Saturday, November 10, 8 PM
GWAR, Municipal Waste, Miss May I, Toxic Holocaust, HAUNT @ The National – $22 in advance/$25 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Folks, it’s time once again that we check in on Richmond’s reigning masters of bloodthirsty metal from outer space. Everyone’s favorite homicidal aliens, GWAR, will return to the National’s stage once again this Saturday night, and it’s sure to be an absolute gorefest, so you know what that means — wear your white t-shirts and get ready to be hit by the cannons of goo that are certain to be unleashed. You know the ones; the ones that throw so much blood and guts all over the place that the National has to drape their balconies in bedsheets just to protect the fancy woodwork. If you think you can be anywhere in the same room as GWAR and stay safe from the splatter, you’re sadly mistaken, but that’s OK — getting covered in slimy stuff of uncertain origin is part of what makes GWAR shows so much fun!
Last year, GWAR released their first new album since the death of founder Dave Brockie. The Blood Of Gods sees the crossover sound GWAR have cultivated over the past several albums giving way to a more over-the-top rock n’ roll sound that sees new vocalist (and originator of the Beefcake the Mighty character) Michael Bishop howling and yowling, Ted Nugent-style. There’s still plenty of thrashing going on with GWAR these days, don’t get me wrong; but the fact that the album ends with a cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It)” should tell you something about what you can expect, musically speaking, from GWAR these days.
That said, we all know that the gore-saturated show is the main attraction when seeing GWAR live. But there’s plenty of ass-kicking no-show all-go metal on this bill as well. The main attraction for all of you hoping to spend a few hours focusing on banging your head is the one and only Municipal Waste, who’d been largely dormant for most of this decade but returned to action last year with a beefed-up lineup featuring former Cannabis Corpse axe-slinger Nikropolis on rhythm guitars and their first LP in five years, Slime And Punishment. If you haven’t caught up with the Waste since all that went down, rest assured that they’re gonna fuck you up just like they always have. They’ll do it with the able assistance of their best thrashcore pals, Toxic Holocaust, as well as metalcore mainstays Miss May I and up-and-coming Maiden-esque power-metallers HAUNT. It’s a headbanging bonanza, and it’ll be topped off with a serious bloodbath. Should make for a wonderful weekend.
Wednesday, November 7, 7 PM
Slothrust, Mannequin Pussy, Doll Baby @ The Camel – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Look out, all you rock n’ rollers — the 90s are still back, perhaps more back than ever, and one great aspect of that is the continued ascendance of powerful songwriters with rough, distorted guitars that hit you hard even as their lyrics and vocal melodies make you feel some strong emotions. Slothrust is one of those groups, and singer-guitarist Leah Wellman is showing the world exactly what she has to offer on their brand new LP, The Pact, released a couple months ago on Dangerbird Records. There’s a darkness to songs like “Planetarium” and “Fever Doggs” that if anything harks back to a pre-90s, pre-Nirvana sensibility. These songs should strike familiar chords for fans of the Meat Puppets, or Green River, and do a great job of demonstrating that Slothrust has more to offer than an unabashed reiteration of what bands like Babes In Toyland and L7 did before (though don’t get me wrong, there’s a good bit of that in there too).
Slothrust are joined on this bill by Mannequin Pussy, a Philadelphia punk band who’ve been making a strong impact in Richmond for years now, and have also been growing beyond their noisy punk roots, into a sound that encompasses a variety of genres and combines rage, passion, and melody in an inspiring manner. Their 2016 album, Romantic, moves from roaring blasts of punk fury into moments of breathtaking melody, complete with shoegaze-style guitar swells. One thing that’s present on all of their songs is a strong emotional foundation that singer-guitarist Marisa Dabice communicates with everything from a breathy croon to a frustrated scream. No matter where each moment lands on the spectrum of her vocal range, though, all of them are honest, real, and gripping in their intensity. This isn’t one you’re going to want to miss. Local support by Doll Baby, who have a great deal in common with both touring bands, completes a powerful trifecta. You know what to do.
