RVA Shows You Must See This Week: 8/19-8/25

by | Aug 19, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

WRIR & The Commonwealth Of Notions Presents: Volume Five
Day Two: Friday, August 21, 7 PM
Wow Owls, Big No, Everyone Dies In The End, Ultra Flake, The Mad Extras, Victorious Trees @ Strange Matter – $5
Day Three: Saturday, August 22, 7 PM
Toxic Moxie, Gull, Lobo Marino, Among The Rocks And Roots @ Sound Of Music – $5
Day Four: Sunday, August 23, 7 PM
Canary Oh Canary, White Laces, Mikrowaves, Ben Shepherd, Manatree @ The Broadberry – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)

That’s right: two weeks in a row with WRIR & The Commonwealth Of Notions. Overkill? Perish the thought!

WRIR & The Commonwealth Of Notions Presents: Volume Five
Day Two: Friday, August 21, 7 PM
Wow Owls, Big No, Everyone Dies In The End, Ultra Flake, The Mad Extras, Victorious Trees @ Strange Matter – $5
Day Three: Saturday, August 22, 7 PM
Toxic Moxie, Gull, Lobo Marino, Among The Rocks And Roots @ Sound Of Music – $5
Day Four: Sunday, August 23, 7 PM
Canary Oh Canary, White Laces, Mikrowaves, Ben Shepherd, Manatree @ The Broadberry – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)

That’s right: two weeks in a row with WRIR & The Commonwealth Of Notions. Overkill? Perish the thought! One look at the lineup for this weekend’s bumper crop of shows should let you know that Shannon Cleary and his compatriots over at WRIR have pulled out all the stops to redefine what a locally-focused festival can be. And so, as we so frequently do here in RVA, we should celebrate our miraculous good fortune by going to a whole lot of shows this weekend. The fact that you can get this much great music, representing the past, present, and future of the Richmond music scene, for only $15 total over the course of three days, should just make the incentive that much more powerful.

So what do Shannon and the WRIR crew have on tap for us this year? Well, Friday night kicks things off at Strange Matter with a reunion set from Wow Owls! This energetic, emotionally-driven hardcore band existed for three years in their original incarnation, from 2003 until 2006. But since breaking up, they’ve reunited several times, mainly due to the fact that all of the members are still good friends and still live in the area, so it’s easy to round them all up. Take advantage of this fact by reliving the halcyon days of a decade ago–or finally catching these guys for the first time, if that is your situation. I mean, if you haven’t seen them before, you really need to fix that, so uh… make it happen.

Saturday night at Sound Of Music, we get a CD release set from Toxic Moxie, who are presenting their third EP, Episode VI, completing their Star Wars-inspired trilogy of short-form compact discs. You can also grab a copy of VHS Box Set, a limited-edition compendium of all three EPs (perfect for those who’ve been sleeping on Episodes IV and V). And Sunday night, an exciting treat–Canary Oh Canary takes to the stage once more! You may have thought this band was on a permanent hiatus, what with 2/3 of the members playing in Manzara recently, but bassist Josie Davis is back from maternity leave and this excellent postpunk trio is back in action! Come delight in their triumphant return at the Broadberry.

There’s so much more happening as a part of this whole weekend of amazing music, we really can’t get into any sort of detail at all, but if you check the list of bands above, you’re sure to find multiple reasons why you can’t miss any of these awesome shows. Anyone who reads these columns week after week surely recognizes this town’s embarrassment of riches where the local scene is concerned, but if you’re still sitting around thinking, “I dunno–who says Richmond’s really all that great of a city for music?” Come on out to WRIR & The Commonwealth Of Notions Presents: Volume Five, and be disabused of your foolish skepticism once and for all.

Wednesday, August 19, 9 PM
Colleen Green, Bare Thoughts, Venus Guytrap, Punani Huntah @ Strange Matter – $8

Here she is, ladies and gentlemen–the plucky, talented singer-songwriter acting as inspiration for women everywhere who want to see their lives reflected in the music they listen to. Colleen Green’s latest album, I Want To Grow Up, has captivated all comers with its mix of sugary-sweet pop melodies and introspective, emotionally fraught lyrics. Songs like “Grind My Teeth,” the two-part chronicle “Things That Are Bad For Me,” and “TV” (in which Green sings, “TV is my friend and it has been with me every day from an early age”), social anxiety, nervous frustration, and the unexpected difficulties of adulthood (see the title track) are given voice in entertaining and relatable fashion. These are all great reasons to be stoked about seeing Colleen Green perform her songs live and in person at Strange Matter tonight, and you’ll definitely be among plenty of like-minded and delighted fans.

