Saturday, August 16, 6 PM
Eternal Summers, The Seeers, Mas Y Mas @ Strange Matter – $6
Pay attention, people, because this is important. Roanoke’s Eternal Summers, whom we have been telling you about for a couple of years now, recently released their third album. The Drop Beneath hasn’t gotten a ton of hype (though Pitchfork came within a few decimal places of giving it a Best New Music-worthy rating), but in its own quiet way, has become a sleeper pick for best of 2014.
Saturday, August 16, 6 PM
Eternal Summers, The Seeers, Mas Y Mas @ Strange Matter – $6
Pay attention, people, because this is important. Roanoke’s Eternal Summers, whom we have been telling you about for a couple of years now, recently released their third album. The Drop Beneath hasn’t gotten a ton of hype (though Pitchfork came within a few decimal places of giving it a Best New Music-worthy rating), but in its own quiet way, has become a sleeper pick for best of 2014. The Pledge Music-funded album, released by Kanine Records, was produced by Doug Gillard, who has done time in Guided By Voices and Nada Surf, and Gillard’s skill has brought forth the glittering guitars and shimmering vocal melodies that take the latest album from Eternal Summers to the next level. First single “Gouge” knocked me out late this past winter, and the full album was every bit the equal of that excellent opening salvo.
Now, those of us who live in Richmond get the opportunity to see this amazing collection of songs presented live and loud on an RVA stage–and we’d be fools to miss it. Strange Matter is starting this show early, so all ages are welcome, and I know back when I was in high school and couldn’t get enough of all those bands from the UK that nobody had started calling “shoegaze” yet, I would’ve been delighted to see a band from my home state playing in a similar style–and if they were as good as Eternal Summers are on their new album, I would absolutely have been on cloud 9. So whether you were 16 back when Loveless came out or are only 16 now, if you’ve got an appreciation for bands like Lush, Ride, and the Cocteau Twins, you owe it to yourself to come see Eternal Summers this Saturday.
Eternal Summers will be joined on this bill by a couple more bands that hail from Virginia but are not actually from RVA. While Eternal Summers are heading east to represent the Magic Twig Collective, Mas Y Mas is heading west to represent the Tidewater area of the state. This Norfolk indie-pop band were around and doing stuff during the latter half of the last decade, but I stopped hearing their name a few years back and assumed they’d broken up. However, they’ve come back to life and become a full-time affair once again, and word has it they’ll be making a new album soon. For now, the newest music I’ve heard from them is six years old, so I can’t be all that sure what they will sound like now, but it should be cool! The Seeers (yes, with three E’s) will also be along, and this Hampton Roads-area side project of Super Vacations and You’re Jovian is just getting going. It seems they’ll have some surf-psych-pop to unveil for eager listeners, so show up on time and see what that’s all about.
Wednesday, August 13, 5 PM
George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic @ Innsbrook After Hours – $16-50 (order tickets HERE)
OK, yes, George Clinton’s been making music for a long time, and it’s no secret that he’s had some troubles in recent years. Plus, the fact that he and the current version of the Parliament/Funkadelic crew are playing Innsbrook on a Wednesday night should let us all know that the man isn’t riding quite as high as he was back when I saw him on the Lollapalooza tour in 1994. But come on, dudes, it’s George Clinton! The guy who wrote some of the most enduring funk jams of the 70s or really any era (considering how often his shit gets sampled for hip hop songs to this day). “Atomic Dog,” “One Nation Under A Groove,” “(Not Just) Knee Deep”… these tunes are all outstanding, and he’ll probably bust ’em all out when he takes the Innsbrook stage tonight. Why wouldn’t you want to be there?
Plus, I think we’ve all got to recognize that Uncle Jam is not as young as he used to be, and the opportunity to catch P-Funk live will not be available forever. Don’t be that guy standing around at a bar 20 years from now being like “I remember when George Clinton played at some suburban office park on a Wednesday for $16, but I didn’t bother to go” while all your friends shake their heads in disgust. I guarantee you won’t remember anything else that you do tonight in 20 years. You might not remember this show either, depending on how good a job you do bathing your brain in a chemical cocktail beforehand, but you’ll sure remember that you went, and that’s the important thing. Come on, maggot brain, don’t screw this up!
