Wednesday, March 13, 7 PM
Mark Morton, Light The Torch, Moon Tooth @ The Broadberry – $25 (order tickets HERE)
Interesting things are afoot in the world of Richmond metal. You might have heard recently about one thing a member of Lamb Of God got up to in his spare time — specifically, Randy Blythe organizing a crew of kazoo players to chase away the Westboro Baptist Church when they came to town — but it seems that guitarist Mark Morton’s solo album has slipped a little more under the radar.
Well, the time for such a lack of attention has ended — Morton’s solo debut, Anesthetic, was released a couple of weeks ago, and he’s about to go on tour supporting it. He’ll start the whole shebang at the Broadberry tonight. Yes, tonight, so you better get a jump on those tickets! On the album, Morton brings in a variety of celebrity guests to contribute vocals, from metal legends like Testament’s Chuck Billy to alt-rock superstars like Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/QOTSA) and the late Chester Bennington (Linkin Park). However, the touring band will feature only one vocalist, Mark Morales, who is also in the sludgy alt-rock/grunge group Sons Of Texas and happens to be the only singer who contributed more than one lead vocal to Anesthetic.
With a lineup rounded out by other members of Sons Of Texas, Bad Wolves, and Prong, Morton’s solo band is sure to do justice to the tunes on his new album. You’ll get a chance to hear the Lamb Of God axeman stretch out, indulging in side trips into blues, grunge, and Southern rock that wouldn’t show up in his main group, even as he and his band still totally rock your face off. With touring heaviness from Light The Torch and Moon Tooth also on the bill, this one is sure to rock you through and through. So don’t miss out — there’s things going on you don’t know.
Wednesday, March 13, 10 PM
Prabir Trio, Ben Butterworth & Friends @ Cary Street Cafe – Free!
Tonight at Cary Street Cafe, this town’s love affair with Fan institution Bamboo Cafe gets taken to a totally new level. Prabir Mehta’s latest musical ensemble, the Prabir Trio, will be releasing a new cassette featuring a musical tribute to Bamboo, and they’ll be holding a release party to celebrate. It’s happening at Cary Street Cafe — according to Prabir, because it’s the closest Richmond venue to Bamboo — and I’m sure there’ll be an after-party at Bamboo later.
The Prabir Trio, which brings singer-guitarist-songwriter Prabir Mehta together with Richmond mainstays Russell Lacy on bass and Kelli Strawbridge on drums, has a Beatles-via-Strokes rock n’ roll urgency that simultaneously evokes past Prabir projects like Goldrush and the Substitutes while also taking the most stripped-down, direct approach Mr. Mehta has yet taken to his music. The result is some great singalong tunes that will rock and roll you all night long. Don’t miss the party tonight, don’t miss the new tape, and don’t miss Ben Butterworth & Friends, who will offer a more laid-back, folky approach with their singer-songwriter sound. This night is definitely worth your time, especially since it’s free! See you there.
Thursday, March 14, 7 PM
Adrian Belew, Saul Zonana @ The Broadberry – $25 in advance/$30 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Adrian Belew is a legend in the worlds of prog-rock and postpunk. Early in his career, he played on classic albums by David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and the Talking Heads, before joining King Crimson and remaining in the constantly-evolving ensemble for around 30 years. He has also had a thriving solo career throughout that time, releasing nearly 20 solo albums over the course of four decades.
Belew’s just about to release his 16th solo album and first in ten years, Pop Sided, and it’s the tour for that album that brings him here to Richmond. While his unorthodox approach to guitar playing has definitely led him to some pretty wild extremes over the course of his career, the material he’s currently playing focuses on his unerring sense of off-kilter pop hooks, and based on live recordings that have made the internet thus far (because the album isn’t out yet, womp womp), it seems he’s got some of the catchiest tunes of his career for us when he hits the Broadberry stage tomorrow night. So get stoked, all you prog-heads — a true guitar hero is about to dazzle us all.