Two awesome local bands who have a definite musical and spiritual kinship with Colleen Green will be opening up this show. Bare Thoughts have that jangly-guitar fuzz-pop thing going on, so expect some Velvet Underground vibes as well as some catchy choruses from these folks. Venus Guytrap might sound like a punk-as-fuck band name, but if that’s what you expect, you may be surprised by the soulful sound this trio generates–Sammi Lanzetta can really sing, y’all, and her songwriting partner Greg Rosenberg’s got a ton of great riffs in store for you as well. The whole thing opens up with a bizarre dancehall project called Punani Huntah, which apparently features Colleen Green herself, as well as members of Jeff The Brotherhood? It’ll be an entertaining way to kick things off, if nothing else.

Thursday, August 20, 8 PM
Zula, Lucy Dacus, Art Contest, Spooky Cool @ Gallery 5 – $5

The indie kids are gonna be dancing for sure at Gallery 5 this Thursday night. Zula is coming to town, bringing the catchy postpunk psychedelia of cousins Henry and Nate Terepka to life here in RVA. This NYC band blends dance beats drawing inspiration from the same source as their African band name with jazzy, poppy tuneage and some obvious instrumental talent to create songs that will get your body moving without losing the intellectually-driven framework that makes their work so interesting. If you’ve enjoyed bands like The Walkmen or Vampire Weekend in the past, you’re sure to have a blast checking out Zula.

A couple of talented local songwriters with the ability to flawlessly mix indie quirkiness and pop appeal will also be on the bill. Surely you haven’t been able to avoid Lucy Dacus’s name in recent months; any RVA resident who’s been leaving the house at all in 2015 has to know about this young artist’s excellent musical ability. However, if you just moved to town, you might as yet be unfamiliar with Zac Hryciak, as he’s been lying kinda low since his Jungle Beat project went dormant a couple years ago. However, Hryciak’s back in the saddle with a new crew called Spooky Cool, while Dacus just continues on her path towards world domination with an evening-capping set of her lovely tunes. North Carolina’s Art Contest are also on the bill, showing off their math-rock chops. Get down with it!

Friday, August 21, 9 PM
Tozcos, Pox, The Brass, Gast, Beastman @ 25 Watt – $8

During a recent visit to 25 Watt, my pal Jake Cunningham pointed out to me that it’s actually the old Mars Bar. Pretty crazy to realize that the place where my friends used to go get drunk on Friday nights and dance to 80s music in the company of college sophomores is now the best place to see raging DIY punk shows in this town, but it just goes to show that if you live in one place long enough, you will see some strange shit. What’s up with this show, though? Well, it features five touring bands and no locals, so you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed at the list of relatively unfamiliar names, but let me assure you, it’s worth getting past your trepidations and checking out some new shit, because all these bands are rad, and you’re gonna have a great time letting them all blow your eardrums out.

The show is headlined by Tozcos, a relatively new LA band featuring a female vocalist and lyrics in Spanish. This band is old-school punk with a really intense sound, featuring lots of yelling and some ripping riffs. Pox from NYC are coming from a similar place, though their singer does a bit more singing and a bit less yelling, giving the whole thing more of a melodic counterpoint, even as the speed stays high and the riffs stay mean. The Brass, whom I somehow managed to accurately google, are a New York Oi band; I admit, I’m pretty goddamn picky about Oi, but these guys pull off the angry-working-men-with-guitars thing well enough to get my head bobbing. Texas’s Gast get some gothy postpunk vibes going on, but are still heavy enough to charm fans of Amebix or local faves Lost Tribe. And hey, Beastman will kick things off with some frantic, sloppy punk jams sure to make you smile. So come out to 25 Watt and watch kids circle-pit where there used to be a dance floor full of 19-year-old Hot Topic kids. Punk rock–we win again.

Saturday, August 22, 5 PM
Amanda X, The Spirit Of The Beehive, Sundials @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: https://amandax.eventbrite.com/)

This Saturday evening, Philly superstars come to RVA, and we reap the benefits! Amanda X have been on my radar ever since I realized it was the latest project from Cat Park, formerly of underrated Philly melodic punkers Band Name (seriously, look them up, they ruled). Last year’s Amnesia saw Park stepping out as frontwoman in capable fashion, laying down a succession of catchy melodic postpunk/indie jams backed by a talented rhythm section. Honestly, I keep going back to it–these songs seep into your brainpan and do not leave. It’s gonna be a treat to see them live, and I for one am stoked as hell about it.

