Saturday, July 27, 2 PM
Cobra Cabana Presents Ride The Snake, feat. Enforced, BBQT, Toxic Moxie, High Voltage @ Cobra Cabana – Donations to RRFP
If there’s one thing this past week has told us, it’s that summer is most definitely here. And that definitely makes it the right time for riding in the streets — which is exactly what’ll be going on at Cobra Cabana’s afternoon gathering this Saturday, known as Ride The Snake. Jim Morrison memorably used that phrase to refer to ingesting psychedelic drugs in the desert, but Cobra Cabana are being a bit more literal in their use of it, as this afternoon is based around a motorcycle rally that they’re throwing to benefit Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project.
If you’re down for some motorcycle rally action, the group ride will depart from Cobra Cabana’s Carver location just after noon. But if you’re like me and just want to see some wicked bikes and hear some killer tunes, swing by about 2 PM. The motorcycle show starts then, giving you plenty of time to check out some glorious two-wheeled machines before the music gets rolling at 3. And what music it will be! Headlining the show will be up-and-coming Richmond ragers Enforced, whose new LP At The Walls is certain to confirm their status as blackened-thrashcore heirs apparent. Get ready for headbangs aplenty from this set.
Texas band BBQT is also on the bill, and if you dig that sharp, metallic glam rock sound immortalized by bands like the Runaways, you’re sure to get stoked for this band’s over-the-top swaggering attack. Of course, Richmond party machine Toxic Moxie are also on the bill with some disco-punk jams to get you smiling and bouncing. The bill is rounded out by local AC/DC tribute band High Voltage, who are sure to get things kicked off with a bang. It’s all to benefit a great cause, so bring your dollars for RRFP, bring your summertime party spirit, and — if you’ve got one in the garage — bring your bike for the motorcycle rally. This is going to be the best hot Saturday fun of the entire summer, and you’re not going to want to miss it.
Wednesday, July 24, 8 PM
Abinnet Berhanu & Hebret Musica @ Vagabond – Free!
In a city like this, it’s easy to let the punk and the electro and the indie and the metal obsess you to the extent that you forget about the hotbeds of sound from other genres that are just as vital here in Richmond as the scenes people more readily identify with this city. That’s why I’m thankful for the weekly jazz nights at Vagabond and various other venues around town — always offering a reminder that Richmond’s jazz scene is active, creative, and producing awesome new music at a rate just as prolific as the local indie and punk scenes.
The latest excellent export from Richmond’s jazz scene is the self-titled debut album by Hebret Musica, a quintet led by drummer and Richmond jazz mainstay Abinnet Berhanu. The group, whose name means “Community Music” in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, draws from Berhanu’s Ethiopian background to add a multi-national flavor to Hebret Musica’s classic hard-bop sound, which should bring smiles to the faces of any fans of Modern Jazz Quartet or Giant Steps-era John Coltrane — and I know y’all are out there. This show at Vagabond marks the official release of Hebret Musica’s debut album, after which they will hit the road and spend the weekend in DC. We might not see them back in Richmond again anytime soon, and this group has some incredible sounds to deliver to your waiting ears. So catch them while they’re here — head to Vagabond tonight.
Thursday, July 25, 6 PM
TWRP, The Protomen @ The Broadberry – $20 in advance/$25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This should be a fun gig. Canada’s TWRP, whose name stands for Tupper Ware Remix Party, have always had a colorful and amusing presentation, performing in costumes and hiding their true identities behind their catchy prog-rock sound and spacetime-traveling backstory. Only two weeks ago, TWRP released their second LP, Return To Wherever — a nice reference to legendary 70s jazz-fusion group Return To Forever — and that LP furthers their bouncy, jazzy, danceable yet rocking prog sound. Seeing them crank out these tunes in full costume is sure to be a blast.
