Saturday, July 25, 8 PM
Manatree (photo by Mikan Media) album release show, with Clair Morgan, Lucy Dacus @ The Broadberry – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This Saturday looks to be the crowning glory for Manatree–and it’s been a long time coming. This quartet’s been together since they were in junior high, figuring out how to play their instruments alongside each other as they grew up and formed a musical identity. Along the way they shed an awkward and embarrassing band name (eventually arriving at another one that’s still silly as hell while being way more palatable), released several EPs, and stockpiled a treasure trove of their best songs. And this is where it all pays off.
Saturday night’s celebratory live performance marks the release of Manatree’s self-titled debut album, which will bring together several years’ worth of their best songs into one killer collection of catchy, complex alt-rock/power pop. It’s coming out on Egghunt Records, who’ve previously made their mark on the local scene with releases by White Laces and Red States (and have an upcoming release by The Diamond Center in the pipeline as well). If you’ve caught these still-quite-young dudes playing around town recently, you’ve surely come to know a lot of these songs in all their toe-tapping glory, and you’ll have another chance to get familiar with them Saturday night. If you don’t end up taking home a copy of the album when you leave the Broadberry that evening, well, I don’t know what might be wrong with you (unless you’re broke–I know ALL ABOUT that).
Manatree will be joined on this show by a couple of talented local performers who play out under their own names but nonetheless have a band backing them up. Clair Morgan is the first of these, and while Mr. Morgan is clearly the songwriting mastermind at work here, his half-dozen-strong backing band is an essential element of his music. Morgan and co. are putting the finishing touches on a new LP right now, so expect plenty of fresh material from these folks. And talented young singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus is in much the same situation, with the imminent arrival of her own first release. She’s been getting some buzz with the preview tracks she’s posted online, and you’ll be contributing to that buzz for sure if you catch her opening set at this show. Yes, she and her band are that good. Come out Saturday night and join the party!
Wednesday, July 22, 8 PM
Dinosaur Jr, People’s Blues Of Richmond @ The National – $20 in advance/$23 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Does Dinosaur Jr even need an introduction? For your sakes, I hope not–if you’re not familiar with this band by now, I question how well you’re spending your music-listening time. From 80s classics like You’re Living All Over Me to the great albums they released at the height of the early 90s grunge/alternative movement to their reformation a decade ago and the outstanding music they’ve released since, Dinosaur Jr have been responsible for three decades’ worth of amazing music. Their Neil Young-meets-Sonic Youth noise-damage roar makes for one of the loudest live experiences I’ve ever had (seriously, bring earplugs to this show) and yet, they write some of the most strangely beautiful and affecting melodies you’ll find anywhere. Their set is sure to touch your heart–and blow out your eardrums.
Honestly, I’m kind of amazed that there are tickets still available for this bill, so if you haven’t already scored your own, you should be able to pay at the door and get in. That would definitely be my advice–having seen Dinosaur Jr on two separate occasions, I can tell you that this will be more than worth your time. And even though there’s been a lot of complaining on the internet about it, local heavy-blues/garage rock trio People’s Blues Of Richmond will still be opening this show–and honestly, all you haters should stop complaining, because even if they’re not quite a perfect fit for Dinosaur Jr, this band is pretty great. Their last album, Good Time Suicide, had a down n’ dirty Black Keys/Jack White vibe, and they’ve recently been working with Black Keys producer Mark Neill, so they’ve got a decent pedigree and they’re gonna rock this show pretty hard. Not that it matters that much, because Dinosaur Jr are worth more than the price of admission all on their own, so just show up and let this show knock you on your ass. You won’t regret it.
Thursday, July 23, 7 PM
Among The Rocks And Roots, Bukkake Moms, Ersula, Yoga Demon, LRKR, Lacanthrope @ Gallery 5 – $8
Among The Rocks And Roots are about to head out on tour, and this RVA duo does not believe in letting an opportunity to celebrate the experimental music scene from which they have ascended go to waste. So Thursday night, for their tour kickoff show, they’ll be taking over Gallery 5 with a variety of other experiemental artists, in a celebration of what’s known as outsider music. This is music created by people who have not been educated within the traditional music community, and are therefore unfamiliar with–or at least, choose to disregard–the usual approaches musicians take to creating their work. Among The Rocks And Roots can count themselves as part of the outsider tradition, taking influence from fellow outsiders like Swans, The Melvins, and Faust, and using it to create their mindblowing rhythm-and-noise oriented music–which features songs that regularly stretch past the 15-minute mark. While this band has only been around for a year and a half or so, they’ve carved out a niche for themselves in the local music scene, and if you haven’t been exposed to what they do, you need to check it out at Gallery 5 this Thursday night.
