RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 1/29-2/4

by | Jan 29, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Saturday, February 1, 9 PM
Avers, White Laces, Sleepwalkers @ Strange Matter – $8 (advance tickets here: http://avers.eventbrite.com/)

Avers have created quite a stir in the local music scene over their very brief existence.

Saturday, February 1, 9 PM
Avers, White Laces, Sleepwalkers @ Strange Matter – $8 (advance tickets here: http://avers.eventbrite.com/)

Avers have created quite a stir in the local music scene over their very brief existence. Bringing together members of such celebrated local (and national) groups as The Head And The Heart, Mason Brothers, Hypercolor, Farm Vegas, and The Trillions, this quintet’s lush, psychedelic sound has enraptured those who’ve caught their first few local shows. With an album, Empty Light, in the can and scheduled for release sometime in the spring, Avers appear poised to hit the big time very quickly. Therefore, this Strange Matter show may mark one of the last opportunities you’ll have to see these guys in a relatively intimate live environment. It seems strange to say such a thing about a band who made their live debut a mere month ago, but things are moving quickly for Avers, in light of both their high-profile member connections and their truly enjoyable music. So check them out now, before they move on to much bigger venues.

White Laces aren’t the headliners on this bill, but they also seem poised to take a step up to the next level in the near future. With an upcoming month-long tour supporting Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs scheduled for spring, and their second LP, recorded with Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, Purling Hiss, etc), set for release sometime in the next several months, these guys should also be on their way to being an indie-rock household name. We’re not sure whether to expect a set of outgoing material from their 2012 full-length debut, Moves, or if this show will offer an opportunity to hear a live preview of their new album. Either way, we feel confident expecting a great performance from this always-excellent live band.

Sleepwalkers are the opening act on this bill, and while that name may not be all that familiar to you yet, you should definitely know the previous work of brothers Austin and Michael York, who formerly led RVA glam-pop group Duchess Of York. Their new quartet has been around for a little while, but have largely kept a low profile, other than a recent Christmas-themed EP, but they’ll be playing two shows with Avers this weekend (the other is Friday night at the Southern in Charlottesville), and have played a few other shows this month, so we suspect these guys are finally ready to take RVA by storm with their new music. If you want to find out what the York brothers have been up to all this time, make sure you arrive at this show on time, because Sleepwalkers will be kicking things off with a bang!

Wednesday, January 29, 9 PM
Radio Rubber Room Presents All Star RVA Jam! @ Emilio’s – Free!

Radio Rubber Room’s actual radio show may be on hiatus right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. The hosts and producers of the show have continued with their original mission of covering this city’s music scene in all its forms, and are currently making that happen through bi-weekly showcases at Emilio’s. This week, rather than presenting any one local group, the folks at Radio Rubber Room have invited a slew of local Richmond musicians to join them for an all-star RVA jam session, and it should be off the chain! With members of Toxic Moxie, The Northerners, Mekong Xpress, The Big Payback, DJ Williams Projekt, Silo Effect, The Brotherhood, and more expected on hand, an evening of funk, soul, and rock n’ roll jams is to be expected. If you’ve seen the Mekong Xpress out at Mekong for their regular Monday RVA Appreciation Night gigs, you know these kinds of free-flowing member-switching jam nights often yield some great music, so make sure you come out tonight to catch a similarly great jam closer to home at Emilio’s!

Thursday, January 30, 9:30 PM
Anousheh, Way Shape Or Form @ Balliceaux – $5

Singer/keyboardist Anousheh Khalili has had an interesting career. Releasing her first solo album on local indie label Triple Stamp Records back in 2005, she gained greater fame initially for her work with DC DJ duo Deep Dish (apologies for the unavoidable alliteration), contributing vocals to their international hit, “Say Hello.” However, this break never really translated to solo success for Anousheh, and after some time in the development-deal wilderness, she’s thankfully returned to her indie roots in RVA. Now leading a locally-based quartet, she’s recently released an EP called The Trouble I Find, which allows her songwriting talents to come to the fore and avoids electronic music in favor of heartfelt 90s-style alternative rock. The EP shows Anousheh back on track and taking her music in a positive direction, and you’ll be able to see all of that in person when she and her band perform live at Balliceaux this Thursday. A captivating live performer, Anousheh’s voice is if anything even more amazing live than on record, and her equally talented backing band provides an impressive backbone for her excellent keyboard-driven songs.

