RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 2/17-2/23

by | Feb 18, 2016 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, February 19, 8 PM
People’s Temple Project, Sleeper Wave, Van Hagar, Truman @ Circle Thrift – $3-5 suggested donation

[NOTE: Late this week, for the second time in this column’s two-year, 100+ episode existence. What can I tell ya? Life gets in the way sometimes. Hope you didn’t sit home bored last night! Here’s the rest of the week, and we’ll be on time next Wednesday, I promise. –Drew]
Swamp Fest was not a fluke!

Friday, February 19, 8 PM
People’s Temple Project, Sleeper Wave, Van Hagar, Truman @ Circle Thrift – $3-5 suggested donation

[NOTE: Late this week, for the second time in this column’s two-year, 100+ episode existence. What can I tell ya? Life gets in the way sometimes. Hope you didn’t sit home bored last night! Here’s the rest of the week, and we’ll be on time next Wednesday, I promise. –Drew]
Swamp Fest was not a fluke! The kids who brought their underground basement-show sounds to light for the entire city to see last summer have carried on in ever more active fashion since, with Circle Thrift becoming the unofficial home for intense, emotionally-driven hardcore bands that previously could only get gigs in dimly lit basements. If you haven’t been paying attention, this is the perfect night to catch up on what you’ve missed, because one of the more intriguing acts to show up in RVA for Swamp Fest has returned to town to let us all know what they’ve been up to for the past nine months.

At the time of their last Richmond performance, People’s Temple Project were a trio featuring two six-string guitars and no bass. Since that time, they’ve both expanded to a four-piece (adding considerable chaos to their live presence in the process) and released a split EP with MRTEX that ably demonstrates the aspects of their sound that caught my attention in the first place–multi-faceted songwriting, chaotic energy, and a strange melodic-yet-noisy undercurrent that seems both impossible and perfect.

Come find out what these New York boys have in store for you, and while you’re at it, dig the sounds of Massachusetts’ Sleeper Wave, who are also coming through on tour with some chaotic hardcore featuring quick changes and lots of screaming heaviness. Representing the local scene on this bill will be recent Nashville transplants Van Hagar, who bash out some wild bass/drum power violence to get you amped; and of course, Truman, one of the mainstays of this scene, who will scream, mosh, and flail hair and guitars all around the room. It’s gonna be rad, and you might even find some cool scores in the cassette rack between bands (if you get there before I do, that is).

Thursday, February 18, 7 PM
Clair Morgan, Ishmael, Geometers, Plain Scrap @ Strange Matter – $7

Clair Morgan is not only a hard-working musician and bandleader with a ton of talent, lately he’s been a real man-about-town, organizing his Monday meetups at Don’t Look Back and playing plenty of great shows. He’s only stoking the anticipation for the forthcoming work from he and his band, which I’m sure by now I’ve mentioned enough times that you’ve DEFINITELY marked your calendar for the release date on May 6, right? Don’t worry, this show–and, one would hope, a few others–will tide you over until then, giving you a plentiful helping of Clair and co’s subtly complex orchestral indie pop/rock n’ roll.

There’s more than that awaiting you at this lovely affair tonight, though. New York bands Ishmael and Geometers will be coming through town, and if you dig what Clair Morgan does, you’ll be into these bands for sure. Ishmael’s spacious, glittering math-pop is sure to appeal to local fans of bands like Fight Cloud and Night Idea, and it’s loaded with enough hooks to make their songs impossible to forget. Geometers are a bit more of a post-hardcore sort of thing–they got Jawbox/Burning Airlines leader J. Robbins to produce their brand new EP, and the musical influence of Robbins’ work comes through in Geometers’ catchy, muscular alt-rock. Up-and-coming RVA punks Plain Scrap will get things started with the biggest dose of rough n’ ready punk you’re gonna get the whole night, so show up on time–you won’t want to miss a moment.

Friday, February 19, 8 PM
Ruckzuck, Glass Twin, Gemtone, Uncle Drunk @ Strange Matter – $5

Look, there are laws under which this column operates, and one of them is apparently “if you name your band after something to do with early 70s German Krautrock, I can’t resist writing about you.” I’d never heard of Ruckzuck before this show came across my radar, but having taken their name from the best pre-Trans Europe Express Kraftwerk song, they had my immediate attention. Musically, they reward those who go hunting for closer looks based upon such references (i.e., me); their analog-synth-drenched psychedelic space jams simultaneously remind me of Stereolab and The Diamond Center. Plus, as you can see from the above photo, their stage outfits are glorious. Get ready to wave your arms in the air like you were Syd Barrett when Ruckzuck take the stage.

The local bands playing this show will provide detailed explorations of the various terrain Ruckzuck covers in briefer form. Which is to say, Glass Twin explore the psychedelic world of alternative rock through influences derived from Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and other tripped-out guitar slingers. Gemtone, a one-woman ambient pop project, navigates through the spacey world of electronic currents and synth swirls. Uncle Drunk kicks the whole thing off with some “dork rock” that you should not expect to be just another Weezer-influenced band–especially in light of the fact that No BS! Brass Band’s own Reginald Chapman will be contributing trombone to their tunes on this night. That’s worth seeing right there! Get down with it.

Saturday, February 20, 4:30 PM
Manzara (Photo by Jake Cunningham), Ghastly City Sleep, Big No, Gull, Landis Wine @ Hardywood – Free!

