Saturday, January 31, 9 PM
Evan Dando, Sara Johnston, Long Arms @ The Camel – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Some might say this recommendation is pure nostalgia–and listen, I get that. It’s been nearly a decade since Evan Dando has released any new original material, either as a solo artist or as the frontman for his longtime band The Lemonheads. But isn’t there something to be said for celebrating the classic, timeless work of a truly great American singer-songwriter?
Saturday, January 31, 9 PM
Evan Dando, Sara Johnston, Long Arms @ The Camel – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Some might say this recommendation is pure nostalgia–and listen, I get that. It’s been nearly a decade since Evan Dando has released any new original material, either as a solo artist or as the frontman for his longtime band The Lemonheads. But isn’t there something to be said for celebrating the classic, timeless work of a truly great American singer-songwriter? Albums like It’s A Shame About Ray and Come On Feel The Lemonheads may be regarded as buzz-bin relics today–you certainly can get CD copies of both for a penny each on Amazon (and if you don’t have them already, I highly recommend doing so)–but that takes nothing away from how brilliant songs like “Confetti” and “The Great Big No” are, to say nothing of lesser-known classics like “Half The Time” or “Mallo Cup.” You better believe I am excited about this show.
While rumors abounded a few years ago that Dando was getting back together with talented onetime bandmates Juliana Hatfield and Ben Deily to make a new Lemonheads album with Ryan Adams producing, that totally amazing proposition has not come to pass at this point, and Dando’s back to touring solo. But let’s be real–even the Lemonheads albums that are just Evan and a bunch of dudes have some great songs on them, and it’s not like the man won’t be able to play all the tunes you know from his classic early-90s era. Evan Dando’s hardly the most industrious of dudes, so chances are it’ll be tough to get him out of bed and back to Richmond on tour anytime soon–you better go see him while he’s here!
Dando will be joined on this current jaunt by regular touring partner Sara Johnston, a Montreal singer-songwriter who originally gained fame singing with Bran Van 3000–remember them? You can call them a 90s buzz-bin relic if you want, I won’t be offended. But give Sara Johnston’s haunting solo work a listen, because it really is the sort of thing that will stick with you. And opening up this whole evening will be Long Arms, who are kind of the post-Ben Deily Lemonheads to James Menefee’s Evan Dando (Fun Size are the Ben Deily-era Lemonheads in this analogy). I always compare Menefee’s country-tinged wistful rock n’ roll to Paul Westerberg, and that’s still a legit comparison, but he’s certainly the most obvious choice for an RVA songwriter to open up for Evan Dando. So if you know the Lemonheads but don’t know Long Arms yet, show up on time, because their opening set is sure to make you happy.
Wednesday, January 28, 8:30 PM
World/Inferno Friendship Society, Everymen, Toxic Moxie @ The Camel – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Ladies and gentlemen, the punk rock circus is in town, and all are welcome to come dance, frolic, and lose your cares–at least on a temporary basis–as World/Inferno Friendship Society takes the stage at The Camel tonight. Featuring anywhere up to a dozen members at any given time, this group is led by punk rock raconteur Jack Terricloth (whom I remember from his previous life as the singer for Sticks And Stones, because I am a hundred years old) and mixes an undeniable punk energy and worldview with influences from jazz, klezmer, and other European folk styles of the faster and more frenetic variety. Then they get up onstage in period costumes, wielding violins, organs, accordions, and all sorts of other random instruments, and proceed to tear the whole house down. Tonight you’ll hear tunes from last year’s This Packed Funeral LP, as well as all sorts of classics drawn from their nearly 20 years of existence–and if you come dressed up and prepared to dance, you’ll have even more fun. So do it!
Florida’s Everymen will also be along for this extravaganza, and this fired-up acoustic punk crew are on much the same wavelength as World/Inferno, mixing their crusty-punk background with all sorts of traditional instruments to make a loud, speedy clatter and get everyone bouncing up and down. Toxic Moxie will open the show with a similar energy level, though these guys stick with thoroughly modern instruments and create a synth-driven funk/punk stew that is a guaranteed eye-opener. They’ll get you warmed up for all the chaos that is to come and make sure that this evening is packed full of opportunities for dancing from beginning to end. Wear comfortable shoes, folks, because your feet are going to be moving all night!
