RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 4/23-4/29

by | Apr 23, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, April 25, 8 PM
Acid Mothers Temple, Perhaps, Caves Caverns + Mutwawa @ Strange Matter – $12 (Order tickets here: http://acidmothers.eventbrite.com/)

Acid Mothers Temple are a world unto themselves.

Friday, April 25, 8 PM
Acid Mothers Temple, Perhaps, Caves Caverns + Mutwawa @ Strange Matter – $12 (Order tickets here: http://acidmothers.eventbrite.com/)

Acid Mothers Temple are a world unto themselves. This prolific Japanese band has dozens of albums to their name, which are often titled in winking homage to the progressive, psychedelic, and experimental music that they’ve derived influence from. Starless And Bible Black Sabbath, 41st Century Splendid Man, Son Of A Bitches Brew, and Dark Side Of The Black Moon: What Planet Are We On? are all titles in their extensive discography, and if you don’t get all of those references, you may be a bit confused by what will greet you at Strange Matter this Friday night.

However, psychedelic exploration of both inner and outer space is the theme of the evening, so in some ways, even the confused will be in a good head space to absorb the cosmic freakout jams which they will discover during Acid Mothers Temple’s set. Guitarist Kawabata Makoto and his crew of free-floating space rangers will be blasting off with all sorts of psychedelic noise, much of which we assume will draw from Acid Mothers Temple’s latest album, Astrogasm From The Inner Space, due for release in a couple of weeks on Important Records. Then again, maybe it won’t; regardless of what sort of noisy, spacey, even goofy sonic trips get laid on us at this show, one thing we know for sure is that it will be otherworldly, amazing, and absolutely worth seeing live. Don’t miss this rare opportunity–who knows when the Melting Paraiso UFO will touch down in Richmond again?

Also on this show will be Acid Mothers tourmates Perhaps, a Boston crew who has been known to refer to themselves as “stargaze,” a pun off shoegaze that I can actually get behind. There will be plenty of ambient, psychedelic, and experimental sounds from this crew, possibly cosmische in nature (somewhere, Julian Cope’s ears just perked up). Starting the whole thing off will be RVA’s own space-ranging psychedelic collective, Caves Caverns, engaging in a collaborative set with experimental noise duo Mutwawa. What sort of unholy sonic combinations will occur as a result of this pairing? Show up on time and find out!

Wednesday, April 23, 9 PM
Enabler (photo by Luke Mouradian), Burn/Ward, Soft Time, Captives @ Strange Matter – $7)

Get ready to thrash hard, children, because Milwaukee’s raging hardcore exports Enabler are coming through tonight, and they plan to take no prisoners. Touring in advance of the release of their new album, La Fin Absolue Du Monde (Google Translate tells me this means The Absolute End Of The World, which certainly looks accurate), Enabler are also hitting Strange Matter in advance of their upcoming tour with EyeHateGod and Ringworm, which will bring them back to Strange Matter in June. That’s no reason not to go to this show, though, as the double-bass thrash-punk attack they’re dealing out is the sort of thing you can never have too much of.

Plus, this night will bring us some pretty great local acts as well. We’ve been telling you about Burn/Ward for a while, but if you haven’t caught them yet, we understand; even on the shows they play, their sets are short enough that you might miss the whole thing while you’re around the corner getting a pack of cigarettes or something. But you’re going to have to make some time to get blown away by their feedback-laced wall of power-violence blastbeat noise, and what better time than now? Or, well, about 10 hours from when I’m writing this. And show up on time so you can catch a completely contrasting set from brand new RVA sludge masters Captives, who might just be able to fit Burn/Ward’s entire set inside one of their elongated slow-motions slabs of brutality. Soft Time are nearly unique in this day and age, in that they have no music online and I can’t tell you what they sound like (isn’t it crazy how little time it’s taken for hearing a band online to become something we take for granted?), but I do know they feature members of The Catalyst and um, Polar Bear Club? That’s interesting, right? Let’s all find out what’s going on with this band before the other three bands run us over.

Thursday, April 24, 9 PM
The SHHO Presents An Evening With Nickelus F @ Strange Matter – $7 in advance/$10 at the door

It’s long been known around RVA that Nickelus F is one of the best rappers in town. His credentials speak for themselves–“Unsigned Hype” in The Source when he was 17, seven-time 106th & Park Freestyle Friday champion, collaborating with Drake, named one of the 10 most underrated new rappers in the game by Complex Magazine in 2009… ah, but there’s the rub. When will people start rating Nickelus F on the level that he deserves? After the three excellent mixtapes Nickelus F released in 2013–Vices, PTPT, and the Yellow Gold 2 collaboration with Ohbliv–there’s really no reason why the world hasn’t been breaking down this man’s door. But maybe the world’s loss is RVA’s gain, because right now, we can still see Nickelus F rock the mic for an entire evening in an intimate club setting.

