Saturday, July 7, 7 PM
Dumb Waiter, Piranha Rama, Naked Pictures @ Champion RVA – $6
Happy birthday, America! Or what’s left of it. Things are kinda going to hell out in the world, what with the guy running against Tim Kaine for a VA Senate seat having ties to white nationalists, Trump getting a chance to push the Supreme Court even farther right, and the steady erosion of civil rights for marginalized groups from African-Americans to the LGBTQ community. But you’ve heard enough about all that elsewhere on RVA Mag lately, right? It’s a holiday; those of us lucky enough to get a mid-week respite from work just want to eat some burgers, watch some fireworks, and forget all the world’s garbage for a day. So let’s ignore the country as a whole for the rest of this column, and focus on the rocking we’re gonna do for the rest of the week!
It’s been a long time — over two years, in fact — but Dumb Waiter has finally given us another dope beat to step to. Their third album, Heck, just came out this week, and they’re celebrating its release Saturday at Champion Brewing. Heck is a brief but wild affair, made up of three songs also named after the sorts of exclamations people say when they’re trying not to curse. Dumb Waiter’s unpredictable instrumental sound has taken a turn on this new release, moving away from the metallic underpinnings of their early efforts to focus on a more atmospheric sound that incorporates progressive rock and technical jazz-fusion licks into something entirely this band’s own.
As with their previous releases, Dumb Waiter’s latest record remains a challenging, complex listen that deserves its fair share of headphone time. However, these riffs can also do a great job of getting crowds excited and moving in a live environment, and that’s sure to happen at Champion Saturday night. With buzzworthy new garage-rockers Piranha Rama on the bill, as well as hard-hitting post-hardcore band Naked Pictures, the joint will be jumping even before Dumb Waiter comes on. When they hit you with their new jams, the whole evening will be taken to another level. Strap in — you may not know quite where they’re taking you, but you’re sure to enjoy the ride.
Thursday, July 5, 8 PM
Trouble Boys, BBQT, Bad Magic, Nightcreature @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
Going back to work on Thursday after having Wednesday off to watch fireworks will be a hell of a comedown, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your week, especially when that evening has a heavy dose of rock n’ roll in store for you. Austin rock n’ rollers Trouble Boys may or may not have anything to do with that Replacements bio that came out a few years ago; if they do take any influence from the ‘mats, it comes from the early, noisy stuff like Stink, but Trouble Boys mix the early Replacements’ ragged-but-right take on pedal-to-the-metal punk with a garage-infused punk n’ roll swagger that mixes AC/DC with the Dictators. And who can complain about that?
Trouble Boys will roll into town accompanied by BBQT, another Austin rock n’ roll crew. These rockers have a brand new album, Let’s Go!, to bring to your waiting ears, and it is if anything even better than the classic Rancid album you usually associate with that title. The rollicking, string-bending riffs and sassy vocals are enough to bring images of The Runaways and Sheer Mag to mind, and all you rock n’ rollers are gonna dance all night to these catchy, bouncy jams. Local support comes to us from talented vets Bad Magic and newcoming locals Nightcreature, who bring us wild n’ crazy rockin’ from the maniacs who brought us The You Go Girls and the Milkstains. Awesome.
Friday, July 6, 8 PM
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Shamir @ The National – $17.50 in advance/$20.50 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra will take the stage at The National this Friday night, and it’s fascinating to contemplate the possibilities of this group’s claustrophobic psychedelia unleashed in a full-scale venue like this one. While their dense, noisy sound has clearly reached its apotheosis on new LP Sex And Food, released a few months ago, a whole different dimension of that sound is sure to be opened up once the band journeys up from the basement where their sound finds its home and lets it all bounce off the high, vaulted ceilings of the National.
Regardless of what happens when they kick off their set this Friday night, though, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience for their many fans in attendance. After all, frontman Ruban Neilson’s soulful vocals and wild guitars mingle intriguingly with synth sounds on this album to create a vast new palette of sound within their still-quite-cramped sonic atmospheres. The melodies that come to the fore are just as sure to hook directly into your brain in a live environment as they do when you listen alone in the dark through headphones (OK, maybe that’s just me). And the best part is that it’ll be a huge communal trip, on which Neilson and co. will take the whole city. The fact that uncategorizable vocal virtuoso Shamir is opening the show only sweetens the pot. Get your ticket and take this ride. You won’t regret it.
Saturday, July 7, 9 PM
Sammi Lanzetta, LeAnna Eden and the Garden Of, Deau Eyes @ The Camel – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
If it’s been a while since you caught up with Sammi Lanzetta, it may be time to check back in. This exuberant young singer-songwriter hasn’t slowed down since the release last fall of her EP, For Avery, which remains an excellent display of power-pop hooks, catchy guitar leads, and Lanzetta’s excellent voice. She and her backing band are a consistent source of musical excellence, one you should let into your life on a regular basis if you want to preserve your emotional health.
