Friday, August 22, 7 PM
Worn In Red (last Richmond show), Hold Tight, Late Bloomer, Sea Of Storms @ Gallery 5 – $5
Maybe I’m alone in this, but it seems to me Worn In Red never got their due. This RVA/C-ville quartet certainly has a solid fanbase around the Commonwealth, don’t get me wrong, but to me it seems like they should’ve been huge by now–especially with this whole “emo revival” thing going on.
Friday, August 22, 7 PM
Worn In Red (last Richmond show), Hold Tight, Late Bloomer, Sea Of Storms @ Gallery 5 – $5
Maybe I’m alone in this, but it seems to me Worn In Red never got their due. This RVA/C-ville quartet certainly has a solid fanbase around the Commonwealth, don’t get me wrong, but to me it seems like they should’ve been huge by now–especially with this whole “emo revival” thing going on. Their mix of Quicksand-ish post-hardcore riffing and Hot Water Music-style multi-vocal melodic emotion seemed like something that couldn’t miss. It sure always impressed us. Maybe it was just that they were a little too ahead of their time; their two LPs came out in 2009 and 2012, and the emo revival thing didn’t really get rolling til 2013, so maybe they narrowly missed their chance to catch on with all the teenage fans who are currently all over bands like Into It. Over It. or The Hotelier. Or maybe Worn In Red are just a little too heavy for those kids. Regardless of the emotion they put into their performances, their powerful sound might be just a little too close to hardcore for kids used to bands that have keyboard players and cellos.
If you’re wondering why I’m talking about Worn In Red in the past tense like this, it’s because they are all but gone from this world. Friday night at Gallery 5 will be your last chance to see them in Richmond; then there’s one more show, at Main Street Annex in Charlottesville on Saturday, and they’re done. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing them play in the past, you know they were always an extremely energetic and intense live band. And those of you who haven’t seen them before would be fools to miss the last opportunity you’ll get to check them out in a live setting. They’ll be giving away free CDs to everyone who comes in the door too, just to show how much they’ve appreciated the fans that have supported them over the years. Too few, in my humble opinion. This is your last chance to count yourself among that elite number–don’t blow it.
Worn In Red are showing some really good taste with their choices in opening bands for this show. Hold Tight are representatives of the younger generation carrying on the sounds of emotional underground punk rock and hardcore, and they do so with a mixture of Kid Dynamite-style melodic hardcore hooks and the caffeinated energy of The Ergs. North Carolina’s Late Bloomer are the sole non-RVA representatives on this bill, and they’ve got a pretty great sound to share with all of us. Their new LP, Things Change, has some late-80s college rock vibes going on, with a resemblance to the last couple of Husker Du albums that really makes me happy. Come see how it sounds live, and of course show up on time because Sea Of Storms, the more emotional but still rockin’ offshoot of Mouthbreather, will be opening up this show with some intense jams you don’t want to miss.
Wednesday, August 20, 5 PM
Hard Girls, Broadcaster, Missives, Victory Party, Ivadell, Fairlane @ Strange Matter – $6
I’m always a bit baffled by bands full of dudes that name themselves the [something] girls, but Cali trio Hard Girls are more than good enough to get me to quit thinking about these baffling choices bands sometimes make. Instead, I’m ready to rock out, because this band is excellent. Perhaps best known as the backing band for Jesse Michaels (ex-Operation Ivy) in his Classics Of Love project, Hard Girls are a really solid melodic punk group on their own behalf. Their occasional tendencies towards heavier sounds, such as the occasional thick bass riff that reminds me of Hum, only amplify their awesomeness, which comes through particularly strongly on their new album, A Thousand Surfaces, released a couple months ago by Asian Man Records.