Thursday, January 29, 9 PM
Adia Victoria (Photo by Brett Warren Photography Emporium, Alison Self, The Foam, Goat @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets here: https://adia.eventbrite.com/)
Thursday night, Adia Victoria arrives at Strange Matter to tell you all about Southern hell–which being from Richmond you may already know everything about, but at least we’ll be able to commiserate with her bluesy tunes about that particularly Southern brand of frustration and heartache we’ve all at least heard about. Her single “Stuck In The South” reminds me of the Black Keys after too many depressed evenings listening to NoLA sludge metal; it’s got that Flannery O’Connor dripping-cypress gloom to it, you know? Seeing it live (and getting to know the rest of her catalogue, which is tough to find online for the most part) will be quite the experience.
Victoria’s joined on her trip through town by some talented local Richmonders, foremost among them Alison Self. This old-time folk/country singer-songwriter often takes the stage joined by an upright bassist and a violin player, and she may have that going on Thursday night or might just be playing a solo set. Either way, be sure you’ll get a more traditional take on the heartaches and frustrations of the Old South from Self. The show opens up with a couple of relatively new groups. The Foam, who feature members of Wolf//Goat and Fat Spirit (fka Heavy Midgets), will lay down some catchy alt-rock tunes for you, while Goat (who are not the Swedish psychedelic group signed to Sub Pop, but will probably be hearing from that group soon) get funky with some piano-driven jams.
Friday, January 30, 9 PM
Suburban Living, White Laces, The Snowy Owls @ Strange Matter – $7
Virginia Beach-based indie-electronic band Suburban Living released their self-titled debut full-length yesterday, and they’re coming to town Friday night to celebrate! A project led by Wesley Bunch, who plays all of the instruments himself in the studio but recruits a backing band for live performances, Suburban Living do a great job of recreating the underground postpunk sound that hovered under the radar in the 80s at the same time the mainstream was falling in love with “New Wave.” Don’t think Duran Duran or New Order (well, maybe New Order a little bit), think The Chameleons or Echo And The Bunnymen. Definitely expect some soaring guitars and toe-tapping choruses from these guys.
You can expect much the same, complete with electronic interjections, from White Laces, a local group who by now should need no introduction. Their second full-length, Trance, was one of the best records of any genre to come out of RVA last year, incorporating the band’s loud-guitar roots with their love for electronic textures and dynamic shifts from tense ambience to walls of distorted noise. They’ll hit you with all of that and more on Friday night, and Snowy Owls will join them to reacquaint RVA with their own brand of fuzz-guitar shoegaze. We’re still looking for that new Snowy Owls album, but hopefully the songs will at least get taken out for a preview on this lovely night.
Saturday, January 31, 7 PM
Butcher Brown, Night Idea, Lucy Dacus @ Gallery 5 – $5
Jellowstone’s in the house, y’all! Further showcasing their eclectic tastes and love for all things RVA, the funk/jazz quartet at the heart of the Jellowstone Records movement will be arriving at Gallery 5 on Saturday night to take us all on a soulful excursion. That’s right, Butcher Brown’s gonna be in the house, and the usual suspects may very well turn up to join them. Regardless of whether folks like Marcus Tenney, Reggie Pace, and Kelli Strawbridge make it to the stage, though, the capable instrumentalists in Butcher Brown are sure to have the whole place grooving to their smooth tuneage.
And as I previously mentioned, this will be an eclectic night indeed. Rather than being joined by other Jellowstone groups or even other members of the local jazz/funk/hip hop scene, Butcher Brown is performing this night in the company of Night Idea, a math-rockin’ quartet with a progressive indie lineage. This is a totally surprising mix of musical styles, but I for one love the idea. Both bands are very instrumentally proficient, and both will dazzle with technical virtuosity that in no way impede their facility with catchy grooves. Night Idea, by the way, will be celebrating the release of their 2013 digital-only album Paths on cassette by local label Hand To Mouth Tapes. If, like me, you want the music you like in physical form, you’re gonna want to come out and grab yourself a copy of this tape, because it is excellent. Talented young RVA singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus, whose music will fit equally well with both of these bands, will open up the show–get there in time for that, because this is a name you’ll be hearing more often in the future.
