RVA Shows You Must See This Week 2/25-3/3

by | Feb 25, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, February 27, 6 PM
Winter Apocalypse Festival 2, Day One: Ramlord, Scuzz, Autarch, MSD
Saturday, February 28, 6 PM
Winter Apocalypse Festival 2, Day Two: Young And In The Way, Neutron Rats, Vomit Stain, Braincell, 45 AD, Unnerve
@ Strange Matter – $10

I love it when Strange Matter does shows like this–huge multi-day extravaganzas full of brutal bands from all around the country who come together to rip everyone’s faces off.

Friday, February 27, 6 PM
Winter Apocalypse Festival 2, Day One: Ramlord, Scuzz, Autarch, MSD
Saturday, February 28, 6 PM
Winter Apocalypse Festival 2, Day Two: Young And In The Way, Neutron Rats, Vomit Stain, Braincell, 45 AD, Unnerve
@ Strange Matter – $10

I love it when Strange Matter does shows like this–huge multi-day extravaganzas full of brutal bands from all around the country who come together to rip everyone’s faces off. They’re especially welcome in the winter, when everyone shows up wearing multiple layers of thick black clothing under their denim vests. You might be cold when you walk into the club, but after three hours of sheer ferocious rage emanating from the stage, you’ll probably be sweating, even if you aren’t one of the people moshing it up in the pit.

The latest of these weekend-long music overloads takes place this Friday and Saturday, and is headlined by Young And In The Way, otherwise known as YAITW. If like me you’ve started to notice that the crust-punk and metal scenes are kinda running together, and the whole denim-vest-with-backpatch crowd seems to be equally into both genres, then you will probably understand where YAITW are coming from. Their gloomy, downtuned riffage and pounding blastbeat drums indicate a prominent black metal influence, but those super-throaty vocals are just as much apocalyptic crust as they are black metal, and it seems highly likely that every member of this band owns at least one Gehenna record (the American Gehenna–you know, the good one). These guys are gonna cap off the entire two-day event with a steamroller of dark, brutal noise, and getting run over by it is gonna feel oh so good.

Believe it or not, there are at least nine other bands on this bill over the course of two days. New Hampshire blackened crust merchants Ramlord headline the Friday bill, and will be joined by New Yorkers Scuzz and Asheville’s Autarch, as well as at least a couple more bands. Lineup shakeups for Friday night have left this bill somewhat up in the air, but the end result is bound to be worth it for these bands alone. Meanwhile, YAITW will be joined on Saturday by Albany D-beat punk trio Neutron Rats, as well as a bunch of bands from all over this surprisingly vast state of Virginia. Lynchburg crusties Braincell, Roanoke hardcore rippers Unnerve, Montpelier “gore thrash” band Vomit Stain, and 45 AD, from right here in RVA. This whole show is gonna be heavy as fuck–come in out of the snow and warm up with some brisk headbangs.

Wednesday, February 25, 10 PM
Radio Rubber Room presents Force Of Habit, Die Twice, Motel Fire, Loxodonta @ Emilio’s – Free!

Year after year, Radio Rubber Room just keeps on keeping on. It’s encouraging to see–that people can devote themselves to supporting the local scene and bringing the inhabitants of RVA some of the best local bands in this town month after month, year after year, and never lose their idealistic love for the scene. It’s also worth paying attention to, because Radio Rubber Room definitely continue to be on top of their shit where up-and-coming Richmond bands are concerned. For their latest showcase at Emilio’s, they’re extending the lineup to four bands, more than I ever remember them putting on a single show before–and the winners are the people who come to this show, because admission is free and you’ll just get to see even more awesome bands for no money than you have on prior occasions!

Rockers Force Of Habit will headline this showcase with their female-fronted Southern-style rock n’ roll. Personally, I’m a bit more excited about Die Twice, who have a fuzzy post-Velvet Underground style that is reminiscent of the early Strokes. Personally, I find it interesting to see a new generation of musicians coming up for whom Is This It? was an important early musical influence, but that’s just because I am a million years old. Anyway, Motel Fire are also on the bill, bringing their Pearl Jam-meets-Toadies early 90s alt-rock styles to the masses, and Loxodonta will open the whole thing up with some chunky rock grooves featuring falsetto-ish vocals. Should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, February 26, 7 PM
Comrades, Grace For The Fallen, Tir Asleen, Doubtfire @ Gallery 5 – $3

