RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 7/15-7/21

by | Jul 15, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Saturday, July 18, 2 PM
Richmond Roots Festival, feat. The Judy Chops, Andrew Alli & Last Night’s Blues Band, Alison Self & the Lonesome Lows, Gypsy Roots, Broad Street Ramblers @ Hardywood – Free!

Spending a Saturday afternoon in the summertime at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will always provide you with a taste of the sweet life.

Saturday, July 18, 2 PM
Richmond Roots Festival, feat. The Judy Chops, Andrew Alli & Last Night’s Blues Band, Alison Self & the Lonesome Lows, Gypsy Roots, Broad Street Ramblers @ Hardywood – Free!

Spending a Saturday afternoon in the summertime at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will always provide you with a taste of the sweet life. Big important concerts that take place at night and are full of loud music, urgency and excitement are all very well, but everyone needs an opportunity to relax and have a low-key outing involving good music, good beer, and good food. This is the kind of thing Hardywood provides on pretty much a weekly basis, and they’re only boosting the relaxing fun vibe this weekend with their first-ever Richmond Roots Festival.

As festivals go, this one is a pretty intimate affair, and it’ll be over in one long afternoon, so you don’t have to make camping arrangements or anything. But you will get a chance to hear a lot of awesome old-time music from around the state in one place–while also enjoying the usual amazing Hardywood beer on tap, of course. The Judy Chops, hailing from Staunton VA, are your headliners, and come to town fresh off a triumphant set at this year’s Red Wing Roots Festival (the type of all-weekend fest you DO have to make camping plans for). With an intriguing lineup featuring not only violin and ukulele but also horns and upright bass, they’ll bring us all some lovely Americana/old-time/bluegrass/string band sounds from their Minor Sunshine album, released last year.

If you’re more familiar with the strictly local side of the old-time/roots music scene, you’ll also be delighted at some of the other acts on this bill, most notably Andrew Alli & Last Night’s Blues Band. Alli’s been turning heads for a while now with his vocal and harmonica stylings, and the full electric blues band he now has backing him up brings classic Chicago blues into modern times in fine style. Meanwhile, Alison Self–who is planning on leaving Richmond behind, at least for a while, in the near future, so come see her while you can–will be on hand with her backing band, the Lonesome Lows. Twangtown Thursday (RIP) regulars will know what this means, but if you don’t, I’ll spell it out for you: sad songs about lost love, freight trains, and heartbreak. A great tear-in-your-beer soundtrack if you need to get some sad times off your mind. Don’t miss it. With Gypsy Roots’ Django Reinhardt-channeling style and the Broad Street Ramblers’ evocative old-time sound rounding things out, this’ll be a great relaxing afternoon full of sounds from yesteryear. They won’t be updated for today’s fast-paced world, but that’s actually a good thing, because we all need an opportunity to slow down and chill for a while, right?

Wednesday, July 15, 9 PM
Brenda’s Friend, The Cales, Young Scum, REPS, Doll Baby @ Strange Matter – $7

It’s been quite a few years now since Jeff Grant and Erin Tobey of Pink Razors departed RVA for the greener folk-punk pastures of Bloomington, Indiana (also home of John Mellencamp–and I hear they never let you forget it). Pink Razors made a one-time return to RVA action only a few months ago, but their Indiana-based members have been up to a whole lot besides occasional reunion shows over the past few years, and you’ll have the opportunity tonight to hear Erin Tobey’s latest project when Brenda’s Friend roll into town and play Strange Matter. Pairing up Tobey and Amy Oelsner, this band has a talent for lovely indie pop tunes, often played without any sort of percussion for a bit of a Girlpool feel–though a more accurate comparison would probably be to early 90s indie artists like Lois Maffeo or Heavenly. Their debut EP, Under The Shrub, makes clear that this performance will be delightful no matter who it reminds you of.

There’s a lot of great RVA music on this bill as well, so even if your Richmond band awareness doesn’t extend back a decade to the prime years of the Pink Razors, you’ll still want to be in the house. The Cales originally caught my eye because of their Wolf//Goat connections, but these days people are probably more excited about the fact that they share members with Christi. Never mind the pedigree, though–what’s important is that this band has a sinister jangle sound that simultaneously evokes the first Modern Lovers LP and Beat Happening’s darker moments. So yeah, I’m excited about their set, especially since word has it they’ll be breaking up soon. Catch them now before they’re gone and you’re kicking yourself. Also catch sets from a few up-and-comers in the local scene: indie pop talents Young Scum, post-hardcore rockers Reps, and Doll Baby, which is the latest project from the people who brought you Haints In The Holler. Sweet!

