Friday, June 20, 10 PM
Young Thug @ Paradise Lounge – $20 (Advance tickets available at area DTLR locations)
It’s been amazing to watch the RVA hip hop renaissance happen over the past few years.
Friday, June 20, 10 PM
Young Thug @ Paradise Lounge – $20 (Advance tickets available at area DTLR locations)
It’s been amazing to watch the RVA hip hop renaissance happen over the past few years. Anyone who’s thinking “but Young Thug isn’t from Richmond”–bear with me, I’ve got a point here. For the past several years now, tons of RVA emcees have been finding ways to bring their music to the people locally, from radio and social media to massive live shows crammed with local talent. But another great thing that’s happened over the past few years is the greatly increased frequency with which nationally-known hip hop acts have been booking shows locally. Five years ago, would the 2009 equivalent of Young Thug have made it to RVA? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem all that likely. Now, it’s just another great section of the beautiful picture that is our current local hip hop scene. So yeah, props to RVA!
And of course, props to Young Thug, one of the hottest new names in the hip hop scene over the past couple of years. There’s a lot of confusing shit going on with his label deals, and at this point it’s tough to know when Young Thug will finally release a full major album–and what label will ultimately release it. But where radio, mixtapes, and live shows are concerned, it really doesn’t matter. We’ve all been hearing “Stoner” and “Danny Glover” everywhere for months, and Young Thug’s bizarre interjections and loose flow–which make me think of Lil Wayne possessed by the ghost of ODB–made him impossible to ignore. While his unique vocal stylings might have left some people confused and annoyed, it seems the majority of hip hop fans are just stoked to hear someone do something they haven’t heard before.
And now RVA’s hip hop fans can hear it live and in person! OMG BRO! Even if you’re not a stoner, you should bust out your Pikachu diamond necklace and head down to Paradise Lounge this Friday for the latest in a series of great out-of-town hip hop bookings that club’s been bringing to RVA lately. And of course, if you are a stoner, you know what to do, so I don’t need to tell you.
Wednesday, June 18, 7 PM
Trouble, Iron Man, Sinister Haze @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets here: http://troubledoom.eventbrite.com/)
OK, all you doom metal warriors–it’s time for you to respond to the call! Legendary Chicago doom band Trouble, who were an essential part of the original mid-80s wave of doom metal that also featured Saint Vitus and Candlemass, are back on the road and bringing their classic hits to RVA. The group still includes their original guitarists, and while singer Eric Wagner is no longer in the fold, he’s been replaced by Kyle Thomas, formerly of RVA’s own Alabama Thunderpussy, so you know this guy’s got cred as well. Their latest album, The Distortion Field, came out last year and carried on the mixture of Sabbath-esque riffs and Iron Maiden-style wailing power metal that Trouble’s been bringing to the world for three decades now.
Those of you who pay close attention to this column on a regular basis (assuming such people exist) may have noticed that I made a comment about being tired of doom metal last week. I can’t deny it, but I have to exempt Trouble from that designation. I mean, come on, these guys are legends–they are more important than any passing boredom I may be feeling. And that goes for you too, so if you, like me, have been taking a break from doom metal lately, you might want to reconsider that plan at least for one night. Who knows when Trouble will be back in town? See them while you can! Maryland doom compatriots Iron Man, who’ve been around for decades themselves and released their latest album, South Of The Earth, on Rise Above last fall, will also be on the bill. Locals Sinister Haze, now down to a trio and featuring members of Cough, Balaclava, and Dry Spell, will open up.
Thursday, June 19, 7 PM
Frog Legs Reunion Show, with Herro Sugar, Boneanchor, Jonny Cecka and the Jailswerves @ The Broadberry – $5
Back in the 90s, I was mostly going to hardcore shows in basements and grotty dives that don’t exist anymore, but there was an underground rock scene that existed in Richmond at the time, and I heard plenty about it from publications of the day, such as Throttle and Richmond Music Journal. Frog Legs were a part of that–a melodic rock quartet with some resemblances to Bruce Springsteen or The Wallflowers, featuring Wrenn Mangum on vocals and Tom Illmensee on guitar. This “Frog Legs Reunion Show” that’s about to happen is interesting, because even though Frog Legs stopped playing in 1997, they never truly went away. Illmensee, Mangum, and Frog Legs drummer Morgan Huff still play together as Boneanchor to this very day (though Boneanchor is missing Frog Legs bassist Turtle Zwadlo). They’re both playing sets on this show because Tom Illmensee is moving to Budapest this summer, and won’t be around to play guitar with his longtime bandmates anymore. So this show represents the end of Boneanchor, the brief return of Frog Legs, and a farewell party for Tom Illmensee, all in one night. It’ll be a lot to take in, but one thing’s for sure–the music will be great.
