RVA Shows You Must See This Week 5/27-6/2

by | May 27, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, May 29, 6 PM
Richmond Rock Lotto (benefit for Girls Rock! RVA) feat. Sarcophageese, Mumblecore Porn, Overgoat, Bleak Untold, Costco Child Coffin @ Gallery 5 – $10

Oh wow, it’s back! During the years after Y2K, Rock Lotto was a yearly tradition here in Richmond, and inevitably constituted a highlight for local music each year in which it occurred.

Friday, May 29, 6 PM
Richmond Rock Lotto (benefit for Girls Rock! RVA) feat. Sarcophageese, Mumblecore Porn, Overgoat, Bleak Untold, Costco Child Coffin @ Gallery 5 – $10

Oh wow, it’s back! During the years after Y2K, Rock Lotto was a yearly tradition here in Richmond, and inevitably constituted a highlight for local music each year in which it occurred. The work of some insane genius, this event began with a whole bunch of local musicians gathering together and throwing all their names into a hat. Band lineups were then selected by a blind drawing, and each group of musicians was given a mere couple of weeks to write and rehearse a set before their first–and often only–live performance took place. Rock Lotto happened at several different venues over the years; I saw it at the Nanci Raygun (now Strange Matter) and the Hyperlink (now the Noodles & Company on Grace St), as well as at the still-standing current host, Gallery 5.

And now it has returned, with the goal of benefiting an excellent cause! Girls Rock! RVA will receive all of the proceeds from this year’s event, and Patty Conway of that organization (also of the bands Christi and The Ar-Kaics) will host this year’s event, joined by Marty Key of Steady Sounds/Teargas Rock fame. The cast of musicians involved is top-notch as ever, with members of current RVA bands from Clair Morgan to Hoax Hunters to Kommunion all performing in various bands over the course of the evening. These people’s creativity and talent is not in question–find out what they can come up with when pressed for time and playing in unfamiliar configurations!

Here’s a spoiler: for the most part, you can expect things to get really silly. While a few viable groups have emerged from Rock Lotto’s hyperspeed formation process (for example, the earliest incarnation of Canary Oh Canary formed to play Rock Lotto), most of the bands involved concentrate on the humor value of the proceedings, and this year’s crop appears to be no exception. With band names like Mumblecore Porn and Costco Child Coffin, you should know exactly what you’re getting into–i.e. a humorous, ridiculous good time! All sorts of musical styles are sure to be pulled into the mix, so there will be something for everyone–and mostly a lot of laughs. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, May 27, 8 PM
Dirty Dozen Brass Band, KINGS @ The Broadberry – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)

Richmond, are you ready for a funky good time? I know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s never too early in the week to add a little (or a lot of) spice to your life with a great musical performance–and the legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band will be at the Broadberry tonight to give you exactly that. This New Orleans institution revolutionized the sound of traditional second-line jazz by incorporating a major funk influence and adding such non-traditional brass band instruments as keyboards, bass, and guitar to the mix. The way this group is willing to mix modern influence and fun, unexpected cover tunes into their repertoire is clearly an influence on Richmond’s beloved No BS! Brass Band–as well as the modern brass band scene as a whole.

You can also hear the influence of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on RVA’s own Jellowstone Records crew, which is why it’s apropos to find KINGS opening up this show. On the off chance that you haven’t caught on by now, let me explain. KINGS is the brainchild of RVA renaissance man Kelli Strawbridge, perhaps most famous locally for his role invoking James Brown as the frontman for fiery tribute act The Big Payback–though you can also find him manning the drum stool for bands like Mcrvwvs and Mekong Xpress. Now he and Jellowstone mastermind Devonne Harris, along with quite a few of their closest and most talented friends, have created a band that revives the classic 80s funk sound of Prince, Cameo, Rick James, and many others. If Jellowstone is not the new Paisley Park, you’d never know it by listening to KINGS, which makes these guys the perfect band to warm you up for Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s impassioned headlining set. Get there early, and wear your dancing shoes.

Thursday, May 28, 9 PM
The Last Twangtown Thursday, feat. The Hashbrown Belly Boys, Alison Self @ Balliceaux – Free!