There’s a ton of other stuff for you to check out as well, and with six bands performing over the course of four hours, it’s all going to come at you hard and fast. Bukkake Moms are on tour from Denton TX, and they’ve got some pretty wild punk rock chaos to hit you with–their new album, The Chronic, lands somewhere between the Butthole Surfers and Orthrelm, maybe with a bit of Voivod at their mathiest/most weird thrown in. It’s pretty incredible, really, and should be totally mindbending in a live environment. Then there’s Norfolk project Ersula, who mix keyboards and samples with live drums into a bizarre wall of noise. Yoga Demon are from Richmond, but actually do much the same thing, though with less keyboards and more straight-up noise effects. Norfolk guitar-driven experimental group LRKR and RVA solo noise excursion Lacanthrope will open this whole thing up, so be prepared for a wave of noise weirdness to crash over you and mess your head all up–in the best possible way.
Friday, July 24, 8 PM
Tungs album release show, with Slowing, White Laces @ Gallery 5 – $5
Are Tungs RVA’s most prolific band? I mean, I’m sure there’s someone out there cranking out a new EP every two months or something, so that’s probably not true, but there really aren’t many other bands in this town who seem to come up with new music on as consistent a basis as Tungs have maintained over the past five years. This Friday, they’ll be releasing their fourth full-length LP since 2010, which doesn’t even count their 2012 split LP with Heavy Midgets aka Fat Spirit. And based on the fact that each of their previous releases has only been better than the one before, this one is bound to be essential. Its title, You Could Call This Art, accurately reflects the Tungs approach to music in general. Always interested in pushing boundaries and challenging themselves, these guys also love to take a tongue-in-cheek approach, mocking their own ambitions even as they fearlessly explore the limits of what they can do. It’s produced some really killer noise-rock weirdness over the past half-decade, as well as several truly classic songs I’ll be returning to for years to come. If you’re not already on board the Tungs bandwagon, this Friday is the perfect opportunity for you to fix that.
You can tell Tungs are the real deal based on the fact that White Laces will be opening for them at this show. Another equally hard-working, creatively inspired, and incredibly talented RVA band, White Laces have a bit more of an accessible sound than Tungs, and if anything could probably headline this show themselves. However, they’re choosing to act as support because they also recognize the brilliance Tungs are bringing to the local music scene. In the end, this only benefits you, the audience member, because you get to see two incredibly talented local bands at the height of their powers, playing back to back! White Laces have a couple of new projects they’re working on too, so you may get a live preview of some new material from them as well–always a bonus. Slowing, which features former members of Forensics, Highness, and The Catalyst, among others, will open up with some killer tunes of their own. Don’t miss this.
Saturday, July 25, 8 PM
Nerve City, Black Water Gold, Killer Ghost, Winstons, The Awesome Few @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
Saturday night, The Camel will host a nice blend of local and touring awesomeness, with some intriguing results. The band I’m most intrigued about on this bill is Nerve City, a local RVA group whom I’ve somehow never encountered before now. The reason that’s weird is because they’ve been around for nearly a decade and have releases on hip labels like HoZac and Sacred Bones. How’d this happen without me noticing? Well, whatever; I suppose now’s the time to grab a latepass and figure out what’s up with this band. Their most recent release, Asleep On The Tracks, shows a prominent Velvet Underground influence, as well as a hazy, lo-fi streak that combines well with their jangly guitar riffs and laconically catchy vocals. This is a very popular sound around town at the moment, so maybe RVA has finally caught up to what Nerve City’s been doing since at least 2008 or so. Time to dig in.
There are a bunch of other bands worthy of your attention on this bill as well. The Winstons may or may not count as local–apparently both members are from Virginia, but moved to Brooklyn around the time they started the band and are hailing from that locale these days. Probably woulda been easier/cheaper to do a band here in RVA, guys, but we’ll let that slide. These guys have a ramshackle garage-rock sound that’s a ton of fun, connecting to that whole tradition on the wild n’ wooly level of the Gibson Bros or the Detroit Cobras. Killer Ghost hail from Seattle and are the most straight-up 60s throwback on this whole bill; their organ-infused garage rock jams hark back to The Mummies and The Cramps, and will have you twisting the night away. Black Water Gold and The Awesome Few round out the bill with some local rock n’ roll awesomeness, and really deserve more to be said about both of them (though god knows I always write too much). You’ll want to see them play, I can guarantee you that much.