Let us now hark back to the thrilling days of yesteryear! In the late 90s, the evolution of metalcore took an interesting turn; previously a genre dominated by Slayer-loving bands from New England (Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan), North Carolina (Catharsis, Prayer For Cleansing), and the Arizona/California region (Eighteen Visions, Suicide Nation), it all changed significantly when a bunch of young Christians got their hands on it. Bands like Zao, Underoath, and Norma Jean became musical innovators while at the same time bringing a completely different lyrical focus to the world of metalcore than it had before. Some non-religious hardcore kids could not handle it, but if you could sit through some (admittedly at times pretty intense) proselytizing from stage, you could hear some really heavy music in church basements back in those days.

RVA’s own contribution to that particular movement was a band called Grace For The Fallen, who had some success in the early 2000s with their album Field Of Blood, but pretty much disappeared completely over a decade ago–until now. These metalcore-raging spiritual warriors return to action Thursday night at Gallery 5 to let Richmond and the world know that they love Jesus and they’ve got some really sick breakdowns to hit you over the head with. They’ll be joined on this bill by modern RVA post-hardcore/post-rockers Comrades, who go the mostly instrumental route with their music but have a lot of great riffs and a subtle but still present love for Jesus in their heart. Hey, I can respect that. Georgia band Tir Asleen, whom I’ve heard called screamo (a term of which I am intrinsically suspicious), will round out the bill, along with brand new RVA metal trio Doubtfire, who feature members of Night Idea, Dumb Waiter, and Hellbear shredding hard. Come out and mosh–for Jesus, for Satan, or just for yourself.

Friday, February 27, 8 PM
Marshall Crenshaw @ Ashland Coffee & Tea – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)

Fans of power pop, I hope you’re prepared to make a short drive this Friday night. Marshall Crenshaw may not be that well-known in the post-Y2k world, but back in the early 80s, when the more melodic, more commercial, but still musically excellent power-pop scene was in full swing, Crenshaw was right up there with the Romantics or the (Paul Collins) Beat as one of the best examples of the style. Early 80s hits like “Someday Someway” and “Whenever You’re On My Mind” are driven by simple yet memorable pop hooks and supremely catchy choruses, and will bring a smile to your face on even the dreariest days.

Crenshaw’s still going strong to this day, and in fact is in the midst of a Kickstarter-funded EP project that sees him releasing a series of 10 inch vinyl records every few months for a period of two years or so. Songs like “I Don’t See You Laughing Now” and “Red Wine” show he’s still got the songwriting talent and the wry worldview that made Crenshaw worth checking out three decades ago, so if you want to see some great tunes, both old and new, from a power-pop legend, you should definitely head up to Ashland Coffee & Tea this Friday night. You won’t regret it.

Saturday, February 28, 7 PM
Kacey Musgraves, John & Jacob @ The National – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)

You know, I’m not really a country guy. I tend to say that I can find something I like in every genre, but with country, aside from the really obvious ones like Johnny Cash, that’s usually not true. The closest I usually come is Lydia Loveless (who’s more like twang-punk) or Taylor Swift’s new album (which is hipster synth-pop, let’s be real). But Kacey Musgraves is one modern straight-up country artist I can fully endorse. The second I heard her first single, “Merry Go Round,” about two years ago, my curiosity was piqued. Her debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, completely delivered on the promise of that early single, and what’s more, it yielded “Follow Your Arrow,” an overtly queer-friendly single that somehow hit the US Country Top 10. So yeah, from her political beliefs to her strong singing and songwriting talent, Kacey Musgraves is one country artist I definitely love.

If you don’t love her yet, I’m sure you will after you head down to The National this Saturday. She’ll be playing all those great songs from her first record, and I’ll be willing to bet she’s got some new songs you might get to hear as well. Hey, if you’re really lucky, she might bust out her excellent unreleased tune “John Prine,” which is sort of about the titular country singer but also kind of about smoking weed. I may not engage in that activity myself, but all my best friends are stoners, and there’s a reason for that. Anyway, let’s get back on track. Country duo John & Jacob, who’ve written for The Band Perry and have their own popular single in “Ride With Me,” will open this evening up–but obviously it’s Ms. Musgraves who’ll be the real treat for the evening.