Thursday, July 16, 8 PM
Bearstorm, Begat The Nephilim, Azathoth, Cut The Architect’s Hand @ 25 Watt – $5

Metalheads get stoked: shit’s gonna get heavy this Thursday night at 25 Watt, thanks to a new local promotion outfit known as Between 2 Beers. I may have no personal interest in being anywhere around those two beers myself, but I am stoked to see someone carrying the torch for metal that doesn’t involve Pentagram influences in this town, so I’m paying attention to what these folks are up to. This night will bring us the return of Bearstorm, a local quintet of talented instrument-slingers who like to call their blend of death metal, black metal, and progressive rock intricacies “Blackened Southern Death Prog.” I for one am on board! After a lengthy time without a home, the band recently released a physical version of their second album, Americanus, on Baltimore’s Grimoire Records. This 5-song, 37-minute slab of shred power is crammed full of complex riffs and intriguing transitions, so you should definitely bring enough cash to pick up a copy for yourself from the band. Once you see their set, you’re unlikely to resist.

This show will also bring us a heaping helping of straight-up brutal death metal from Begat The Nephilim. This band is on tour from New Hampshire, and don’t appear to have their new EP quite finished yet, but the one-song preview they’ve got posted to their website right now is enough to let me know these guys are gonna rip faces off at 25 Watt Thursday night. I’m also pretty excited about Azathoth, a death metal band hailing from Grottoes, VA. My parents live up that way, and there is nothing out there, so I’m sure these guys have had plenty of time to practice their tuneage and get everything into fighting shape. Last minute addition Cut The Architect’s Hand are an RVA metal band worth the price of admission all on their own, so the fact that they’ve snuck in at the bottom of this bill just tells you how stacked this night of headbanging action is gonna be. Don’t blow it, y’all.

Friday, July 17, 7 PM
Face Melt Friday XXV, feat. A Day, Black Liquid, Boris The Lucid, Dyfferant Demeanor, Destiny Da Chef, Falmouf, Goad Gatsby, Hooks Ventura, Ice James, Innascent, Ka$h, King Rich, Segga Spiccoli, Sleaze, Slim Kartel, Tha LSD, TRE, Tru Nyce, Tatum, The New Juice Crew; music by DJ Swerve 36 and Bandolero @ Strange Matter – $4 in advance/$6 at the door

I won’t lie, y’all–Face Melt Friday is always kind of overwhelming. This spectacular six-hour showcase of local hip hop talent is brought to us from the Strange Matter stage at least once every couple of months by Black Liquid and his posse The New Juice Crew, and it always contains a lengthy list of talented local and regional emcees, from veterans we all know and love to new performers no one’s heard yet. It’s got something for fans of any type of hip hop, too, as I learned when I made my way down to the last Face Melt Friday back in the spring. Gangster rappers share the stage with conscious types and lyrical geniuses, plus this city’s most famous Confederate flag protester, Goad Gatsby, is always in the mix doing his thing (which I can’t really even describe–but it is unique).

This Friday night at Strange Matter should be as awesome as ever for anyone seeking a crash course in the state of VA hip hop 2015. Sets from Black Liquid, Sleaze, and The New Juice Crew are always guaranteed to be highlights, plus we’ve got appearances by talented locals who deserve way more attention than they’ve been getting so far, including Innascent and Segga Spicoli. Then there are hungry up-and-comers like Destiny Da Chef and Falmouf, plus a whole lot of names I don’t even recognize yet, who will get their chance to prove themselves in a quick 15-minute burst on the Face Melt Friday stage. You’ll love some of these rappers, and yeah, you might hate a few others, but at $4 for an advance ticket, you can’t say you don’t get your money’s worth with this all-night hip hop bash. Show up early, stick around all night, and be sure to guard your face!

Saturday, July 18, 8 PM
Sleepy Brother, Ocean Vs Daughter, Bear Stevens @ Sound Of Music – $5

For a city with less than half a million people living within its borders, Richmond sure has a ton of local music. I mean, it’s literally my job to keep up with this stuff, and I’m still constantly stumbling across relatively established local bands, who are making waves and getting things done, but have somehow previously escaped my attention. Sleepy Brother’s the latest example, and I bring this up because they’ve got a brand new album out, entitled Let In The Light. It actually hit the internet yesterday, and upon first listen, I was greeted by some lovely acoustic tunes in which the guitar lines of Nathan Burns intertwine perfectly with the gorgeous vocals of Heather Weiderholt. The band’s website compares them to City & Colour and The Civil Wars, and let me just say I can fully see it.

I’m not sure what the difference between their more intricately adorned studio creations and the–one assumes–stripped down duo performance they’ll give during their album release show on Saturday night at Sound Of Music, but thankfully there’s really nothing they can do to mess up their sweet melodies. This show will also feature a set by Ocean Vs. Daughter, Flanna Sheridan’s keyboard-driven project, which originally hails from Prague and is now based in good ol’ RVA. Work apparently continues apace on the new album this band’s been putting together for months now, and I assume we’ll get at least a little bit of a taste of what they’ve been up to during this show. North Carolina singer-songwriter Bear Stevens opens up with a solo acoustic set. This whole evening should actually have some pretty smooth, laid-back vibes. Stay awake long enough to absorb Sleepy Brother’s full set, though–you won’t be sorry.

