RVA Shows You Must See This Week 2/11-2/17

by | Feb 11, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Wednesday, February 11, 8 PM
Anousheh (Make Noise album release show), My Darling Fury, Lucy Dacus @ The Broadberry – $10 (order tickets HERE)

Anousheh’s had a long artistic journey over the past decade or so.

Wednesday, February 11, 8 PM
Anousheh (Make Noise album release show), My Darling Fury, Lucy Dacus @ The Broadberry – $10 (order tickets HERE)

Anousheh’s had a long artistic journey over the past decade or so. Starting out as a local Richmond singer-songwriter, she released an album of quietly pretty piano-driven pop songs in 2005 called Let The Ground Know Who’s Standing On Him. Soon after, she was thrown into the mainstream pop spotlight with her appearance on two singles by DC house music producers Deep Dish. One of these, “Say Hello,” was nominated for a Grammy in 2006, and everyone in RVA thought Anousheh was destined for stardom. But between a failed record deal and a health crisis that prevented her from becoming a full-time touring musician (because the American health care system sucks. Oh look, two weeks in a row of ranting about this), it didn’t work out.

It’s taken her several years to work her way out of the doldrums that afflicted her career, but over the past couple of years, Anousheh has made a quietly triumphant return to the RVA music scene, now fronting a rocked-out quartet featuring former members of David Shultz and the Skyline. She released an EP last year called The Trouble I Find, and now, she’s kicking off 2015 with the release of her first full-length album in a decade, Make Noise. The self-released album was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, so you can imagine that there’s a whole crew of supportive fans who are really excited to see what she and her bandmates have come up with. And all of RVA will get to discover for themselves tonight at the Broadberry, as Anousheh holds her official Make Noise record release party. We’ve only heard a couple of songs from the album so far, but if “Hold You” and “Lightning” are any indication, she’s mixing all of her previous sounds, from indie rock to dance-pop and everything inbetween, into her new music. So get ready to dance and rock out, because you’ll have plenty of occasion to do both tonight.

Anousheh and her band will be joined on the Broadberry stage by a couple of other RVA musicians who are also Kickstarter veterans. Atmospheric indie quartet My Darling Fury funded their first LP, Licking Wounds, with the site, and they’ll be bringing songs from that album and most likely some new stuff as well to life on the Broadberry stage. Their use of unconventional techniques, from electronic triggers to traditionally classical instruments, is always worth seeing happen before your eyes. Lucy Dacus, a promising young singer-songwriter who just finished her own successful Kickstarter campaign, will give everyone a preview of the songs she just recorded down in Nashville, which will be on the album she’s releasing soon. Should be rad!

Wednesday, February 11, 7 PM
Dads (Photo by Carly Hoskins), Runaway Brother, Roger Harvey, The Weak Days @ The Camel – $13 (order tickets HERE)

Meanwhile, I’m really excited that Dads are returning to Richmond once again. This two-piece band has been getting the “emo revival” tag for a while, but it wasn’t until their last two releases, 2013’s Pretty Good EP, and last year’s I’ll Be The Tornado LP, that I really started to see why. These guys can certainly generate some upbeat pop-punk noise when they want to, but their best work is always found in their gorgeously elegaic slower songs. Specifically, “Fake Knees” was one of the best songs I heard last year, by anyone. And while it definitely is a standout on I’ll Be The Tornado, the great majority of that album at least comes close to reaching its magnificent heights. So come see John and Scott do their thing tonight at The Camel; their music will touch your heart, regardless of their lacking a bass player.

Tourmates Runaway Brother is coming from a slightly different musical place than Dads, but I think one could still place them somewhere on the “emo revival” spectrum, if one were so inclined. Their approach combines the best aspects of pop-punk and that whole melodic indie rock/post-hardcore hybrid thing that bands like Cursive and The Jealous Sound were doing a decade ago, and their songs are catchy enough to get your toes tapping for sure. They’re also joined by Roger Harvey, a singer-songwriter who at least has a backing band on his catchy, fun recordings. Will he be playing solo on this tour? There’s only one way to find out. Locals The Weak Days will kick this whole thing off with their fuzzy alt-pop sound, which you really should get familiar with if you’re not already.

