Friday, March 21, 5 PM
Lobo Marino, Antique Animals, Swamp Trees @ Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – FREE!
We’ve always regarded Lobo Marino as a local RVA band, but the truth is they spend most of their time on the road.
Friday, March 21, 5 PM
Lobo Marino, Antique Animals, Swamp Trees @ Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – FREE!
We’ve always regarded Lobo Marino as a local RVA band, but the truth is they spend most of their time on the road. This indie-folk duo made up of Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price are such committed world travelers that their most recent album, released last October, is a collection of field recordings made on three different continents. Fields is a document of Lobo Marino’s travels to such far-flung locales as Spain, Montana, Puerto Rico, and Morocco–but now they’re officially back in RVA, and not just for a single show, either. Word is Sullivan and Price have actually re-established residence in town, and while we can’t imagine it’s a permanent thing, we should all rejoice to see them return. And to hear them again, which can be done at Hardywood this Friday! Expect all sorts of unconventional instruments to play into their ambient folk sound during this performance, as well as a nice helping of Sullivan and Price’s excellent vocal harmonies. Truth is, we don’t really know what exactly this duo might have up their sleeves for this show, but we can’t imagine it won’t be original and entertaining.
Jacksonville’s Antique Animals will be stopping through town to perform at this show as well. Their orchestral sound draws from a different type of indie-folk; the kind made famous by Beirut, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Arcade Fire, among others. Expect a wide variety of instrumentation, all engaged in service to a common goal–that of creating a joyful noise that will put all in earshot into a celebratory frame of mind. Meanwhile, RVA’s Swamp Trees may very well be departing both this city and this earthly realm. Band members Mica Whitney and Graham Remocaldo will be getting married the day after this show, and rumor has it they’ll be leaving town afterwards. So this may be your last opportunity to see this aptly-named group, who mix the humid, shady atmosphere of summertime in the old South with mountain folk sounds from the Appalachians of long ago. You’d be a fool to miss it.
Wednesday, March 19, 5 PM
Nona, Springtime, Missives, Jonah Love @ Strange Matter – $6
All the pop-punk fans in this town better be paying attention, because this is one show none of you want to miss. Nona is a Philadelphia band featuring ex-members of Spraynard (and we all loved them, didn’t we?) who write some incredible upbeat tunes, as you can hear on their amazing debut album, Through The Head. Singer/guitarist Mimi Gallagher’s effervescent vocal delivery is a particular highlight, as she sings like Blake Babies-era Juliana Hatfield over surprisingly muscular riffing that displays more than a hint of post-hardcore influence. Like Lemuria’s punkier kid sister crossed with the Lemonheads’ punk years (don’t scoff til you’ve heard the Hate Your Friends LP), Nona write songs that incorporate both complex emotional sentiments and bratty punk energy. In a live setting, this is guaranteed to be a winning formula.
RVA hardcore crew Springtime have been impressing us ever since their demo came out with their ability to bring back emotional hardcore the way it sounded when it started. Their EP on Tiny Engines, South Hill, carried that classic Dag Nasty/Endpoint sound from their demo into even richer emotional territory without losing an ounce of the hardcore passion that makes these guys stand out. Anytime they play live, it’s a treat, and tonight should be no exception. Meanwhile, Missives is a big “where are they now?” update for anyone going to pop-punk shows in RVA back in 2000 or so. This band brings together Zach and Matt Wentz of Cephid and Billy Mutter of 10:33 to combine the pop-punk and melodic hardcore sounds of their previous bands into a new configuration that’s as good or better than anything they’ve done before. Jonah Love will start things out, and this brand new RVA band has the kind of lo-fi sound that takes me back to the early days of Slumberland Records (think Black Tambourine), or maybe some of Order Of the Dying Orchid’s circa-2004 recordings (think the split with Ultra Dolphins). What they’ll sound like live is more of an open question, but with an overall lineup this solid, chances are these guys will hold up their end of the deal.