Thursday, November 8, 9 PM
Roosevelt Collier, Bennett Wales & The Relief, The Bush League @ The Camel – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
If you love to hear people wail on the electric guitar, this is the show for you. Roosevelt Collier is a pedal steel guitarist with roots in the same “sacred steel” tradition that brought Robert Randolph and his family band into the world, but Collier combines that gospel-soul sound with a Hendrix-ian approach that finds him in high demand with heavyweights like the Tedeschi-Trucks Band and the Allman Brothers. He’s a core member of Snarky Puppy bassist Michael League’s “World Music All-Star Band,” Bokanté, and he’s finally stepped out on his own this year as the frontman for his own group, which he’ll be bringing to the Camel.
Collier and his backing band are on tour in support of his debut solo album, Exit 16, on which he worked again with Snarky Puppy bassist Michael League. The album displays a hell of a range, moving from uptempo workouts to slow, seductive grooves, all with a very heavy bottom end. Collier’s playing is always the star of the show, and the man gets some outstanding noise out of his pedal-steel axe. While instrumental music can sometimes feel a bit bare-bones, you’ll never miss the vocals when Roosevelt Collier is laying waste to his slide guitar. He joins with VA Beach funk-rockers Bennett Wales and the Relief and RVA’s own blues-wailing machine, The Bush League, to tear the roof off the Camel this Thursday, and you should really be there to see — and hear — it all go down.
Friday, November 9, 7 PM
Pale Waves, Miya Folick, The Candescents @ The Broadberry – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
These days when you hear the sort of reverbed guitars and ambient synth sounds that have been a marker of the goth-postpunk sound in vogue at the moment for several years now, you expect to know what you’re getting. Dark moods, downcast eyes, sad lyrics full of desolate imagery that connect strongly with your personal alienation as you sit alone in your room in the dark. But haven’t we all had our fill of that sort of approach to the mid-80s postpunk sound? After a few years, all those 80s goth kids turned into bouncy New Wavers that would rather dance to New Order than cry to the Cure anyway — isn’t it time we found an antidote for our own post-millennial kohl-eyeliner blues?
That’s what Pale Waves is here to offer. The Manchester band may trace their aesthetic back to Siouxsie and the Banshees, but their sound is building on the uplifting synth melodies of recent UK postpunk successes CHVRCHES and adding some of the same glittering guitars and melodic bass lines that the original goth bands excelled at. Recently released LP My Mind Makes Noises hits all the right notes for the kids who still want to wear all black but are discovering the thrill of new love and the promise of sunny days. God knows everything is depressing enough these days… don’t we need our music to lift the veil at least a little bit? If you’re ready to dance with a smile on your face rather than tears in your eyes, come to The Broadberry this Friday night and bounce to the music of Pale Waves. It can’t rain all the time.
Saturday, November 10, 7 PM
Eat Your HRT Out: A Trans Health Clinic Benefit, feat. Toxic Moxie, Madison Turner, Wargo, Dad, Jafar Flowers @ Strange Matter – $15-20 suggested donation
I know, I know, I just wrote about Toxic Moxie like two weeks ago. But what was the rule we established the last time I wrote about them? I do believe it was “you will go see Toxic Moxie whenever they play a show.” We just had an election, but this one wasn’t on the ballot, so it is still very much in force. You want punk rage and disco euphoria? You want serious political views leavened with some good-time party energy? Toxic Moxie have got it all.
And what’s more, they’re bringing it to you this time in support of a very good cause. Planned Parenthood’s Trans Health Clinic is one of the only steady providers of transgender-specific health services in Richmond, and considering that trans people are much more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than the general population, their patients are more likely to face economic strain in finding ways to pay for their medical care. What your donation at the door of this show — which, in addition to the disco party punk of Toxic Moxie, will also feature an always-rockin’ full band set from Madison Turner, some electronic dance sounds from Jafar Flowers, and a good bit more — will go toward is helping ensure that prices for Planned Parenthood’s much-needed medical support for the trans community remain as affordable as possible. Plus you’ll have a great time in the bargain, and who doesn’t need more of those?
