Saturday, April 11, 5 PM
The Nervous Ticks (photo by Good Vendetta Photography), Nelly Kate, Dave Watkins, Gull @ Hardywood – Free!
The Nervous Ticks X Hardywood: an intriguing combination!
Saturday, April 11, 5 PM
The Nervous Ticks (photo by Good Vendetta Photography), Nelly Kate, Dave Watkins, Gull @ Hardywood – Free!
The Nervous Ticks X Hardywood: an intriguing combination! On one side, we’ve got The Nervous Ticks, an incredibly primitive and wild rock n’ roll trio who wave the flag for unbridled abandon and sweat-soaked energy higher than any other band currently active in this town. On the other side, we’ve got Hardywood, the recently crowned2015 RVA Beer Madness Champion and one of the foremost representatives in town for the idea of discriminating tastes in the world of craft beer. So what happens when these two forces of nature unite under one roof this Saturday afternoon? Will The Nervous Ticks keep things down to a dull roar, or will they just be throwing around a much higher quality of beer mid-set? The answer must be seen to be believed!
The Nervous Ticks are definitely worth seeing right now, regardless of venue. They just dropped a new EP, Skynet, currently available on cassette and as a digital release. This EP shows off a new side of these rock n’ rollers, integrating the synth and programmed effects they’ve been incorporating into their live shows lately on songs like “Die Like A Dog” and “Grip Of Years,” while the title track lets percussionist Liza Jane Lane loose on lead vocals to predictably insane and awesome results. It’s clear that despite their reverence for the gut-bucket stomp origins of rock n’ roll and the blues, The Nervous Ticks still have plenty of new things to say. Come out to Hardywood Saturday night and see them scream those things into your face! It’s gonna rule.
There’s plenty of other musical entertainment on the bill as well, with Nelly Kate showing up to perform some of her memorable solo compositions and create a marked contrast with the thumping noise you’ll get only one set later. Nelly Kate is a master of the loop pedal and will make it sound like you’re hearing half a dozen people playing at once, even though she’s the only one onstage. And she’ll sing like an angel too. It’s gonna rule. With opening sets from experimental indie-folk musician Dave Watkins (no slouch with a loop pedal himself) and the legendary one-man punk rock explosion known as Gull, this is a superlative lineup from start to finish, at any price–and Hardywood’s bringing it all to you for free! Holy shit!
Wednesday, April 8, 9 PM
Friends From Earth, Ben FM, WhoaBear @ Strange Matter – $8
Tonight, Charlottesville’s Friends From Earth come to town, and things get really interesting. It’s kind of tough to describe what this group is up to, but in a world where so many bands slot easily into a pre-existing genre category, it’s often the anomalies that are most worth your time. That’s definitely true of Friends From Earth, a duo bringing an intricately constructed performance to the stage every time they do a show. Musically, they use drum machines, samplers, synthesizers, and plenty of programming effects to create their intricate fusion of alt-rock, hip hop, synth-pop, and R&B (among other sounds), and visually they incorporate video projections and apparently even satellite dishes (how does that work?) into a nonstop multimedia extravaganza that will delight your senses throughout its duration. Pretty cool, right? Answer: yes, definitely.
WhoaBear, who apparently hail from both DC and C-ville, are another electronically-based duo, though they’ve got a bit of a different thing going on. These guys started out playing folk music and eventually ended up making what I would call electronic dance music if “EDM” didn’t have such dubious associations these days. Anyway, one member plays synths, one member plays drums, they’ve got catchy tunes, they’re gonna make you dance. That’s what you need to know about WhoaBear. And Ben FM might not even need any introduction, but just in case: this local rapper’s been a fixture on the RVA hip hop scene for over a decade, long operating as one-half of the locally-beloved Luggage. These days he’s a solo artist, but he’s not on his own, because his first solo album, World Peace Motherfuckers, was released last year by Richmond’s grimiest hip hop collective, Gritty City Records. He’ll be kicking off this show with some hard rhymes and sick beats to get things going.
Thursday, April 9, 9 PM
Night Fever, Unholy Thoughts, Omega Boys, Kommunion @ 25 Watt – $7
There are so many great bands coming out of Denmark these days. Has Copenhagen been a punk rock stronghold this whole time and I’m only finding out now? Well, whether I was sleeping on something I should have been aware of or this place really has just started to blow up recently, I’m paying attention now, and that’s what really matters. Night Fever join with Iceage, Lower, and a couple of other great Danish bands I’ve heard recently at bringing some excellent hardcore sounds to life. Their Vendetta LP, from last fall, is full of speedy old-school riffs, but the band takes a swashbuckling rock n’ roll approach to them that brings to mind another Scandinavian legend from long ago: Hanoi Rocks. If the band who made Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes had recorded the Victims Of A Bomb Raid EP, it might have sounded like Night Fever. And honestly, I would have been way more into it. Yeah, I said it!
