Monday, July 28, 9 PM
Supersuckers, Mudd Helmut (Photo by Cindy Hicks), The Blackout Shift @ Bandito’s – Free!
It’s never a bad idea to show up for a show at Bandito’s.
Monday, July 28, 9 PM
Supersuckers, Mudd Helmut (Photo by Cindy Hicks), The Blackout Shift @ Bandito’s – Free!
It’s never a bad idea to show up for a show at Bandito’s. They’re always free, the nachos rule (so do the tacos, the burritos, etc, but the nachos are the best thing on the menu if you ask me), and the room where they do shows has pretty much the best sound in town. I’m serious–if you don’t believe me, you should go check it out for yourself. And there’s never been a better time to do that than this coming Monday, when legendary Arizona-by-way-of-Seattle rockers the Supersuckers join reunited 80s-era Richmond stalwarts Mudd Helmut for a rock n’ roll show to end all shows!
The Supersuckers have kinda followed the same career path as the Dwarves, though they’ve never been as rude, crude, and socially unacceptable as that pack of San Francisco miscreants. Starting out as a super-fast rock n’ roll band whose sheer energy pushed them into the punk-as-fuck realm, the Supersuckers have grown less frantic as they’ve aged (like a fine cheese). These days, they’ve got a new album–their first in six years–called Get The Hell, and it’s full of rowdy drunken rock n’ roll with a slight country twang and plenty of attitude. Fans of Social Distortion and AC/DC will have a blast during this band’s set, and if you’ve been listening to them since the early 90s like I have, you know how lucky you’ll be to check them out for free at an awesome Tex-Mex joint.
Mudd Helmut are a whole other subject. This RVA band dates back to the late 80s, when a lot of punk rockers were discovering the awesomeness of straight-up rock n’ roll and digging into the pre-punk 60s and 70s for inspiration. They’ve got a swaggering strut of a sound, the kind of thing that makes you feel like a badass when you walk down the street with it in your headphones–think Murder City Devils crossed with Bad Company, maybe. The band features local artist Wes Freed–who’s attained a bit of fame over the past couple decades for his work on album covers by bands like Cracker, Drive-By Truckers, and more–on vocals, and Daniel “Dan-O” Deckelman–who runs local studio Snake Oil Recording–on guitar. This is a rare, not-to-be-missed live performance from these local heroes, who will rock you like a hurricane! RVA rockers The Blackout Shift start this one off, so show up on time! Or, like I always tell you, show up early, and get some nachos! I’m gonna keep saying it til you do it–trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Wednesday, July 23, 7 PM
Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder, Iron Reagan, Ramming Speed, Holy Land @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: http://mammothtrip.eventbrite.com/)
Aw shit, I am super excited about this bill! Tonight, Power Trip will be in town, and raging circle-pit action will be happening (if this town is worth a shit… and I know it is). Power Trip may look like hardcore kids in their promo pics, but listening to 2013’s Manifest Destination is a trip straight back to the 80s when thrash metal was king. Reverbed-out 80s metal studio production leaves blazing crossover riffs and speedy thrash beats echoing around your headphones like a classic Anthrax tape on steroids, and I for one fucking love it. I mean, I’ll admit that my appetite for classic thrash metal riffs is nearly endless, but seriously, these guys are on a level with the greats of the genre, and you better believe they will turn Strange Matter into a raging box of sweat and hair tonight.
There’ll be a lot of that going on, in fact, because the other bands on this bill are pretty amazing in their own right. Mammoth Grinder are more thrashing madness, though things verge more towards early death metal (think late 80s Florida–Death, Morbid Angel, etc) at points. Iron Reagan you should all already know; this supergroup is the perfect combo of all the bands these dudes hail from (Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, Cannabis Corpse, etc) with riffs for days and a fun-loving approach that comes through in their comedic between-song banter. (Look for an interview with these lovely chaps in the new issue of RVA Mag, coming next month!) Ramming Speed are kind of a local band now, with drummer Jonah Livingston having recently moved to RVA, and we should all take advantage of having their thrashcore awesomeness happening in our fair city. Mean Season-style early 90s hardcore revivalists Holy Land kick things off with some dashiki grooves. This whole show will rule–be there!
Thursday, July 24, 9 PM
Hold Tight, Nona, Lilac Daze, Teen Death @ Strange Matter – $7
Hey people, I know I told you about Nona last time they came through town, but there were not enough people at that show, so I’m gonna tell you about them again in hopes that y’all get it this time and show the heck up. Maybe it’ll help that this show is not a matinee–I know Richmond’s become a late-night sort of town in recent years (which is still weird for me, considering how much of a staple the early all-ages show that ends by 11 was in the Richmond punk scene of the 90s… yes, everyone, I AM getting old!). Whatever reason you need to be at this show, you better find it, because if you miss Nona again, you’re blowing it in the extreme. This PA band might count as pop-punk according to a really loose definition of the term, but when I listen to their excellent album, Through The Head (recently reissued by RVA’s 6131 Records–bring cash to the show and get your own!), I hear echoes of Juliana Hatfield’s first band, the Blake Babies, plus some great early Superchunk vibes. If that doesn’t sound like it’ll rule to you… I don’t even know. I suppose you are beyond help. The rest of you–show up at Smatter tomorrow night.
