Thursday, January 8, 6 PM
High On Fire, Windhand, Mountain Of Wizard, Inter Arma @ The Broadberry – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Cancel all of your plans for tomorrow night! The band through which Pitchfork-worshipping hipsters and diehard purist metalheads find common ground will be arriving in Richmond to steamroll The Broadberry with punishing biker/stoner riff armageddon.
Thursday, January 8, 6 PM
High On Fire, Windhand, Mountain Of Wizard, Inter Arma @ The Broadberry – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Cancel all of your plans for tomorrow night! The band through which Pitchfork-worshipping hipsters and diehard purist metalheads find common ground will be arriving in Richmond to steamroll The Broadberry with punishing biker/stoner riff armageddon. That’s right, the almighty High On Fire is coming to town, and no matter how long or short your hair is, if you have the least bit of fondness for epic riffs and dangerously loud guitars, you need to make sure you’re in the building.
High On Fire is led by Matt Pike, whose original claim to fame was as guitarist for Sleep–who invented modern stoner metal, and once released a song that was 74 minutes long. Nothing quite that epic will be forthcoming from his current band of road warriors, though rest assured you will hear some lengthy jams over the course of their set. With six studio albums to their name, most recently 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (any album named after a fictional text from the Cthulhu Mythos is automatically awesome), High On Fire have done plenty to solidify their reputation over the past 15 years. In fact, I’m assuming any of you who are remotely interested have already bought a ticket–and if you haven’t, you better do so with the quickness! They’re going fast.
Just in case you’re not convinced yet, let’s talk about the other bands playing this rager. Windhand is the first name you need to hear, and just because these Richmond natives play the area often doesn’t mean you’ll want to give them a miss this time. They’re still riding high from the success of their second album, 2013’s Soma, and are sure to lay down some doomy stoner epics of their own tomorrow night. New Orleans’ Mountain Of Wizard will also be on the bill, laying down some vocal-free Blue Oyster Cult-style retro-metal featuring fist-pumping riffs galore. And of course, RVA’s own epic metal titans Inter Arma, whose most recent release is a 45-minute song/album called The Cavern, will demonstrate their own riff-wielding prowess to start things off. Seriously, order your ticket NOW.
Wednesday, January 7, 8 PM
That 1 Guy, DJ Feels Goodman @ The Camel – $12 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
If you like goofy, inventive fun, you have an appointment tonight at The Camel. That 1 Guy will be in town, and he’s got a weird, funky, and completely original musical approach to demonstrate. You could call him a one-man band, I suppose, though his whole trip is pretty far from the traditional Hasil Adkins sort of thing. That 1 Guy arrives armed with a 7-foot tall instrument he calls a “Magic Pipe”–it kinda looks like a giant harp built from construction-yard castoffs, but it incorporates both bass strings and sample pads, allowing That 1 Guy to build his Les-Claypool-on-crack songs by strumming the strings and whacking the pads, while working foot pedals and occasionally hitting a drum to provide a beat.
I mean, with songs like “Butt Machine” and “The Moon Is Disgusting,” the musician known to the government as Mike Silverman gets downright silly at times. But if you dig Frank Zappa or Primus, you have to be aware that sometimes silliness is a byproduct of instrumental genius and an excess of creativity. If you want to see all of those things deployed in a live environment by one guy with tons of talent, you can’t go wrong heading out to The Camel tonight and catching That 1 Guy. It’ll be fun!
Thursday, January 8, 7 PM
Kayo Dot, Antiphons, Claim Culture @ Gallery 5 – $6 in advance/$8 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Kayo Dot is an extremely interesting band, but don’t ask me what genre they are. I’ve certainly heard people describe them as metal plenty of times, but I think it would be much more true to say that Kayo Dot is technically complex and progged-out in a way that appeals to some metal fans. With their emphasis on electronic textures, guitar virtuosity, and epic song lengths, though, I could just as easily see them appealing to some of the more adventurous jam band types–and with metal and jam bands being sworn enemies, that might seem odd. But let’s not get too hung up on genre anyway, because doing so may obscure the fact that Kayo Dot’s most recent album, Coffins On Io, is a fascinating trip through a spooky gothic mood that brings 80s postpunk groups like The Chameleons and Clan Of Xymox. They’re not easy to pin down, but Kayo Dot should have widespread appeal to anyone who gives them a chance.