Meanwhile, I just discovered The Spirit Of The Beehive–my partner in email newsletter creation, Joe Gallagher, had a lot of positive words to say about
their new EP, You Are Arrived (But You’ve Been Cheated), and I checked it out to find an awesomely weird little record that’s worth all the praise my friend gave it. This band has some serious shoegaze tendencies, as well as some drugged-out sounds that make me think of Brian Jonestown Massacre at points. The songwriting is always top-notch, though, and that’s what matters. With local melodic punkers Sundials opening up, this show has a rock-solid bill from beginning to end, and you really need to be present for it.

Sunday, August 23, 9 PM
Tungs, Wailin’ Storms, Tone @ Bandito’s – Free!

It’s nice to have some reliable standbys in the local scene–places we know we can count on for rad music, week in and week out. Bandito’s may only throw shows on Sunday nights, but they’ve certainly cemented a reputation as the place to be for awesome music to wrap up your weekends with. And the shows are always free, which leaves you with more cash you can spend on tacos! That’s always a plus. Tungs are our headliners for this one, and since these prolific, always-challenging indie-noise musicians are currently riding high on their just released fourth album, You Could Call This Art, you can expect a ferocious and fun set full of great new songs. That will rule for sure.

There are also a couple of touring bands on the bill–a rare treat for these Sunday night Bandito’s shows, but certainly one we should all take advantage of. North Carolina’s Wailin’ Storms–named after singer Justin Storms, who is certainly wailin’–have a dark, spooky sound that will make you think simultaneously of The Wipers and Samhain, with maybe a little bit of early TSOL or Social Distortion worked in there. These guys are awesome. Meanwhile, DC’s Tone are an instrumental quintet moving in the realms of post-rock, post-hardcore, and math-rock, among other intriguingly cerebral genres. Expect them to get you thinking as much as they get you rocking–which will be a lot.

Monday, August 24, 9 PM
The Atlas Moth (photo by Billy Tegethoff), Vattnet Viskar, Bearstorm, Captives @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://atlasmoth.eventbrite.com/)

Kick off your week with some mysterious mysticism at Strange Matter; The Atlas Moth will be in town, and while you may have heard this band called doom metal, that’s an oversimplification to the point of total inaccuracy. Everything from post-rock and shoegaze to apocalyptic folk and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds-style balladry shows through in this always-heavy quintet’s powerful, layered sound. Using multiple vocalists, they incorporate black metal screams and a mournful baritone singing style that seem like they should be part of two completely different bands but somehow mesh perfectly together. And their riffs will remind a listener of everything from Neurosis and Mastodon to Tom Waits and The Smiths. Or at least that’s what I get out of them–maybe you think I’m nuts. Regardless, this band must be seen to be believed.

Vattnet Viskar are touring with The Atlas Moth, and this New Hampshire band brings a complex, black metal-based sound to RVA, as showcased on their recent album Settler. While earlier material from this band was more straightforward, they mix a bit more gloomy sludge and spooky ambience into their latest work, showing off a multi-layered approach that will still rip your head off if you get too close. Local epic metallers Bearstorm, who recently released their second album, Americanus, will open this thing up, along with Captives, a local stoner-noise crew who are in love with feedback and want to pummel you with it. Prepare for some sonically and emotionally crushing power.

Tuesday, August 25, 7 PM
Inter Arma, Set And Setting, North, Everyone Dies In The End @ Gallery 5 – $8

It’s always good to have metal warriors Inter Arma back in RVA. These dudes do a lot of touring, bringing their powerful epic doom metal sound to the world–and that rules. But when they’re here, we get to see them play, and I’m sure we can all agree that rules a lot more. So while we have them in town, head out to Gallery 5 this Tuesday to see Inter Arma destroy RVA with a wall of brutal metal power once more! They’re joined in this performance by two touring ragers, both of whom are currently signed to Prosthetic Records. Set And Setting are an instrumental quintet from Florida, while North are a powerful, sludgy trio from Arizona. Both of these bands get heavy as fuck themselves, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a good bit more going on where both of them are concerned, and you should definitely expect some challenging, intriguing sounds. Everyone Dies In The End opens the whole thing up, laying down some epic post-rock instrumentals, a la Mogwai or Pelican. This whole show is going to mow you down slowly and lovingly–like a doom-metal steamroller. Just lie back and let it happen–you’ll be glad you did.


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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