Sunday, November 11, 8 PM
Video Shoppe, BUTT, Fat Spirit @ Flora – $?
It’s always fascinating to see how people find ways to do a band despite lacking some seemingly crucial core members. Providence duo Video Shoppe easily found a way around this particular dilemma. No drummer? No problem — just bring in a primitive electronic beat machine, trigger it with foot pedals, and stack TVs and VCRs around you to when you play to make up for the fact that there’s nobody flailing away behind a kit and giving the audience some sudden moves to latch onto.
But that sort of creative problem-solving only goes so far if you don’t have some really cool songs to bring to the world when you play, and Video Shoppe’s latest EP, Nostalgia Trap(s), finds them filling that need in excellent fashion as well. Their pounding drum machine makes for an interesting contrast with their delicate postpunk guitar sound, just as their singer’s moody baritone offers an emotional feel completely different from that presented by their chiming melodies. The result has both power and ethereality, and will glow brightly in the dark room at the back of Flora this Sunday night. Their pairing with local ramshackle garage-rockers BUTT and the glorious grunge fury of Fat Spirit will round out the evening into a blast of rock n’ roll fun you’ll be willing to pay whatever the heck they’re actually charging at the door to get into.
Monday, November 12, 8 PM
Super Unison, NØ Man, Sensual World, Ugly Muscle @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This is one I’ve been looking forward to. Super Unison recently released their second LP, Stella, and it took their already powerful post-hardcore sound to a whole new level. You may know this group from the fact that singer-bassist Meghan O’Neil previously fronted ripping fastcore band Punch, but from their inception, Super Unison have had a great deal more to offer than O’Neil’s previous group, as they both retain the hardcore velocity of Punch and integrate the sort of driving, noisy energy of bands like Drive Like Jehu (who inspired the group’s name) and Rodan.
Stella finds Super Unison expanding beyond the sound of their 2016 debut LP by incorporating more dynamic shifts within single songs; they’ve also increased the melodic quotient of their guitar riffs, even as O’Neil’s vocals have become harsher and more emotionally-driven. Some might say these guys have been listening to some of the screamo stuff coming out of their home state of California — Vril, say, or Loma Prieta — and I think there’s definitely evidence to support that conclusion. Whether you’re a fan of passionate screamo, hardcore fury, or noisy rock chaos, though, you’re sure to get a lot out of Super Unison’s unrelenting attack. Put yourself in the way of it — you’ll never regret it.
Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 PM
Classical Revolution RVA presents Trey Pollard, Matthew E. White @ The HofGarden – $7 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This is about as far as you can get from post-hardcore rage, but like they say, variety is the spice of life. It’s also how we keep things interesting here in Richmond, which a lot of people (including me) will tell you is one of the best music cities in the entire country. This Tuesday night sees some tremendously interesting things happening at The HofGarden, as Spacebomb Records head honchos Trey Pollard and Matthew E. White join together with local chamber music collective Classical Revolution RVA in order to present the live premiere of compositions from Pollard’s new album, Antiphone, coming later this month from Spacebomb.