Way Shape Or Form will also be performing at Balliceaux this evening, and this vehicle for the musical genius of Troy Gatrell is also a must-see. While Gatrell often records his compositions by himself, performing all instruments in the studio, the live incarnation of Way Shape Or Form features Gatrell backed by an all-star lineup of local musicians from such groups as Cheyenne, Night Idea, Houdan The Mystic, and more. While the band definitely feature some electronic tinges, their music is primarily guitar-driven, and its intriguing mixture of indie, post-rock, and prog elements results in a sound simultaneously reminiscent of Pinback and Porcupine Tree. This group is doing something unique on the RVA scene, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, you owe it to yourself to be there this Thursday night and see just how talented and excellent they are.

Friday, January 31, 7 PM
Close Talker, Black Mask, This Is Your Life, City Limits @ Gallery 5 – $5

This show is an interesting situation, the sort that you become familiar with if you go to a lot of DIY punk/hardcore shows. What appears to have happened is that two tours were coming through town on the same night and got put onto the same show at the same venue so both touring bands could have a good show. Only, the two touring bands sound nothing like each other, so now this show appears to have schizophrenia (multiple personality disorder? Disassociative identity disorder? Whatever, I’m not a psychiatrist).

Black Mask, from Pennsylvania, is one of the touring bands, and they are for the shredders among you. Their one-minute songs full of blast beats and roaring vocals will thrill all the kids at this show wearing black denim vests with Tragedy backpatches. These guys have a 7 inch coming out next month, and considering release dates don’t really mean that much in the DIY underground, they just might have copies for sale at this show. Or not, who knows. Either way, I’m sure they’ll be dishing out some crazy heavy grind for the masses, which should be a lot of fun. Sadly, the corresponding local band on this show, Prisoner, had to drop off due to a member getting the flu (bummer! Get well soon!), so Black Mask will be the sole representative of blastbeat rage on this bill–but they’re worth it on their own, so you thrashers should still show up.

The rest of the show will be devoted to pop-punk of the Florida style–which is to say, anthemic, emotional, beer-soaked, gruff-voiced, you know the deal. Touring representatives of this style will be New Jersey’s City Limits, whose recent EP, Moxie, has some really catchy choruses and a bit more punk rock rage than is entirely typical of this style. I’m sure they’ll be energetic as hell live, as will RVA hometown heroes Close Talker, who feature Sundials drummer Cory Chubb up front with a guitar. These guys also get gruff and heartfelt with it, with maybe a bit more of a Jawbreaker resemblance, as compared to City Limits’s Latterman-ish sound. Close Talker released an excellent LP, So Am I, last year, and blew away all the “org-core” kids with their set at Fest 12 in the fall, so they’re really worth your time. And of course we can’t forget This Is Your Life, an extremely underrated local group who mix melodic hardcore and passionate emo sounds with a dexterity worthy of Title Fight’s best material. This show won’t have any kind of musical unity, but all the bands on it are great, so that’s what’s really important, right?

Friday, January 31, 9 PM
Bastard Sapling, Argentinum Astrum, Unsacred, Street Pizza, Burn/Ward @ Strange Matter – $6

Cold winds will howl across the desolate expanse of Strange Matter’s dance floor this Friday night as the too-rarely-seen kings of RVA black metal make their long-awaited return. Bastard Sapling may feature the majority of Inter Arma, but they are a completely different band nonetheless, and their mission is nothing less than grim frostbitten annihilation. The weather has been cold and hostile lately, which makes it perfect for Bastard Sapling’s return to the local live arena. They’re planning to release a new double LP sometime soon, so expect some new material from these guys, as well as your favorite blastbeat-laden epics from their first album, Dragged From Our Restless Trance.

Bastard Sapling won’t be the only purveyors of evil on the bill, though. Hailing from the frostbitten steppes of Knoxville, TN, Argentinum Astrum will be in the house to drop some true kvlt black metal on those assembled. This trio released their second LP, Malleus Maleficarum, through tireless local label Forcefield Records recently, and we can’t wait to see how they pull off that record’s gloomy, echoing howls in a live environment. Expect blastbeats aplenty from these guys as well.

In fact, you should really just prepare yourself for a full-on blastbeat extravaganza, because it’s not like the opening bands will be doing any less blasting than the headliners. Unsacred stand with one foot in the black metal camp and the other foot in the world of dark, crusty hardcore–so is their music what people call “blackened crust”? That always makes me think of some kind of Cajun food, but it seems like a pretty accurate descriptor for what Unsacred is doing as well, so if you like both Emperor and His Hero Is Gone, you’re gonna want to catch these guys’ set. Then, kicking the whole thing off will be a split set from Burn/Ward and Street Pizza, two Richmond bands with the same drummer and the same ridiculously fast power-violence style. We’re guessing it counts as a split set because neither band has that much material and they’ll both be playing on the same equipment, but we’d really like to see them alternate songs. Battle of Richmond’s only two power-violence bands! What do you mean, nobody likes that idea except me? Oh well. This will still be a totally raging evening of grim evil destruction, so be there!

