Friday, July 4, 6 PM
Fucked Up, Weed, Dry Spell, Slugz @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://fuckedup.eventbrite.com/)
July 4 is always a day of celebration around here, but this year the fireworks will be happening onstage at Strange Matter.
Friday, July 4, 6 PM
Fucked Up, Weed, Dry Spell, Slugz @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://fuckedup.eventbrite.com/)
July 4 is always a day of celebration around here, but this year the fireworks will be happening onstage at Strange Matter. Canadian maniacs Fucked Up will be in town, and there’s no reason for you to be anywhere else. Seriously–fireworks are happening on Brown’s Island Thursday night this year, so your Friday night should be wide open. While Fucked Up aren’t quite packing the raging midtempo hardcore explosion they dropped on RVA the last time they hit the stage at Strange Matter (in 2006, when it was still the Nanci Raygun, if I’m not mistaken), their sound has managed to evolve significantly over the last most-of-a-decade without losing any of its original ferocity. Their new album, Glass Boys, continues with the strange Husker Du circa New Day Rising/Poison Idea circa Feel The Darkness hybrid they crafted on their 2011 rock opera, David Comes To Life. The guitar riffs are more complex and melodic than they once were, but with Damian Abraham roaring and screaming (most likely with blood pouring from his forehead) out front, Fucked Up will always make a lot of glorious noise, and you can expect their live show to be off the chain.
The openers on this bill are also well worth your time. Weed may come from Canada just like Fucked Up, but they have their own thing going on, which was displayed quite well on last year’s debut full-length, Deserve. Along with bands like Daylight, Ovlov, and Pity Sex, this band is leading the charge beyond the emo revival into the inevitable next step of the 90s resurrection–the alt-rock revival. Weed’s loud, fuzzy guitars and quiet vocals buried in the mix make them sound like they should have been signed to DGC as part of the post-Nirvana feeding frenzy. And since pretty much every band involved in that whole thing was excellent, it’s no surprise that Weed rule. Don’t miss your chance to see them.
Dry Spell and Slugz round out the lineup with some local talent from right here in RVA. Dry Spell in particular will sort of fill the Ex-Lion Tamers role on this bill–giving the kids who wish they were seeing Fucked Up play Hidden World the raging midtempo hardcore they’re wishing for. Dry Spell will be playing their own songs, of course. But considering how rare a Dry Spell live gig is these days, that’s something we should all jump at the chance to see, even if it weren’t happening as the opening act for a huge touring band. Slugz are doing more of a punk thing, which should please fans of any other band on this bill, and they’re releasing their new LP at this show, so you’ve got that to look forward to as well. Set off some M-80s in your backyard late on Friday night if you want to, but this year you should spend your prime Fourth Of July hours at Strange Matter.
Wednesday, July 2, 5 PM
Sundials, Pope, Donovan Wolfington, Teen Death @ Strange Matter – $8
OK, I can’t lie–I was originally stoked about this show because Ovlov were playing. For whatever reason, the boys from Connecticut had to cancel their tour, and we have been deprived of our chance to see them in RVA, at least for now. But all is not lost! There are still some great bands on this bill, foremost amongst them the excellent melodic grunge-punk sounds of Sundials. These guys have been on that whole alt-rock revival tip since before anyone was talking about Daylight or any of those bands, and while I assume everyone in RVA is fully informed and has been on the Sundials bandwagon since 2011 at minimum, you could always use a reminder about just why these guys rule. Come to Strange Matter tonight and have that reminder served up to you live and in person! You know you wanna.
NOLA band Pope will be taking Ovlov’s slot on this bill. I’m sure there are a few other old people like me who thought, “Wait, Frankie Stubbs’ short-lived post-Leatherface band?”, the youngs among you probably never got that far, since the sole LP by that band was retconned into a Leatherface album when it was released on a CD in conjunction with The Last. “What about the band that’s actually playing this show?” Oh, right! New Orleans’s Pope have a lovely stoned-out take on the fuzzy-guitar midtempo alt-rock sound that Ovlov also do so well with, so they’re a perfect replacement on this bill. Fellow New Orleanians Donovan Wolfington are doing a similar thing, only more uptempo, with some excellent melodic hooks thrown in; these guys are definitely up my alley, and if you have good taste, they’ll rock your socks too. RVA’s Teen Death open things up with some noisy, rockin’ punk sounds.