There’s plenty of equally raging RVA hardcore for you on this bill as well. Unholy Thoughts continue to mash the pedal to the floor with their rock-n-rolly jams, as shown on last year’s Fearless Wasted EP. Of course, you can’t be surprised when a band with songs called “Coke Run” and “Whiskey, Weed, Girls, and Speed” is really into playing fast. Meanwhile, Omega Boys, featuring ex-members of The Ladies, My War, Flickerflame, and now Wasted Time, bust out some rifftastic old-school HC that’s sure to get a circle pit moving. Finally, Kommunion will open up with some blown out noise-drenched D-beat craziness. It’s gonna be awesome, y’all.
Friday, April 10, 9 PM
The Lonely Teardrops, The Othermen, Church Bats @ Wonderland – $5
I mentioned the term rock n’ roll a bunch when talking about hardcore bands in the last blurb, but y’all, by now we’ve all gotta recognize that rock n’ roll is a relative term (some people actually apply it to the likes of Nickelback. How depressing, right?). The kind of rock n’ roll you’ll find this Friday night at Wonderland is a totally different thing from what exists at a circle-pit-fueled show at 25 Watt. The three bands playing this show are all representing for the kind of rock n’ roll that got pressed to cheap 45s in small cities all across America in the mid-60s. They’re all actually stopping into Richmond on their way to play Blackbeard’s Lost Weekender VI in Chapel Hill, so that should tell you all you need to know–and if you’re not heading down to that festival, this show will be a great way to get a taste of the garage right here in RVA!
The Lonely Teardrops are your headliners, and they’ll be swinging up from Norfolk to give us a dose of swinging female-fronted style. This minimalist duo knows how to use their stripped-down lineup to their advantage, incorporating plenty of twangy guitars and rolling toms to fill out the sound while keeping everything rockin’. Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Othermen crank up the Farfisa keyboards and retro distortion to get wild Mummies-style and get the whole club dancing. The Church Bats, also hailing from Brooklyn, have a slightly less retro take on the whole garage punk thing, maybe a bit more punk than garage, but they’re still gonna rock you regardless. So all of you fans of Nuggets, Pebbles, and various assorted debris, get stoked, because the sounds you love are alive and well and coming to the most rock n’ roll bar in Shockoe Bottom, Wonderland, this Friday night!
Saturday, April 11, 5 PM
Carousel Kings, Old Again, Post Season, Kid Is Qual, Sunbox @ Strange Matter – $5
There’s nothing like an evening of catchy Hot Topic Warped Tour pop-punk to really slap a smile back on my face after a long, hard week slaving over a 6-year-old laptop at work, y’all. I know most of you just decided to scroll to the next blurb, but goddamn it, this is my column, and if you ask me, this Saturday show at Strange Matter is essential to make your weekend as awesome as it can possibly be. Carousel Kings came through here a few months ago and played The Canal Club, and it was considering whether to write about their show that actually led me to discover them. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of their 2014 album, Unity. The words tend to be about the same things you typically expect pop-punk songs to be about–heartbreak, confusion, the difficulties of growing up–but between the overall positive attitude and the supremely catchy songs, I just can’t listen to this band without getting stoked.
Carousel Kings are on tour with a couple of other incredibly stoked pop-punk bands who are also well worth your time. Altoona, PA natives Post Season have a singer with an incredibly polished voice, making him the perfect person to deliver these guys’ smooth and delicious choruses. Floridians Old Again have a bit more of a hardcore crunch to their sound–these guys would have been right at home during the whole “easycore” boom five years ago–but once again, the choruses are just irresistible, and the chugs just give the whole thing depth. These guys are gonna rule. Kid Is Qual might seem like a strange RVA name to see on this bill, though I suppose the Jack’s Mannequin connections might explain the choice, but either way, this bass/drum funk/punk crew are gonna hit the teenage mall-punk audience at this show with something they do not expect, and that’ll be entertaining all by itself. Local newcomers Sunbox open up, and the whole thing kicks off at 5 PM, because the kids have gotta get out of the city by curfew. I remember those days…
Sunday, April 12, 5 PM
Whirr, Adventures, Wildhoney, Keep @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets here: https://whirradventuresrva.eventbrite.com/)
Hardcore kids playing shoegaze–it’s a very of-the-moment phenomenon, and it has produced some particularly rad results, from California’s Deafheaven (who are really black metal with occasional shoegaze riffs, I mean, come on) to Philly’s Creepoid and the whole coterie of bands in the orbit of Nothing’s Dominic Palermo (the artist formerly known as Nicky Money of Horror Show). One of those bands is Whirr, led by guitarist Nick Bassett, who has also been in Deafheaven and Nothing at points, as well as forming a collaborative band with Palermo called Death Of Lovers. So incestuous! Anyway, Whirr revives a Slowdive-influenced sound that hasn’t been heard very much since the halcyon days of the early 90s. They pull this off to particularly good effect on 2014’s Sway, the band’s second album and first with Bassett on lead vocals (singing was previously handled by a succession of female vocalists, none of which ultimately worked out). There’s a languid beauty to these tunes as they are rendered on record, but you can expect a whole new element of heaviness to be brought in by the surely crushing volumes at which Whirr will perform their music live.
