Saturday, July 11, 9 PM
Hot Dolphin, Toxic Moxie, Brief Lives, Manzara @ Strange Matter – $5
Free Slurpee Day is not generally a major holiday in my life. In fact, every summer when it comes around, I have to be reminded all over again that it’s even a thing.
Saturday, July 11, 9 PM
Hot Dolphin, Toxic Moxie, Brief Lives, Manzara @ Strange Matter – $5
Free Slurpee Day is not generally a major holiday in my life. In fact, every summer when it comes around, I have to be reminded all over again that it’s even a thing. But really, a lot of that is because it’s so disappointing. You go stand in line at 7-11 for like 20 minutes to get a tiny (7.11 oz, isn’t that cute) cup of Slurpee which is gone like immediately and is never as good as you remember from your childhood anyway. Not worth it!
Free Slurpee Day will be a lot less annoying this year, though, because there’s a super-fun show happening at Strange Matter that night that will cure any disappointment you may feel after drinking your microscopic free Slurpee. Four different rad local bands will play for only $5 and you will absolutely get your money’s worth! Hot Dolphin are at the top of the bill, and these fun-loving garage punks are coming with some new material in store to rock everybody who’s been waiting all spring for a chance to see them again. Toxic Moxie is on the bill as well, and their energetic funk-punk will sound quite different but nonetheless act as an excellent complement to Hot Dolphin’s wild jams. Two incredibly talented frontwomen with two catchy bands behind them, both of which make it exceedingly difficult not to dance… what more could you want?
Oh, don’t worry, I have an answer for that! You could want a set from Brief Lives! This awesome post-hardcore band definitely needs more local attention than it’s been getting lately. Singer Valient Himself shows a completely different side of his musical ability here than in his usual gig with Valient Thorr, while guitarist Chris Compton in particular is always awesome to watch as he cranks out catchy and original riffs while totally flipping out. Make sure you catch these guys. Finally, Manzara brings together members of Canary Oh Canary and Four Hundred Years to weave an intriguing musical spell that’s been generating a buzz around town. Come to Strange Matter Saturday night and dance the “that free Slurpee was WAY too small to be worth it” blues away!
Wednesday, July 8, 8 PM
Minimum Balance, The Alberts, Lara Ruggles, Monsoon, Dead Tenors @ The Camel – $5
It’s always cool to get a look into parts of the local scene you’re not all that aware of. Minimum Balance is a band whose name I’ve been hearing around town for a while, but I’ve never dug too deep into what they were doing–mainly because they just had a bunch of lo-fi demos posted online, and I couldn’t get too solid an impression of their sound. They’re releasing their debut EP tonight, though, so everyone’s about to have a way more accurate idea of what this band is all about. Poorly Insulated is a collection of catchy alt-rock tunes featuring jangly guitars, moody vocals, and some impressive drumming; no doubt the live introduction Minimum Balance will provide to listeners tonight will be quite the treat. And you’ll be able to pick up a copy of Poorly Insulated for yourself, which will certainly be worth doing.
There are so many other performers on this bill that you should also check out, though. There will be two out of town bands to rock with, first of all–Athens, GA’s Monsoon will get you up and dancing with their syncopated postpunk dance tunes, while Philadelphia’s Dead Tenors have a sort of throwback rock n’ roll sound (plus they cover “In Heaven” from David Lynch’s Eraserhead, so that’s always awesome). Then there’s Lara Ruggles, a singer-songwriter who makes her home in Boulder, CO these days but originally hails from Richmond and so is making a homecoming of sorts. She’s got some pretty intriguing tunes to bring with her, too. Finally, The Alberts are an entirely local band with a fuzz-laden rock n’ roll sound that might just remind you of Led Zeppelin. It’s a night of musical variety and unusual pairings–don’t you want to be part of it?
Thursday, July 9, 9 PM
New Turks, Intercourse, Yoga Demon, Ultra Flake @ Strange Matter – $7
This Thursday night, it’s time to rage over at Strange Matter. The New Turks are headlining a show, and that means your entire night will be focused around apocalyptic walls of bass feedback. This power duo has never let the lack of six-string guitar slow them down at all, and their Melvins/GodheadSilo-damaged jams are heavy as fuck. They’ll be joining up on this night with New Haven noisemongers Intercourse for an even more powerful wall of sound aimed right at your brain. Intercourse do have regular guitars at their disposal, and they use them to make their angry noise-rock even noisier–which is not to mention how hard vocalist Tarek Ahmed screams his head off. These dudes are gonna blow your head off.