Sunday, March 1, 10 PM
The Milkstains, Wing Dam, Tungs, Headless Mantis @ Strange Matter – $5

Sunday night at Strange Matter will be a rock n’ roll party–as is any show anywhere when the Milkstains are playing. These surf/garage ragers are riding high these days, with the release last year of both the Gored, Kicked, Beaten EP and their debut full-length, Broken Bones, both on Bad Grrrl Records. Both releases show the band’s musical diversity, moving back and forth from dark, moody Western-style surf grunge to overheated garage punk and back again in the space of five minutes or less. They’ll show off this same musical variety in a live setting, only it’s bound to involve way more sweat, beer, and stagedives. Which is to say, it’ll just rule that much harder.

The Milkstains will be joined on this evening by Wing Dam, a Baltimore rock n’ roll crew with what feels to me like a resemblance to Wolfmother, though maybe I’m crazy there. I also hear a bit of that ol’ Jack White magic shining through, which is always a plus in my book. Tungs are also playing this show–the Bad Grrrl family sticks together–and they’ve got a heaping helping of weirdo punk noise for you, as always. Headless Mantis will kick things off with some swampy weirdo shit of their own; last time I saw them, they’d added a third member, but instead of contributing something predictable like bass, the guy used a sampler to add sounds of frogs croaking and sirens going off to the Mantis’s stripped-down garage noise. So yeah, expect weirdness from the get-go at this show. You won’t be let down.

Monday, March 2, 9 PM
Pile, Brief Lives, Radiator King, Plain Scrap @ Strange Matter – $7

The return of noisy post-hardcore rock in the whole Jesus Lizard/Unsane style has been a welcome development over the past few years, and Pile is just the latest of these kinds of bands to head into Richmond with the plan of blowing your eardrums. These guys have a weird sound that veers back and forth between that aforementioned spazz-noise thing and a much more melodic–though still weird–quasi-balladeer approach that makes me think of Mike Patton at his most demented. The whole thing adds up to something unique and well worth checking out, even if it is a Monday night.

Brief Lives are your local superstars on this bill–a band who’ve done a lot more to distinguish themselves from the post-hardcore masses now that they’ve got Valient Himself from Valient Thorr on vocals. Their latest EP, VHS, shows some new sides to the band, while retaining their tendencies towards early 90s post-hardcore rockin’ of the Dischord Records variety. Plus, you always wanna see these guys live when you get a chance, just because it’s guaranteed that guitarist Chris Compton is gonna rock the fuck out. Trust me, it’s worth seeing. Boston’s Radiator King, who are on tour with Pile, and new locals Plain Scrap, with whom I’m totally unfamiliar, round out this bill.

Tuesday, March 3, 7 PM
Outer Spaces, Bad Magic, Grass Panther, Josh Small @ Gallery 5 – $6

Anytime I hear the name Cara Beth Satalino, I pay attention. I first saw her play in the front room of the old Rumors store on Harrison Street, nearly 10 years ago. She played a solo set of six or so songs, just her and an electric guitar, and I was transfixed the entire time. Since then, I’ve kept track of all her musical endeavors, from her solo days to her late-00s band, Witches, and now into Outer Spaces. Cara’s up front playing guitar and singing as usual, and as usual, she’s got some capable backing from her rhythm section–but really, Outer Spaces is all about what a great singer and songwriter she is. Their latest EP, Garbage Beach, came out last fall, and is crammed full of haunting, memorable tunes. I’d expect no less. People have compared Cara’s songwriting to Neil Young and Cat Power, and I think both of those comparisons have merit, but really, she’s an artist unto herself, and if this were a just world, you’d be hearing her songs on the radio.

Bad Magic is a similar proposition, but homegrown here in RVA. Julie Karr started singing and playing guitar by herself at RVA acoustic shows several years ago, and was amazing immediately. But she only got better as she went along, and when she united with White Laces drummer Jimmy Held to form Bad Magic, she took her music to another level entirely. These days, the group includes ex-Hoax Hunters bassist Tim Falen (who also plays drums in Hot Dolphin and The Diamond Center), so Bad Magic is incredibly talent-rich–and they’ve got the songs to back it up too. With Julie living elsewhere these days, we don’t often get a chance to hear this band live, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunity while you’ve got it. Grass Panther, the solo project from Michael Harl (Canary Oh Canary/Manzara), and Josh Small, perhaps Richmond’s best-kept secret and most underrated singer/songwriter, will open this one up. Make sure you’re there!


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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