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

by | Sep 8, 2015 | SHOW PICKS

Friday, September 11, 5 PM
Sheer Mag, Downtown Boys, Christi @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://sheermagrva.eventbrite.com/)

Punk rock is the best thing ever, y’all.

Friday, September 11, 5 PM
Sheer Mag, Downtown Boys, Christi @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://sheermagrva.eventbrite.com/)

Punk rock is the best thing ever, y’all. It’s true that that’s just like, my OPINION, man, but I’ve got a whole lot of evidence to back it up, and three bands that will do a great job of bolstering my opinion with factually unassailable great music will be hitting the stage at Strange Matter in the early evening this Friday to shut down all doubters once and for all. Our headliners will be Sheer Mag, a quartet who’ve built such a heavy buzz over the past year or so that it’s hard to believe they still only have two EPs out. Nonetheless, it’s true, and if you listen to those EPs, you’ll find some raw, no-frills rock n’ roll that’s still fantastically catchy–songs like “What You Want” and “Travelin’ On” are guaranteed to stick in your mind like glue.

Sheer Mag’s headlining this gig, and they’re guaranteed to be rad, but the real reason I’m super excited about this one is the return of Downtown Boys. This Latino punk band from Providence RI played in Richmond less than two months ago, and while that was an intimate house party that we couldn’t really broadcast (full disclosure: the show in question happened in my living room), this one is a full-scale club gig that everyone in town should know about and get stoked for! This unapologetically political band named their first album Full Communism, and will have plenty of important between-song statements for you to absorb during their performance, but it’s Downtown Boys’ sax-fueled garage-punk sound that’ll really wow you when you see them this Friday evening. It’s OK if you missed the show at my house, but if you miss this one, it’s really not OK. Like, I’ll give you a stern, disapproving look next time I run into you.

Not to be outdone, Christi will kick off this whole thing. This quartet brings that Shangri-La’s/“girls in the garage” 60s aesthetic forward into the 21st century with aplomb, and can be heard doing so on their excellent recent single, “Cry.” Personally I’m still most stoked on “Popsicle,” from their debut cassette, but I’m sure they’ll play that too, so it’s all good. This whole show will kick off at 5 PM and be over by 9, so if you wanna start your weekend off right, don’t dawdle! Get down to Strange Matter early this Friday evening and get ready to (punk) rock! P.S.–Elbow Room (fka Grlz Night) will be premiering our latest zine at this show too, so come grab a copy to read something like 2500 more words about how great Downtown Boys are from yours truly–plus a lot of other great writing and art from something like 20 other contributors.

Wednesday, September 9, 7 PM
Avers, Manatree, Young Rapids, Lucy Dacus @ The Broadberry – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)

Tonight sees a monster lineup of Richmond’s hottest alternative rockers take the stage at the Broadberry. I know that sounds like pitchman hype, but seriously, the only way you could make this a more powerful exhibition of the best in RVA’s alt-rock scene is if you added even more bands to it–and personally, I think four bands is ideal for a show on a weeknight. Any more than that, and I start getting tired. Avers are pretty much the kings/queens of local psychedelia now that Diamond Center have departed this fair city. Not only have they recently been granting us more manna for our ears with a slowly-leaked series of unused demos and outtakes called Wasted Tracks (only one track is online so far, but more are apparently coming), they’re working on a full-fledged second album as well. Whether you’ll get unheard outtakes, previews of new tunes, or more of the same great songs we’ve come to know and love from their 2014 debut, Empty Light, this is sure to be a hell of a headlining set.

And of course, they’ll be joined by the equally powerhouse quartet Manatree, who are all still too young to order a drink at the bar but have been honing their songwriting chops and instrumental skills for so long now that they’ve got the solid, assured sound of a band twice their age. They show it on their self-titled debut album, which was released earlier this summer by Egghunt Records, and they’ll show you exactly how well they can recreate that sound live (hint: pretty much perfectly) when they take the stage at the Broadberry tonight! Our out-of-town guests for this show will be cerebral DC instrumentalists Young Rapids, and opening the whole thing up will be the pleasing pop sounds of young rising star Lucy Dacus. This’ll be a great night all around, and if you love RVA music, you’ll be blowing it in the extreme if you are not there.