Saturday, February 1, 9 PM
Koffin Kats, U.S. Brass, The Hellhounds @ Wonderland – Price at door

This is the perfect opportunity for you to head down to Shockoe Bottom and experience one of our favorite RVA dive bars firsthand! Detroit’s Koffin Kats make a great introduction to the Wonderland aesthetic, too–with their spookily catchy sound, they pull from classic 50s rock n’ roll as musical inspiration and classic horror films of the same era to inspire their aesthetics. These guys will make any fans of The Misfits, The Cramps, or Reverend Horton Heat wanna slam a PBR and hit the dance floor–and the back room at Wonderland is certainly a good place to do just that! Locals U.S. Brass are less stoked on 50s rock n’ roll and more into combining the hot-rod swagger of 70s rock with the raging speed of 80s hardcore. If you dig the blazing hyperspeed of socially transgressive 90s punk rock groups like REO Speedealer or Zeke, or hell, if you just like the idea of Motorhead jamming with Poison Idea, this is the band for you. We don’t know much about openers The Hellhounds–we hear they’re local, but can’t find em online. However, we imagine that if the first two bands sound like your idea of a good time, these openers won’t throw you off too much. Some come down to Wonderland, crush a few cheap brews, and have a great punk rock Saturday night!

Monday, February 3, 7 PM
Clair Morgan, Way Shape Or Form, Glass Twin @ The Camel – Free!

Did you skip out on the Clair Morgan show last Friday night? If so, never fear–this local songwriter with the golden voice is playing another show this coming Monday, and this time, it’s free! Come down to the Camel on Monday night, and see what everyone who picked up a copy of No Notes last year already knows–this man is a pop genius, and he and his band will be dishing out some beautiful tunes that you’ll have stuck in your head all night. Way Shape Or Form will be on this bill too, so if you can’t scrape up the fiver necessary to see them open for Anousheh at Balliceaux this Thursday, you’ll have a second chance at the beginning of next week to watch these talented young men construct their tuneful, mathematically complex prog/post-rock edifices of sound.

Finally, Glass Twin, the only one of these three bands I haven’t mentioned to you within the past 7 days, will be there. You may have known this crew as Marionette at one point, but their recent name change–which appears to have been accompanied by a slight lineup realignment–re-introduces this group to the RVA scene, and will hopefully help them grab a larger audience as well. Their progressive, psychedelic alt-rock sound mingles some of the more intriguing aspects of bands like Radiohead and Interpol with a more exploratory, experimental vision that should also reach fans of groups like Animal Collective. So while the fact that you need to catch Clair Morgan and Way Shape Or Form may go without saying, don’t neglect the openers for this fine evening of local music. Glass Twin have a lot to offer as well.

Tuesday, February 4, 8 PM
Bandrew, Toxic Moxie @ The Camel – Free!

So yes, you should clearly start next week off with not one but TWO free shows at The Camel. Tuesday night continues the fun with a two-band show that is being presented as a battle. Bandrew vs. Toxic Moxie–When Atoms Collide! Going back to my previous point about the Street Pizza/Burn/Ward split set, this will be coolest if the two bands both set up at the same time and battle each other by switching off after each song. If anything this awesome was going to happen, Bandrew would be just the band to pull it off. Any band that started because three musicians all happened to have the same name is clearly coming from a fun place, and this trio of musicians named Andrew are clearly enjoying being in a band together. Their catchy power-pop songs are a lot of fun to dance to, too, which means they’re well-paired with Toxic Moxie.

Toxic Moxie are a blast in their own right. Creators of one of our favorite RVA videos of last year, the miniature zombie apocalypse gore film that is “Talking Hands,” this punk-funk crew brings together the excellent vocals of Sera Stavroula with a driving rhythm courtesy of funky drummer Danny Crawford and fuzz-punk bassist Mitch Kordella. Add in Justin Shear’s soulful lead guitar playing and you’ve got a beast of a band that will get you both dancing and headbanging with their solid tunes. Capturing the spirit of The Rapture or the reunited Gang Of Four, these kids manage to build on the best of the early-00s dance-punk sound without succumbing to the hipster muck that made most of the associated groups of that era a mere flash in the pan.

So yeah, like I said, these bands should set up face-to-face on the Camel’s stage and battle it out, song by song. Regardless of whether they actually do it, though, this will be a great show–and you really can’t argue with the price.


Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.

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