Friday, December 13, 7 PM
Ghost Of Pop 2019, feat. Palm Palm (Photo by Ashley Travis Photography), Deli Kings, Saw Black, Prabir Trio, Aster @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
I don’t think it’s arguable that we’re right in the thick of the holiday season at this point, folks. Christmas is two weeks away, New Year’s Eve and an end to 2019 a week beyond that. Everyone’s cramming the big-box stores, shopping malls, and post offices to take care of last minute present-related needs, and then heading out to a whole passel of big year-ending shows once night falls. There are a ton of those big shows happening this week — more than I had room for in this column, by a good bit. However, in a week that also features the annual South Hill Snowdown, yet another two-night helping of Punks For Presents, and the annual No BS! Brass food drive at the Broadberry, it seemed most important to me to tell you about Ghost Of Pop at Gallery 5.
Ghost Of Pop is an annual throwdown that is the brainchild of Prabir Mehta, a guy who’s been making all sorts of musical, artistic, and scientific things happen around this town for well over a decade now. Every year, he brings together a solid collection of Richmond musicians to present their varying takes on what it means to play “pop music” in the 21st century. The bands are joined by a ton of holiday vendors and a proper holiday party, featuring drinks, photo booths, and a whole ton of holiday cheer to make the entire evening far more memorable than just another local-band showcase.
This year, Ghost Of Pop is headed up by Palm Palm, a band that, on the heels of J. Roddy Walston & The Business’s last show for the foreseeable future two weeks ago, becomes by default the main project J. Roddy is working on. Also featuring members of The Trillions, The Southern Belles, and The Milkstains, among many others, this band has a pedigree sufficient to guarantee a great rockin’ time for all when they’re onstage. We’ll also get a set from local singer-songwriter Saw Black; in light of the season and his recent release of a proper Christmas album, it seems likely that we’ll be getting a holiday-centric set from this fine fella, and that’s sure to be a lovely treat. Of course, Prabir’s current project, the Prabir Trio, will be on hand to present their anthems in praise of Bamboo Cafe and others, while appetite-driven rock n’ rollers Deli Kings and youthful bedroom-pop project Aster round out the bill in outstanding fashion. Head to Gallery 5 this Friday night and get in the spirit.
Wednesday, December 11, 8 PM
R4nd4zzo & Co, feat. Andrew Randazzo, Marcus Tenney, Jackson Shurlds, Alan Parker, Devonne Harris @ Poor Boys – $5
This time of year, the main place you’d expect to encounter bassist extraordinaire Andrew Randazzo is at the head of his R4ND4ZZO Bigband playing classic Vince Guaraldi compositions from the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Rest assured, he and his many compatriots are still doing that this year, and you can catch them at least once more between now and December 25 if you play your cards right. But this show is another matter entirely, and it’s a chance to see Andrew Randazzo do what he does best the other 11 months out of the year.
This evening finds Randazzo heading up a jazz quintet that will bring him together with a couple of his bandmates from Butcher Brown as well as several other Virginia jazz heavyweights of his generation. Expect things to be loose and unscripted, but not aimless or boring — all of these musicians are experienced with improvisation and are sure to bring some outstanding sounds to the back room at Poor Boys. If you want to know what’s going on with jazz here in Richmond, this is the place to be tonight. You know what to do.
Thursday, December 12, 7:30 PM
Manas, Gardener @ Shockoe Denim – $10
Here’s an intriguing musical prospect brought to us by Little Dumbo, the experimental music aficionados who’ve been presenting delightfully unexpected evenings of unusual sounds around town for the past couple of years now. This time around, they’re bringing the North Carolina-based duo Manas to Shockoe Denim, and there’s no doubt that the expensive jeans will be threaded just a little differently when the evening is done.
Manas features Bhutanese guitarist Tashi Dorji, who came to the United States as a teenager, cut his teeth on the wild, politically-driven hardcore of bands like His Hero Is Gone, then moved in an experimental direction. He collaborates in Manas with drummer Thom Nguyen, an experienced noise-rock veteran, and the two of them combine abstract free-jazz improvisations with raging noise explosions in a manner that generates a great deal of fantastic tension and will leave listeners on the edge of their seat to see what this group of talented musicians will do next. You won’t know unless you’re there, so plan your Thursday evening now, because you don’t want to miss this.