These two bands that are really kinda just one band will make up half of the four sets that will occur this night, but these elder statesmen of the local scene will be joined by a band representing the new generation of RVA rockers–literally. Herro Sugar are a bunch of fresh-faced recent high school graduates, and their bass player is Noma Illmensee, Tom Illmensee’s son. He and his bandmates have been carrying on the talented and innovative standard set by Noma’s dad and his bandmates for years now, and have earned quite a few fans around town in their own right with their REM/Vampire Weekend-style indie rock tunes. So come out to the Broadberry Thursday night to see two generations of RVA rock talent on one stage, and to wish the elder Illmensee safe travels on his journey to Budapest. And show up on time, because Jonny Cecka and the Jailswerves will be kicking things off in energetic fashion.
Friday, June 20, 9 PM
The Trillions, J. Flax & The Heart Attacks, Y’all @ The Camel – $7
Is it me, or are we seeing way too little of the Trillions lately? I caught them opening for Hypercolor a couple months back, and just like always, they killed it, bringing a mix of songs we’ve all come to know and love from their last LP, Tritones, and new songs of which I at least am eagerly awaiting the studio versions. I guess the dudes are still polishing up their next album, which they’ve been recording at Montrose for a while now, but I’m sure it’ll show up soon, and when it does, The Trillions will be playing out frequently. Until then, though, we’ve got to take the live gigs they play where we can get them, so I suggest everybody make sure you’re at The Camel on Friday to catch The Trillions while you can. Rest assured it’ll be worth it.
The opening bands should be interesting as well. I’m not really sure what to expect from Y’all, a somewhat difficult to google band from Charlottesville featuring most of the members left over from Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand. With former Invisible Hand bass player Thomas Dean reviving his old chaotic hardcore project Order (who are apparently called New Boss now), the father of modern economics and company have changed their name, but thus far have not released any music. So it’s tough to say how they’ll sound, exactly, but chances are if you dug Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand, you’ll dig Y’all. J Flax & The Heart Attacks, a somewhat retro organ-driven rock n’ roll band from Norfolk featuring former members of The Vermillions, open this whole shindig up.
Saturday, June 21, 7 PM
Sounds Of RVA Metal Night, feat. Bearstorm, Abandon Earth, Sight Obscene, Violent Spectrums, Strike The Chord And Burn @ Gallery 5 – $5
The Sounds Of RVA blog is always a great source for new local music of all genres, and the shows they’ve booked over the past couple of years have generally been a really interesting cross-section of local music as well. However, as hard as it can be to figure out from what she writes about, Sarah Moore Lindsey does have some particular interests that she favors, and one of them is metal. Therefore it’s appropriate that the first single-genre live showcase from Sounds Of RVA spotlights local metal bands. There’s a touch of nepotism going on in that Bearstorm are headlining, since Sarah’s husband is that band’s bass player, but on the other hand, I suppose it’s much easier to track down and get a commitment from a band when you sleep in the same bed as one of them. Plus, it’s not as if Bearstorm don’t deserve the spotlight–this quintet mixes complex song structures together into epic death/black metal hybrids that take listeners on a journey through apocalyptic soundscapes littered with double-bass fills and blast beats. It’s pretty awesome.
There are several other local bands on the bill dishing out a variety of different types of metal, and while I’m not as familiar with many of them as I am with Bearstorm, I’m definitely interested in what they’ll bring to a live arena–and you should be too! Abandon Earth bring in influences from deathcore and black metal for a sound that’s been described as “melodic death,” while Sight Obscene do some of that Pantera style midtempo chugga-mosh. Meanwhile, word has it that Violent Spectrums are deathcore, and I can actually confirm that Strike The Chord And Burn are Will Haven-style relentless metallic hardcore. So no matter what your taste in metal may be, rest assured you’ll hear some jams you dig at this show–and you just might find your new favorite local band!
Sunday, June 22, 9 PM
Lust For Youth, Lost Tribe, Appetite, Daggering @ Strange Matter – $10
This is a special treat for the RVA goth massive–Danish darkwave/synth-pop masters Lust For Youth, who’ve released three albums for Sacred Bones in the past three years, are coming to town to inundate Strange Matter in cold digital vibes of the sort you’d expect from northern Europeans with severe haircuts. Their brand new album, International, definitely lightens things up a bit from their previous two, with a hint of sunny melody breaking through the chilly clouds of fog surrounding their sound. But if Clan Of Xymox and Depeche Mode are up your alley, rest assured Lust For Youth will be too. I hope the folks at Strange Matter have some laser lights and fog machines prepared for the occasion.
