dudes from Flickerflame and the Goddmamn Wolves (or The Ladies and Sonic Nectar, for those of you with short memories) getting fast and hectic with some excellent riffs. This show’s gonna knock you on your ass.
Monday, January 5, 7 PM
Shy Low, A Film In Color, Lotus Grid @ Gallery 5 – $5
Ambient post-rock will be the thing this Monday night at Gallery 5, when locals Shy Low join forces with New Jersey’s A Film In Color to bring all assembled an evening of epic instrumentals guaranteed to make you feel things. If you checked out our recent print issue, you know the deal with Shy Low’s impending full-length, and you can probably expect to learn a good bit more about it from their set this Monday night. And if Shy Low have a bit of a Godspeed You Black Emperor thing going on (always nice), then A Film In Color are more like an even heavier Mogwai, lulling you into complacency with moody, quiet moments before hitting you with the walls of downbeat distortion and sad shoegaze riffs.
Lotus Grid are local openers using analog synth soundscapes to channel Brian Eno’s music for airports, which is sometimes underpinned by a programmed backbeat. You can learn plenty more from their recent two-song, 15-minute EP Spirit Dive, but I must confess, I’m writing this paragraph in a rather loud internet cafe, and I can barely distinguish this group’s music from the plentiful background noise. Honestly, that seems like a point in their favor–and at Gallery 5 next Monday, there’ll be way fewer distractions to keep you from getting on Lotus Grid’s level.
Tuesday, January 6, 7 PM
The Kairos Effect, Born Crooked, Sunrise Detour @ The Camel – $5
No subgenres of any kind happening here–Tuesday night at the Camel just brings us an evening of straight up rock music. The Kairos Effect headline the evening, taking a trip down from Charlottesville to introduce RVA to the sounds from their new album, Eternal Sound Within. The quartet introduces relatively unexpected instruments (banjo, mandolin) to their catchy, upbeat tunes, but what really sticks with you is how catchy it all is. These guys come prepared to rock you–hopefully you’ll be ready for them.
Born Crooked are also headed down from the west-central Virginia area, hailing from Orange County–which is right next to the county where I went to high school (Greene) and might be even more rural. Therefore it is fitting that this duo has some raw, raunchy blues tunes to lay on us all. While you might think “White Stripes” when you see their instrumental configuration (bassless duo featuring male guitarist/singer and female drummer), there are two important differences between Born Crooked and that defunct Detroit outfit. For one thing, Born Crooked hew much more closely to classic blues song structures. For another, drummer ARE can actually bust out some pretty decent fills (sorry, Meg White). There’s plenty of old-time grit in the nooks and crannies of Born Crooked’s music–fans of PBR (People’s Blues of Richmond… or, hell, Pabst Blue Ribbon too) should certainly enjoy it. Sunrise Detour kicks off this evening of rockin’ tunes. Yo, get into it.
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