Broadcaster are another choice post-punk rock n’ roll group, and although they come from Long Island, they sound a bit more Jersey-like to me. That’s my super-subtle hint that these guys have got a bit of a Springsteen influence going on, though I’d say there’s some Replacements mixed in there as well. Either way, it’s damn good. This show features four more bands on the bill too, so you’re really gonna get your money’s worth crammed in there, from local Quicksand-inspired post-hardcore dudes Missives to brand new RVA pop-punk crew Victory Party. Plus it all starts with a split set featuring Columbia SC’s Ivadell and Atlanta’s Fairlane, who one assumes are on a tiny DIY tour and were able to jump onto this show and play abbreviated sets thanks to the Stay Sweet guys being super chill dudes. Head over as soon as you get off work to see what these touring peeps have in store, and don’t wander off, because with this many bands on an early show, changeovers are gonna go quick!
Thursday, August 21, 10 PM
Dr. Millionaire, Ohbliv @ Balliceaux – Free!
There’s so much amazing hip hop happening around Richmond. I talk about this in this column on the regular, and that’s because it’s true and we get reminders of that on a weekly basis. Dr. Millionaire is yet another local emcee you need to be familiar with to really know everything that’s happening in the local hip hop scene, and this Thursday night gives you the perfect opportunity to find out what he’s all about. Spoiler alert: women. Dr. Millionaire is all about women. Whether he’s spitting over a trap-style beat from Conrizzle or working with longtime compatriot Hovey Benjamin over some jazzy updated golden-age grooves, Dr. Millionaire is always letting you know that he’s hanging out with all kinds of girls. Does that mean the show at Balliceaux tomorrow night will be full of beautiful women? I must admit, I’m a little bit curious.
But since Dr. Millionaire will be working with Ohbliv at this show, I’m most curious to hear what kind of sounds they come up with. The Millionaire clearly has no allegiance to one particular type of production; Ohbliv brings a different style than either of Dr. Millionaire’s aforementioned collaborators. And while this hard-working beatmaker keeps somewhat of a low profile on the RVA live hip hop scene, he’s been quietly making a name for himself over the past few years, with his lo-fi boom-bap style getting serious recognition in all corners of the music world. His recently released beat tape, MindGarden (not his most recent–Ohbliv’s so prolific, he put out another one last week), is a lush soundscape of hazy summer grooves that are perfect for lounging in your backyard. Chances are, they’ll sound amazing on a warm Thursday evening in the back room at Balliceaux, too.
Friday, August 22, 7 PM
Jellowfest, feat. No BS! Brass Band, Butcher Brown, The Marcus Tenney Trio, Pace Cadets, Trio Of Justice, Arizal, Kings, DJ Harrison, Sound Genesis @ The Broadberry – $12 in advance, $15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
I’ve been hearing the name Jellowstone around town for a few months now, but it’s been a bit tough to find out any concrete information about this new project from the minds of Reggie Pace and Devonne Harris. But that’s about to change, as Jellowstone Records has booked themselves an evening at the Broadberry this Friday through which they will introduce RVA to what they’re all about. Considering No BS! Brass Band co-founder Reggie Pace is involved, it seems like everyone reading this should know that jazz and funk are a big part of what Jellowstone’s all about. And for those who pay a bit closer to the local scene, the presence of Butcher Brown keyboard player Devonne Harris, aka instrumental beatmaker DJ Harrison, should also let you know that hip hop and soul are in the mix as well.