Thursday, February 12, 9 PM
Fire Retarded, Sports Bar, The Nervous Ticks, Naked Baby @ Strange Matter – $5

Wisconsin’s Fire Retarded have given themselves a pun-tastic name that combines a term referring to things that don’t burn easily and a mean thing to call mentally disabled people, which just makes me think of the kids in my third grade class angrily shouting the phrase “beaver dam!” whenever a more prudish classmate would call them out on their use of the four-letter word “damn.” Everybody sees through the dodge, everybody knows what’s really being said, but most people will agree to pretend. And let’s be real–you have to expect these kinds of jokes from a band of anti-social rock n’ rollers just trying to get drunk and turn the party out, right? In their favor, I can say Fire Retarded do a great job of accomplishing that goal, if their 2014 debut LP, Scroggz Manor, is any indication. Mixing garage-rock rave-ups and Blue Cheer-ish proto-metal riffage, these guys will certainly tear up the stage, and probably the entire club, at Strange Matter Thursday night.

And if that’s not your idea of a good time, you probably won’t enjoy any of the Richmond bands rounding out this all-star rock n’ roll quadruple bill anyway. What a shame. Sports Bar are ready to lay some great tunes of their own on ya, like the most Ramones-influenced surf-rock band in the world. With this much beard going on, you’d expect more metal, but no, these guys are pure heart-on-sleeve drunken pop masters. The Nervous Ticks, on the other hand, most likely won’t be wearing any sleeves–and they won’t be carrying many instruments either. Buckets, maracas, and taped-together microphones (plus one guitar–they aren’t total heathens) are all this trio needs to create the most primitive reason to dance you’ve heard since Hasil Adkins and Lux Interior died. Fellow wild rockers Naked Baby will get the party started, so let’s get, um, IT STARTED!

Friday, February 13, 9 PM
Darsombra, Bassoon, Caves Caverns, Among The Rocks And Roots, Brown Piss, Richard Ripper @ Strange Matter – $8

The greatest thing about Strange Matter is that nothing is too weird for them to put it onstage. If you want to hear totally bizarre music you can’t hear at any other club in town, this is the place to go. And Friday night is the night to go there, because the latest of Strange Matter’s semi-regular “Friday Freakfestivalis” nights is happening. This one stars Darsombra, a totally free and mind-expanding Baltimore duo who will take everyone in the house on an astral journey to the places between the stars where the music of the spheres plays and your third eye opens wide. Or something like that. Also coming in from out of town will be Brooklyn psych trio Bassoon, who like to lay it down heavy, with the sort of slow-motion groove that the doom fans will be able to get into–but also with plenty of space-faring weirdness to keep the astral travelers smiling.

On top of all that, we’re looking at four different local groups performing for your listening pleasure before all is said and done. If you pay much of any attention to the local experimental music scene, you’re sure to have seen Caves Caverns roll out their theramin-drenched psychedelic improvisations on at least one or two occasions. Rest assured these dudes will get into a groove and take it somewhere you’ve never been before. The bass-drum duo Among The Rocks And Roots are entirely focused on heavy doom grooves, and will steamroll you with them if you’re not careful. Stand aside. Finally, we’ve got two experimental noise projects; Brown Piss is Jason Hodges’ current solo joint, and it’s gonna blow your eardrums out. I’m not as sure what Richard Ripper have going on, but based on the name, you’d be well advised to wear a cup.

Saturday, February 14, 9 PM
Franz Nicolay, Toxic Moxie, Alison Self @ The Camel – $7

Hey hey, remember this guy? Franz Nicolay is a multi-instrumentalist who has probably received the most attention for his time in The Hold Steady–back when they were still awesome and still had an organ player, he was that organ player. Since he dipped out of that band, they’ve kinda been on a downhill slide in my humble opinion, but he’s made several solid solo albums, including tributes to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. His most recent, To Us The Beautiful, just arrived in the world last month, and it’s a pretty great example of the punk influenced heartland rock you should definitely expect from anyone who’s done time in both The Hold Steady and World/Inferno Friendship Society. I also hear a good bit of Titus Andronicus in here, and yeah, some Springsteen too. Nicolay will arrive in Richmond on Valentine’s Day, accompanied by a backing band featuring former members of Against Me!, The Slackers, and Leftover Crack. You won’t wanna miss it.

He’s got some highly appropriate local support on the bill as well. Toxic Moxie also played with World/Inferno when they rolled through The Camel recently, so why not continue the streak of playing with NY-based cabaret-punk bands? Toxic Moxie’s synth-infused funky postpunk is a bit more 21st-century than what Nicolay’s got going on (though to be fair there’s a good bit of Gang Of Four in there as well), but they’ve got the power and energy to get you dancing and moving around, and that’s what really matters. Meanwhile, Alison Self shares musical kinship with a totally different side of what Franz Nicolay does, and she’ll be sure to remind you of how important old-time folk, country, and blues music is to the sound of modern post-punk heartland epics.

