RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 2/19-2/25

by | Feb 19, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, February 21 & Saturday, February 22, 9 PM both days
Wonderland Presents Little Heavy Rebel Weekend, featuring, Day 1: The Recently Deceased (pictured above), JJ Damage And The Bandits, Reverend D-Ray And The Shockers; Day 2: The Gojira Experiment, Tex Railer’s Doomtown, The Creep-A-Zoids @ Wonderland – $5 per show

Richmond’s home for raging punk, metal, and psychobilly sounds can seem a bit out of place amidst the decadent dance-party lifestyle that grips Shockoe Bottom these days, but Wonderland doesn’t let that bother them. This outstanding dive bar continues to represent for the out of control rock n’ roll lifestyle, and they’re making this post-Valentine’s Day weekend a special occasion where that’s concerned with a two-night extravaganza known as the Little Heavy Rebel Weekend!

Friday, February 21 & Saturday, February 22, 9 PM both days
Wonderland Presents Little Heavy Rebel Weekend, featuring, Day 1: The Recently Deceased (pictured above), JJ Damage And The Bandits, Reverend D-Ray And The Shockers; Day 2: The Gojira Experiment, Tex Railer’s Doomtown, The Creep-A-Zoids @ Wonderland – $5 per show

Richmond’s home for raging punk, metal, and psychobilly sounds can seem a bit out of place amidst the decadent dance-party lifestyle that grips Shockoe Bottom these days, but Wonderland doesn’t let that bother them. This outstanding dive bar continues to represent for the out of control rock n’ roll lifestyle, and they’re making this post-Valentine’s Day weekend a special occasion where that’s concerned with a two-night extravaganza known as the Little Heavy Rebel Weekend! This is, of course, a reference to the long-running summer festival known as The Heavy Rebel Weekender, held in Winston-Salem, NC, every year for over a decade now. This festival of music, hot rods, burlesque dancing, sideshow acts, and all sorts of other craziness is very much in keeping with the Wonderland aesthetic–plus, most of the bands playing this two-day showcase are already confirmed to play the 2014 Heavy Rebel Weekender, so this event will act as the perfect preview!

Friday night’s lineup will be a big treat for all the psychobilly fans in town. Featuring three different bands that all employ upright bass as part of their lineups, Friday night’s show will be headlined by Baltimore’s The Recently Deceased. This trio adds a bit of metallic crunch to their sound, as well as some punk bravado. You can tell these guys aren’t playing around because they have a song called “Vampira”–and it’s not a Misfits cover but an original tune. They’ll be joined by JJ Damage And The Bandits, a DC group that laces their brand of psychobilly with surf-twang guitar pyrotechnics and speedy punk bravado. Locals Reverend D-Ray And The Shockers open things up with a bit of outlaw-country menace to go with their horror-tinged lyrics.

Saturday night takes things in a more straight-up punk direction, with The Gojira Experiment’s mix of catchy three-chord riffing and that post-Elvis vocal style that Glenn Danzig’s always been so great at. This RVA band has electric bass and distorted guitars, but those who love old-school rock n’ roll will find plenty to love in their music. Tex Railer’s Doomtown, an Albany, NY band who named themselves after the fake town in the Nevada desert the US Army used for atomic testing in the 50s, are the only band playing on Saturday night with an upright bass, and really, their speed and energy will have them fitting right in with the punk bands that bookend them. These qualities also make them a band you don’t want to miss. Finally, RVA’s Creep-A-Zoids kick things off, and this punk rock crew, who bring to mind such early 80s West Coast punk as Agent Orange and Social Distortion, are always worth your time.

The party’s going to last all weekend at Wonderland, so ignore this ridiculously cold winter we’re having for a couple of nights and get a preview of this summer’s Heavy Rebel Weekender at Shockoe Bottom’s rockin-est dive bar!