The other thing you need to know is that Jellowstone is all about Reggie Pace, Devonne Harris, and a few of their closest and most talented friends seeing just how many different music-making configurations they can split themselves into. We’ve got No BS! Brass and Butcher Brown at the top of the bill, doing what they do, but Pace is also a member of Pace Cadets (no points for guessing that one), Arizal, Kings, and Trio of Justice, while Harris is also a member of Arizal, Kings, and Pace Cadets, and is the beatmaker also known as DJ Harrison. The Marcus Tenney Trio is No BS!’s Tenney taking the lead on some jazz stylings, while Sound Genesis is a mysterious local beatmaker with a unique sound. Other talented local figures like Lydia Ooghe (Arizal), Kelli Strawbridge (Kings), Andrew Randazzo (a bunch of these groups), and more will be showing up over the course of the evening as well. It’s too damn much to sum up in a two-paragraph blurb, obviously, but it’ll be the perfect amount of amazing music to encounter, absorb, and bask in over the course of an evening at the Broadberry. And with Jellowstone having recently signed a distribution deal with Ropeadope Records (who’ve released albums by Medeski Martin and Wood, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many more), this is just the beginning of what we’re gonna hear from this fascinating local label. Get in on the ground floor, people! Spend your Friday night at Jellowfest, and take in enough smooth grooves to float you through the whole weekend.
Saturday, August 23, 9 PM
The Impalers (photo by BBG), Bad Doctors, Skemata, Asylum @ Strange Matter – $8
D-beat is a weird term for a genre. It basically means “bands who sound exactly like Discharge,” and since the pioneering UK hardcore band seem to have spawned at least five thousand bands that sound EXACTLY like them, it’s a term that needed to exist. However, in recent times, people have started to use “d-beat” to mean pretty much any form of fast hardcore with a dark, gritty edge, including things I would have thought of in the past as crust, grind, or just plain hardcore. These days, when people call a band like The Impalers d-beat, I get suspicious. “Do they really sound EXACTLY like Discharge?” I wonder. “Because if they do, I’m not interested. I’ve heard way too many bands like that.”
Therefore, I am happy to report that the categorization of The Impalers as d-beat is somewhat misleading. These Texas dudes, who feature members of excellent metallic hardcore bands like Power Trip and Hatred Surge, do have more than just a trace element of Discharge in their sound. But the rock n’ roll tinges that show up in their riffs, the furious screams of their vocalist, and most importantly, their ability to write actual bridges (Discharge never used a bridge in a song–it was just verse/chorus/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/end, every time) proves that the Impalers are still worth your time even if, like me, you are sick to your back teeth of bands that sound exactly like Discharge. So come rock out with these Texas dudes Saturday night at Strange Matter, and enjoy some weird disco-punk from Philly’s Bad Doctors, plus some old-school hardcore from Raleigh’s Skemata and raging crust from locals Asylum. I’d tell you more about these other three bands, but I used up all my space for this blurb babbling about a genre most of you have never heard of. Oops!
Sunday, August 24, 9 PM
Dave Smalley, Very Americans @ Bandito’s Burrito Lounge – Free!
So this is pretty awesome. Hardcore legend Dave Smalley has been playing music for over three decades now, and did time in a whole bunch of legendary bands–Dag Nasty, Down By Law, DYS, and All. These days he’s a solo musician, and released an album called Punk Rock Days through a Kickstarter campaign last year. I haven’t actually been able to track down a copy for myself, only heard a couple of songs online, but it appears to mix solo versions of a bunch of songs from Dave’s old bands with some new acoustic tunes. The acoustic set should be pretty cool, and I expect similarly cool things from Very Americans. This Harrisburg, PA band features some veterans of multiple eras of the emo scene, including members of Junction and The Commercials, and their music splits the difference between 90s emo and alt-rock, with singer Rich Wise having a strange but undeniable vocal resemblance to Bono that isn’t nearly as annoying as some of you knee-jerk U2 haters might imply (besides, the first eight U2 albums are all really good. Yes, I said eight).
But you know what I’m really excited about? The third set that will take place at Bandito’s this Sunday, in which Dave Smalley will sing for Very Americans on a set of Dag Nasty songs. Yes, this is actually happening. I don’t know about y’all, but I was 12 when Dag Nasty broke up in 1988. They did do a couple of reunion albums, most recently Minority Of One in 2002, but they didn’t do any touring for those records, so I never got to see them play. Seeing Dave Smalley sing these songs is an opportunity I have not had, and the fact that I’m finally getting such an opportunity in 2014… well, to be frank, I’m buggin out. This is going to rule! I’m gonna be too excited to eat Bandito’s nachos–and that NEVER happens! Come sing along with “Under Your Influence” and “Circles” and… maybe even “Never Go Back”? Oh, I’d be on cloud 9. I’m counting on you, Richmond–don’t screw this up.