Sunday, July 26, 6:30 PM
State Champs, Hit The Lights, Tiny Moving Parts, Let It Happen, Northbound @ The Broadberry – $15 (order tickets HERE)
We’ve reached the point that comes along in pretty much every one of these columns, where I tell you about some awesome emo/pop-punk band that’s coming through on tour this week, and you all realize once again that secretly this is the kind of music I listen to most often. It’s cool, I’ve got nothing to hide–I’m a mark for super-catchy pop songs played on distorted guitars by boys and girls who obviously grew up listening to the Descendents and Gorilla Biscuits. State Champs are one of the bands in this style who’ve had my attention the most over the past few years; their 2013 debut album The Finer Things rarely left the CD boombox that sat next to my shower in my old apartment, and I can sing you every word of most of the songs on it (not that you want me to do that). The first single from their new album, Around The World And Back (coming in October–I’m stoked), is pretty great as well, and I imagine seeing them Sunday night will be a thrilling and emotional experience for anyone lucky enough to be there. Plus, you’ll probably get to hear a bunch of new songs, and that’ll be awesome.
State Champs are on tour with Hit The Lights, a veteran band with a much longer track record and a huge backlog of catchy-as-hell pop-punk tunes to dish out for you all. After getting out of an ill-fated major label deal, they released their fourth LP, Summer Bones, earlier this year on Pure Noise Records, and are back at it with yet another collection of high-quality tunes. It’ll be great to see these guys. It’ll also be great to see Tiny Moving Parts, who visit RVA relatively often with their catchy, emotional brand of melodic post-hardcore math-rock, but are always a treat. Let It Happen are also on the bill, and these guys are probably the most purely pop of the many pop-punk bands you’ll catch this evening–which is not a bad thing by any means. The evening will begin with a performance by Florida’s Northbound, who are touring behind their freshly released new LP, Death Of A Slug, and have kind of an Into It. Over It. thing going on.
Monday, July 27, 8 PM
Power Trip, Foreseen, Red Death, Barge, Skemata @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://punkmetal.eventbrite.com/)
A wide-ranging collection of awesomely heavy music makes up the bill for this Monday night show at Strange Matter. First up–the almighty Power Trip, who’ve made it to town a few times now but I somehow still have not seen (“somehow”–I’m broke all the time, y’all, that’s how). Their 2013 debut LP Manifest Decimation was a document of pure shred-tastic brutality, featuring some straight up 80s thrash-tainted metallic hardcore, complete with ridiculous echo, palm-muted chugs everywhere, and some truly wailing solos. You could think of it as the heir to Slayer’s Hell Awaits or Judge’s Bringin’ It Down and you’d be equally right. A chance to experience the headbanging, circle-pit inciting rage up close and in person is one you should not miss! Finland’s Foreseen are operating in a similar realm as Power Trip, though they’re clearly a bit farther on the metal side of that crossover dividing line. The thrash overload of their last album, Helsinki Savagery, is not to be denied. This band is sure to kick everyone’s ass during their set Monday night.
But dudes, there’s still so much more even than this for you to get stoked about where this show is concerned. DC’s Red Death will be on hand with a speed demon attack and some screams of righteous fury, bowling everybody over with the crossover attack they’ve displayed on their new LP Permanent Exile, out now on RVA’s own Grave Mistake Records. Local fastcore maniacs Barge are about to take off on tour with Pure Disgust and Hard Stripes, and they’ll be kicking off their tour with a raging set at this show–perhaps complete with a performance of that Madball cover they just released? Guess we’ll have to see… Finally, North Carolina d-beat/noise punks Skemata will start things off with a fuzzed-out pile of riffs that should please all among you who own at least one black denim vest. Get ready to roar!
Tuesday, July 28, 8 PM
Landlady, Buke & Gase, Andy C. Jenkins @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I admit it–I checked out Landlady due to a positive review by a fellow RVA music blogger. Davy Jones from You Hear That was on RVA Mag correspondent Doug Nunnally’s radio show, Sound Gaze, last week, and had a lot of positive things to say about this band. When I saw that they were playing here soon, I had to check them out. Lo and behold, they’re every bit as good as Davy said–a soulful, driving rock n’ roll band with a lot of American musical history running through their tunes. You may have caught them at Fall Line Fest last year, but regardless, you should really come out to the Camel on Tuesday and see them (again, as the case may be). Their tunes are sure to get you dancing.
They’ll be joined on this bill by Buke And Gase, a band with quite the interesting conceptual framework on which they’ve constructed their music. Named for the two instruments the band’s two members play most often–a “buke,” which is a modified baritone ukulele, and a “gase,” which is a homemade guitar/bass hybrid–this band generates some weird yet undeniably memorable tunes with just these strange stringed instruments and foot-controlled percussion. You may come out to see their weird hybrid instruments, but you’ll stick around to dance to their bizarrely awesome tunes. The evening will begin with a solo set by Andy C. Jenkins, whom the more in-the-know among you will remember for his beloved, departed band The Great White Jenkins. Ex-member Matthew E. White has gone on to do a few things since that band broke up–but what’s Jenkins been up to? This is your chance to find out.
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