We’ve recently received some sad news for the RVA live scene–Balliceaux will be spending this summer closed for renovations, which means that after the first week of June, no shows will take place at this awesomely retro neighborhood bar on Lombardy St until sometime in September. Most of the regular monthly parties that take place at Balliceaux are planning to return when the club reopens in the fall, but with Twangtown Thursdays organizer Alison Self planning to light out for the territory sometime this summer, Balliceaux’s temporary closure will bring this monthly traditional country/old-time music event to a permanent end. This is a damn shame, but luckily for you, there’s one more Twangtown Thursday to go before it’s all said and done–and it’s tomorrow night, so you better make sure you’re there!

This month’s headliners are the Hashbrown Belly Boys, who come to us from Charlotte, NC with a set of energetic old-time tunes to get everyone on their feet. This group understands that they’re playing dance music, and therefore gets the tempo high and keeps things moving throughout their set so nobody ever stops smiling. Alison Self will open up with the kind of set she’s made her name on over the past several years, featuring old-school country tunes of love, loss, and heartache. Some will be originals, some will be covers, all threaten to result in a tear in your beer. So come to Balliceaux tomorrow night, dance with The Hashbrown Belly Boys, wish Alison Self the best of luck in her departure from these RVA streets, and bid Twangtown Thursdays farewell in proper fashion.

Friday, May 29, 9 PM
Ex-Breathers, New Turks, Freaky J and the Bears, Groam and Joan Son Of Groam @ Strange Matter – $8

Here’s another band who likes to keep things fast and energetic, though these guys do so with the aid of quite a bit more electricity. Ex-Breathers are headed to Strange Matter this Friday night to blow everyone in the room back onto their asses with the sort of fired-up hardcore punk you can’t ever be surprised to hear coming out of Florida. This trio is just as insane as their home state, and they proved as much on their most recent album, ExBx, released last fall on Texas Is Funny Records. Having seen this band tear up the stage at MACRoCk 2014 and lay waste to a certain local basement venue last summer, I’m certain they’re bringing the goods when they hit Strange Matter this weekend, and you do not want to miss it.

Where powerful electrified combos from RVA are concerned, New Turks are one of the first names that should come to mind. The fact that this two-piece sticks strictly to low end vibrations with their bass/drum lineup does nothing to slow them down–if anything, a guitar player might only get in their way. These dudes will beat you over the head with some noise-rock rage to get you staggering before Ex-Breathers show up to deliver the killing blow. Meanwhile, Freaky J and the Bears provide a change of pace with their twinkly math-rock/emo-punk tunes, while Groam And Joan Son Of Groam open things up with a sax/bass/drums attack that mingles free jazz and noise-rock in a unique and inimitable fashion.

Saturday, May 30, 9 PM
Valkyrie (Photo by Mimi Guido), Inter Arma, Battlemaster @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://valkyrieinterarma.eventbrite.com/)

It’s been a while, y’all, and I’m not talking about the Staind song either (did you just get it stuck in your head like I did? I instantly regret that tossed-off joke). Valkyrie were a powerful force on the VA metal scene a decade or so ago; fueled by the talents of brothers Jake and Pete Adams, this doom-metal quartet used to tear shit up during their frequent live appearances in Richmond (I have fond memories of a particularly sweat-drenched set at Nara Sushi, though I’m sure it was far from the only one). They’ve been on a much more low-key tip since Pete Adams hit the big time by joining Baroness in time for that band’s Blue Album. However, they’ve recently recruited Earthling’s Alan Fary to play bass, and they’re now back with album #3, Shadows, their first for the almighty Relapse. If anything, these new tunes might be their best material yet, so you should really be in attendance when they celebrate the release of their new album by laying a loud and proud set on us all at Smatter Saturday night.

Fortunately for us all, Valkyrie’s set is not the only powerful temptation luring metalheads from miles around to the tiny dark club on Grace St this Saturday night. Valkyrie is just the latest of quite a few VA metal bands who’ve been signed by the obviously alert geniuses at Relapse over the past several years, and they’ll be joining ranks that include Cough and Windhand, as well as the band they’ll share the stage with this evening: Inter Arma. Still riding high off the success of their second LP, Sky Burial, and the glorious oddity that was last year’s one-song, 40-minute EP, The Cavern, Inter Arma is guaranteed to devastate all present with their complex, multilayered metal epics. The show will begin with a set by Battlemaster, yet another colossus of the local metal scene, who have just made a powerful statement of their own with the recent release of their newest LP, Battlehungry and Swordsworn. Get in on this monstrous rager of a show while the getting’s good–order your tickets now!