Thursday, September 10, 8 PM
Slum Village, Cool Nutz, Black Liquid, Tennison @ The Broadberry – %15 in advance/$18 at the door (order tickets HERE)

I don’t often get a chance to talk about great shows by touring hip hop acts here in Richmond, because all too often they skip over this city in favor of DC or Norfolk. Fortunately for us, that’s not the case with the latest Slum Village tour. This pioneering hip hop group, which originally formed back during the late 80s/early 90s era often known as the “golden age,” has survived tragic and tempestuous lineup changes over their 25-plus years as a group. After the deaths of original members Baatin and J Dilla, and the departures of Elzhi and Illa J, sole surviving original member T3 has nonetheless kept the group alive, now backed by producer Young J. Their current tour is in support of Yes!, their eighth album, released in June and featuring significant production contributions from the late, great J Dilla himself. Over two decades in, Slum Village is still making great music, and they’ll be bringing their sound to the Broadberry stage this Thursday night.

They’ll be accompanied by Cool Nutz, another longtime hip hop veteran who has perhaps not gotten quite the shine that he deserves for all the work he’s put in. A veteran of the West Coast hip hop scene since the early 90s, Cool Nutz is 11 albums into a solid career of unsung greatness, most recently represented on 2013’s Elegant Thuggin. RVA’s own Black Liquid scored one of the coveted local opener slots, perhaps due to his own unceasing grind and continued striving to push the RVA hip hop scene forward. And for the other local opener, we go from the veteran scene leader to the up-and-coming new duo. Tennison is a collaboration between Tennishu and DJ Harrison, whom you might know better from their work the local jazz scene (No BS! Brass, Butcher Brown, Marcus Tenney Trio, Trio Of Justice, the list goes on). However, both have put in the work on recent Jellowstone releases to prove that they’ve got what it takes to make it in the hip hop world, and they’ll prove it in their opening slot at this excellent gig. Don’t miss any of it.

Friday, September 11, 9 PM
Jenny Hval, Briana Mariela, Blanks @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://jennyhval.eventbrite.com/)

I’ve already told you to head over to the early show at Strange Matter Friday night, but if you’re really feeling musically adventurous, you should drop the extra ten bucks and stick around for the late show. Norwegian singer/composer Jenny Hval is a truly unique musician who has been on my radar ever since she released her second album, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky. Any record that starts with a singer whispering, “At night, I watch people fucking on my computer” is going to grab my attention for sure, and her 2015 followup, Apocalypse Girl, is just as striking.

Hval’s experimental electronic sound and intelligently provocative lyrics are the kind of thing that would appeal to anyone who digs Bjork, Laurie Anderson, or just generally being challenged by the music they encounter. She’s fundamentally unlike anyone else I’ve ever heard, and while you won’t be on familiar territory during her performance, she’s guaranteed to get you thinking. And there’ll be some memorable tunes happening amidst the sonic and lyrical explorations as well. This won’t be a performance you’ll soon forget. Hval is joined on this bill by Pacific Northwest-via-Iceland singer/composer Briana Mariela, as well as new RVA electronic combo Blanks, but trust me–she’ll be worth the price of admission all by herself.

Saturday, September 12, 7:30 PM
Laetitia Sadier, Deradoorian, Lightfields @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)

If you pay attention to the world of what is often called “indie rock,” there’s no way you’ve gotten this far without knowing about Stereolab. Formed at the dawn of the 90s, this group was driven by the collaboration between English guitarist Tim Gane and French singer Laetitia Sadier. Over the course of the next two decades, albums like Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements (1994), Dots And Loops (1997), and Margerine Eclipse (2004) did a great deal to propel the various genres they could be lumped into (alternative rock, psychedelia, electronica, etc) forward into new territory. Stereolab never officially broke up, but they haven’t released a real new album since 2008, and in the interim years, Sadier has developed a significant solo career, releasing three albums since 2010 on Drag City Records.

It’s that solo work that Sadier will bring to life onstage this Saturday night at The Camel. While her solo work hasn’t quite had the same genre-traversing omnivorous reach as was typical for Stereolab, Sadier has maintained many of that group’s primary influences in her own music–classic French pop, Germanic space-rock and electronic drone, layered electronic synth sounds–and used them to create strong sounds that help fans of her erstwhile group find solace in her solo work. Sadier and her current backing band are just as enjoyable in their own right as the classic Stereolab lineups, and are sure to bring smiles to the faces of all in attendance Saturday night. You should certainly be amongst that number–and while you’re at it, you’ll get to enjoy opening sets from former Dirty Projectors bassist/singer Angel Deradoorian and local alt-rock heroes Lightfields. What more could you want?