Thursday, August 14, 5:30 PM
Naysayer, Fire & Ice, Cross Me, Blistered, Cease To Resist @ Strange Matter – $10
There’ll always be a place for tough, angry, straightforward hardcore in the Richmond scene. This might go without saying in a town that houses the yearly United Blood Festival, but it sometimes feels like only the kids who actually go to those shows know they’re happening. Of course, those kids come out in force, as will no doubt be obvious from the crowd that shows up to catch Naysayer at Strange Matter tomorrow evening–but the rest of Richmond is due for a wake-up call where this whole scene is concerned. If you haven’t been paying attention to the bands in town that are getting the kids hyped these days, you couldn’t pick a better night than tomorrow to go catch up on what you’re missing. Naysayer were at the forefront of that scene a few years ago, with their 2011 LP Laid To Rest acting as a manifesto for their defiant, furious approach. Over chunky, metallic riffs, singer Gary Gunwald screams angrily about his frustrations with the world. Aaand you’re moshing. These days, Naysayer don’t really play out all that much locally, so their headlining appearance at Strange Matter tomorrow night definitely constitutes a special occasion. If you miss them, you might not get a chance to see them again for quite a while. So don’t do it!
Naysayer will be joined on this bill by a variety of other hardcore heavy hitters. RVA locals Fire & Ice may have named themselves after a bad DYS album, but they’ve got a really good sound that has more of that early 90s hardcore groove than the tough, straightforward sound of Naysayer. Where Naysayer get you moshing, these ex-members of Down To Nothing, Iron Boots, and many more will have you nodding your head in an almost funky way. Or at least, that’s what I tend to do when I listen to them. Cross Me come from Milwaukee and are somewhere between the sound of the two headlining locals; they’ve got some super-angry vocals and chugging riffs, but there’s a bit of a groove there as well. Nod your head, then mosh it up, I guess. The bill is rounded out by Florida’s Blistered, who veer closest of any of these bands to outright metal (which rules), and new RVA band Cease To Resist, who appear to be making a Charles Manson/Beach Boys allusion with their name (which also rules). This is another summertime early show, so drive over straight from work and join the teenagers queueing up on the sidewalk outside of Strange Matter.
Friday, August 15, 7 PM
Old Gray (photo by Ally Newbold), Scowler, Small Hands, Home Address @ The Camel – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
We talk about the “emo revival” in this column quite often, and that’s because, like it or not, it is a thing that’s happening. Tons of bands coming out these days are strongly influenced by previous generations of emo bands from as far back as the early 90s, and therefore, a lot of shows that go on in this town have a definite early 90s emo flavor. However, even in this musical landscape, New England’s Old Gray have to win some kind of award, because out of every emo revival band I’ve heard, they sound the most like a band I would have caught at a basement show in 1996. From the steadily escalating tension in their not-very-distorted guitar riffs to the multiple screaming vocalists all losing their shit at the same time to the occasional touches of trumpet or strings that randomly show up during the quieter parts, these guys have captured what emo sounded like back before anyone had foisted the diabolical term “screamo” onto the world.
I haven’t actually seen Old Gray play live yet, but I’m excited to do so this weekend. Based on their influences and sound, plus the pictures I’ve seen of them performing (see above), I think it’s safe to expect these boys to freak out and flail around like maniacs when they play. Emotional catharsis in the form of a musical performance is always a great thing, and you can expect that to go down at The Camel this Friday. Milwaukee’s Scowler, who are touring with Old Gray, will provide a similarly cathartic experience with a bit of a harder edge, while Small Hands and Home Address, two local bands I know very little about, will open things up.
Saturday, August 16, 8 PM
Cosby One-Year Anniversary Show with Those Manic Seas, Kid Is Qual @ The Broadberry – $7
It’s not too often that you hear about a band celebrating their one-year anniversary of starting to play shows, but Cosby has gotten a lot done since they started playing out last summer, and they want to celebrate their accomplishments thus far with all of you. This alt-pop band, led by Cosby brothers Chip (guitar) and Chris (keyboards), have released In Flight, an album of wistfully melodic early-Killers style modern New Wave tunes, as well as opening for Future Islands, playing Dominion Riverrock and Pocahontas State Park, and headlining at the National. More importantly, they’ve presented a tight, polished live show and a collection of amazing tunes every time they’ve taken the stage. These guys are planning to take things a good bit farther in their second year as a band, but right now, it’s a time to celebrate–and what better way to do that than by dancing to “In Flight,” “Get It Back,” and more at The Broadberry?
There’ll be other bands for you to dance to on this bill as well. Those Manic Seas are always interesting, with their lead singer coming through on a video projection like Max Headroom or something. Plus their tunes are awesome, adding that Franz Ferdinand-ish disco-funk edge to some really catchy Weezer-ish alternative rock. Plus, Kid Is Qual will also be present, displaying their bass-driven prowess through super-funky and insanely fun tunes like “Mono to Stereo” (you saw that video, right? It’s pretty crazy…) So, will you dance? Let’s consult the magic 8 ball… “It is decidedly so.” Well, there you have it.