There are some intriguing openers joining this double bill of amassed heaviness, too. Yoga Demon is an up-and-coming duo with a bizarre approach, combining regular punk/metal drumming with all sorts of looping feedback weirdness generated by a man with a huge array of effects pedals at his disposal. So do these guys count as a super far-out rock band, or an unusually coherent noise project? You’ll have to decide for yourself, but regardless you’re going to want to see them in action. And finally, starting out the evening is Ultra Flake, a band bringing together members of Bitchmouth and Hot Dolphin, as well as moonlighting singer-songwriter Samantha Pearl, to make more of the angry hardcore we all loved Bitchmouth for. This is gonna rule.
Friday, July 10, 9 PM
Pathogenesis, Short Bus Pile-up, Vomit Stain, Crucial Rip, Gutted Christ @ 25 Watt – $7
Ahh, death metal. At a time when longhairs in dusty jean jackets playing recycled Black Sabbath riffs has become the dominant trend in the larger metal underground, it’s good to see that there are still dudes with long hair out there who value the guttural growls and double-bass rumbles that have defined this cartoonishly brutal genre for the past quarter-century. Friday night sees nearly half a dozen straight-up death metal bands prepare to take over Shockoe Bottom’s 25 Watt club, and this show is guaranteed to be a breath of fresh air for those who wish there were a lot more chugging and pinch-harmonics happening at metal shows these days.
Pathogenesis, who hail from Raleigh NC, are our headliners for the evening, and they have what is most likely the most adventurous sound of all of these bands. Mixing noise-grind blur and high pitched screams in with the palm-muted chugging and growls, will top off the night with a bit of a change-up. Meanwhile, locals Short Bus Pile-Up, whose insensitive name is totally appropriate for this genre, will send a 100mph fastball straight across the plate with their growling, chugging, double-bass rumbling, headbang-inducing tunes. Get stoked for it, y’all. Vomit Stain, Crucial Rip, and Gutted Christ will round out the evening with quite a bit more of the same low-end brutality, proving that the death metal scene in VA is alive and well, regardless of what you might have heard. So reintroduce yourself to the power of ear-bleeding death metal brutality at 25 Watt this Friday night–you’ll be glad you did.
Saturday, July 11, 8 PM
Little Tybee, Night Idea, Lobo Marino, Lucy Dacus @ The Broadberry – $8 (order tickets HERE)
This is going to be a lovely night for fans of good music of all stripes. Little Tybee, a Georgia sextet with a sound that’s tough to pin down, will be hitting town to enrapture us all with some of their lovely tunes. The fact that the band features piano and violin might give you an idea that there are some folksy leanings happening here, and that wouldn’t be untrue by any means, but Little Tybee have much more to offer than just another indie-folk project. Their undeniably soulful touches mingle with some jazzy bits and even a little bit of complex math-rock feel–though only the sunniest and happiest edges of all these genres, of course. Little Tybee’s best aspect is the way they’re guaranteed to make you smile no matter how shitty a day you’re having, so come out this Saturday night and let them chase your blues away.
You’ll have some of the best local music from all the different genres Little Tybee touch upon to enjoy as well. Night Idea will have some of their signature jazzy math-rock on offer, and you’ll get a chance to limber up your mind and prepare for some catchy complexity during their set. Lobo Marino will delve into their usual explorations of Eastern music and transcendent drone, as is their usual habit–luckily for us all. And singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus, who’s been making waves around town and up and down the East Coast with her beautiful voice and unforgettable songs, will open this show up with some breathtaking sounds. Take advantage of the available abundance, folks–it doesn’t happen often.