Sunday, September 13, 8 PM
Titus Andronicus, Spider Bags, Baked @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)

OK, so I’ve paid a fair bit of lip service to Titus Andronicus over the years. I knew there were a lot of people out there who absolutely loved their expansive rock operatics, their 10-minute punk songs and concept albums based on Civil War albums. But it wasn’t until the release of The Most Lamentable Tragedy, the band’s brand-new fourth album, that I really started to understand. The album chronicles frontman Patrick Stickles’ struggles with bipolar disorder through a 29-track, 93-minute double CD that is broken up into five acts, and honestly, it’s fucking brilliant. I might be as stoked about it as I was about David Comes To Life by Fucked Up, and if you know me, you know that’s high praise.

Stickles told Spin in a recent interview that his band is basically Bruce Springsteen plus punk rock, and I can see it, but I wouldn’t want to stop there in my description. There’s so much literary depth here, so many shifts and twists and turns in both music and lyrics, that it’s more like reading a 1000-page novel in 90 minutes than just listening to a double album. And most importantly, its frenetic energy will make you want to get up and dance–an effect I’m sure will only hit harder at their Camel show on Sunday. Plus you get performances from down n’ dirty rock n’ rollers Spider Bags, and Brooklyn garage-pop crew Baked, which will only sweeten the pot. Get into it.

Monday, September 14, 8 PM
The Marcus Tenney Trio, TrioKait @ The Camel – $5

Wasn’t I just talking earlier in this column about how you might know Tennishu, aka Marcus Tenney, and DJ Harrison, aka Devonne Harris, better from their jazz work? Well, if you don’t, you won’t have long to wait after that Slum Village show to check them out. Monday night is a good night for jazz–the week’s just getting going, you’re not quite ready to rage just yet, and when you go out, you’re going to want something mellow. The Marcus Tenney Trio might be just what the doctor ordered. This group has some cool smooth tunes for you, featuring plenty of instrumental prowess not only from Tenney, up front on saxophone (and maybe trumpet), but also from bassist Andrew Randazzo and drummer Devonne Harris. These two make up half of Butcher Brown, and while Harris is on keys in that outfit, anyone who’s heard that group’s All Purpose Music (and that should be all of you!) knows these dudes have serious chops. Hell, Tenney’s all over that album too, so you’ve heard enough to know what you’re in for at the Camel on Monday, and to know it’s gonna be awesome.

There’ll be a touring jazz band performing as part of this Monday night excursion as well. TrioKait, hailing from Los Angeles, is a three-piece group led by pianist/composer Kait Dunton, who has tons of talent and shows it off on the self-titled TrioKait album released earlier this summer. This album could also technically be considered Dunton’s third solo album, but however you think of it, what’s important is that the trio you’ll be seeing will groove and swing mightily and get toes tapping for sure. I know I don’t talk about it that much in this column, but people, seriously, jazz is awesome, and you need to make a space in your musical diet for regular portions of this amazing genre. Monday night at The Camel is your perfect opportunity.

Tuesday, September 15, 8 PM
Shy Low, Tungs, The Hurt Ensemble, Keep @ Strange Matter – $5

You know, it’s funny–I’m just guessing at what the order of bands will be on this bill. I’ve seen it at least two different ways. It seems to me that Shy Low and Tungs should be at the top, if for no other reason than they’re the local bands I know well and would be into talking about. So that’s how I’m doing it, and now on with this writeup already. Shy Low are an instrumental quartet with a bit of an Explosions In The Sky/Mono sort of feel. They’ve been working for a while on a new full-length, which I think we can probably expect to descend upon the city like a thunderstorm sometime soon. But in the meantime, they’ll have some lengthy post-rock tunes full of powerful crescendos to bring to us all on Tuesday night. Get ready for a musically dramatic end to your evening.

Tungs, meanwhile, are one of the most prolific local bands I’m aware of, though the fact that one of their guitarists owns their record label probably has something to do with that. You Could Call This Art, which sprang to life a couple of months ago, is their fourth album and continues the Tungs trend of releasing a significant musical work pretty much every year since they got together. I misread their Bandcamp page as calling this band “psychedelic stoner punk,” but I’m gonna pretend that’s what it really says because that’s a very accurate description. Loud, hazy, and slightly goofy noise in the tradition of the Butthole Surfers and The Cows–you really can’t go wrong. Rhode Island’s emotional metallic hardcore ragers The Hurt Ensemble and buzzworthy new RVA shoegazers Keep will get things going in fine fashion at this evening of excellent sounds.


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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