Sunday, July 19, 5 PM
Sorority Noise, Charly Bliss, Freaky J & The Bears, Stay In @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://sororitybliss.eventbrite.com/)

Here we go, y’all. It seems not a week goes by this summer without some #emorevival band or another coming through town for an all-ages show at Strange Matter. Does that sound like a complaint? Good grief, nothing could be further from the truth. I am stoked that we will be hosting Sorority Noise this Sunday evening–how could I not be? This Connecticut emo band, who shares members with Old Gray, have equal facility with catchy lovelorn pop-punk choruses and epic post-rock melodrama. The juxtaposition between back-to-back songs “Fluorescent Black” and “Nolsey” on their brand new second album, Joy Departed, shows the multi-faceted approach this band takes to their music. They’re equally reminiscent of Weezer and fellow Connecticut emo-revivalists The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (citing that band always pads my word count), and they’ll thrill those who love the sounds of either of those references.

Sorority Noise will be coming through town with companions Charly Bliss, who hail from Brooklyn and have a much more straightforward sound. Driven by the sugary-sweet vocals of Eva Hendricks and some wonderfully gritty alt-rock guitars, this band cooks up an abrasive yet catchy and overall fun sound that’ll have you dancing with a big smile on your face, even as their vulnerable lyrics hit way too close to home. RVA will contribute a couple of talented bands to this bill as well. Freaky J and the Bears have that whole melodic math-rock thing going on that’s been a popular and rewarding sound for local RVA musicians to explore of late–though they’ve also got a touch of mid-90s emo (the angsty, noisy kind) running through their veins as well. Meanwhile, Stay In are new to the scene but are already winning a lot of fans with their alt-rock/pop-punk sound, which should be catnip for fans of Speedy Ortiz or the various Crutchfield sisters projects (Waxahatchee, Swearin’, PS Eliot, etc). Get down with it.

Monday, July 20, 8 PM
Electric Citizen, Mondo Drag, Demon Eye, Slow Season @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$13 day of show (order tickets here: https://electriccitizen.eventbrite.com/)

You know, I may be a bit bored with all the bands mining early-70s proto-metal influences like Sabbath and Pentagram for their doom epics, but I’ll tell you something that will never bum me out: when bands go about five years further back and start digging into the great heavy-psych albums of the late 60s for influence. Stuff like Mad River and High Tide is always awesome if you ask me, and way too few of those bands are remembered these days for my tastes. For a band like Electric Citizen to appear in the past couple of years touting organ solos, pedal-to-the-metal boogie riffing, and impressive drum flash is a huge thrill for me, and I’m glad they’ll be coming to RVA to show off their raging tunes live and in the flesh for us all. Get ready to rock out hard to these guys–they’re not exactly gonna allow you not to.

Mondo Drag are on tour with Electric Citizen, and it’s fitting that they are–with much the same musical aesthetic and a ton of their own catchy riffs and wailing solos, these guys are the perfect companions. Mondo Drag shares members with Blues Pills if you need that further inducement to come see them, but one listen to their new self-titled album, released earlier this year, should be all you need to hear. With Cali Zep-heads Slow Season and Raleigh Deep Purple-worshippers Demon Eye filling out this bill, you’re guaranteed a night of raging psychedelic heaviness on a par with the best bills that hit the stage at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in 1969. Start growing your hair out now!

Tuesday, July 21, 7:30 PM
Velouria, Insignificant Other, Dazeases, Yankee Roses @ Gallery 5 – $5

Are y’all checking out the new sounds coming out of Alabama? Yeah, I know, hardly what you’d think of as a mecca for alternative rock or whatever. And yet, when you hear Birmingham natives Velouria, you’re sure to wonder if there’s something in the water down there after all. That was my reaction. This quartet combines shoegaze-style male-female vocal harmonizing with driving guitar riffs and catchy choruses to create a sound that I’d expect to stumble across on a Caroline Records sampler from 1992 or something. Yes, children, that’s a compliment. These guys make me think of bands like Drop Nineteens and Velvet Crush, or maybe even something you’ve heard of, like The Breeders (though honestly obscure early 90s references like The Darling Buds or The Swirlies continue to be more accurate). If nothing else, the fact that they named themselves after a Pixies song should catch your interest, right? Trust me, you won’t regret checking out what this band has to offer.

The local bands on this bill have a bit of a different vibe, at least if their studio recordings are any indication. Insignificant Other is from Florida, while Yankee Roses comes from right here in Richmond (though I think they might originally hail from Florida themselves… I dunno, don’t quote me on that). However, these two projects have a lot in common, and not just the fact that they just released a split EP together this spring. They’re both solo acoustic projects, and both of them do Magnetic Fields covers, which should give you a little bit of an idea about where they’re coming from emotionally. Yeah, these are sad songs, and Dazeases has some of those as well. But where Yankee Roses uses acoustic guitar and Insignificant Other’s instrument of choice is ukulele, Dazeases is a synth-based lo-fi pop project. Knowing all of that, it seems that Velouria might well be the only band who really cranks up the volume on this bill, but hey, only having to deploy your earplugs for one set out of the entire night can’t be a bad thing.


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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