Sunday, May 31, 7 PM
Gavin Riley Smoke Machine, The Electric Grandmother, PT Burnem, alle alle @ Gallery 5 – $5

Hip hop performances are often interactive in nature, though for the most part that doesn’t mean anything more sophisticated than the emcee on the stage telling the crowd to wave their hands in the air (and inevitably getting bummed if they don’t all do so). But the Gavin Riley Smoke Machine, led by Gavin Riley himself, will bring a whole new level of interaction to hip hop this Sunday at Gallery 5 with their Choose Your Own Adventure set. Having not seen this whole thing for myself, I’m not entirely sure how the whole thing works, but the idea I get is that the songs Riley performs are narratively linked, and the crowd chooses which direction the narrative should go, at which point different songs are played based on what the audience picks. All of this is leading up to a forthcoming Choose Your Own Adventure interactive album, featuring songs by Gavin Riley Smoke Machine and animated video by John Karel. I get the idea that the whole thing will be an iPhone app? Pretty amazing, but why would you want to wait for an app you can download sometime in the future when you could just catch the whole thing happening before your very eyes? Yeah, I don’t know either. You should come to this show.

Baltimore’s alle alle are touring with Gavin Riley Smoke Machine, and from what I can tell, this is some sort of strangely professorial producer act that generates electronic grooves. Doubt the guy will be able to break out his pipe in Gallery 5, unfortunately, but the sounds should still be killer. Electric Grandmother are also on this bill, with a pretty interesting premise of their own. This DC duo refers to themselves as “sitcom-core,” and seem to write songs that make extensive reference to well-known and obscure sitcoms of the past. They do this over programmed beats and electronic synth sounds, arranged into catchy pop tunes by Electric Grandmother mastermind Pete Faust. This stuff walks a fine line between catchy and weird, and is sure to inspire some mutant dance moves. RVA hip hop mastermind PT Burnem will kick things off with an intense set of pounding beats and politically-aware rhymes.

Monday, June 1, 7 PM
Phantogram (Photo by Shervin Lainez), Ki:Theory @ The National – $22.50 in advance/$25 day of show (order tickets HERE)

If lush electronic pop is your thing, I’ve got the perfect idea for how you should kick off next week. Phantogram will be coming to The National, and this duo have a million dance grooves for you to get lost inside. Their 2014 album Voices featured the incredibly catchy single “Fall In Love,” which may have been titled with a cliched phrase but featured such a great chorus that no one could possibly hold that against them. Plus, there’s plenty more where that came from–the band has two albums and several EPs worth of complex but always irresistible keyboard-driven jams to pull from, and are sure to concoct a set of nonstop bliss for their RVA performance.

Openers Ki:Theory are worth your notice in their own right. Sole official member Joel Burleson doesn’t leave the studio to bring his music to the live environment that often, but when he does he pulls out all the stops to make sure you remember exactly who Ki:Theory are. The goofily glorious “KITTY HAWK” was a particular highlight of his career thus far, but latest single “The Way It Was” has a deeper, moodier vibe that makes it fit right alongside the best Phantogram tunes, and by extension making this guy the perfect opener for this evening of amazing electronic sounds.

Tuesday, June 2, 9 PM
Chappo, The Mad Extras, Eric Hunter & The Distractions @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://chapporva.eventbrite.com/)

Could anyone really be that surprised to learn that great music is still coming out of Brooklyn at a furious pace? I mean, there are just too many hipsters in that town with guitars, keyboards, laptops, and whatever else a young creative type needs to actualize their potential and rock the fuck out, right? It’s bound to keep happening well into the future. Case in point: Chappo, a BKLYN four-piece who’ve just dropped a new album, Future Former Self, that’s full of fun upbeat tunes guaranteed to get your booty shaking. These guys like to dip into the electro toolbox and smear tasty synth textures all over their groovy songs, but make no mistake, it’s guitar, bass, and drums that form the backbone of Chappo’s spacefaring power pop.

As for locals The Mad Extras, who’ll be joining Chappo on this bill, they’re a group of young guys from here in RVA who clearly grew up with the Brooklyn hipster rock revival bands of the past decade as a formative influence. They’ve made that sound their own, though, and will get you dancing in the same way the Strokes once did when they hit the Strange Matter stage. Expect some highlights from their confidently-named Best New Artist EP, as well as some tunes you have not yet heard, which should be equally thrilling. Eric Hunter & The Distractions also have a new EP out, EP1, and on it, they’re carrying a torch for classic early 80s power-pop. Do you dig Marshall Crenshaw, The Records, or Wreckless Eric? You’ll dig these dudes if so. Get stoked!


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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