The Protomen are an equally fun group, with a much longer history that ties closely into a classic Nintendo video game that many of us remember from our childhoods: Mega Man. Indeed, The Protomen have been writing concept albums based on the worlds of those 8-bit video games for about 15 years now, and setting their heavily story-oriented lyrics to music mixing progressive rock with the work of film-soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone to create albums just as musically entertaining as they are narratively gripping. While they haven’t released an album on their own since 2015’s The Cover Up, they did appear on TWRP’s 2018 track “Phantom Racer,” so this tour pairing seems somewhat inevitable… and certain to maximize the awesomeness of both performances. Get stoked for this one, it’s gonna be out of this world.
Friday, July 26, 7 PM
Gauche, Post Pink, Continuation @ Gallery 5 – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s easy to associate punk rock with speed, volume, and rage, but back when it began as a musical movement, punk was still wide open. In the early days, all sorts of different sounds ended up in the mix, and some of them were quite fun, funky, and danceable. DC punk rockers Gauche, who feature members of Priests, Downtown Boys, and quite a few other notable groups out of the nation’s capital in recent years, hark back to that time on their brand-new LP, A People’s History Of Gauche.
From the forceful vocal attack and atonal chord structures to the pointed lyrics dealing with capitalism and colonialism, there’s no way to deny that this group’s music is punk as fuck. But the bouncy grooves that keep you moving throughout draw influence from the more adventurous groups of punk’s early days — everyone from The Slits to The Bush Tetras to The Bags, and beyond. The result is a sound that’s cathartic and full of inspired outrage, but also a whole ton of fun. And we could all use more of that.
Saturday, July 27, 6 PM
City Of Caterpillar, Oozing Meat, Continuation @ Studio Two Three – $10
Richmond Y2K-era screamo legends City Of Caterpillar blew minds all over the globe when they announced their reunion shows back in 2017; it wasn’t quite as big news as the Avail reunion, but damn close to it, and their Richmond dates sold out quickly. As far as anyone could tell back then, the reunion was a one-time thing, but it was accompanied by the release of one new recording — their legendary live track “Driving Spain Up A Wall,” finally laid down in the studio 15 years after their original breakup.
Now, in 2019 amid rumors of yet more new material to come, City Of Caterpillar has reunited once again, this time to perform at Toronto’s New Friends Fest on the first weekend in August. At first, the only other gigs they had scheduled were hours north of Richmond, but fortunately for us, they did manage to schedule a last-minute performance this Saturday night at Studio Two Three. The ad hoc nature of the show means that there are no advance tickets available — you’ll just have to show up at the Scott’s Addition art space with your cash in your hand and hope you get in. But for one more chance to see City Of Caterpillar explode out of their trademark melodic post-rock interludes into cathartic punk noise… how could it not be worth it?
Sunday, July 28, 10 PM
Prayer Group, Slump, Twin Drugs @ Bandito’s – Free!
This weekend is full of massive heavy noise, and Sunday night is perhaps the most massive of all, as Richmond sludge lords Prayer Group celebrate the release of their latest EP, Eudean, with a free show at Bandito’s. The new EP finds Prayer Group at their harrowing, churning heaviest, blasting us all with leaden grooves that roll right over you and leave no room for anything but headbangs.
The bass rumbles and thuds, drums pound, vocals howl in your face, and the noise of the guitar scrapes your eardrums raw in the best possible way. Don’t go into this one unprepared, but do expect to be blown away by what you find. And do expect some excellent sets from psychedelic hardcore freaks Slump and hazy shoegaze-psych maniacs Twin Drugs. Plus there are the nachos… always, always the nachos. End your weekend with this rager — it’s the right thing to do.
Monday, July 29, 7 PM
Big Fundamental, Little River Creek Police, Billy Bacci, Jeremy White @ The Camel – Free!
Big Fundamental is a loud rock n’ roll trio from right here in Richmond, who got together recently from somewhat surprising roots — solo singer-songwriters and free jazz freaks, coming together to rock out in that classic post-Nirvana 90s alt-rock style isn’t exactly a predictable occurrence. But when it results in some really good sounds, I’m sure none of us are wont to complain. Right?