Thursday, July 3, 3 PM
The Life And Death Tour, feat. Backtrack, Harm’s Way, Expire, Turnstile, Suburban Scum, Downpresser, Iron Mind, Freedom @ Strange Matter – $20 in advance/$25 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Whoa, dudes, I have to admit I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by this one. Eight bands, all on tour together, crashing the Strange Matter stage starting at 3 PM on a Thursday? This is a lot to take in. Hardcore package tours keep growing and getting more widespread, and this sort of thing is one result of that, but regardless of my exhausted old-person feelings about this whole thing, one thing is immediately obvious: this is not for me. This is for the kids! All the amped-up teenagers and twenty-nothings who are out of school right now with their whole summer staring them in the face just waiting to get filled up with awesomeness will be showing up to Strange Matter for this one. I’m sure the circle pits and stagedives will be epic too. There’s a lot of great music on this bill for the kids of today to lose their minds to, and more power to them.
Let’s talk about what you’ll hear if you choose to enter the pit (or grab a cup of water and stand in the back like I will). New York’s Backtrack are the stars of the evening, and their energetic version of midtempo mosh riffs actually seem a lot more exciting to me than that 82 revival stuff that was all the rage a decade or so ago. Their latest album on Bridge 9, Lost In Life, makes me want to mosh around the RVA Mag office, though I doubt my coworkers would appreciate that. Other highlights of the bill include Harm’s Way, whose darker, downtuned take on hardcore splits the difference between Hatebreed and His Hero Is Gone–and it rules. So does Turnstile, with their early 90s New Age Records-style rage. What else? Suburban Scum have a raw vocal sound that takes their chunky riffing to the next level of intensity. Expire mix early 90s mosh with downtuning and a rocked-out riff style that makes me think of Snapcase and Quicksand. Downpresser mix sXe/hXc sounds with a bit of a crossover riff style. There are too many bands on this bill for me to write about them all! It’s gonna be hectic regardless–just go!
Saturday, July 5, 5 PM
Sinners & Saints CD Release Party with Andy Vaughan & The Driveline, Locust Honey @ Hardywood – Free!
This show is a good one for anybody who thinks new country music can’t be any good anymore. Andy Vaughan and the Driveline are here to prove you wrong with their new CD, Sinners & Saints. This ain’t no Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line; Vaughan and co. don’t play songs that sound like top 40 radio with exaggerated country accents. Instead, they’re keeping alive the tradition of classic performers like Hank Williams Sr, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, and even mixing in some flavors from old time Western swing, the likes of which is mostly forgotten by today’s country fans. If you grew up hearing these kinds of bands at Saturday night barn dances, or watching them play on Hee Haw or whatever, you know this kind of music has some real power and feeling to it–the kind of thing you just can’t fake.
Locust Honey will also be performing, and they’re even more old-school than Andy Vaughan and the Driveline. These ladies from Asheville, NC are hearkening back to the early 20th century with their bluegrass/string-band/folk sounds, but they’ve got energy more than sufficient to get a crowd dancing. On the whole, it’s the perfect pairing with Andy Vaughan and the Drivelien, and both of these groups will fit in quite well with the excellent craft beers Hardywood has on tap. Plus, this event is free! You could do a lot worse than to spend your Saturday night out at Hardywood.
Saturday, July 5, 6 PM
The Menzingers, Lemuria, Pup, Cayetana @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets here: http://menzingers.eventbrite.com/)
Of course, there’s also some serious pop punk happening on Saturday night as well, so if that’s your thing, look no further than Strange Matter (which again, as we’ve observed in the past, seems to put on at least half of the great shows that happen in this town). Philly’s The Menzingers are on tour supporting their fourth album, the heartfelt and emotional Rented World, and they’ve got a whole crew of excellent supporting acts along with them. Before we talk about those bands, though, let’s talk about that new Menzingers record, which starts with a track called “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”–and how many of us can relate to that sentiment? I am not afraid to admit that I’ve had similar thoughts many times in my life, though I feel like I’ve finally succeeded in shedding most of my asshole tendencies in recent years. Yeah, I know, save it for Livejournal. Anyway, this whole record has that same almost-uncomfortable level of emotional intensity that the opening track shows, and better yet, it’s full of excellent, super-catchy pop-punk songs that bring the same intensity we’ve all come to know and love from recent efforts by The Wonder Years and Title Fight. So yeah, get into it!
And get stoked for Lemuria, too, because this Buffalo trio is still cranking out the classic jams after a decade as a band. Last year’s The Distance Is So Big showed that, as Lemuria moves further beyond the standard pop-punk tropes they started out with, they’ve only increased in talent and songwriting ability. These folks are always a threat to steal the show, so be prepared. Pup, who are also part of this tour package, are a younger Toronto band with some serious energy that they’ll use to light up Strange Matter with some excellent rock n’ roll riffs. The whole thing kicks off with another Philly band, Cayetana, who’ve got a bit more of a jangle-pop thing going on and if anything remind me of the early Lemuria stuff. So yeah, this whole show is gonna be great, and while it’s a shame there’s no local RVA talent on the bill, this is a stacked deck of Northeastern talent to feast upon.