What this evening will bring is not something we can really predict. In a town where rappers generally get 15-minute sets, where the only Nickelus F stage appearance I personally have ever seen was unannounced and lasted less than five minutes, there’s no telling what a man will do when the stage is his for an entire evening. We have heard that we can expect guest appearances by Michael Millions and Radio B, which only sweetens the pot for fans of the best in RVA hip hop. With nearly two dozen releases over the past decade to draw from, Nickelus F certainly won’t lack for material–and since he hasn’t released anything new so far this year, maybe we can expect some new songs too? You won’t know unless you show up at Strange Matter tomorrow night, so we suggest you do so. Advance tickets are inexplicably unavailable online, but you can stop by Rumors or Round Two Vintage to pick yours up (or check the facebook event page above to see where/when dudes will be peddling them old-school style in random spots on the VCU campus. What year is this, anyway?)

Friday, April 25, 7 PM
Women Who Rock RVA, Series 1, feat. The Killing Daylights, Downbeat Switch, Vexine, Voodoo Dolls @ The Canal Club – $8 advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)

Women Who Rock RVA is a new organization dedicated to uniting local female musicians and getting them in front of fans who appreciate what they’re doing. Sounds pretty cool to me! They’re working on bringing a series of showcases featuring female-fronted RVA bands to local venues around town, and the first one takes place this Friday at The Canal Club. Featuring four-female fronted local bands, the showcase is headed up by power-pop group The Killing Daylights, who’ve been grabbing some local attention lately with their catchy tunes. You can actually hear them play acoustically on WRIR tonight at 7 PM, which they’re doing as an effort to promote this very show! They’ll also be joined by Downbeat Switch, who’ve been a favorite of the local alt-rock/funk/jam scene for years now, and who really took things to the next level with the release of their latest album, Bird’s Eye, last year. Singer Jenna Be is a big part of what makes this band so awesome, so this band’s placement on this showcase is eminently appropriate. Rockers Vexine, led by the soulful vocal stylings of Sarah Gleason, and new all-female quartet The Voodoo Dolls round out the lineup for this showcase–hopefully the first of many. Celebrate the women with active roles in the local scene this Friday night at The Canal Club!

Saturday, April 26, 6 PM
The Listening Room Presents Jonathan Vassar, The Bones Of JR Jones, Psalmships @ Globehopper – Free (donations requested for touring bands)

The Listening Room has been putting on monthly shows at the Firehouse Theatre for years now, in which they bring the local scene an ongoing series of musicians and performances that require a different environment than the loud, hectic club scene where live music usually happens. This is where you can go to hear acoustic singer-songwriters and hushed performers of deep, dark tunes about serious subjects achieve their full potential. The Listening Room Presents shows may not take place at the Firehouse, but they bring that ambience with them to other venues–and Globehopper is a great place to unleash that quiet, intense vibe on a Saturday night. That’s what’s happening this weekend, as celebrated local songwriter Jonathan Vassar tops a slate of acoustic artists who bring this city music worth paying attention to.

Vassar’s latest material was released last fall on a CD entitled Mercy For The Undeserving, and while his solo live performances might not be as loud as a full electric band, Vassar’s commitment to his music brings out an intensity that you might not expect when you see a guy with an acoustic guitar taking the stage. It’s pretty amazing to watch, all in all. We expect an equally intense and riveting set from The Bones Of J.R. Jones, a New York group coming through town on tour–but where Vassar’s sounds are indebted to folk music, The Bones Of J.R. Jones have country and bluegrass influences that result in a more upbeat, swinging sound. Then there’s Pennsylvania’s Psalmships, a project led by Joshua Britton, who’s been known to collaborate with Richmond luminaries like Anousheh and Allen Bergendahl in the past. His new album, I Sleep Alone, is coming soon, and we can expect a preview of its high-lonesome sounds at this show.