Wednesday, March 19, 9 PM
Obliteration, Earthling, Unsacred, Vorator @ Strange Matter – $10
Yeah, I know, two shows on a Wednesday? Usually I save the doubleheaders for the weekend, but let’s face it–both of the shows at Strange Matter tonight are so good, it’s kinda gonna be all downhill for the rest of the week where live music in RVA is concerned. So forget about getting a good night’s sleep before work Thursday morning–this is more important. What is it the kids say, you only live once? Something like that. Of course, you better hope the James Bond version of that slogan is actually the correct one, because Norwegian quartet Obliteration is coming to kill you with an avalanche of brutality! Their latest album, Black Death Horizon, shows an unusual aptitude for mixing black, death, and doom metal into its raging epics, and stands head and shoulders above most recent metal albums of any subgenre. The live version of this wall of murderous fury is not to be missed!
Groups providing local support include Harrisonburg’s Earthling, whose Dark Path album, released last year by super-cool RVA label Forcefield, is a solid slab of retro death metal that should fit right in with the doom-and-gloom vibe Obliteration are putting out. Unsacred’s blackened thrash/crust/hardcore is similarly pummeling, and should be a treat for the D-beat fans in the crowd. Meanwhile, Vorator is the latest grinding shred attack from Harrison Steel (Corpsinator, Ravn) and Leland Hoth (ex-Occultist, ex-Battlemaster), now with assistance from members of rarely seen local tech-death group War Graves. Should be cool! So set the timer on the coffee pot for Thursday morning, because with a show this brutal happening, going to bed before 2 AM is a crime.
Thursday, March 20, 7:30 PM
Ava Luna, Krill, Navi, Naked Baby @ Gallery 5 – $5
OK, listen up, people–if mutant disco is your thing, you absolutely need to be at Gallery 5 this Thursday. Ava Luna are making the trip down from Brooklyn to prove that someone is still keeping NYC’s 80s-era lineage of bizarre alternate-universe funk alive. In the tradition of James Chance and The Contortions, Liquid Liquid, and the Bush Tetras before them, Ava Luna adds complex time signatures, sudden mood shifts, and hyperkinetic dance grooves to a foundation poured by James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Stevie Wonder. Frontman and main songwriter Carlos Hernandez has a ton of ideas and he crams them all into his invigorating tunes, which practically force you to dance, especially on the group’s latest album, Electric Balloon. There’s a lot of originality and creative genius happening here, but make no mistake, all it’s going to make you want to do when you see it at Gallery 5 is dance your ass off. Luckily for us all, an art gallery is the perfect place to get down in the bizarre fashion this music demands.
Joining Ava Luna at this show will be Bostonians Krill, who have plenty of energy themselves, but direct it towards post-punk rock n’ roll of the sort dished out by bands like Parquet Courts, though with a bit of that Walkmen flavor mixed in for an added dose of the weird. And speaking of weird, RVA heroes of weird Navi will also be on the bill. You’ve heard plenty from us lately about how great Navi’s recent Illuminavi EP is, but just because we continue to bang on about it isn’t making it any less true. Come see these pedal-hopping instrumental oddballs bring their crazy sound to life if you haven’t already (or even if you have). And show up on time to catch the garage rock sounds of local project Naked Baby, featuring former members of the Eurotics.
Saturday, March 22, 9 PM
Roz And The Rice Cakes, Houdan The Mystic, Shy Low, Hi-Life Wedding @ Strange Matter – $6
Roz And The Rice Cakes come from Providence, Rhode Island, where they are a much-loved local sensation. This piano-driven trio brings a completely different musical palette to bear on their sound, since the lack of guitars removes so much of the potential for indie-rock business as usual. But that’s a good thing, as they show on upcoming LP Need To Feed, which will be out next month. What we’ve heard from the album so far has elements of Regina Spektor’s unusual approach to balladry, as well as some World/Inferno Friendship Society cabaret-folk elements. But mostly it just rocks, with singer/pianist Roz Raskin’s vocals as a particular standout element. While this group is not quite as punk as their name would suggest, they make up for it with a level of talent that can’t be ignored.