Sunday, February 1, 9 PM
Ringworm, Unsacred, Holy Land, Regulator @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://ringworm.eventbrite.com/)
Yeah, I know, Ringworm have been here relatively recently, in the company of Eyehategod–and I told you to go to that show back then. But look, I get it, not everyone loves depressive, agonizing sludge metal. So if you skipped it–or even if you didn’t–you really should show up at Strange Matter this Sunday and catch this headlining set from Ringworm. While they may look like the most metal dudes ever in the above photo, Ringworm actually dates back to the dawn of the 90s, when the Cleveland hardcore scene was the toughest in the country and the moshiest hardcore bands in that town were way ahead of the curve when it came to embracing the ways of (pseudo/quasi?) Satanic thrash metal. Integrity will forever be the kingpins, but Ringworm stands a close second, and there are many who will argue that last year’s Hammer Of The Witch finds Ringworm in finer form than Integrity at this late date. They’re certainly in fine enough form that you should take advantage of any opportunity to see The Human Furnace and company decimate a stage.
Unsacred is perfect accompaniment on this bill–another formerly-somewhat-hardcore band that’s gone full-on brutal metal. Since stripping down to a three-piece and releasing their debut LP, False Light, on Forcefield Records a couple months ago, these guys have made quite the impression in the American black metal scene. And while I can still hear a bit of crust/hardcore lurking in the depths of their new material, I can’t deny that their claim to be full-on black metal is totally legit. Get ready to be blasted outta the place by these guys. And get stoked for opening sets from Holy Land, who just released a new EP further cementing their status as torchbearers of early 90s Mean Season-style progressive moshcore; and Regulator, who carry Meth Lab’s Chris Henley forward in his quest to create the meanest old-school hardcore band ever.
Monday, February 2, 8 PM
Minimum Balance, Obsidian, Solace Sovay @ The Camel – Free!
So this Monday is Groundhog Day–a holidday that at this point is probably better remembered for a movie in which Bill Murray relives the same day over and over for a thousand years than for the actual event which gave it its name. And that’s probably for the best, since the whole ritual around whether or not a rodent will see his shadow, and what that means for the continuation of winter, is (let’s face it) pretty silly. But hey, if you’re gonna get stuck in a day forever, you could do a lot worse than to be stuck with this particular show as your evening’s entertainment. After all, it’s free, and it features three entertaining local bands that shouldn’t get boring until night 542 or so of your endless Monday.
Minimum Balance are the headliners, and their catchy alt-rock tunes are pretty laid-back but certainly custom designed to stick in your head all day. Then there’s Obsidian, another local crew with a tendency towards dueling lead guitar lines and chunky choruses. I think there might be some serious funk-metal influence at work here, but I’ve only heard one song, so I can’t really be sure yet. Let’s all go find out! I know exactly how I feel about Solace Sovay, though, and those feelings are 100% positive; I’ve seen them do a drummerless set and a set as a full band, and both times they captivated with shoegazey guitar fuzz and lovely vocal melodies. Hopefully they’ll have a drummer at this show, though, because if I’m gonna see them a hundred thousand times before Tuesday finally gets here, I’d rather see them that way. Hell, by day 800 or so, I may very well be able to play drums on their songs myself.
Tuesday, February 3, 8 PM
Cult Of Youth, Hive Mind, Lost Tribe, Daggering @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://cultofdance.eventbrite.com/)
Brooklyn goth-punks Cult Of Youth are coming to town, and they’re issuing a clarion call to all of you who long for the days of bands like Zounds, Amebix, and Flux Of Pink Indians. This band’s jittery, spooky sound has that same nervous postpunk energy that fueled all the classic early 80s UK anarcho bands, but they turn it towards a simultaneously darker and more melodic feel that gives them some kind of apocalyptic dance feel. Plus, these guys play acoustic guitars, so there’s a weird neo-folk edge to what they’re doing as well. It’s strange, it’s a bit out of time, and it’s definitely got an undertone of antisocial paranoia and nihilism. You know if you like this kind of stuff, but really, if you have good taste, you should.
Cult Of Youth will be joined on this tour by Hive Mind, a power electronics project led by Greh Holger of tape label Chondritic Sound. Power electronics is another style you know whether you like–personally, I don’t feel all that capable of evaluating it, but I think I can confidently predict Hive Mind’s set being very loud. Earplugs would be a good idea. Representing the local sounds will be Lost Tribe, a band with a similar feel to Cult Of Youth, though perhaps with more Misfits-style horror-punk integrated into the mix. Their Solace LP is still only a few months old, so if you haven’t caught up with that, now would be a good time to check them out. Daggering will start this set off, and this local project brings several RVA noise heroes together to crank out a wall of psychedelic noise. The show will apparently end with a goth/industrial dance party featuring DJ Shravnasty, so you have that to look forward to as well! Wear your tight black pants and Doc Martens to this one, folks.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]