Wednesday, February 19, 9 PM
Hot Bars Music Group presents Mid-Week Madness, feat. Broad Street Elite, The Heroez, F.Low, Solo Doloric, Biggie Deaf, Wize aka Dub-I @ Emilio’s – $5

I’ve heard from a few people around town lately who thought there wasn’t much going on in the RVA hip hop scene, and every time, I found it mind-boggling. Maybe I’m in a privileged position, considering the amount of press releases rolling into my inbox on a daily basis, but it seems to me like Richmond’s hip hop scene is exploding lately. The New Juice Crew’s Face Melt Friday show a couple of weeks ago served as a pretty good crash course on what’s going on around town, but for those who missed it, or found the somewhere around two dozen performers on one bill a bit overwhelming, the Mid-Week Madness show at Emilio’s tonight will also serve as a great place to jump on.

Presented by Hot Bars Music Group, this show will serve two purposes. The first is to let the world know about F.Low’s newest mixtape, I Don’t Need A Deal 7. F.Low has been putting out mixtapes in this series for over four years now, and it seems like the work has paid off if the sound of his new tape is any indication. Some of it has more of a trap sound, some of it is more straight up Southern-style, but the whole tape is consistently good, and the lyrics prove that they don’t call this man F.Low for nothing. But this evening isn’t just about F.Low, it’s about the whole Hot Bars Music Group, which also includes Biggie Deaf, Solo Doloric, and Wize aka Dub-I. With OG !lla’s Broad Street Elite crew along for the ride–meaning we can expect appearances from !lla, Rich P, and maybe Ms. Proper, among others–this evening will bring together two different crews of up-and-coming Richmond hip hop artists to showcase their skills. With The Heroez, host J. Gott, and Broad Street Elite’s DJ Gringo providing the music, it’s going to be a great night, so come out, get yourself a hard copy of I Don’t Need A Deal 7, and see what RVA hip hop is all about!

Thursday, February 20, 9 PM
Slim Wray (photo by Bill Kelly), Malhombre, Various Eggs, One Friend @ Strange Matter – $6

Perhaps not everyone would agree with me, but as far as I’m concerned, a person can never have too much wild, crazy rock n’ roll in their lives. Therefore, the fact that I’ve already recommended you spend your weekend at Wonderland digging the psychobilly/punk sounds that’ll be going down there in no way dissuades me from further recommending a Thursday night rock n’ roll appetizer at Strange Matter. Slim Wray will be coming down from Brooklyn that night to blast RVA with their raw, powerful music, and you should get your ass over there and enjoy it! The name Slim Wray may make you think of some guy with a Western shirt and muttonchop sideburns, but it’s actually a two-piece band, in which a singing guitarist is backed up by a non-singing drummer, and there’s no bass guitar to be found anywhere. Yeah, I know, it’s not 2000 anymore, we’ve all seen a ton of these bassless rock n’ roll duos since the White Stripes hit it big, but I don’t care. If a band can write a great song and deliver it with passion and soul, that’s all that matters. And think of it this way–how many great rock n’ roll trios have you seen over the years, huh? Do you scoff every time a band with a guitar player, a bass player, and a drummer takes a stage? No. And bands with no bass player are really smarter than power trios anyway, because that’s just one less person you have to call to schedule practice.

Anyway, my point is, Slim Wray rules. They put out a new album called Sack Lunch last month, and it sounds like The Black Keys back before those dudes started trying to make radio rock, and considering how much I loved Thickfreakness, that makes me really excited. Plus, they cover The Sonics and Van Morrison’s “Gloria” on it, so you know they’re legit. And by the way, so is F.A. Blasco of RVA’s Malhombre, who are also on this bill. A former touring member of such bands as Interpol, Magnetic Morning, The Secret Machines, and more, Blasco worked with Melissa Auf Der Maur and April March on the debut Malhombre single. The slow, hazy balladry he engaged in on that record walked a strange line between the dark, quiet moods of early Leonard Cohen and the baroque sleaze of Serge Gainsbourg. But Blasco’s been keeping a low profile since, so we’re not sure exactly what we’ll get with his new live lineup. That said, it’s sure to be interesting. The off-kilter indie sounds of Various Eggs, along with the driving alt-rock stylings of One Friend, kick things off.

