RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 7/9-7/15

by | Jul 9, 2014 | SHOW PICKS

Saturday, July 12, 2 PM
Hardywood & The Cheats Movement present Virginia Blackberry Release with music by The Big Payback, Photosynthesizers, Radio B @ Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Free!

Summer’s here, and the time is right for chillin’ on patios enjoying your beverage of choice. For everyone who agrees (a category I hope includes all of you reading this), Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and The Cheats Movement have the perfect weekend event for you this Saturday.

Saturday, July 12, 2 PM
Hardywood & The Cheats Movement present Virginia Blackberry Release with music by The Big Payback, Photosynthesizers, Radio B @ Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – Free!

Summer’s here, and the time is right for chillin’ on patios enjoying your beverage of choice. For everyone who agrees (a category I hope includes all of you reading this), Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and The Cheats Movement have the perfect weekend event for you this Saturday. Starting at 2 PM, Hardywood will be throwing an all-day party to celebrate the release of their new Virginia Blackberry beer, brewed from local blackberries and brought right here to you for your Saturday afternoon enjoyment. I can’t tell you too much more about it than that–as someone who abstains from alcohol, all this craft beer talk is Greek to me–but for those who are fans of the golden nectar, this is probably something you want to be on hand for.

What I care about is the music–which starts at 5 PM on Saturday and features a great selection of hip hop and R&B tuneage curated by The Cheats Movement especially for you! Headlining the whole evening will be The Big Payback, and while tribute bands are never quite the same as the real thing, I can assure you that this band brings the spirit of James Brown to life with each and every performance. Kelli Strawbridge is a dynamo of a frontman with all the energy that Soul Brother #1 always brought to his craft, and he’s backed by a stellar lineup of players who know how to show you a funky good time. Wear your dancing shoes, because The Big Payback will make sure you get up offa that thing and on the good foot.

There’s plenty of original music to enjoy on this bill as well. Photosynthesizers are part of a rare breed–a live band that plays hip hop music. The group is fronted by both a singer and a rapper, and features some excellent R&B musicians working in tandem with drum machines, turntables, and sampling to create the sort of hip hop/soul hybrid that is too rarely attempted and even more rarely done this well. If you haven’t seen this crew tear it up live, you’re missing out. Radio B will open up the show with his brand of intelligent, skillful hip hop, as showcased on his recent album, Whole Foods. Expect lyrical genius and clever wordplay throughout his set–which will fortunately take place before you’ve gotten too toasty to pick up on all the nuances.

Wednesday, July 9, 8 PM
Ash Borer, Hell, Coffin Dust, Battlemaster, Unsacred @ Strange Matter – $10

Black metal is one of my favorite genres of music. The spooky atmospheres, spectral howls, and tremolo-picked riffs are always going to make me happy–and therefore I am very happy that California’s Ash Borer is coming to town tonight. These mysterious metallers are coming at black metal from a similar perspective as other forest-fascinated West Coast bands like Agalloch and Wolves In The Throne Room, and their epic song lengths also fit in well with those bands. Ash Borer’s music is enshrouded in metaphorical fog, with ambient keyboard passages and droning moments of doom occupying significant real estate on albums like 2012’s Cold Of Ages–which is an hour long and features only four songs. Expect things to get streched-out and spooky during this set, but make no mistake, when the riffs hit, they’ll hit hard.

Ash Borer are accompanied on tour by Oregon metallers Hell, who have some black metal tinges of their own but tend to drift over the line into doom/drone territory. If you’ve ever wondered what a cross between Sunn O))) and Eyehategod would sound like, you need to catch these guys’ set. Coffin Dust, a Philly band who just managed to get onto the bill, have more of a death metal feel than the headliners, but if you like headbanging good times, you’ll be happy while these guys are playing. Local fantasy death metal legends Battlemaster, as well as up-and-coming RVA blackened hardcore crew Unsacred, will start up this evening of metal goodness.

Thursday, July 10, 7 PM
Cat Be Damned, You’re Jovian, Colamo, Whitman @ Gallery 5 – $5

This is an interesting bill, especially if, like me, you’ve missed out on Cat Be Damned so far. This trio, originally from Fredericksburg, now has members living in both Raleigh, NC and good ol’ RVA, but they’re not letting the two-hour commute stop them from producing new music–and really good new music at that. This show is the release party for their new cassette-only EP, We All Get Up There Somehow, out now on Mutt Tapes, and I’m glad someone was paying enough attention to these guys to make this one happen. On this new EP, Cat Be Damned present three catchy new tunes on which a Pixies-ish quirkiness mingles with a Built To Spill-esque jangle. More ammunition for my theory that the next big thing after the emo revival is an early 90s alt-rock revival? Maybe, but let’s not get into taxonomy right now. The important thing is catching Cat Be Damned at Gallery 5 this Thursday, and finding out how much more fun these tunes can be when delivered at full volume by a live band on a stage.