I gotta say, I think it’s pretty great to keep up with the current creative efforts of former post-hardcore superstars. Therefore, I definitely enjoy this opportunity to see a free show headlined by a double-shot of bands featuring people whose music I’ve been listening to for the better part of two decades. Manzara combines the talents of former Four Hundred Years bassist Erin Housholder with Canary Oh Canary rockers Michael Harl and Mark Hutcherson to bring us some spooky postpunk rumblings with slowly-building epic structures. Their sound is hypnotic and engrossing, and will have you hanging on every note.

Meanwhile, Ghastly City Sleep sees former City Of Caterpillar leader Brandon Evans return to action with his long-running electronically-infused experimental postpunk quartet, making his way back from Brooklyn to his old stomping grounds of Richmond after several years, just in time to introduce us to the band’s brand new album, Lulling Skulls. This band’s dark, foreboding sounds make them an ideal sonic companion for Manzara, and will be an appropriate foil for the new beer entitled Walpurgisnacht (aka April 30, the witches’ sabbath) that Hardywood is introducing this evening. The evening will also feature some excellent (and surely at least a little ominous) music from other local artists, including psychedelic desert rangers Big No, one-man transcendence factory Gull, and a solo set from White Laces frontman Landis Wine. Get ready to grab some brews and dim the lights.

Sunday, February 21, 7 PM
The Cheats Movement Podcast presents: New Richmond, feat. Dr. Millionaire, Farma Wes, Segga Spiccoli, Ms. Proper @ Gallery 5 – $7 in advance, $10 at the door (order tickets HERE)

Hip hop continues to rise to new levels of prominence and glory on the Richmond music scene, and The Cheats Movement’s expansion into podcast form has done a great job of documenting the local scene in downloadable form over the past several months. Their further movement into the hosting of a monthly night of local hip hop stars at Gallery 5 is only making it that much easier for you to get in on all the great things happening around town where the underground sound of hip hop is concerned, and you’d be a fool to miss out on any edition of New Richmond 2016 at Gallery 5.

This month, the star of the show is one of the most obvious talents in RVA, the one and only Dr. Millionaire, still riding high on the success of last year’s My First Million EP. The man’s got plenty more in store for you than just that, though, and you can expect to hear some new joints as well as all your old favorites at this show. There’s also gonna be appearances by two new talents making noise on the local scene, Farma Wes and Segga Spiccoli, both of whom have gotten shine from the Cheats Movement Podcast very recently, and for good reason! Get on board if you don’t know what’s up with these dudes. And of course, there’ll be a return appearance by former hometown lady Ms. Proper, who has been up and down the East Coast over the past couple of years, on her grind and making moves. She’s coming back to town to let us know what she’s been up to, and one would imagine she’ll be spitting fire. Come out and see what’s up, y’all. This shit is essential.

Monday, February 22, 8 PM
Comrades, Tigerwine, Manzara, The Blue Sky Disaster, Chris Bernstorf @ Strange Matter – $8

Our peripatetic post-hardcore wanderers are returning home for one of their all-too-infrequent RVA shows, and you better seize this chance to get there and see them perform, because who knows when they’ll be back around? I am speaking, of course, of Comrades, that trio of instrumental virtuosos who prefer to de-emphasize vocals in favor of expansive instrumental soundscapes with plenty of complexity and dynamic range. See, of course, their 2014 album Safekeeper, which did all that was necessary to solidify the group’s legacy and prove that they’ve got an original sound worth listening to. I’ve been complaining since before that album was even out that I never get a chance to see these guys, and I still haven’t managed to do so, so it’s really time for me to stop blowing it and get my ass to Strange Matter this Monday night. You should do the same!

Comrades will be joining their labelmates on RVA’s own Blood And Ink Records, Tigerwine, for this show. Tigerwine are another heavy post-hardcore band, this one hailing from Colorado. Unlike Comrades, whose sparing use of vocals is more of an equal texture within their music, Tigerwine goes for a more conventional lead-vocalist approach, and strikes paydirt by doing so, nailing the whole heavy-yet-emotional post-hardcore sound pioneered by bands like Quicksand. With Manzara hitting the stage for the second time in three days, and the show starting off with performances by new RVA alt-rockers Blue Sky Disaster and traveling spoken-word/poetry artist Chris Bernstorf, this promises to be an action-packed evening of great sounds! Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, February 23, 8 PM
BLK LLC, Tennison @ The Camel – $5

OK, this time I’m writing out of pure curiosity. In this day and age, it’s rare to even have to do that–to find yourself curious about a band but totally unaware of exactly what they sound like. But as far as I can tell, BLK LLC are completely unrepresented by live or studio recordings on the world wide web, so I’m left just as unsure of what they sound like as you are. I want to know, though! Here’s why: this band brings former Gritter vocalist/current noteworthy local poet Ryan Kent together with bass virtuoso Jon Sullivan, who’s been in everything from Sau to Jack’s Mannequin but is probably most familiar on today’s RVA scene for his work leading Kid Is Qual. Both of these men are known for their facility with both music and words (damn, son), so seeing what they come up with is surely worth the low, low price of admission, even if you can’t get a preview listen.

They’ll be appearing in the company of Tennison, about whom I have told you a fair bit in the past, but just in case you didn’t catch it–this duo is a collaborative effort between local jazz/funk superstars Marcus Tenney and Devonne Harris, in their hip hop alter egos as Tennishu and DJ Harrison. Tennishu kicks the rhymes, DJ Harrison makes the beats, and the results are delicious and sure to get your head nodding. It seems likely that BLK LLC have a different sort of thing going on, but for it to be just as funky and irresistible would be far from a surprise. So come on out and see both of these duos in action. They’ll make it worth your while.


Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: andrew@rvamag.com.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

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

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