RVA Shows You Must See This Week 6/10-6/16

by | Jun 10, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Sunday, June 14, 4 PM
Superheaven, Diamond Youth, Rozwell Kid, Lilac Daze, Sundials @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://superheaven.eventbrite.com/)

I’ve been really good lately about spreading the love around to different venues in RVA, but there are some weeks in which it’s just not feasible. Inevitably, those weeks are ones in which I must compel you to spend pretty much every night at Strange Matter.

Sunday, June 14, 4 PM
Superheaven, Diamond Youth, Rozwell Kid, Lilac Daze, Sundials @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://superheaven.eventbrite.com/)

I’ve been really good lately about spreading the love around to different venues in RVA, but there are some weeks in which it’s just not feasible. Inevitably, those weeks are ones in which I must compel you to spend pretty much every night at Strange Matter. What can I say? The current management at 929 W. Grace St know their shit. And time after time, they pack their club with some of the best local and touring acts RVA ever gets to see. This week, if you want to see the best of what RVA’s live music scene has to offer, the place to be is once again Strange Matter.

Sunday afternoon might not be a time of the week you’re used to spending inside a darkened rock club, getting your eardrums blasted by high-volume rock n’ roll, but if that’s the case for you, this Sunday afternoon demands a change-up. Superheaven will be making a special early-evening appearance on the Strange Matter stage, and you owe it to yourself to stand directly in the path of their steamrolling wall of sound (I know I’m mixing metaphors, but it just feels so right). Since back when this band was still called Daylight, they’ve been propelling the “emo revival” scene towards the next level of inspiring awesomeness. Now with their new album, Ours Is Chrome, they’ve demonstrated once and for all their status as the pre-eminent heirs apparent to emotionally-oriented 90s soft grunge acts like Hum, Far, and the Deftones. This is something you need to hear live to truly understand.

There’s more where that came from, too. Richmonders should certainly be familiar with the high-quality alternative rock of Diamond Youth, in light of this band’s links with local superstars Down To Nothing. And of course, the toe-tapping tuneage on records like Shake and Orange speaks for itself. Meanwhile, Rozwell Kid delivers their high-energy power-pop with the kind of humorous yet impassioned live performances that are impossible to forget, so get ready to be wowed. Lilac Daze bring memorable indie-punk tunes from Frederick, MD, while local heroes Sundials continue to cement their position as the best melodic punk RVA has to offer. This is going to rock.

Wednesday, June 10, 8 PM
Spirits And The Melchizedek Children, Gull, Among The Rocks And Roots, Jonathan Badger @ Strange Matter – $8

Atlanta’s Spirits And The Melchizedek Children roll through town tonight, and they’ve got the sort of band name you really can’t imagine there ever being a lawsuit over. They’ve also got a pretty goddamn unusual sound, which has actually led some critics to declare them “the Southern Sigur Ros.” So, what, like the Allman Brothers jamming on ambient shoegaze riffs? Actually, yeah, that’s not a totally implausible description for the former solo acoustic project of bandleader Jason Elliott. Now that Elliott is backed by a rhythm section and using electric guitars and effects pedals to get his point across, things are getting ambient, moody, and downright hypnotic, as you can hear on the band’s latest album, So Happy It’s Sad–or, for that matter, at Strange Matter tonight. Get on their wavelength.

And show up on time, because we’ve got some pretty excellent local talent on the bill as well. Of course, you all know Gull–the street-performing world traveler who plays guitar with one hand while drumming with the other three. Formerly of Ultra Dolphins and Snack Truck, Gull sole proprietor Nathaniel Rappole dishes out some weird psychedelic hardcore like a cross between Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt/Black Pus) and Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer/Agoraphobic Nosebleed). Among The Rocks And Roots have two members, both of whom are intensely focused and committed to the shamanistic power of their lengthy, repetitive, yet always enrapturing tunes. Check out recent cassette release Samudra Garba Pathe for details–though really, if you haven’t seen these guys live yet, you don’t know the full story. Solo guitarist Jonathan Badger opens up with some intriguing sonic explorations. Come sail through the cosmos in his company.