Sunday, February 15, 7 PM
Jeffrey Lewis, Diane Cluck, Benjamin Shepherd, Reid Magette @ Strange Matter – $10

Folks, if you dig acoustic punk, you should definitely be aware of this show. Fact is, I don’t much like acoustic punk, but I’m still recommending that you go see Jeffrey Lewis, because he transcends what can often be a pretty dodgy genre by being a brilliant, wordy acoustic songwriter with a lot of great ideas that he delivers sincerely over simply written but excellent guitar melodies. I first heard of him a decade or so ago when he released an album of Crass covers, but since then, he’s done multiple records with psychedelic folk legend Peter Stampfel and Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches, plus he’s had essays and comics published in the New York Times. Dude does a lot, and this Sunday he’ll be here in Richmond giving you a window into his brilliant and complicated worldview. Check it out!

Diane Cluck will be rolling through along with Lewis, and she’s also been a Lewis collaborator over the past decade or so. But she approaches her own solo guitar compositions in a different manner, preferring to take a more circumspect, elliptical approach. Her voice is compelling and hypnotic, her guitar playing intriguingly unusual. Plus, she lives in Charlottesville these days, so she’s kinda local! Get familiar. Local songwriter Benjamin Shepherd, whose Eleven For The Road live LP was one of Shannon Cleary’s Favorite RVA Moments of 2014, will open this show.

Monday, February 16, 9 PM
Juan Wauters, Black Water Gold, Nic Perea, Pete Curry @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: https://juanwauters.eventbrite.com/)

Here’s another troubadour that’s found a way to make acoustic punk fun and worthwhile–Juan Wauters is someone you may know if you’ve heard of the band The Beets, who had an old-school garage rock feel with an unmistakable Latin-American roots music influences. His old bands may have been more like The Ramones crossed with Ritchie Valens, but what Jaun Wauters is doing with his solo material–most recently the North American Poetry album, released a year or so ago on Captured Tracks–is much prettier, more heart-on-sleeve. He’s become a bit of a balladeer, which doesn’t mean that the old punk spirit isn’t still in his heart. His songs sometimes have a bit of the old Beets energy, but drift towards more of an early Simon And Garfunkel feel at other times. But regardless of his approach, he’s always a captivating singer, and he’s sure to enrapture you in a live environment.

Wauters is going to be joined by a backing band during this performance, and he’s also going to be joined by several Richmond acts who started out as solo performers but now have backing bands going on. Black Water Gold sees Justin and Parker Black (at least one of whom also does time as a hardcore frontman, interestingly enough) joining with a few friends to make some pretty acoustic pop music. One of the friends backing them up, Pete Curry, will also be leading his own garage-pop solo band at the beginning of this show, but inbetween his set and that of Black Water Gold will be some acoustic folk tunes from Nic Perea. It’s going to be a very pretty show, musically speaking at least.

Tuesday, February 17, 9 PM
The Mardi Gras Gitdown, feat. The Big Payback, Sleepwalkers @ The Broadberry – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)

There are some pretty obvious reasons I can’t keep up with the Christian holy calendar anymore, but regardless of anyone’s current religious beliefs (or lack thereof), there is one not-so-holy day approaching soon that you should be aware of. That’s the last day before the beginning of Lent–Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday, which is better known by its French translation, Mardi Gras. That’s the last day Christians can party before the fasting, self-denial, and atonement period of Lent begins, and just like St. Patrick’s Day for the non-Irish or Cinco De Mayo for the non-Mexican, it’s become a nationally recognized day of partying even for those who aren’t gonna get ashes smeared on their forehead at church the next day.

And of course, if you really wanna do Mardi Gras right, you should be in New Orleans, but if you didn’t get the time off to make it down there this year, there’s still an easy way to celebrate right here in RVA–head over to the Broadberry, and get on the good foot with Richmond’s favorite James Brown tribute band, The Big Payback. Jellowstone affiliate and musical mastermind Kelli Strawbridge will scream, shout, work it on out, and dance like Soul Brother #1 himself, and his band will make it impossible for you to stand still as they dish out some of the finest soul and funk classics ever put to tape. Sleepwalkers will be on hand as well, showing that indie rockers can get down too, and bringing you some of the best tunes from last year’s widely acclaimed full-length debut, Greenwood Shade. Word is that if you aren’t bone tired Ash Wednesday morning, you didn’t really do Mardi Gras right, so head down to The Broadberry and make sure you’ve got plenty of reasons to sleep right through your alarm the next morning.


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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