Friday, December 13, 6:30 PM
Little River Creek Police, Righter, Sid Kingsley @ Hardywood – Free!
December can be a bit rough sometimes; what money you don’t have tied up in keeping the lights on and the rent paid gets eaten up by Christmas shopping, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting home every night watching Christmas specials from the 80s on YouTube because you can’t afford to go out. Well, we certainly know your pain on this one, but this Friday night, you’re in luck, because there’s a free show happening at Hardywood that would be worth your time even if you had to pay for it.
Little River Creek Police are celebrating the release of their latest single, “Yuri,” at Hardywood this Friday night. Following up their debut EP, Quiet The Ruckus, this catchy new tune finds the trio moving in a more immediate direction that adds some rough-n-ready folk-punk appeal to their jangly pop sweetness. Their set at Hardywood is sure to keep your feet moving, and you’ll be lucky enough to get sets from local indie mainstays Righter and Sid Kingsley in the bargain. See? There are still things to go out and enjoy even if you did spend your last dollar to send your mom a Christmas card. Now go enjoy yourself.
Saturday, December 14, 9 PM
Edhochuli, Inter Arma, Archbishop @ Mojo’s – $10 suggested donation
I love it when hardcore bands stick around for over a decade. The main reason I say that is because it’s always intriguing to see the ways a group evolves in a genre where most bands don’t even make it to a second album before falling apart. Edhochuli, who take their name from the most muscular referee in the world of pro football, have been cranking out excellent chaotic hardcore from the land of Pittsburgh for a very long time now, always with excellent results — results which seem to get heavier and more epic in scope with each new release. Their most recent is 2015’s Dream Warriors LP, so at this point it’s high time for them to bring us something new, and we can certainly hope they’ve got a bunch of new songs in their quivers for this performance.
Meanwhile, Inter Arma has been blazing an epic metallic path of their own for over a decade themselves, remaining ambitious and creative on their fourth full-length, Sulphur English, released earlier this year. Their tendency toward long, slowly evolving songs that build toward head-crushing crescendos remains intact on their latest release, and the members’ incredible talent at their instruments remains one of the key reasons to see this band live. This show’s pairing of them with Edhochuli makes this an unbeatable evening of heavy music, and the addition of relative newcomers Archbishop — which features ragers from local groups like The Skin and Memory Loss — will only serve to sweeten the pot that much more.
Sunday, December 15, 7:30 PM
Silent/Music Revival, feat. Yeni Nostalji @ Gallery 5 – Donations appreciated
Silent/Music Revival is a storied institution in the world of live music around Richmond, and another installment of this long-running series is always a welcome treat. Coordinated by Jameson Price of Lobo Marino, Silent/Music Revival pairs a local musical project with a silent move they’ve never seen before, for which they improvise a soundtrack on the spot. This Sunday night’s film is The Wild Cat, a 1921 German silent film directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The director was at the dawn of his career when he made this film, and went on to gain fame as a director of uniquely sophisticated comedies of manners in the early sound-film era.
The group paired with The Wild Cat on this occasion is Yeni Nostalji, a Richmond-based ensemble led by singer-songwriter Christina Marie Gleixner. Born in America, Gleixner nonetheless was so strongly influenced by Turkish pop of the 20th century that she decided to create music in that idiom, singing in Turkish and playing songs that have a decided Eastern European influence in Yeni Nostalji. That influence shows through in the lush continental pop of their self-titled 2018 LP, and it’s sure to appear in the soundtrack they create for The Wild Cat as well. The combination of the two will provide a warm and sweet experience for your Sunday night. And if you stick around afterwards, Gallery 5 will also present a holiday-themed installment of Strange Projections, the VHS-driven experimental video montage experience. There’s no better way to wrap up your weekend.
Monday, December 16, 8 PM
Morbid Angel, Watain, Incantation @ The Broadberry – $30 in advance/$35 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Mondays are for metal, just like every day that ends in Y, and this week brings us a particularly metallic Monday with the arrival of three titans of death and black metal to Richmond’s own Broadberry. At the top of the list are those Floridian pioneers of death metal, Morbid Angel, who’ve been raging hard and heavy since well over 30 years ago. Lead guitarist Trey Azagthoth is the only remaining original member at this point, but the group currently features Steve Tucker on bass and vocals once again. Tucker, who previously fronted the band in the late 90s and early 00s, returned for 2017’s Kingdom Disdained, the 11th album to continue Morbid Angel’s tradition of releasing LPs in alphabetical order.