Sunday, July 6, 5 PM
Ramshackle Glory, Endless Mike & The Beagle Club, Cancers, Cross Eyed, Jake Mayday @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: http://ramshackleglory.eventbrite.com/)
Ramshackle Glory’s bandcamp tags their music with the words “anarchism,” “anarchist,” “anarchy,” and “anarcho-punk,” and if that doesn’t give you a reasonable idea of where these folks are coming from, perhaps the fact that they’ve released records on Plan-It-X will help. Yes, this is a somewhat acoustic punk band, and while I am always prepared to be annoyed by any band with with banjo, accordion, and trumpets in their lineup, these guys are actually pretty catchy. If you’re into Defiance Ohio, The Wild, Bomb The Music Industry, Andrew Jackson Jihad, etc. you can hardly go wrong with Ramshackle Glory. While this genre is certainly not my area of expertise, I get the idea that these guys have also not toured as a full band in quite a while, so you might want to make sure you come see them now!
They’ve got a whole bunch of equally enjoyable support on this show too. Endless Mike & The Beagle Club have been doing a slightly more rocked-out version of what Ramshackle Glory are doing for a decade or so themselves, and while they’re more likely to bust out electric guitars and leave the horns at home, this crew of punks definitely write similarly catchy and heartfelt tunes as those of Ramshackle Glory. Then there’s Cancers, a band from Athens GA that really are making the sort of loud, heavy, guitar-driven noise that you’d expect from a punk band–so people like me will feel right at home. Opening up will be Cross Eyed–a band featuring members of Hold Tight and Springtime who apparently all work at the same Domino’s Pizza location–and Jake Mayday–a local folk-punk singer who will make Ramshackle Glory feel right at home. So yeah, get your bandannas, patched pants, and t-shirts with cut-off sleeves out, because summer’s here and the time is right for folk-punking in the streets! Or something like that.
Monday, July 7, 7 PM
Cave Of Swimmers, Captives, Venomspitter @ Gallery 5 – $5
And now for something completely different: Cave Of Swimmers, a two-piece, bassless duo who actually do NOT play garage rock, instead cranking out some heavy, thundering metal that veers back and forth from ponderous doom to stoner-style throwback riffing to speeded-up space rock over the course of each song’s epic length. This band is apparently from Venezuela via Miami, so they bring some pretty unique influences to bear on the spaced-out sludge stylings they’re working with. Expect breathtaking weirdness and hypnotic headbangs. It should be awesome.
Captives are a new local band who also deal in some serious sludge, but where Cave Of Swimmers are spaced-out, these guys are just heavy–the sonic equivalent of getting hit between the eyes with a really slow sledgehammer. Featuring Andy Bunch of Postcards/Caretaker on drums, this band strips all the melodic edges of his previous bands away to go all heavy, all the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Fellow ex-Postcards/Caretaker band Venomspitter (who feature guitarist James Hoffer, who has also been in like a million other local bands, including–in the interest of full disclosure–one I was also in) will open up this show with a short, sharp shock to the system. You can expect pounding sludge from the other two bands on this bill, but Venomspitter like to keep it short, fast, and loud, so they’ll be providing some welcome variety.
Tuesday, July 8, 8 PM
REC Room, feat. Flite, BSTFRND, BWLR, Santa Kilmagik @ The Camel – Free!
The Richmond Electronic Collective is a group started by Silo Effect bassist Steve Owen to throw a spotlight on all the producers around the city making tracks in isolation, and get them out of their bedrooms and onto stages where they can rock some crowds. To that end, Owen and co started the REC Room, a monthly residency at The Camel where producers from the RVA area and beyond can get onstage and share their music. They’re doing it up right, too, with visuals provided by Dustin Klein and a stacked lineup of VA-based producers hitting the stage each month to bring their jams to you. This month, things are headlined by Blacksburg’s Flite, a producer who’s recently been signed by Sup Yo! Records and had his tracks played on BBC. Pretty cool, right?
The rest of the evening is filled up with RVA talents who like making beats a lot more than they do using vowels in their project names. BSTFRND has some ambient sounds going on, all Flying Lotus-style, but definitely keeps things groovy and danceable. BWLR (Bowler?) is another creator of spaced-out tunes that will be a perfect soundtrack for letting your mind drift. The whole evening starts out with Santa Kilmagik, Steve Owen’s own electronic project, which has a bit of a drum & bass feel. If you dig beats, bass, and electronic sounds, the REC Room live series is one you’re going to want to keep an eye on–not just for this month, but going forward as well. August’s installment will celebrate the release of the Richmond Electronic Collective’s third compilation of local sounds, while September is a Satellite Syndicate takeover night. So you’ve got that to look forward to, and it all starts next Tuesday. Mark your calendar!
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