Kayo Dot is joined on this bill by a couple of local projects that I’m not too familiar with, but have some obvious appeals. Antiphons is a group led by Brian Dove, which features backing musicians in a live environment but seems to exist as a solo project on record. Associated with the Subterranea Collective and sometimes labeled as “chamber folk,” this group (assuming they are a group at this show) should have some interesting sounds to offer to curious listeners. And Claim Culture, who open things up this fine evening, just released a new album on New Years Day entitled American Ritual, which paints this group as a post-rock/post-hardcore hybrid with some memorable melodies at their disposal–though always dealt out at a rather deliberate pace.
Friday, January 9, 7:30 PM
Wish List (Photo by Sarah Eckstine), Left & Right, Young Scum, Recluse Raccoon @ Gallery 5 – $5
Friday night, it’s back to Gallery 5, but instead of cerebral space explorations, this bill offers an evening of straightforward, danceable power-pop. Wish List headlines the evening with some distorted-guitar melodies indicating the influence of early records by Weezer and The Strokes–a couple of great groups who debatably lost their way as time went on. Hopefully these folks won’t lose their way while heading towards Richmond from their hometown of Chambersburg, PA, because dancing to their catchy tunes is an experience your Friday night won’t be complete without!
Left And Right also hail from PA–Philadelphia, specifically. Their catchy tunes are of a more indie persuasion, though they also hark back to bands from the halcyon days of the 90s. In fact, it wouldn’t be hard seeing these guys’ new album, Five Year Plan, fitting right in with modern 90s revivalists like Superheaven (fka Daylight), Pity Sex, and Ovlov–which is good company, to say the least. Local indie bands Young Scum and Recluse Raccoon (both of which have very good names) will kick this whole thing off, so show up on time and be ready to shake off a week’s worth of cares and troubles on the dance floor.
Saturday, January 10, 8 PM
Let It Beer album release party, feat. Imaginary Sons, Toxic Moxie, Bandrew @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
OK, this is going to be a blast. If you have encountered up-and-coming local rock sensations Imaginary Sons already, then you know what I’m talking about, but for those still not in the loop, let me just tell you, when they say this is going to be an album release party, the emphasis is definitely on “party.” Imaginary Sons are a straight-up rock band with a lot of energy and a super-fun vibe, and their debut album, Let It Beer, shows off their entertaining persona as well as their excess of great, catchy tunes. Even when they slow it down and get introspective, these guys are great at getting you to sing along; most of the time, though, they’re cranking it up and rocking your ass. An album full of their music is something you need in your life, and this musical party is guaranteed to be the highlight of your weekend.
It doesn’t hurt that Imaginary Sons will be joined by some equally energetic friends of theirs on this bill. Toxic Moxie is a band I try to tell you about as often as I have an excuse, so if you still haven’t seen them play yet, then start listening to me already and go to this show! Their upbeat mix of postpunk riffs and funky beats is great enough as it is, but with Sera Stavroula laying down her powerful vocals overtop, the whole thing heads straight for the stratosphere. Hang on, because this is one ride you want to enjoy. This evening kicks off with a set by Bandrew–sure enough, a band made up entirely of dudes named Andrew. Obviously, I approve.
Sunday, January 11, 9 PM
Flat Duo Jets (Dex & Crash), Deadly Lo-Fi, The Wet Boys @ Bandito’s – Free!
Whether it’s The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Kills, or any two-piece garage rock band you can think of, all of them have one thing in common–they owe a debt to the Flat Duo Jets. This Athens, Georgia two-piece was founded in the early 80s by singer/guitarist Dexter Romweber and drummer Crow Smith, and proceeded to create the blueprint for all bassless two-piece garage rock bands to come. On classic albums like In Stereo and Go Go Harlem Baby, these dudes out-wilded The Cramps and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion while digging deeply into the rockabilly and blues roots of their sound with a sure-footed aplomb that kept their music at top quality throughout their career.