And if Nona isn’t reason enough for you, there are three more great reasons on this bill. Hometown favorites Hold Tight continue to be an absolute juggernaut of melodic hardcore excellence. These boys have been leaving us hanging by not releasing any new product since their second LP, Blizzard of 96, two years ago, but a recent facebook post assures us there will be new songs played at this show, so we’ve got that to look forward to. Frederick, MD’s Lilac Daze are also in the house tonight, and though I don’t know a ton about this band, their brand new EP, Sedated, is a slice of catchy pop-punk/alt-rock hybrid goodness, so that’ll be awesome as well. Finally, Teen Death, who feature the two members of Hold Tight NOT in Cross Eyed, will give us a preview of their forthcoming 6131 release, Crawling, 1/3 of which was premiered last week on Brooklyn Vegan. Movin’ on up!
Friday, July 25, 9 PM
Young And In The Way, Unsacred, Salvaticus, Crater @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: http://yaitw.eventbrite.com/)
OK, get ready, y’all, because I’m gonna use the world “blackened” a whole bunch in this preview, and not because I’m talking about tilapia, either. North Carolina’s Young And In The Way actually refer to themselves as “blackened crust” (not in a “whoops, left the toast in the toaster too long” sort of way, either), and while it’s always interesting to see a band enthusiastically adopt a trendy genre description and slap it onto their t-shirts, I can’t deny that they are incorporating the tremolo-picked guitars and throaty screams of Suicide Nation with the dirty biker hardcore of His Hero Is Gone, and in fine fashion. This is especially true on their new album, When Life Comes To Death, which I can only imagine will get a serious airing at this show. These guys are full of bloody hatred and bile, and they’ll expectorate it all over Strange Matter Friday night. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I can’t fuckin’ wait.
Unsacred sent us an email after the last show column I talked about them in, pleading with us not to call them “blackened hardcore” anymore. My bad, dudes! I guess I was being lazy. I also was uninformed as to the fact that they recently stripped down to a trio and went in a more straight-up metal direction with their sound. The reason I didn’t know is because I’ve been a slacker and haven’t caught any of their last several local shows [hangs head in shame]. Recorded evidence of the new, improved Unsacred won’t reach our ears and turntables til Forcefield Records’s release of their new LP, False Light, coming this fall. However, you (and I) can check it out live this Friday night–and clearly, we should! I mean, I liked them already, but apparently we can expect current Unsacred to be better than ever. That’s worth seeing in person, for sure. Charlottesville black(ened… just kidding) metallers Salvaticus and brand new local “blackened doom” (that’s a direct quote) band Crater open the gates of hell for this Blackened Friday at Strange Matter. OK, I’m taking this joke way too far. Shutting up now.
Saturday, July 26, 2 PM
Hardywood Barrel Day 2014 feat. The Diamond Center (Photo by Ryan Muldoon), White Laces, The Welcome Hips @ Hardywood – Free(?)
Psych heads of RVA, this one is for you! I know I am the rare fan of hazy reverbed-out guitar jams to abstain from mind-altering substances, so I’m assuming the rest of you are way more stoked than I am about the idea of seeing Richmond’s foremost psychedelic space rangers, The Diamond Center, at a big all-day beer-related event. There’s a whole bunch of specific info about what’s going on beer-wise at Hardywood this Saturday over at the Facebook invite for this one, but it’s all Greek to me, so I won’t try to explain. All I know is that Boka Tako Truck and Carytown Burgers & Fries will there, so I’ll be able to get my eat on in fine fashion while I wait for music to happen.
Once it starts up at 5 PM, we’ll get to see three great local bands rock the Hardywood parking lot while other people drink beer. This is the Diamond Center’s second set of the day, and it’s their last set of the summer–you won’t get to see them blaze across the night sky again until Fall Line Fest. The really committed amongst you might decide to catch their matinee show at Strange Matter earlier in the day, then speed over to Hardywood to see them again, but personally, I’m gonna stay at Hardywood for the day so I can catch sets from White Laces and The Welcome Hips. White Laces are back from their tour with War On Drugs and have a deal in the works to release their recently-recorded second LP. We don’t know the details on all that, but we know the new songs are great, so come see them play a whole bunch of them, as well as beloved material from debut LP Moves. It’ll be sweet. The Welcome Hips just dropped some sweet new summertime jams on their Bandcamp last week in the form of The Deep End EP, which has a placid beachscape sort of feel going on. All of these bands are gonna be great music for a hot summer afternoon, and those of you who do partake will probably enjoy washing these sounds down with a tall frosty glass of craft beer or two. More power to ya–I’m just there to dig on some music. Which is always a good enough reason.