Thursday, June 11, 8 PM
Woods, Spider Bags, Black Water Gold @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://woods2015.eventbrite.com/)

Hey hey, Woods has returned! This indie-folk/postpunk/alt-rock hybrid may not be easily categorized, but its music is easily enjoyed, and they prove it over and over with each unique record they release. Right now, they’re still riding high on last year’s eighth album (in less than ten years–impressive), With Light And Love, which seems to stir together influences from Brian Wilson, Steely Dan, Gram Parsons, and more, providing mellow and catchy grooves that make a great soundtrack for kicking back on your front porch on a sunny summer afternoon and watching life go by. My roommate tends to involve some green plants in this sort of musical reverie, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.

In comparison to Woods, North Carolina’s Spider Bags bring a similar energy to their music, though these folks have a bit more rootsy rock n’ roll jangle going on than you might find in the music of Woods most of the time. Signed to Merge Records, it seems pretty likely that these folks are headed for bigger and better things–especially if the hip sounds of their 2014 LP Frozen Letter really catch on. For now though, you’re best advised to get in on the ground floor and catch them under relatively low-key circumstances–like these! Black Water Gold, that talented sibling act featuring members of local hardcore band Holy Land doing an impressive job with some mellow singer-songwriter fare, will open this evening. It’s gonna be awesome.

Friday, June 12, 7 PM
Enabler, Meek Is Murder, Hoboknife, Venomspitter @ Gallery 5 – $6

OK, so here’s something that isn’t taking place at Strange Matter–and sure enough, it’s happening at Gallery 5 instead, my other favorite local club. While this place has previously been known for its support of the local indie-pop scene, it’s been making more frequent forays into heavier music of late, and this bill, featuring two powerful hardcore bands from elsewhere in the United States, is a daring move to expand their horizons. Considering how great Enabler and Meek Is Murder both are, it’s actually probably a really safe bet though. Enabler showed up in Richmond twice during 2014, but since then, the band’s lineup has fallen apart and been reconstituted completely by founder Jeff Lohrber. No longer featuring ex-members of Vegan Reich, Enabler are nonetheless just as heavy as ever on imminent full-length Fail To Feel Safe, which Lohrber recorded as a solo project–though you’d never know from its volume, energy, and well-practiced musicianship. He’s recruited a new rhythm section to bring Enabler back to fighting weight, and if you caught them when they opened for Eyehategod last summer, then you know this is not a performance you’ll want to miss.

Meek Is Murder are one of the hardcore bands that give me hope for the future of the genre in 2015. More than willing to leap from blazing blastbeat speeds to chunky, neck-snapping breakdowns within the space of a minute, this band keeps things creative, entertaining, and always heavy as fuck. Pay attention during this band’s set, as they won’t be making it easy for you to keep up. Locals Hoboknife will demonstrate their love for blackened thrash terror and insanity during their opening set, while Venomspitter will show exactly what the extensive internet buzz surrounding their music is all about. Here’s a hint–it involves some seriously brutal rage.

Saturday, June 13, 9 PM
Ringo Deathstarr, Jaye Jayle, White Laces, Everyone Dies In The End @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://ringodeathstarr.eventbrite.com/)

On the all-too-rare occasions I put on a Ringo Deathstarr record, I always find myself thinking the same thing: “Why don’t I listen to this band more often?” Sure, they have one of those cheesy pun-on-a-famous-person band names, and sure, there are a ton of other modern shoegaze revival bands littering the landscape, many of which are absolutely not worth your time. But whenever I put on a Ringo Deathstarr record, I find myself transported right back to the heady days of the early 90s, when every new release on Creation Records was a cause for celebration. Yes, you’ve heard a million bands compared to My Bloody Valentine, but Ringo Deathstarr actually deliver on those (too-often ludicrous and disappointing) comparisons, loading up their albums with memorable tunes and danceable beats, over which hazy, effects-drenched guitars hum and roar. To here knows when, indeed.

So what will their live presentation be like? As someone whose first show was My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr, I must confess that I’m hoping it’s really, really loud. And perhaps featuring a shitload of weird psychedelic light effects–though I can skip that if necessary. I mainly just want these guys to cave my head in with the sheer awesomeness of their distorted beauty. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. And by the way, the rest of this bill will totally rule as well, and not only due to the presence of Jaye Jayle, the solo project of Young Widows’ Evan Patterson. Two amazing RVA indie bands, synth-tinkering shoegazers White Laces and effects-obsessed instrumental post-rockers Everyone Dies In The End, will sweeten the pot with awesome opening sets. Get stoked.