Monday, August 25, 9 PM
Dead Gaze, Heavy Midgets, Sadartha @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: http://deadgaze.eventbrite.com/)
Dead Gaze is an interesting band. Led by Mississippi guitar slinger Cole Furlow, this band started out as one of those wall-of-noise lo-fi garage pop bands that buried rock n’ roll gems under hazes of fuzz and reverb, seemingly recording everything in a garage or a rehearsal space to save money on studio time. But that all changed when they signed to Fat Cat and got some free studio time with which to record a full-length. Last year’s Brain Holiday showed that beneath all that Southern-fried fuzz beat the heart of a true psych-pop auteur. Losing the noise in favor of studio shine didn’t hurt Dead Gaze at all; indeed, Furlow and co. have proven they’re able to be just as great with a polished recording and a high budget as they are when they’re blasting out of a garage. When they hit the stage at Strange Matter, the live environment should bring out both sides of their sonic nature, but one thing’s for sure–the songs are gonna be catchy as hell.
Dead Gaze will be introduced to the Richmond scene with the aid of local indie-punk mainstays Heavy Midgets, who are always awesome and have been a personal favorite for quite a while. If you haven’t seen them live since the release of their excellent new album, Super King, you better come down to this show and fix that, pronto. They’ve spiced up the recent sets with some new material that takes their sound even further than before, too, so you can rest assured that these guys (and girl) are only geting better from here. New local grunge-punk group Sadartha kick things off with some Nirvana-fied sounds that are sure to delight.
Tuesday, August 26, 8 PM
Cage, Sadistik, Maulskull, Black Liquid, Swordplay, PT Burnem @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance, $15 at the door (order tickets here: http://cage.eventbrite.com/)
I’m not sure how much attention is paid these days to the prime era of Definitive Jux Records–everybody talks about the golden age of hip hop, but sometimes it seems like the late 90s and early 2000s get left out of the conversation. This is a mistake, because even though the mainstream rap scene was getting overrun by dudes like Master P and Lil Jon at this time, the underground scene was as productive as ever, and Cage was a big part of this whole thing. His early horror-core approach produced classic singles like “Agent Orange” and “Suicidal Failure,” while his later work took on a more political approach, bearing fruit on the classic Def Jux release Hell’s Winter (2005). Cage has been less visible in recent years, but he returned to the scene last year with a new album, Kill The Architect, on which he proved that he’s still got the skills and the beats to stand at the top of the hip hop game. He’ll prove it to you live next Tuesday at Strange Matter, too, and he’s bringing Seattle rapper Sadistik and Denver’s Maulskull with him to make for an excellent triple bill of skillful alternative hip hop.
When they get here, they’ll be greeted by an equally talented triple bill of RVA hip hop emcees. It feels like Black Liquid should need no introduction at this point, considering how thoroughly he has put his stamp on RVA hip hop over the past five years, but if his recent two-year break from releasing mixtapes has left you a bit puzzled, then let me simply say this is a set you need to see. With his upcoming return to the recording world featuring beats made entirely from Fiona Apple songs, Liq is getting personal and showing some new sides to his music, and if we’re lucky, that’ll show through in this performance. And of course, you also don’t want to miss the set from Swordplay, whose full-length collaboration with Pierre The Motionless, Tap Water, was perhaps the best hip hop to come out of Richmond (and Clermont, France) in 2013. With Baltimore-by-way-of-RVA rapper PT Burnem kicking the whole thing off, this show will be a full evening of excellent hip hop sounds from top to bottom. Don’t sleep on it.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]