Cat Be Damned are joined on this bill by You’re Jovian, who hail from Norfolk, and who I caught (and enjoyed) earlier this year at MACRoCk. They’ve just released a digital single called “Whalehead” that brings to life all the early 90s American shoegaze references I was feeling when I saw them a few months ago, so you can certainly expect more of that brand of awesomeness from their performance tomorrow night. Colano, who hail from the VA/TN border town of Bristol, bring a dose of trumpet-infused, trip hop-influenced alternative rock weirdness to the bill, which should be fascinating. And Woodbridge duo Whitman, who are on tour with Cat Be Damned, will start the evening off in unique, difficult-to-categorize fashion. Be there and see what this whole alt-rock revival is all about!

Friday, July 11, 7 PM
Dead Fame, On A Clear Day, Puff Pieces @ Gallery 5 – $6

In 1994, when I was 18, I saw Action Patrol and Bad Guy Reaction play at The Metro (which is now a vacant room above Empire). Those were a couple of the up-and-coming RVA punk bands of the time, and musically, they had basically nothing to do with anything happening on this particular bill. Two decades later, though, two of the same musicians that played in those bands are playing together once again at Gallery 5, and I can’t help but notice how completely different the music their bands are making now is from what they were doing back then. KC Byrnes of pop-punkers Bad Guy Reaction is now the guitarist for Dead Fame, a gothic postpunk group whose recent 12-inch EP, Vicious Design, is much more likely to evoke thoughts of New Order and The Chameleons than Jawbreaker and Crimpshrine. Meanwhile, David Grant, former vocalist for Action Patrol, is now playing with On A Clear Day, an ambient electronic project that sounds way more like To Rococo Rot than a bizarre cross between Avail and Nation Of Ulysses. Where does the time go?

OK, now that I’ve totally bummed those guys out by turning a writeup about their current projects into a weird nostalgia-fest, let’s talk about what you WILL hear if you show up at this show. Dead Fame should be familiar enough by now to any reader of this publication and/or follower of local music, since no one else in town is doing their brand of dark yet catchy postpunk with anywhere near the same level of skill. On A Clear Day, though, are more of a unique proposition. This New York-based experimental project has the sort of hypnotic yet minimalist quality that the aforementioned To Rococo Rot has going on, with maybe some elements of Black Dice thrown in. Starting it all off is the band on the bill with the closest connection to punk rock of anyone performing this night–Puff Pieces, led by Mike Andre (Antelope) and featuring Justin Moyer (E.D. Sedgwick) and Amanda Huron (Impetus Inter). This trio has the herky-jerky hyper-intelligent approach of bands like Wire and The Minutemen, so expect this night to start out kind of angular and get darker and spookier from there. Should be fun!

Saturday, July 12, 6 PM
Conditions rescheduled farewell show, with Lions Lions, Mayfair, Cosby @ The National – $15 (order tickets HERE)

It was a big bummer for all concerned when Conditions had to cancel their previous attempt at a last show, which was supposed to take place a month ago and feature sets from A Loss For Words and Alive In Standby. The rescheduled date will take place this Saturday, though, and while it won’t feature the out-of-town acts that were supposed to play the original gig, it will still be a great final hurrah for our hometown heroes in Conditions. Plus, the people who weren’t able to make it back to RVA for the rescheduled gig means more tickets available for local fans! Conditions have an excellent emo/post-hardcore sound that they parlayed into one of the best albums to come out of RVA in the past decade, 2010’s Fluorescent Youth. They’ll be playing plenty of tunes from that album, as well as their 2013 follow-up, Full Of War, and the recently released odds n’ ends compilation Missing Hours, plus probably even some tunes from their early EPs. If you’re even a casual fan, you are going to want to be there, and now, with the show getting rescheduled, you have a chance to be! Don’t blow it.

While we won’t get a chance to see the out-of-town support originally planned for this bill, we are lucky enough to get an appearance by Boston post-hardcore champs Lions Lions. This band has a bit more of the velocity associated with hardcore in their music than Conditions does, but they’re just as adept at catchy, heartfelt, and memorable choruses as Conditions themselves, so they’ll be the perfect band to get you warmed up for the headliners. And the bill is rounded out by two great local post-hardcore pop acts. One is Mayfair, led by former Race The Sun vocalist Daniel Long and bringing a Jimmy Eat World-ish feel to his previous pop-punk sound. The other is Cosby, a band in which brothers Chip and Chris Cosby combine their talents and experience to bring you some evocative new wave tunes, like The Killers gone emo or something. It’s gonna be a great show from top to bottom, and we’re all lucky to have this last opportunity to rock out with Conditions–so make sure you take advantage of it! And by the way, if you still have a ticket from the cancelled original last show, bring it, because it will be honored at the door.

Sunday, July 13, 10 PM
Night Idea, Dumb Waiter, Dave Watkins @ Bandito’s – Free!