Sunday, July 27, 9:30 PM
Navi, New Turks @ Bandito’s – Free!
Two shows in two days at Bandito’s–this is a real bonanza, considering this place generally does one show a week at most. Take advantage, people, because as I’ve already emphasized, this is a great place to hear bands (and to eat nachos), and you gotta grab your opportunities when they come along. This one is pretty rad, as local duos New Turks and Navi have been out on tour for the past week and a half (or so) and will be rolling back into Richmond for one more show before heading back to their houses and finally getting to sleep in their own beds. That’s always an amazing feeling, which I’m sure those dudes are looking foward to.
But what WE have to look forward to is a couple of raging sets from powerhouse local bands who’ve done a lot to prove their worth over the last few years. Navi, featuring pedal-hopping guitar wizard Jon Hawkins and drummer of choice for young RVA bands Kyle Flanagan, crank out mostly instrumental tunes of effects-laden, pogo-worthy mathed-up hardcore that sounds like it’s from Mars or something. Everyone’s gonna dance while these guys are playing, so wear comfortable shoes and get ready to bounce. New Turks are doing the bass-drum power duo thing, like a cross between the Jesus Lizard and GodheadSilo, and their rage is extremely infectious. So really, you’ll be dancing your ass off the entire night to both of these bands. And since they’ll be fresh off tour, they’ll probably play hard and fast as fuck. Awesome. See you there!
Monday, July 28, 9 PM
Oathbreaker, Cult Leader, Devil’s Hand, Prisoner @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://oathcult.eventbrite.com/)
Here’s another epic evening of face-ripping metal for you. We get like two or three of these a week, and it’s easy to take them for granted, but as I’ve said before, we’re really lucky that Richmond has such an amazing, thriving metal scene. It offers us the opportunity to see bands like Belgium’s Oathbreaker, a Deathwish signing who released their totally shred-tastic second album, Eros/Anteros last year [EDIT: not this year. Me not read dates too good]. After careful consideration, I’ve decided that this band’s music is most properly described as “blackened thrash”; Caro Tanghe’s throat-shredding vocals and the occasional tendency of the band to back them up with tremolo-picked blastbeat riffs edge close to prime black metal territory, but most of this record has more of a thrash/hardcore tempo range. Genres aside though, this is some really good shit–the kind of sound that feels like it’s dragging you down the side of a steep mountain with no brakes available. Oathbreaker will blow your hair back, slap you in the face a time or two, and leave you no choice but to mosh. The power of thrash compels you.
Cult Leader are another band I ranted to all of you about last time they came through, but that’s no reason you shouldn’t hear about them again, because they rule. Featuring 3/4 of Gaza’s final lineup attempting to clean up the mess left by that band’s disintegration, this Salt Lake City quartet made a formidable statement earlier this year with debut EP Nothing For Us Here. Rage, despair, and brutality are still the buzzwords for these dudes, and their live performances are enough to tear your head off. With RVA hardcore band Devil’s Hand and fellow local biker-core ragers Prisoner opening up, this is an entire evening of bands fully prepared to kick your ass with their music. It’s gonna feel great, so don’t chicken out–show up at Strange Matter this Monday night. What else are you gonna do, get a good night’s sleep before work?
Tuesday, July 29, 7 PM
I Am The Avalanche, SoMoS, Rust Belt Lights @ The Camel – $12
Hey look, The Trigger System brings us another heartfelt, emotionally-oriented pop-punk show! I ain’t afraid to admit I eat this stuff up like cake. Next Tuesday, Vinnie Caruana, whom some of you will remember from his circa-2000 band The Movielife, will hit town with his current project I Am The Avalanche. These guys are touring in support of their third album, Wolverines, which came out this spring and is a sincere and passionate yet always fun album full of awesome Springsteen-infused pop-punk tunes. Have the Gaslight Anthem gotten a little too melodramatic for you lately? This is the perfect cure for those feelings, because even though Vinnie’s an older, wiser man (not to mention a throatier singer) than he was in the days of “Walking On Glass,” he and his band have still got a knack for catchy riffs and memorable choruses.
Boston emo dudes SoMoS are also on this tour, and even though they were just in town last month, there’s no reason not to catch them again. This band’s mix of chunky guitars and smooth vocals creates that perfect tension between melody and grit that makes for the best version of the emo genre possible, and in a live environment, it’s sure to be irresistible. Rust Belt Lights were at the Camel a few years ago for the 2011 edition of Stay Sweet Fest, and now they’re back with a new album on Adeline Records under their belt. Religion & My Ex has a question-raising sort of title, but any doubts about this band you might have will be assuaged by their passionate pop-punk tunes. So have faith! In your hour of need, Rust Belt Lights will not let you down.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]