Flat Duo Jets have actually been gone for quite some time, though Dexter Romweber has kept on keepin’ on for three decades now. His current band is the Dex Romweber Duo, in which the Crow Smith role is filled by his sister Sara. But before Sara joined the band, the original drummer for the Dex Romweber Duo was Crash LaResh. And for this tour, Dex and Crash are getting back together to do a sort of Flat Duo Jets reincarnation. So does this show count as a Flat Duo Jets show, a Dex Romweber Duo show, or something else? Look, let’s not split hairs. Regardless of what you want to call it, this is going to be a wild n’ crazy rock n’ roll show drenched in beer, sweat, and amazing tunes. And it’s the kind of thing you won’t get many opportunities to see in this lifetime–let alone opportunities to see it for free at Bandito’s on a Sunday night! With Deadly Lo-Fi and The Wet Boys opening up the show, there is no reason you should wrap up your weekend any other way than rocking out with Dex Romweber and Crash LaResh at Bandito’s this Sunday night. Flat Duo Jets forever!
Monday, January 12, 9 PM
The Sentenced, Treatment, Hard Stripes, Cretins, Regulator @ Strange Matter – $7
One of my favorite podcasts is all about making 2015 the “year of being real.” But as we all know, being real is difficult–especially since on a day-to-day basis it would probably involve being rude more often than polite society wants. Without proper motivation, a lot of us are much more likely to hold our tongues and keep our true opinions to ourselves. Fortunately, proper motivation is coming to town this Monday night in the form of a show featuring Texas punk maniacs The Sentenced and Treatment. The Sentenced are raw as fuck on record, with tons of static and hiss that will probably translate live into a wall of loud, angry noise. Treatment are more into sloppy old-school riffs with weird distorted vocals. But what both bands have in common is making you the listener want to run around in a circle, smash into people, and give everyone the finger a whole lot. What could be more real than that?
The three Richmond bands on this bill are not quite as raw and weird as the two Texas bands coming to town, but their old-school no-frills hardcore punk sounds are all very complimentary to an evening based around being real in the most antisocial of manners. Hard Stripes are a fast, angry band that take a lot of inspiration from Negative Approach. Cretins are slightly more punked-out and hectic but just as fast as Hard Stripes. Finally, Regulator is a new band from Chris Henley of Meth Lab, and just like his previous work, it’s angry, antisocial, and clearly inspired by Infest. Get ready for some serious mosh pit action at this show. And if you’re really punk, start off your Tuesday morning by telling your boss to fuck off.
Tuesday, January 13, 7 PM
Carousel Kings, Centerfolds, His Dream Of Lions, Graveside Breakfast @ The Canal Club – $8 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I know I probably at least imply this about everything I cover in this column, but this time, I want to make it completely explicit: I am SUPER stoked about this show. Carousel Kings is not a band I’ve known about for very long–in fact, I discovered them because I saw that they were playing this show. But once I heard their music, I knew I had a lot of lost time to make up for. This Lancaster, PA band has a lot of super-catchy pop-punk tunes spread across their two albums, 2012’s A Slice Of Heaven and last year’s Unity, and I can’t wait to get familiar with all of them. For now, I’m just excited to hear “Hope” live. I’m gonna get super emo when they play that one.
This bill features support from some local bands with very similar sounds and styles to that of Carousel Kings (with one big exception–we’ll get there in a minute). Centerfolds are a fast pop-punk group that drifts across the thin border between that genre and melodic hardcore on occasion. Saves The Day and Set Your Goals are some obvious reference points here. Meanwhile, NoVA’s His Dream Of Lions have a weird name and an apparent love for Lana Del Rey, but go in a more emo direction under normal circumstances. Graveside Breakfast is a bit tougher to explain, and like to refer to themselves as “grimdark,” Dark Knight Strikes Again style, but they’ll probably make perfect sense once I’m hearing them live rather than on primitive internet demos. If not, it’s OK–Carousel Kings will be on soon.
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