Math-rock, prog-jazz, and experimental fusion are the orders of the day at Bandito’s this Sunday night, as Night Idea and Dumb Waiter offer a preview of their upcoming tour of the Northeast with a free gig right here in RVA! We’ve talked to you a whole lot in recent times about both of these bands, and I sure hope you’re paying enough attention to have realized on your own exactly why you need to be at this show. But just in case, here’s a refresher course. Night Idea are the more conventionally rock-oriented of the two, with intertwining guitar leads and complex rhythms driving the fascinating ins and outs of their songwriting–which always culminates in some sort of indelible singalong crescendo (even if it is in 5/4 time). Dumb Waiter are an instrumental quartet in which the lead role is shared by guitarist Nick Crider and sax player Tristan Brennis. Their jazzy exchanges are fueled by the complicated song structures and intricate performances of rhythm section Keith Paul (bass) and Nathaniel Roseberry (drums).

So yeah, that’s all pretty fascinating, and well worth seeing live if you haven’t already. But Dave Watkins is on this bill too. Knowing what to expect from a Dave Watkins live performance isn’t always that easy, either, since he’s made his name with everything from solo folk performances on a hybrid instrument called a dulcitar to experimental drone pieces performed by his ever-changing ensemble, The Colloquial Orchestra. Where this particular gig will land on the spectrum of what Watkins does isn’t something I can really tell you, but regardless of what sort of music he brings to Bandito’s, it’ll be a challenging and intriguing performance. And you can enjoy it for free! Which means you really should show up early and drop the cash you would’ve paid to get in on some delicious nachos. (Sorry, I haven’t had lunch yet.)

Monday, July 14, 5 PM
Spraynard, Timeshares, Earth Girls, Cross Eyed @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: http://spraynard.eventbrite.com/)

So hey, Spraynard is back! The anthemic Pennsylvania pop-punk band that got everybody dancing at the Stay Sweet Fest I actually made it to a few years ago broke up back in 2012, leaving behind two great albums of heartfelt pop-punk that managed to avoid the morass of gruff-vocal post-Dillinger Four stuff that was ubiquitous in that genre half a decade or so ago. Spraynard were original and catchy and made everyone who listened to them really happy, so it definitely seemed like they disappeared from the scene way too soon–which makes their recent return to action so wonderful. They have a new LP out called The Mark, Tom, And Patrick Show, and though it’s mostly just a compilation of older B-sides and unreleased material, there is one new song on it, and we’ve certainly been given reason to hope that there will be more new material to come. So a celebration seems in order, and thankfully, these guys will be hitting the Strange Matter stage on Monday night to give us all a chance to rejoice at their return.

Spraynard will be joined on this bill by Timeshares, another excellent pop-punk band from the Northeast who also managed to avoid the generic pop-punk curse that was floating around when they first started up. Timeshares are from New York, but have a bit of a Husker Du/Replacements midwestern feel if anything, or at least I think so (maybe I’m nuts). I hear a bit more of a hardcore edge to their riffing too, which seems like a contradiction but turns out not to be at all. The one-two punch of this band and Spraynard means the room will be filled for a matter of hours with irresistible singalong hooks, and that’s never a bad thing, so get stoked! Chicago garage-punkers Earth Girls, who just released a single on local label Grave Mistake Records, will be here too. Cross Eyed, that band of Domino’s Pizza delivery men that brings together members of Springtime and Hold Tight, will kick off the evening.

Tuesday, July 15, 9 PM
Mutilation Rites, Hexer, Devil’s Hand, Vorator @ Strange Matter – $8

We’re ending this week’s worth of shows with more US black metal, and you better believe I’m stoked. Mutilation Rites are approaching the genre from a very different perspective than Ash Borer do, which makes sense considering they’re from opposite coasts of the country. You could fit at least three Scandinavias inbetween Ash Borer’s hometown of Arcata, CA and Mutilation Rites’s base of operations in Brooklyn. Think about THAT. Anyway, my point is this: Mutilation Rites aren’t here to scare you with atmospherics or depress you with long, droning doom riffs. These guys are equipped with some serious speedy riffage and they’re gonna use it to tear your head off. This is a totally different approach to black metal than the one we’ll be seeing at Strange Matter a week earlier, and the greatest part is that it’s equally awesome! So be prepared for Mutilation Rites to level the 900 block of Grace St with blastbeats and filthy distortion, because it’s gonna rule.

Mutilation Rites will be accompanied on their trip into town by Hexer, a Philly black metal project featuring a brutal female vocalist and some equally filthy riffage that should also thrill all the trve kvlt black metal warriors in the crowd. Local noisemakers Devil’s Hand will also be in attendance, keeping things more on a blackened-crust/D-beat sort of tip but definitely sharing a spiritual kinship with the touring bands where their commitment to ripping shit is concerned. The show kicks off with a set from Vorator, a mysterious local group featuring members of Hellbear and Occultist doing some gnarly speed-thrash stuff. Get into it!

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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