The other touring band on this bill is just as unusual and just as talented. Hi-Life Wedding, hailing from Missouri and Australia (yeah, we don’t know how a band from those locations gets together either), uses bass, keyboards, programmed beats, and dual male-female vocals to create electronic dance-pop with a strong analog heart and talent that can’t be blamed on computerized assistance. They’ll be joined by two of the leading lights of RVA’s burgeoning math-rock scene. Houdan The Mystic are a bunch of hippie wizards prone to running around the woods in multi-colored cloaks, but they demonstrate their true wizardry when they pick up their instruments. Unusual time signatures and virtuosic flourishes are the order of the day, and their songs are engaging even if you can’t keep up with all the 7/8 bass runs and such. Meanwhile, Shy Low dispense the sort of epic instrumental post-rock that’s been in high demand recently. Ultimately, while all of these bands have pretty unusual sounds, combining all of them on the same bill should make for an appealing evening.
Sunday, March 23, 8 PM
Silent Music Revival, featuring Dumb Waiter @ Gallery 5 – Free!
As mentioned above, Lobo Marino is back in town, so it’s only fitting that Jameson Price’s semi-regular multimedia exhibition known as Silent Music Revival has returned as well. These recurring events pair local musicians with silent films, which are broadcast on the wall behind the musicians as they create a live soundtrack for the films. The twist is that no one in the groups performing has ever seen the film before. So what will come of their juxtaposition? It’s anyone’s guess. Considering that local jazz/punk instrumental ensemble Dumb Waiter are an “anybody’s guess” sort of group anyway, it’s fitting to see them bring their difficult-to-categorize sound into the Silent Music Revival framework. On Sunday, they’ll be playing along with several silent cartoons starring the characters Mutt and Jeff. These stars of early 20th century comics pages, created by Bud Fisher and animated by the Fox Film Corporation, became the subjects for over 300 silent cartoon shorts between 1916 and 1926. Dumb Waiter will attempt to play the role of Carl Stalling for these short films, with the added complication of needing to make up the sound effects as they go along. It’ll be fascinating to see what they come up with, so head over to Gallery 5 this Sunday, check out the unique sounds of Dumb Waiter, and see what the Silent Music Revival is all about.
Monday, March 24, 9 PM
Kids, Grower, Burn/Ward, Bitchmouth, Page Of Concrete @ Strange Matter – $6
The weekend’s over, and for all you live music fiends, it’s time to head back to Strange Matter, the most reliable deliverer of awesome shows on random nights of the week. This time it’s a tour featuring Kids and Grower, two hardcore bands that just did a split 7 inch on Ranch Records. Both bands hail from Philadelphia, and they both totally shred. Kids make up for their ungoogleable name with fun song titles like “You Don’t Want To Fight Wet Eddie,” plus some harsh vocals, blast beats, and the occasional post-hardcore riff to mix it up. Grower have a harsher sound, and are unafraid to dish out some breakdowns, though they never quite get slow enough to let the mosh pit get too unruly.
Both of these Philly bands fit well together, and will also combine well with the two excellent female-fronted hardcore bands from RVA that will be opening for them. Burn//Ward’s short but sweet (or should we say short but savage?) demo blew us away when it came out back at the beginning of the year, and word has it this power-violence band have some new material for us, presumably meaning their set at this show will stretch beyond the 10-minute mark. Well, we can only hope. Then there’s Bitchmouth, who play in a less extreme fast hardcore style but still have plenty of energy. Expect the circle pits to get going for this one. Finally, Page Of Concrete are our openers, and all I can tell you about these guys is that they feature ex-members of Dial-Up and Truman–two other RVA bands I never got a chance to see, though I heard good things.
Tuesday, March 25, 8 PM
The Stray Birds @ Ashland Coffee & Tea – $10 in advance/$15 at the door–order tickets HERE
From downtown hardcore to old-time country on the outskirts of town in one night? Well, why not? Sometimes that’s the best way to go, and when The Stray Birds are playing in Ashland, there’s no “sometimes” about it. This country trio brings a heavy dose of roots music to the stage at Ashland Coffee & Tea, complete with gorgeous three-part harmonies that are sure to steal your heart. Their recent Echo Sessions EP is an excellent example of the sort of heartfelt music The Stray Birds can put across in an unadorned setting, and there’s sure to be a tear in your, um, tea and a song in your heart this Tuesday. That is if you can scrape up the gas money to head 20 minutes north on I-95 in the first place–but in these desperate times, the real question is: can you afford not to?
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