Saturday, February 22, 6 PM
RPG, Canary Oh Canary, The Awesome Few @ Hardywood – Price at door

They tell me Hardywood’s beer is amazing–I wouldn’t know anything about that. What I do know is that this local craft brewery hosts musical performances on a semi-regular basis, and they are always of the highest quality. This is even truer than usual of Saturday’s gathering, which will feature a rare appearance by RVA’s own stoner metal heroes, RPG. Despite these guys’ part-time existence in recent years, RPG have continued to be artistically relevant up to this point, with their most recent album, 2012’s High Loathsome, incorporating traditional Southern rock and country balladry into their dark, bluesy metal sound. We fully expect their performance this Saturday to be outstanding, and considering it may be several months at minimum before you get a chance to see them again, you don’t want to miss it.

Meanwhile, Canary Oh Canary will add a different flavor to this evening of live music, bringing their dark, postpunk epics to life on Hardywood’s stage. This trio’s debut full-length, Sleep, was one of the more underrated RVA releases of 2013, showing significant artistic growth from their early releases and reflecting a consolidation of their influences into a more unified sound. Michael Harl’s powerful vocals are still a standout element of this band’s sound, but the atmosphere of the music has only grown deeper and darker. Night will just be falling as Canary Oh Canary performs, but their sound should remind you that it’s 3 o’clock in the morning somewhere. Local indie-rockers The Awesome Few will kick things off at 6 PM sharp, and considering Hardywood’s tasting room will be open from 2 PM on, you may want to show up early and get in the mood before the music starts. I mean, that’s the kind of thing I hear beer fans say, at least. I really wouldn’t know.

Saturday, February 22, 8 PM
Sons Of Thndr, Dr. Millionaire, Bo Jankans @ The Lair – $5 suggested donation

See, this is what I’m talking about–there’s plenty of hip hop happening in RVA these days. Sons Of Thndr, Dr. Millionaire, and Bo Jankans represent a completely type of hip hop than the show at Emilio’s earlier this week is showcasing, but there’s just as much talent on display here. These rappers are all coming from that stoner/skater/hipster sensibility, and Sons Of Thndr can at times evoke thoughts of both Outkast and Odd Future. Their Ebola EP from last fall was released for free on their tumblr, which kind of says it all about where they’re coming from–but that’s not a dismissal, because these guys can really rap, and their beats are solid as hell.

Meanwhile, we all know Dr. Millionaire is down with the hipsters, as he showed us on his recent video, “Alt Bitcs.” I suppose we can expect to see plenty of art-school seapunk girls (with tumblr accounts, I’d imagine) at this show, but the good news if you’re not particularly trying to have sex with Dr. Millionaire, his beats are dope. There’s a bit of a spacy, cloud-rap sound to the production Hovey Benjamin cooks up for the good doctor, but his rap skills are much more solid and conventional than any Lil B-type weirdo. So whether you’re there for the scenery, the skills, or the dancing, Dr. Millionaire will satisfy. Bo Jankans is opening up. I just discovered this local rapper, but I am definitely digging what I’m hearing, so show up on time for this show and check out some new talent.

Sunday, February 23, 9:30 PM
Negative Gemini, Mirror Kisses @ Bandito’s – Free!