Friday, March 15, 6 PM
He Is Legend, DENS, Dead Friends, Followship, Thirst For The Sea, Genosha @ The Canal Club – $15 (order tickets HERE)
If you’ve heard anything about He Is Legend this week, it’s probably been related to Demi Lovato posting an Instagram story in which she sang along with their classic first LP, I Am Hollywood. But this doesn’t seem to me to be particularly noteworthy news — partly because we’ve known for over a decade that Demi Lovato’s just a metalcore kid who somehow got famous as a pop singer, and partly because it shouldn’t surprise anyone when someone is stoked about He Is Legend’s excellent tunes.
The North Carolina quartet did indeed make their name on that classic debut, but they’ve released four more LPs since then, and despite their evolution to incorporate both more Southern-fried metal licks and clean-vocal melodies, they’re still kicking out the jams as hard as ever, especially if their latest single, “White Bat,” is an accurate indication. It’s safe to assume so, and to roll out to this show ready to headbang. There’s a ton of local and regional talent on the bill to support this one and keep you rocking all night, but if we’re honest, He Is Legend is what it’s all about. That’s right… I said it.
Saturday, March 16, 9 PM
Post-Rock The Block, feat. Kristeva, Colin Phils, Desert Altar, Righter @ The Camel – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
If we’re honest, we’ll all admit that Shamrock The Block is always a bit of a mess. A Saint Patrick’s Day party in the middle of the street with green beer everywhere? What could go wrong? But seriously, whether you attend with glee or avoid that entire part of town all day, we can all agree that it’ll be nice to have a relaxing come-down party at The Camel that night. The fact that Kristeva and Colin Phils will be headlining an evening of post-rock to soothe your nerves, calm your troubled brain, and help you regain your equilibrium.
Kristeva are a post-rock group in the classic sense, complete with lengthy, dynamic instrumentals and plentiful integration of everything from violins to delay pedals. They’ll be celebrating the release of their new cassette, Goliad, which features some downright beautiful melodies as well as some moments of dramatic volume. Goliad is an evocative, enjoyable listen, and Kristeva’s live set is sure to be all that and more/louder. They’re joined by Colin Phils, who’ve done an excellent job of making their name as a math-rock powerhouse since arriving in Richmond from Korea a few years ago. We can expect another helping of their magical excellence once they hit the stage this Saturday night too. And with Desert Altar bringing some stoner doom jams and Righter kicking off the night in proper indie fashion, this whole thing is sure to be a much-needed boost.
Sunday, March 17, 9 PM
Lounge Lizzard, Pissing Contest, The Skin @ Bandito’s – Free!
This one promises to be fun, even beyond the usual fun quotient to be had from a nacho-loaded free show at Bandito’s. Lounge Lizzard, a quartet that up until now has had very little music available, are releasing their new tape at this show. Based on what I’ve previously heard from this project featuring members from Toxic Moxie, Pissing Contest, Cremains, and more, it’s landed pretty squarely on the sort of snarling yet subtly melodic punk sound that was invented in California at the dawn of punk by legends like The Avengers (who had nothing to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and The Dils.
Of course, there’s a good bit of 21st-century metallic crunch in there, as well as Sera Stavroula’s always-incredible vocal prowess, which all of us Toxic Moxie fans are intimately familiar with by now. Meanwhile, if you don’t already know Pissing Contest, you’re in luck, because this local snotty punk group is playing this show as well. They literally start a song by yelling “One-two-fuck-you!” so you know what you’re in for. Expect bondage pants and spray-painted leather jackets. Enjoyably strange noise-rock group The Skin will open this one up, marking their first live performance in quite a while and a welcome return indeed. The punks will dig this one, for sure — as will anyone who enjoys some good clean irreverent fun. For your sake, I hope that category includes you.
Monday, March 18, 7 PM
Lucifer, Spell, The Astral Void @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
The classic days of the Satanic panic and me having to hide my Slayer tapes from my mom didn’t happen until the 80s, but in hindsight, it seems like metal’s prime days of pagan witchery and dark hints of the occult began back in the early 70s with first-wave metal bands like Black Widow, Coven, and Pentagram. Lucifer have only been around for half a decade themselves, but this Swedish group manages to perfectly hark back to that classic spooky time in metal on their latest album, Lucifer II.