Trey Pollard isn’t the sort of musician we’re used to interacting with here in the indie rock world. He’s a true composer, one who has done orchestral compositions and arrangements for everyone from Spacebomb compatriots Matthew E. White and Natalie Prass to Scottish indie-folk group The Waterboys and This American Life-affiliated podcast S-Town. Now he’s releasing the first album of his own compositions, which was recorded by a 16 piece ensemble earlier this year with Pollard conducting. For the performance at The Hof, a string quintet featuring members of Classical Revolution RVA will play compositions from Antiphone live for the first time. They’ll also accompany Matthew E. White for portions of a solo piano-and-vocal set that he’ll treat us all to, before we dive fully into the bold new works Pollard is bringing into the world. This is an evening for people who love all forms of music, and are most excited to see something unlike anything else out there. If you’re a true music fan, you’re not going to want to miss it.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Thursday, November 8, 7 PM
Fishbone, Jackmove @ Shaka’s – $27 in advance/$32 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Remember how we were talking earlier about the 90s being back? It doesn’t just show through in the return of sounds and styles that were popular back then; it also shows up in all the bands that are getting back together and returning to the road after decades away. Strictly speaking, this doesn’t describe Fishbone — they’ve been together the whole time, with founding vocalist Angelo Moore and bassist John Norwood Fisher sticking around through thick and thin. However, this year has seen the group return to their classic lineup for the first time since the late 90s. Or, well, that’s not entirely true — no one familiar with the whole saga will be surprised to hear that Kendall Jones isn’t back. But other than Jones, the lineup responsible for classic late-80s/early-90s LPs Truth And Soul, The Reality Of My Surroundings, and the unforgettably titled Give A Monkey A Brain and He’ll Swear He’s The Center Of The Universe is back once again and hitting the road to remind us why we loved Fishbone back in the day.
Of course, some of you are going to wonder what the heck I’m talking about. I hear you muttering: “Who is Fishbone, and why does it even matter?” Here’s the deal: back when “funk-punk” was a real, up-and-coming hybrid genre with underground energy and vitality, Fishbone were at the center of it. Never mind Red Hot Chili Peppers (who knew enough to shout Fishbone out constantly on their early albums); tracks like “Party At Ground Zero,” “Bonin’ In The Boneyard,” “Swim,” and “Everyday Sunshine” showed a talented group absorbing everything from ska and soul to hardcore and metal, then spitting it all back out in a wave of talented originality like nothing else out there, then or now. The members of Fishbone are quite a bit older now, but the songs they created in their heyday are still great, and their talent (and singer Angelo Moore’s boundless energy) are undiminished. This show will be both the perfect introduction for the young ‘uns among you and an outstanding opportunity for those of us who know exactly what Fishbone is all about to see the classic lineup in full nutt-megalomaniac form. Hell yeah.
Saturday, November 10, 7 PM
Good Riddance, Bigwig, Ann Beretta, Counterpunch @ Peabody’s – $20 in advance/$22 day of show (order tickets HERE)
And speaking of excellent bands from prior eras returning to demonstrate that they’ve still got it going on… here’s an excellent example of not one but THREE melodic punk bands of the 90s doing exactly that. California’s Good Riddance are at the top of this bill, nicknamed the “Fall Brawl 2018,” and they’ve got the kind of gritty hardcore feel underlying their more melodic moments to back that name up. Of the 90s Fat Wreck bands that cemented the skatepunk genre as the go-to sound for a generation of rebellious high school freshmen, Good Riddance were always the toughest, the dirtiest, the most hardcore. Returning to action a few years ago after almost a decade away, 2015’s Peace In Our Time showed that Good Riddance still had the goods.
New Jersey’s Bigwig haven’t made a new album in over a decade, but they’ve stayed on the road, cranking out their brand of metallically-melodic skatepunk for years now, and they’re still bringing the fire as well. More momentous news for longtime fans of RVA punk has been the return over the past couple of years of Ann Beretta, who were mainstays here in Richmond back in the late 90s but have been out of action since shortly after the dawning of the new millennium. They came back to us this year with Old Scars, New Blood, a new album of old hits rerecorded for the modern era, and the word is that they’re working on another entirely new collection that’ll hit town in the near future. This weekend, though, old-school RVA heads and melodic punk skate rats alike are gonna want to gas up the coupe and head down to Peabody’s, because this show is going to be full of excellent sounds from the past three decades of punk rock awesomeness.
Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows (that take place after the week this column covers–this week’s column has obviously already been written): [email protected] [and yeah, there’s plenty more of my writing to read over at GayRVA — come say hey.]
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