Adventures are doing a very different thing musically, but it’s just as appealing when you get right down to it. And of course, it’s also brought to you by hardcore kids, as three of the five members also play in moshcore warriors Code Orange. Adventure doesn’t have a hint of mosh, instead playing catchy indie-rock tunes that foreground beautiful female vocals, sometimes with some pretty excellent male harmonies interweaved. Their Supersonic Home LP, which just came out on Run For Cover in February, is sure to make a big impression on this entire musical year, and this band will make just as big an impression on you the listener when you see them play Sunday night. Baltimore’s Wildhoney, another shoegaze-style post-hardcore band who wowed everyone when they headlined a Strange Matter show just a couple of months ago, will make sure fans remember their name as well, while VA Beach’s Keep open things up with some catchy postpunk tunes that will fit in well with the rest of the bill. This is gonna be sweet.
Monday, April 13, 10 PM
Sports Bar, Divers, Bare Thoughts @ En Su Boca – Donations for touring band requested
Hey hey, it’s Sports Bar! This fun-loving band of RVA miscreants may seem like wild n’ crazy punks, but they’ve got a heart made of pure pop gold, as they proved on their most recent EP, The Tommy, released back in November. Unlike their usual series of 90-second power-pop tunes, this EP is just straight up acoustic balladry from beginning to end, with some surprisingly gorgeous falsetto unleashed at various points. And maybe this stuff will dominate Sports Bar’s set at En Su Boca Monday night; however, I think it’s more than likely we’ll still get plenty of the catchy, upbeat jangle-punk we’ve all come to know and love from these guys on songs like “Big Mac Yeah” or “I Was Going To Shave My Beard, But I Took A Nap Instead.” Either way, it’s gonna be fun, it’s gonna be catchy, and there’s gonna be a lot of sincerity and heart behind it all. Sports Bar are one of our local musical treasures–appreciate them.
And hey, get into Divers as well! This Portland band just put out an LP called Hello Hello that has a real Springsteen-style urgency running through it, even as it’s packed full of the kind of catchy punk tunes that modern-day Springsteen-emulators like the Gaslight Anthem or Titus Andronicus could never actually pull off. These leather-jacketed tough guys have hearts of gold as well; they sorta remind me of the Bouncing Souls in a way, and that’s nothing but a compliment where I come from. Local Velvet Underground fans and jangly guitar merchants Bare Thoughts open up this bill, and En Su Boca has the tacos you need to get through the night, so make sure you’re there!
Tuesday, April 14, 9 PM
Kromosom, Aspects Of War, Blazing Eye, Skemata, Firing Squad @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://kromosom.eventbrite.com/)
You know, I was talking a little bit about blown-out noise punk in my writeup for Night Fever earlier, but Australia’s Kromosom really reach a whole new level of craziness where that’s concerned. There seems to be an entire separate track of staticky feedback running through all of their records, or at least, all the ones I’ve heard. They compete with this added element of harshness by dishing out some ferocious raw D-beat sounds, occasionally slowing down to throw some Oi-punk singalong chants into the mix but mostly just beating you over the head with total insanity. If you’re looking for studded black denim noise-punk paradise, you just might find it at Strange Matter next Tuesday night when Kromosom is onstage.
Failing that, Boston’s Aspects Of War will have plenty more noise and fury on their own behalf to hit you with. These guys definitely give meaning to the term “blown out” on their In Order To Satisfy Their Mania For Conquest Punks Are Squandered demo, and I would imagine the noise terrorism continues with even more amplification in a live environment. Meanwhile, LA’s Blazing Eye wants you to know that the West Coast is just as capable of making glorious punk rock noise, and Skemata will head up from Raleigh to prove that the South’s got that shit on lock too–though these guys appear to be more into tight, bass-heavy riffs than total blown out noise. That’s cool too though, right? I thought so. Locals Firing Squad will kick the whole thing off with a mix of D-beat and USHC, and I’m sure everyone who comes to this show will be into that.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]