Opening up this show will be a bunch of noise acts, including some members of the RVA Noise collective who are making this show possible. Before they take the stage, though, NYC’s Appetite, who are extremely enigmatic but appear to feature the talents of Jane Pain (the Brooklyn writer/artist, not the lingerie line from Argentina), will be performing, which will surely result in something interesting and unusual (though we’re really not sure what). Where locals are concerned, the evening will feature the goth-punk talents of Lost Tribe, who bring the spirit of Christian Death and Amebix forward into the 21st century. The evening will kick off with some prime noise from Daggering, featuring RVA Noise’s Matt Boettke and Caves Caverns’ J. Russell–or at least, I think that’s who’s in Daggering. Those noise kids are mysterious.
Monday, June 23, 8 PM
Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Tulsa, Bermuda Triangles, IGM + Flesh Control, Floodbeast – Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets here: http://sunburned.eventbrite.com/)
Things are gonna get downright trippy at Strange Matter next Monday night. Sunburned Hand Of The Man, an improvisational psychedelic band who sometimes make Amon Duul seem relatively grounded, will be journeying forth once more from their homeland of Massachusetts to bring their hallucinogenic jams to the world, and as is often the case, Strange Matter has stepped up and scored us a local show from the sort of band that you at one time would’ve expected to come no closer than DC. So let’s all take advantage of this rare opportunity to open our third eye and let the light pour in by heading down to Strange Matter Monday night and letting Sunburned Hand Of The Man–who will be featuring Murph from Dinosaur Jr on second drums for this tour–blast us all right into outer space. Or into the desert to ride the snake. Or something–I’m sure everyone’s imaginary vistas will be different, but what they’ll all have in common is a totally otherworldly soundtrack.
Plenty of excellent local and regional talent will be on hand for this bill as well. NoVA band Tulsa are not nearly as out-there as Sunburned Hand, but their psyched-out rock n’ roll should certainly appeal to fans of the crew from the altered state of Drugachusetts. The show will also feature the talents of Bermuda Triangles, the experimental keyboard-driven noise-rock band who, at some point in the recent past, became a percussion-oriented ensemble more influenced by gamelan and Afrobeat than anything else. It’s pretty awesome, I must say, and seems even more so in the live environment, so come watch these guys play multiple drum kits and get some serious grooves going. Noise sets by the collaborative duo of IGM & Flesh Control, and by Caves Caverns/Daggering member J. Russell’s solo project, Floodbeast, will kick this night off.
Tuesday, June 24, 9 PM
Jail Weddings, The Shangri-Lords, Blanks, GG Woody Allen @ Strange Matter – $7
On some level, this show might not seem all that unusual. “OK,” you might think, “so Jail Weddings are a throwback rock n’ roll band with some soul and Wall Of Sound influences–that’s oool, I guess, but why should I care?” This ain’t just another retromania retread, though. Jail Weddings, who come to us via the City Of Angels (that’s what they call LA in movie trailers), are a huge ensemble–varying from 8 to 10 members depending on who’s available–augmenting the typical rock n’ roll trio lineup with all manner of unusual instruments, and backing baritone singer Gabriel Hart with a miniature choir of male and female voices, all sweetly harmonizing on tunes with a really dark undercurrent that isn’t even all that far from the surface most of the time. Basically, Jail Weddings have gone back to a very early style of rock n’ roll and found a way to bring it forward into the 21st century with a vibrant, original twist, rather than just becoming the sort of standards-playing cabaret act that most bands of this stripe end up being. Your average Elvis impersonator, they ain’t.
Jail Weddings will be joined on this bill by a bunch of local acts with variously enigmatic public personas. The Shangri-Lords appear to feature members of multiple popular local indie rock bands, but considering they’re listed on their facebook page with Ramones-like aliases such as Kyki Lord, Golden Lord, LaLa Lord, and more, I can’t really confirm that. Nonetheless, while these folks will probably play the 60s girl-group thing a lot straighter than Jail Weddings, it should be interesting to see exactly which RVA luminaries take the stage as part of this whole project. Blanks will also be on the bill, and if this band has a web presence I have not found it. However, I can tell you that they feature members of Herro Sugar and Spandrel, so youthful indie rock seems likely to be on the menu. Finally, GG Woody Allen is the latest in a long line of famous-people band name mashups, and what the result of combining a sleazy little NYC filmmaker with the dirtiest junkie rocker to ever poop in public will be is anyone’s guess. Hopefully the show will at lesat remain sanitary.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]