Now they’re bringing that sound to Richmond, with a performance at The Camel on Monday night. Don’t expect the typical “retro-doom” thing from this band — vocalist Johanna Sadonis’s dulcet tones bring strong melodies into the mix, and the addition in 2017 of legendary Swedish metal musician Nicke Andersson (Entombed, Hellacopters) to Lucifer has added a definite taste of psychedelic astral-plane soaring to the overall mix. Basically, if you’re looking for the kind of music that would be right at home on the soundtrack to a sun-baked film about pagan bikers carving a trail of death and destruction across California in 1970, this group will bring it to life for you, right here onstage at The Camel. Hell of a way to spend your Monday night, am I right? You won’t get another chance like this, so don’t blow it.
Tuesday, March 19, 7:30 PM
Bear Bones, Castle Black, Strawberry Moon, Turbo Mansion, Leach @ Champion RVA – Free!
It’s been really nice to see shows happening more often at Champion as we’ve headed into 2019. Every venue willing to pick up the slack after the staggering loss of Strange Matter is a positive thing for the health of our live music scene. And Champion’s got a proven track record of putting on some pretty great shows, too, so this free Tuesday night show at Champion stands in good company.
This one finds our city playing host to two touring bands from various points around the country, as well as some rad local mainstays. Bear Bones are a duo from Detroit with a heavy sound that’s in no way hampered by their lack of a bass player. Meanwhile, New York’s Castle Black have more of a driving rock sound, one that can go in more of a heavy direction or a darkly melodic one — both are demonstrated capably on their 2018 EP, The Gods That Adored You. Both of these bands will rock you hard at Champion Tuesday night, and of course, local openers Strawberry Moon, Turbo Mansion, and Leach all have sounds of their own that are well worth hearing if you haven’t been acquainted with them yet. And if you have, why not check ’em out again? This one is worth the trip out on a Tuesday night, so go ahead and make it.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Friday, March 15, 8 PM
Antenora, Gutted Christ, Serpentshrine @ RiffHouse Pub – $5
Heavy music always has a home in the Tidewater area, and that’s never a bad thing. Over at RiffHouse this Friday night, you metalheads will get to experience a treat, as North Carolina shredders Antenora join up with Hampton Roads locals Gutted Christ for a show full of chunky riffs, shrieking vocals, and blasting drums. Antenora have a bit more of a black metal-derived thing going on, although that whole At The Gates-ish Gothenburg sound shows through quite a bit as well on their album Horrors, released last fall. These guys are sure to get heads banging at the RiffHouse.
The same can certainly be said of VA Beach’s Gutted Christ, though they take more of a low-end path to get there. Where Antenora pulls more from Northern European thrash, Gutted Christ show some strong Southern death metal influences, with guttural vocals and double bass aplenty. 2016 LP The Sower Ov Discord shows a definite Florida/Morrisound influence that’s sure to please the Morbid Angel fans out there. The evening will begin with a set from Norfolk’s Serpentshrine, who split the difference between the other two bands on this bill by harking back to the early days of both black metal and death metal. Their latest EP, Occultum Exordium, is sure to please fans of Bathory and of Autopsy equally, just as this show will get all flavors of metalheads stomping around with hair flying.
Tuesday, March 19, 7 PM
No Convictions, Knife Spitter, Yet To Fall, Dissention, MJ Le’vay, Spasyt Out @ RiffHouse Pub – $8
That whole Shattered Realm school of ridiculously heavy hardcore hasn’t died out, y’all, and if you need proof, look no further than this show from Florida’s No Convictions at RiffHouse. Deep, deep vocals, blasting fast parts, borderline-sludgy breakdowns, and to top all that off, they actually do mosh calls on their 2018 self-titled EP, just to get you even more hyped to do spinkicks in front of your bedroom mirror.
Imagine how much harder all that’s gonna hit when it happens live onstage, and you’re well on your way to imagining just how crazy this Tuesday night show promises to be. Be prepared to call in to work the next morning, because if you don’t mosh yourself into oblivion during No Convictions’ set, you can rest assured that Maryland’s Knife Spitter will take you the rest of the way there. These guys are more about the brutal breakdowns than the low-end sludge, but once you’re in the pit, who’s splitting hairs? This is looking like a guaranteed head-walking good time (even if the opening acts, as is somewhat standard for Hampton Roads these days, are … kinda random), so start doing your leg stretches now.
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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