Two electronic solo projects are taking things over at Bandito’s this Sunday night, and it promises to be an interesting evening. Lindsey French’s Negative Gemini has charmed us for quite a while with its mix of ambient experimentation, lovelorn balladry, and danceable beats. There’s apparently a video coming soon for “True Blue,” the closing track from last year’s Forget Your Future (and sadly NOT a Madonna cover). Chris Bopst over at Style said something about Lindsey being “bummed out but in need of sex” in his writeup of this show, which got the cringe-laugh reaction from me, and definitely seems awkward in light of the fact that Lindsey’s boyfriend, George Clanton, is also performing on this show under the name Mirror Kisses. But hey, it got us to mention an article by a rival publication on our website, so I guess Bopst wins in the end.

Anyway, let’s get back to talking about music, shall we? Mirror Kisses is less spaced-out and experimental than Negative Gemini, with the sort of lush midnight-drive feel I’ve always associated with M83 or the Drive soundtrack. Considering the project is named after a line from Echo And The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar,” that seems even more appropriate, and all you black-clad leather-and-lace postpunk-goth types will certainly love what Mirror Kisses has to offer. So don’t worry about Lindsey and George’s sex life, just come out to Bandito’s this Sunday and dance to the New Romantic sounds on offer. Making out is by no means discouraged.

Monday, February 24, 9 PM
Organ Donor, Coffin Dust, Mangled, Genocide Pact @ Strange Matter – $7

Death fucking metal, you guys. DEATH FUCKING METAL! The fact that the brutal growling extreme metal scene is alive and well in Richmond is probably a surprise to no one (not even Pitchfork), but it’s always nice to see evidence of such a thing, and there’ll be plenty provided at Strange Matter this Monday night. Heading things up are local death metal torchbearers Organ Donor, who bring together former Cannabis Corpse members Andy Horn and Nick Polous with Bastard Sapling drummer Elway and a couple of other local shredders to make a musical steamroller from double-bass blasts, full-throated growls, and chugging thrash riffs. These guys sound straight out of Morrisound in 1993, and it rules.

Plus, this Monday, Organ Donor have brought together some death metal heavyweights from up and down the East Coast to make for a full evening of brutality at Strange Matter. Philly shredders Coffin Dust add super-low swamp creature vocals and fuzzy blasting rage to their sound, while keeping the riffs heavy as fuck. Atlanta’s Mangled present a dark, lo-fi twist on deathgrind sounds that they call “sewer metal”–which sounds promising, as long as you don’t get splattered with anything. And of course, DC’s Genocide Pact will open things up with some slow, torturous pummeling punctuated by brief blasts of blazing death thrash. It all sounds pretty great, right? If you like getting thrashed all to hell in a violent pit while dudes onstage swing guitars and growl furiously, then this is the place for you Monday night! And if you don’t, what is your idea of fun, anyway?

Tuesday, February 25, 7 PM
Spiritual Rez, Hubble Bash, Phil Dice, Eli Cash @ The Camel – $10

Well, OK, maybe your idea of fun is chillin’ out and drinking a fine craft brew while an extensive crew of musicians lays down some upbeat reggae-rock hybrid jams. If so, Tuesday night has just what the doctor ordered in store for you, as Spiritual Rez make their return to The Camel. Fresh on the heels of the release of their latest album, Apocalypse Whenever, which actually dropped earlier this week, this Boston ensemble brings their extensive lineup of guitars, keyboards, horns, and percussion to RVA to kick off a dance party that should last all night. They’ll be playing plenty of new tunes to get your groove going, mingling ska, prog, alt-rock and funk into their reggae backbeat. They’ve certainly delighted crowds at The Camel in the past, and if you weren’t there then, make sure you don’t miss the return of Spiritual Rez!

Hubble Bash are playing as well, and this DJ-drummer duo is much harder to nail down, mixing electronic sounds with everything from reggae jam to hip hop and heavy bass elements into their hybrid sound. What’s important, though, is that they will make you dance. And with local DJs Phil Dice and Eli Cash warming up the crowd with opening sets, this is really going to be a dance party from jump street. But it’s not a night to get aggro on the dance floor–instead, let the jams take you to a higher plane. Irie, mon. Or, you know, whatever.


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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