Big Fundamental just released their first LP, which has the affirming title of You Belong Here, and is, according to singer-guitarist Stu Ruiz, about “the hard work of finding optimism.” It’s certainly true that that’s a difficult search in the era we’re all living through, but Big Fundamental’s catchy grunge riffs and steady-rolling pace throughout this album promise to bring smiles to all our faces, at least for a little while. Come join them this Monday night and shake off the beginning-of-the-workweek blues.
Tuesday, July 30, 9 PM
Drunk Mums, Friendship Commanders, Kid Is Qual @ Wonderland – $10
If you are wise in the ways of punk rock, you can probably guess that a band called Drunk Mums is primarily made up of young dudes. And if you know what’s up with Australia, learning that Drunk Mums are from the land down under is probably all you need to hear to know that they’ll rock you hard in a straightforward, no-frills style. If you know your international punk well enough to be stoked on bands like The Lime Spiders and Cosmic Psychos, Drunk Mums are sure to make you real happy. They’ll also make the more US-oriented among us who dig bands like the Marked Men and the Riverboat Gamblers smile.
Friendship Commanders are also on this bill, and while this Tennessee band have come a lot less far than Drunk Mums have, they’re still not exactly around here every week. Their heavy yet upbeat grunge-punk sounds wonderful on last year’s Bill, an LP I’m assuming is not named after my old roommate who never washed his dishes. This duo rocks really hard on recording, and are sure to get the crowd at Wonderland moving about. On-again off-again bass-oriented Richmond mainstay Kid Is Qual will return once again for an opening gig on this one, and it’s sure to rumble you in all the right ways. Get stoked for this one.
Elsewhere Around the State:
Saturday, July 27, 8 PM
Fed Ash, Hearse, The Panic Broadcast, Sanguis @ Bricks Restaurant & Pub (Staunton) – Free!
I’m well aware that music happens in quite a few different locales around this state. However, this might be the first time word of a show in Staunton, up there were I-64 and I-81 meet, has reached my ears. But I’m always up for new places to see awesome music in a live environment, so I’m glad to know about it. This Saturday night, if you happen to be up that way, you can catch a pretty great metal show full of blazing blast beats and harsh sludge over at Bricks Restaurant. And if you are up that way, you should definitely do that.
New York grinders Fed Ash are topping the bill, and their recent split LP with fellow grindcore maniacs Landfill shows that they like it fast, furious, and full of low-end rage. However, they can also crank down the tempo and shatter your mind with occasional blasts of crawling sludge, and are sure to do so during this performance. They’re accompanied on this bill by fellow New Yorkers Hearse, who also like to switch back and forth between blasting speed and harsh doom, but tend to focus more on the slow n’ heavy end of things. The result is sure to inspire mass amounts of slow-motion headbangs — and we always advocate for those around here. The bill will be rounded out by two western VA metal bands, Waynesboro groovers The Panic Broadcast and Charlottesville doom-drone crew Sanguis. Should be awesome.
Tuesday, July 30, 6 PM
Korn, Alice In Chains, Underoath, Ho99o9 @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater (Virginia Beach) – $20 – $335 (order tickets HERE)
Nu metal was a punch line for a long time. However, recent years have shown that a whole new generation of kids who came of age in the early ’10s see bands like Korn in a whole different light than those of us who thought they were too cheesy and commercial back in the 90s. And really, Korn has stood the test of time well enough to hush us all up. Head came to his senses and rejoined the band a few years back, and 2019 finds them on the verge of releasing their 13th (!) album, The Nothing.
Advance single “You’ll Never Find Me” is cooler and heavier than you’d ever expect from these nu-metal torchbearers 25 years after their self-titled debut. So maybe it’s time for all of us to admit that Korn really do have something to offer that we should be paying attention to. Plus, they’re coming to town with Alice In Chains, who, believe it or not, have now been around longer and released just as many albums with current singer William DuVall (formerly of 80s hardcore band Neon Christ) than they ever were with Layne Staley. And I’m sure they still play all the songs you love from back then too, so hey… why examine it too closely? Let’s just go to the amphitheater and rock out.
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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