Sunday, August 17, 5:30 PM
Old Crow Medicine Show, Langhorne Slim @ Maymont Park – $32.50 in advance/$39 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s not often that I get excited about a band playing in a park somewhere; usually that kind of stuff is a bit too sedate for me. But Old Crow Medicine Show aren’t your average country group by any means, and the way they mingle bluegrass and old-time music with an undeniable punked-out energy has always appealed to me quite strongly. So this weekend, I think I might head down to Maymont to take in some music. I know there’ll be a beautiful landscape as background, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Though setting that aside, Old Crow Medicine Show are still sure to entertain, and even if the artist formerly known as Hootie has bummed a lot of people out with his top-charting cover of Old Crow’s signature song, “Wagon Wheel,” that doesn’t do anything to hurt the source material.
Plus, Langhorne Slim is opening up the show, and he’s a pretty amazing performer in his own right. This high-energy folk-rocker sings at the top of his voice and, like Old Crow Medicine Show, makes clear that he’s got a few punk rock records in his collection at home. He and his band, The Law, kick up quite a fuss when they’re performing, and it if weren’t for Slim’s twangy accent and the band’s choice of acoustic instrumentation, you might think you were at a rock n’ roll show. One thing’s for sure, these guys are gonna be a lot of fun to see, and whether you’re lying on the lawn at Maymont or getting up and dancing, you’re gonna have fun seeing both of these excellent performers. Scrape up the cash and buy yourself a ticket. Your whole weekend will be a lot better for it.
Monday, August 18, 9 PM
Teen Body, Spacemonster, The Cales @ Strange Matter – $6
Alex French, who you may remember from White Laces and his solo project, Flossed In Paradise, departed RVA for the hipster version of Big Rock Candy Mountain (by which I of course mean Brooklyn) about a year or so ago. But he hasn’t forgotten his old hometown, so he and his new band, Teen Body, will be making a trip down next Monday to show us all what he’s been up to since leaving our fair city. Teen Body sees Alex teaming up with former members of Blacksburg’s Hoop Dreams and Long Island’s The Lilliputians to create a combination of echoing dream-pop guitars and catchy alt-rock songwriting–or at least, so it seems from the one song they’ve released thus far. Get a better idea of what they’ve got going on when they play a full set at Strange Matter on Monday–given their track record, I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.
Teen Body will be joined on this show by a couple of great local indie-rock combos. Spacemonster have been around for quite a while, but are always operating kind of under the radar, and at this point have managed to maintain an almost impenetrable air of mystery around what they’re doing. Which is to say, I can’t figure them out. But I like what I’ve heard, and you can’t hide but so much when you’re playing live right in front of people, so come to this show and learn what Spacemonster are really all about. The Cales are a good bit less mysterious–we’ve actually written about them before–and have an easier to understand sound. Think Velvet Underground and the Pixies, with maybe a touch of surf rock thrown in there. It’ll be cool. In fact, this whole show will be cool. You’ll see.
Tuesday, August 19, 8 PM
Tercer Mundo, Muerte, Sete Star Sept, Globsters, Cretins @ Strange Matter – $8
Here’s some raw punk for you to sink your teeth into. Unlike a lot of other musical genres, the punk rock world has never felt the need to focus on bands from English-speaking countries, and indeed, sometimes the best punk rock comes from far-flung locals like Italy, Japan, or Brazil. Tercer Mundo (Spanish for “third world”) come from Monterrey, Mexico, a city that has struggled in recent years with drug-related violence. Tercer Mundo have focused their frustrations with their surrounding environment into fast, angry punk tunes that you almost can’t help but circle-pit to. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, the rage is clear in their singer’s voice, and the way the rest of the band almost never slows down from their headlong rush of hyperspeed noise. Mexico City’s Muerte (which simply means “death”) are accompanying Tercer Mundo on a US tour, and this band is if anything rawer, faster, and just as angry as Tercer Mundo. So a double shot of pissed-off Mexican punk–that’s a reason to go out on a Tuesday night if I ever heard one.
That’s not even the only foreign punk rock this show has in store for you. The Japanese grindcore band Sete Star Sept also happen to be in town on this night, and while these guys are a bit faster and more metallic than the Mexican bands on this bill, their guitarless bass/drum grind sound is just as full of pedal-to-the-metal sloppy rage. Blast beats, slobbering growls, and bass fuzz chaos for all! There’s one more touring band on the bill, and they’ll probably be the most chaotic thing that happens all night. Globsters are from here in the US–rural Kentucky, in fact–and the band is basically just one guy singing and being a maniac over prerecorded backing tracks. I don’t know if Globsters really count as good, per se, but they’ll be an interesting thing to see, if nothing else. RVA’s own Cretins, who put out a 7 inch EP on Vinyl Conflict Records a few months ago, will open things up with some more raging punk rock for you to run around in a circle to. You might want to consider having a Red Bull beforehand, because you’ll need plenty of energy to get through this show.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]