And there’s an even better reason to check out this particular show — the fact that Lanzetta and co. are paired with the excellently named North Carolina group LeAnna Eden and The Garden Of (the acronym is even good — LETGO). This band evolved out of frontwoman Eden finding herself stranded in Charlotte on a long-term basis, but has a powerful, celebratory vibe on their 2017 self-titled EP. That vibe arises from the powerful combo of Eden’s incredible voice and erudite lyricism, and the heavy guitars that give this band its memorable punch. You’ll get rocked by this Charlotte crew when they roll through town, and both Lanzetta and catchy power-pop crew Deau Eyes (who still only have one song out, but we won’t hold that against them) will provide excellent local support. Don’t skip out on this one.
Sunday, July 8, 6 PM
Exmortus, The Absence, Hatchet, Blackwater Reserve, Caustik @ The Canal Club – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
We’re over halfway through the column now, and I know there’s at least a portion of my readership that are starting to get antsy. “Where’s the metal?” I hear you muttering. “I need something to bang my head to!” Don’t worry, people — I got you. And so does The Canal Club, with this killer Sunday evening show bringing a strong dose of metal power to your waiting ears. Exmortus have been around for a while now, but this Cali metal band just released their fifth album full of lock-tight death metal rage and songs about eternal battle, The Sound Of Steel, and any of y’all who wish Marduk or early Cryptopsy were a little less in love with blast beats should definitely get down with it.
These guys will slay all comers at the Canal Club Sunday night, but they’re just the beginning of what this jam-packed bill has to offer. Floridian shredders The Absence draw from a lengthy legacy of death metal mastery from their home state, and do their best to live up to that powerful tradition not by aping the legends of Morrisound past but by putting their own spin on thrashing, technical death rage. They do this most effectively, especially on new album A Gift For The Obsessed, by integrating the melodic Scandinavian touches of Gothenburg legends like At The Gates and In Flames into their powerful riff-o-rama. To top it off, we’ve also got San Francisco thrashers Hatchet on the bill, and these guys just straight-up rip it to shreds, with some distinct resemblances to local legends Battlemaster, along with some strong Exodus vibes as well (that’s that Bay Area style). Add in openers Blackwater Reserve and Caustik and you’ve got enough metal to carry you through the entire month! Just what the doctor ordered, right?
Monday, July 9, 8 PM
Appalachian Terror Unit, Amara, Destruct, Lipid @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
For those of us who know all too well the conflicted legacy of growing up in the American South, where there are amazing people and beautiful landscapes rooted within a history of economic oppression and unjust wars, a band like Appalachian Terror Unit is sure to hit very close to home. This long-running crust-punk quartet comes from the heart of West Virginia coal country, and have long turned their breakneck punk rage on the negative elements of the South that have kept the wonderful aspects of this region from rising to the top.
From environmental devastation to racial oppression and the patriarchal rape culture we’re all trying to live through, Appalachian Terror Unit focus their fury on the things that keep us down, and I for one am here for it. They haven’t released any substantial new work since their 2015 LP We Don’t Need Them, but a band like this doesn’t need to be incredibly prolific to get the message across. All you black-clad politically-informed punks need to come hear what Appalachian Terror Unit are bringing to you this Monday night at Strange Matter, regardless of whether you like to circle pit, raise your fist, or just absorb the ideas this group is presenting to you. You’re sure to get a lot out of it, most definitely including some filthy n’ furious hardcore-punk riffs.
Tuesday, July 10, 8 PM
Kee Avil, Black Plastic, Lounge Lizzard, Ashes @ Strange Matter – $7
And now for something completely different. Kee Avil is a strange but hypnotic musical project from Montreal that brings solo voice and guitar into a new environment through use of samples, electronics, and improvisation. They released a self-titled EP earlier this year, and while some of it definitely sounds like the thing you’d expect from a person singing quietly and playing an electric guitar, other sections completely upend those expectations with jarring noise and unpredictable looping electronic sounds. I can’t tell you exactly what to expect from the live version of Kee Avil, but I can tell you that it won’t be predictable.
As for Black Plastic, I’m finally beginning to figure some things out about this local band, who’ve remained a mystery to me when writing these columns for quite a while. The fact that they used to be called Fall Seattle, and an earlier lineup released an entire LP of slightly shoegazey pop under that name, helps me understand what this band who’s only had one song on bandcamp for the past year are really about. One thing’s for sure — these guys have an adeptness with a pop melody that must be experienced. Other local groups joining them on this bill include Lounge Lizzard, another new group with no real recordings out there; this one features members of Toxic Moxie, Cremains, The Donalds, and Pissing Contest, though, so you have that to go on. Local stalwarts Ashes will open things up with their brand of noisy indie pop goodness. It’s a sure-fire recipe for a winning show. Get yourself a taste.
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, in case you’re wondering, more awesomeness from my cracked and bleeding fingertips is available at GayRVA — come say hey.]
Top photo by Craig Zirpolo
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