Sunday, April 27, 5 PM
Perfect Pussy, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Green Dreams @ Gallery 5 – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)

This show is gonna rule. By combining the powers of up-and-coming noise-punk band Perfect Pussy with the performance art/psychedelic spectacle of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, this show promises to be a total sensory overload. And it’s happening at 5 PM on a Sunday afternoon, leaving you with the distinct possibility of staggering home at dusk with your brain dripping from your earlobes. Perfect Pussy features outspoken punk-as-fuck frontwoman Meredith Graves taking a strange approach to the art of singing, which involves screaming, distortion, and intentional microphone feedback. Underneath all this confrontational dissonance, though, she’s singing soul-baring lyrics about her personal life and her struggles to put her politics into action while remaining functional–which is something anyone who has ever identified with the term “punk” can relate to. Meanwhile, the rest of the band dishes out chaotic midtempo riffing reminiscent of the more dissonant and chaotic underground hardcore bands of the 90s Riot Grrrl era, which is somehow weirdly danceable no matter how abrasive it gets.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan are a completely different and equally compelling proposition. Led by Asian-Canadian artists Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan uses signifiers of the group’s Asian heritage to explore and subvert common stereotypes. Incorporating everything from Asian pop to heavy metal and industrial music into their sound, then combining the music with theatrical aspects drawn from Chinese opera and traditional Japanese dance-drama styles including Kabuki and Noh, they’ve created a visual-musical synthesis they refer to as “Noh wave.” The psychedelic grooves and prog operatics that make up their sound are unique and fascinating but tell only half the story; we really won’t get the full-spectrum Yamantaka//Sonic Titan experience until they hit the Gallery 5 stage on Sunday. And I for one can’t wait. Rochester, NY hardcore punks Green Dreams will open the evening up with a set of upbeat punk anthems, and it’ll only get crazier from there. Get stoked!

Monday, April 28, 8 PM
Zombie Zombie, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Snacktruck, Tungs @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://aquazombie.eventbrite.com/)

If you like horror movie music, this show will be almost as important for you as if Goblin themselves showed up at Strange Matter (man, wouldn’t THAT be cool?). Zombie Zombie are a French analog synth project who reinterpret the music of John Carpenter (who not only directed Halloween but composed and performed its theme). I actually heard about them because Lady Gaga borrowed a piece of their Sun Ra cover, “Rocket Number 9,” for her own Sun Ra cover/reinterpretation, “Venus”–which I guess proves I’ve gotten way too into Top 40 pop music. Anyway, Zombie Zombie create the same atmosphere of foreboding intensity in their music that you’d expect from a classic horror movie, so let’s dim the lights, make sure we have clear sight lines for all angles of approach, and dance like we’re Peter Murphy in The Hunger.

Also from France but on a completely different tip, Aqua Nebula Oscillator will be in the house, rockin’ it psychedelic-style with their loud, heavy jams. With their blazing guitar leads and driving grooves, these guys also summon up the spirit of wild, colorful exploitation movies, but instead of getting into the whole spooky-horror thing like Zombie Zombie, Aqua Nebula Oscillator is cranking out the soundtrack for the best demon-biker-gang-from-hell-invades-unwary-small-town movie you’ve never seen. With local accompaniment from Snacktruck, whose experiments in instrumental post-hardcore have always taken them in fascinating directions, and Tungs, a totally fearless crew of young sonic risk-takers with a tendency towards psych-punk deviance, this show is looking like a wall-to-wall hit. Plus, there’s a special bonus opening DJ set in store from Revolt Of The Apes–what more could you possibly ask for?

Tuesday, April 29, 7 PM
Marbin, Crossing The Event Horizon, Celtic Panda @ Gallery 5 – $5

It would seem to make sense that math-rock fans and jazz fans would have a great deal of common ground, which is probably what explains a band like Marbin. From Chicago, this quartet combines the talents of guitarist Dani Rabin and sax player Danny Markovitch for some wild displays of instrumental prowess and technical skill. They’re a bit more straightforward than local jazz-punk fusion crew Dumb Waiter, but if you can appreciate this sort of talented madness, there’s no reason why Marbin wouldn’t get you fired up. Meanwhile, locals Crossing The Event Horizon are going in a super-technical instrumental direction with some prog-metal fusion that involves blastbeats, two-hand tapping, and strange time signatures. I hear this stuff counts as “djent”? I never understood that genre designation, but if the shoe fits… Finally, Celtic Panda round things out with some more talented displays of instrumentation, only this time in the cause of jamming out. Which is to say, they appear to be a jam band. What a strange combination of different sounds this show will bring together! However, if you appreciate instrumental virtuosity, you certainly will find something to appreciate on this bill.


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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