Sunday, July 12, 6:30 PM
In This Moment, 36 Crazyfists, The Defiled, First Decree @ The National – $22 in advance/$25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK yeah this is one of those shows that gets into the rotation over here because I personally love a lot of cheesy mall metal. You’re just gonna have to deal with it, because In This Moment and 36 Crazyfists are both kinda awesome and I really think you should go see them–that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. In truth, things have gotten a little weird in the world of In This Moment recently–their latest single, “Sex Metal Barbie,” seems to be singer Maria Brink’s way of telling the world that she wants to be the nu-metal Nicki Minaj. I was more stoked back when “Sick Like Me” featured her usual Marilyn Manson-style antics overtop of some pretty solid Slipknot-style chugga-chug riffs. There’ll be plenty of that going on during the live set, though, I’m sure–and if nothing else, the “Sex Metal Barbie” portion of the evening promises to be visually entertaining.
I’m actually quite a bit more stoked on a strictly musical level about 36 Crazyfists, who hail from Anchorage Alaska, of all places. For some reason they’ve always been seen as a suburban metal band, but I’ve been listening to them for quite a while and these guys are at least as secretly cool as the Deftones–yeah, seriously. Their Quicksand-ish post-hardcore riffs and driving tempos are always worth a listen, and the fact that their singer uses clean vocals a good bit more often than he screams should certainly not be enough to constitute a dealbreaker. All I can say for sure is that their 2004 album, Snow-Capped Romance (I know, I know), got a lot of play in my car stereo a decade ago, and from what I’ve heard more recently, they haven’t lost a step. UK metallers The Defiled and Cheyenne, Wyoming’s First Decree will open this show up–should be awesome.
Monday, July 13, 8 PM
The Protomen, Simple Obsession @ The Broadberry – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK, yes, every self-respecting video game nerd in this town bought their tickets for this show weeks ago, but I definitely think the word still needs to be spread, because not everyone is informed about the insane genius of the Protomen. This Tennessee band basically exists entirely to dramatize the plot and characters from the Mega Man video game, an original 8-bit Nintendo series that was one of the most fun and entertaining groups of games to come out of that era. Sure, Super Mario gets all the love, but those who are connoisseurs of the era know that Mega Man totally rules.
The Protomen know this too, and have thus far in their career completed two full-length albums, Act I and Act II, both of which go all-out in their dramatizations of video game plots. It’s seriously as if Bat Out Of Hell or, I don’t know, the fourth Coheed And Cambria album was about a Nintendo game. There’s an obvious spaghetti-Western soundtrack influence running throughout, but the Protomen really owe their biggest debt to musical theatre and the kind of (rock-)operatic drama that singers like Meatloaf or Bonnie Tyler made their stock in trade. It’s a ton of over-the-top craziness, but they’re all talented musicians and inspired songwriters, and they pull it off. This show is going to be fun as hell, even if you’ve never played a single Mega Man game (sacrilege!). Join the gamers and Dr. Wily cosplayers for a night of bombastic fun and excellent music.
Tuesday, July 14, 5 PM
Hemingway, Missives, Teen Death, Ghost Foot, Clever Girl @ Strange Matter – $5
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I love the emo revival, and I’m not about to start now. Hemingway have some subtle “don’t call us emo” vibes running through their press kit blurbs, and I can totally understand why that would be, but one listen to last year’s Pretend To Care LP, and I for one can’t help but pick up on the vibe–and I am stoked about it. Of course, I’m also stoked about the way I can pick out other 90s influences layered through this Portland band’s sound, such as Swervedriver and Superdrag–bands like that hit me just as hard as all those old emo records by Texas Is the Reason and Braid ever did, so overall, I’m feeling what this band is doing, on every level. That’s why I’m excited that they’re coming to RVA for an all-ages show next Tuesday afternoon.
They’ll be joined by a whole bunch of other great bands as well. Missives and Teen Death are two local bands that anyone who digs pop-punk, emo, or just plain rock n’ roll should be aware of. Missives brings together a bunch of local veterans from bands my younger readers probably don’t remember to lay down some catchy Gameface-style pop-punk/alt-rock sounding tunes that’ll inevitably make you feel just a bit wistful and nostalgic. Teen Death features some dudes from Hold Tight switching instruments and kicking out the jams on some vaguely Nirvana-influenced upbeat grunge/punk. Teen Death in particular will fit in well with Ghost Foot, a Louisiana band with a lo-fi garage rock sound who’ll be joining us for this show. Brand new local band Clever Girl, featuring former members of This Is Your Life, will open this gig up, which should be rad if their former band is any indication. Head straight over after work, because you won’t want to miss any of this.
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