Like the band’s three previous albums fronted by Tucker, Kingdom Disdained is a dark, complex slab of metallic heaviness that stands strong alongside classics like Blessed Are The Sick, Formulas Fatal To The Flesh, and the almighty Altars Of Madness. With the embarrassment of riches within their catalog, Morbid Angel are sure to craft a set of pure devastation from their headlining spot on this bill. However, not to be outdone, Swedish black metallers Watain come to Richmond fresh off 2018’s triumphant Trident Wolf Eclipse LP, and their notoriously bloody live performance is sure to be quite the spectacle as well. Legendary New York death metallers Incantation will round things out with their fiery, brutal take on the genre, and are sure to get the heads banging as soon as they hit the stage. This one’s gonna rip.
Tuesday, December 17, 7 PM
Ages, Films On Song, Isabella VanKesteren @ The Camel – $5 (order tickets HERE)
This Tuesday night of locally-based music is another bargain for all you deal-hunters out there, as it affordably provides you with the opportunity to check out Ages, the latest project from the fertile mind of Richmond musician Age Shurte. Previously of Magnus Lush and quite a few other groups, Shurte now joins with musicians from such leading lights of Richmond rock as Dumb Waiter, Piranha Rama, and New Lions to bring us another wonderful helping of entrancing, powerful rock.
Well, that’s really just my best guess — as far as I can tell, Ages don’t have any music online as yet, and they haven’t played many shows either. But in light of all the talented RVA music vets involved with this project, I’m more than willing to blindly recommend checking them out. With melodic Charlottesville postpunks Films On Song and hypnotic Richmond singer-songwriter Isabella VanKesteren on the bill as well, this evening is sure to be worth way more than the five measly bucks they’re charging you to get in.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Friday, December 13, 9 PM
Sean K. Preston & The Loaded Pistols @ Taphouse Grill (Norfolk) – $5 in advance/$8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
When you’ve named your band The Loaded Pistols, it’s hard for you to fade into the background as an artist, but one listen to Sean K. Preston’s 2018 LP, Forgive, lets you know that fading into the background is the last thing this Baltimore singer-songwriter wants to do. On tracks like “Last Call,” the opening “Barnburner,” and “Snakeskin Boots Boogie,” Preston and his Loaded Pistols draw from the most evocative aspects of mid-20th-century country music, pre-war blues, early rock n’ roll, and dark troubadours like Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. With all those influences in tow, they create a spooky, dramatic sound that mixes all those styles together and is sure to appeal both to fans of rock n’ roll wildmen like the Gun Club and Reverend Horton Heat and country outlaws like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.
So if that sounds like something that’ll appeal to you, you certainly should make it your business to come to Norfolk’s Taphouse on Friday night and enjoy some high-energy sounds from Sean K. Preston & The Loaded Pistols. Sure, it’s the start of the weekend, there’s a lot more you could be doing, but really, can’t the Christmas shopping wait until Saturday morning? After seeing Preston and co. you’ll go all the way home with a smile still on your face. Can you really say the same thing about the holiday crowds at the mall? You know the answer as well as I do.
Sunday, December 15, 7:30 PM
Strike Anywhere, Bar Stool Preachers, Demons, Single-Use Plastic @ Chicho’s Backstage (Norfolk) – $17 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Strike Anywhere is from Richmond, and what’s more, they are one of the best melodic hardcore bands this town has ever produced (Avail’s their only real competition… yeah, I said it). So if you want to see them in both your and their hometown, I certainly understand that. However, the Richmond date on this particular tour finds Strike Anywhere opening for the Bouncing Souls’ 30th anniversary tour at The Broadberry — and right now, as I write, that show is already sold out. If you didn’t grab those tickets, you’re going to need to make the drive down 64 East to catch Strike Anywhere this time around.
And let me tell you, it’s worth doing. While it has at this point been an entire decade since we last got some new studio material from these guys — 2009’s Iron Front — classic singalongs like “Sunset On 32nd,” “Blaze,” and “Chorus Of One” do not diminish with age. Raising your voice to scream along with Thomas Barnett — a dude who remains a tremendously energetic frontman — is not going to feel any less powerful now than it did in years past. And you know you want to feel those feelings one more time. So do it — get your tickets, gas up the car, and make the drive. You’ll never regret it for a second.
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]
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