Sunday, June 14, 9 PM
Strand Of Oaks (Photo by Alex Crick), Avers @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://strandofoaks.eventbrite.com/)

Strand Of Oaks are an interesting band. They’ve got all these hipster signifiers that made me expect something kinda pretentious and boring before I listened to them for the first time. And then I went ahead and put on their most recent album, HEAL, and discovered that they’re actually a catchy and fun indie rock band with riffs that get stuck in my head and upbeat tunes that are fun to dance to. People have called them folk-rock in a lot of places I’ve read about them, and that made me hesitant, but based on their most recent album, I think this is actually gonna be a really fun show.

It’ll also be fun because Avers are on the bill as well. They’re the sort of band who mix really well with Strand Of Oaks; they have the sort of pedigree that will lead you to expect sedate folky indie tunes, but in actuality, they play upbeat psychedelic rock tunes that will keep you dancing. Their debut album, Empty Light, was praised to the skies in many places (including this magazine), and word has it they’ve got the makings of another album all set to drop on us all once the timing is right. Will you hear some new Avers tunes at this show? Seems likely. And you don’t wanna miss out on that.

Monday, June 15, 7 PM
Backslashes and Bad Ideas, In Your Memory, Something More, Face Value, Take Care, Centerfolds, Albatross County @ The Canal Club – $5 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)

Leave it to the Canal Club to grab my attention with a great example of my favorite guilty pleasures. From brutal metallic deathcore to embarrassingly earnest pop-punk, this is the place to find all the things I sometimes hate to admit I love. Like, who wants to go on record endorsing a band with a name like Backslashes And Bad Ideas? On the other hand, it’s so lame to be insincere for cool points. So go ahead and mock me if you must; but honestly, I think you’d all have a much better life if you just gave in to your own ridiculous impulses every now and then, just like I’m gonna do when I head down to this show.

Backslashes And Bad Ideas have three guitarists, all of whom sing, and at least one of whom is skilled with the metallic leads. But what these guys are really great at is the sort of highly emotional musical crescendo during which everybody’s singing at once and the whole thing becomes kinda overwhelming. Their “Sad Is The New Black” single (I know, I know) is a great example, and I’m sure they’ll play it at this show, so I’m already kinda stoked. In Your Memory, another emotional pop-punk band, are on tour with Backslashes And Bad Ideas, and these two bands will meet up in RVA with another pop-punk tour featuring three Maryland bands (including one who don’t seem to know that there’s already a pretty famous band called Face Value). With accomplished RVA pop-punkers Centerfolds and Chesterfield newcomers Albatross County expanding the bill to seven bands–which you can see for $5 if you buy your ticket in advance–this show is looking like an emo/pop-punk overdose of the most awesome kind. Fuck the haters–let’s do this.

Tuesday, June 16, 9 PM
Jucifer, Bell Witch, Among The Rocks And Roots, Melt @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here https://juciferrva.eventbrite.com/)

I’ve been on record in the past as being kinda sick of doom metal. When every band wants to sound like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, even Black Sabbath and Pentagram themselves can get boring after a while. But I must admit, I never get sick of sludge. And the wall-of-amps-toting duo known as Jucifer are definitely sludge rather than doom. Their slow, ominous riffs are heavy and distorted as fuck; not so much blues as head-crushing metallic nightmares. Their harsh, distorted vocals sound scary and inhuman. And hey, their most recent release was a concept album about the history of the Russian city of Volgograd, so they’ve certainly got a lot of creative ideas going on. Basically, if you need your extremely slow metal to be at least as heavy as the Melvins and at least as unpredictable as The Body, Jucifer should make you very happy.

Bell Witch, who make their home in Seattle, aren’t on the super-heavy/super-sludgy tip like Jucifer, but for a doom band, they are still pretty damn interesting. This is true because they take things in a totally different direction, using mournful moods and foreboding ambience to generate the sound often referred to as funeral doom. None of us will know the sound of our own lonely deaths until the day the grim reaper comes for us, but you just might get a preview during Bell Witch’s set. And thankfully, you’ll still be alive afterwards. Among The Rocks And Roots, making their second appearance in this week’s column, and Melt, recent RVA transplants with an apocalyptic sound of their own, will kick this show off in proper fashion.


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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