Sunday, January 12, 8 PM
Citrus City X Hidden Sound Showcase, feat. Ty Sorrell, Kwallah the God, Kemal, 90Wyse, Billy Capricorn @ The Camel – $8
There are a whole bunch of labels with perennial one-to-watch status here in Richmond, but Citrus City Records is always right at the top of that list. Releasing everything from indie-pop and shoegaze sounds to hip hop and electro-pop, by both local musicians and compatriots from far-flung locales like Detroit and Madrid, Citrus City’s eclectic tastes introduce Richmonders to great sounds of all kinds from all over the place. And that’s always a great thing.
Now they’re taking things to another level once again with a monthly second-Sunday residency at The Camel. And the first installment of this sure-to-be-brilliant series kicks things off on a high note, with a collaboration with Fredericksburg hip hop label Hidden Sound Collective. The evening pairs Citrus City’s own Ty Sorrell, who’s riding high off the recent release of excellent full-length tape At God’s House, with core Hidden Sound artist Kwallah The God, in a pairing sure to cause musical fireworks.
That’s right, this is an event for the hip hop heads, especially the ones with wide-ranging tastes, as all sorts of different avenues within the broader arena of hip hop will be explored on this fine evening. The smooth sounds and cutting flows of Ty Sorrell stand in delightful contrast to the hard-hitting beats and harsh lyrics brought by Kwallah The God. And the bill will be rounded out with some excellent sounds from the openers as well, everything from trap bangers to hazy cloud beats. There’ll be something for everyone, no matter what flavor of hip hop you dig. So dig in.
Wednesday, January 8, 9 PM
Notches, Special Moves, Bashful, Gnawing @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Things are getting downright catchy tonight at The Camel. With New Hampshire’s Notches coming through town, it could hardly be otherwise. Having just released one of the first new albums of the new year, New Kinda Love, this band is touring to let the world know just how great the sounds they have to offer truly are. You should definitely be there tonight to find out.
Notches have a sound that’s sure to appeal to the pop-punk fans out there, but while they certainly have that scrappy punk energy, the way they strum their guitars and sing their lovelorn lyrics points toward an influence from classic mid-Atlantic alt-rock of the 90s — think Superchunk, or the late, great Karl Hendricks. Olympia’s Special Moves have a somewhat more shambolic approach, but yield just as much power-pop gold in their sound, making them a worthy pairing with Notches. And of course, locals Bashful and Gnawing are always reliably great. As mid-week evenings out go, this one’s just about the best you can hope for.
Thursday, January 9, 6:30 PM
All Get Out, Ghost Atlas, Set For Tomorrow, Followship, Flaming Verona @ The Canal Club – $14 (order tickets HERE)
All Get Out being from South Carolina makes a lot of sense, since “…as all get out!” is a classic southern superlative. God knows I heard it from my mom often enough as a child to know that (I may still occasionally say it myself, if I’m honest). All Get Out being from the Carolinas makes musical sense, too; their 2018 LP No Bouquet shows a clear influence from that whole southeastern wave of indie rock that made the area such a standout in those heady post-Nirvana days of the 90s.
No Bouquet is actually their third album, and the group has done a lot over the past decade to establish themselves as can’t-miss tunesmiths with a strong grasp of dynamics. This will all make for a killer live show full of knockout crescendoes — you can be sure of that. Meanwhile, Alabama’s Ghost Atlas brings a softer side of ERRA’s Jesse Cash, who moves away from his best-known band’s metalcore style to bring us some catchy alt-rock on releases like 2017’s All is in sync, and there’s nothing left to sing about. This will certainly be a powerful pairing, one that’ll light up the Canal Club with that energetic, emotional fire we all love so much.
Friday, January 10, 10 PM
Big No, Weird Tears @ The Dark Room – $5
Weekend nights are always a big deal in the live music world, but sometimes big deals come in relatively small packages. This two band, five-buck bill at The Dark Room is a great case in point. Big No, the psychedelic rock project led by Nathan Grice and Heather Jerabeck, has long had a shifting lineup, but seems to have congealed recently into a quintet featuring Richmond music mainstays Josh Small, Adam Juresko, and Lance Koehler providing Grice and Jerabeck with a strong backup band.
This incarnation of Big No recently recorded a full-length over at Koehler’s Minimum Wage Studios, one that hasn’t been released as yet but promises to be a new high point in their long history, mixing their hazy melodies with a tougher rock sound that adds a whole new dimension to what Big No has to offer. All of this is a big part of why you should spend your Friday night at The Dark Room seeing what these guys have to offer in a live environment. And of course, Weird Tears, who call themselves “neurotic pop,” create some indelible melodic rock tunes in their own right, a full set of which is more than worth the $2.50 it’ll cost you to see it. Get to this gig, y’all.
Saturday, January 11, 9 PM
Escuela Grind, Disintegration, Van Hagar, .gif From God @ Wonderland – $10
There are a lot of bands out there that integrate the influence of old-school hyperspeed grindcore into their sound — whether that sound be screamo, metalcore, deathcore, or whatever. But it can be tough to find bands in this day and age who are still willing to bring the straight-up grind rage to the stage in 2020. If you recognize that fact, and feel the need for more of that harsh, blasting noise in your life, then look no further than this Saturday night show at Wonderland featuring the talents of New York’s Escuela Grind.
This can’t-slow-down quartet brings you all the harsh vocals, million-mile-an-hour blastbeats, and noisy riffs you could ever want and more, and they do so without watering it down with any other styles or sounds. It’s the most straightforward grindcore attack you can find, with powerful political messages and an incredibly intense stage presence to go along with it. Whether you know it or not, you need this band in your life. And the fact that they’ll be accompanied on this bill by three of the fastest, harshest, hardest-hitting bands Richmond has to offer right now, in the form of Van Hagar, Disintegration, and the one and only .gif From God, only makes this an even more essential way to spend your Saturday night. Do it.
Sunday, January 12, 8 PM
Roger D. Carroll’s Freedom Jazz Project, feat. Bob Miller, Adam Hopkins, Scott Clark, Michael McNeill @ Cary Street Cafe – Free!
Sunday’s always a good day for jazz, and saxophonist Roger D. Carroll is always a good man to bring the jazz to Richmond. His usual project, Roger D. Carroll and the Stable Geniuses, is a bit more linear, but his occasional gigs at the head of his Freedom Jazz Project take things pretty far out. Free jazz, a style that came about in the early 60s, was created by players who found the usual conventions of jazz too limiting, and wanted to let everything go and just play from the heart.
Now, over half a century later, Roger D. Carroll is bringing some Richmond jazz mainstays together at Cary Street Cafe to do just that. If you follow jazz in this city, you’re sure to know some of the other musicians involved in this project — Scott Clark on drums, Bob Miller on trumpet, Adam Hopkins on bass, and Michael McNeill on piano. In its early days, free jazz often had political and spiritual elements to its process, and with folks like these involved, there’s sure to be some of that coming through in the music created on this evening as well. But the main point of it all is just to see some incredibly talented musicians let go of all the rules they’ve ever learned about their craft, and just wail. That’s always worth your time.
Tuesday, January 14, 8 PM
JD Souther @ Tin Pan – $42.50 – $47.50 (order tickets HERE)
You may not know JD Souther’s name, but you’re sure to know his songs. His career has lasted over 50 years now, and while his most famous single, “You’re Only Lonely,” was a hit way back in 1976 and doesn’t get too much play today, he’s better known as the writer of many classic tunes for a variety of legendary musicians over the course of multiple decades. He’s written several of the Eagles’ best songs, including “Best of My Love,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “New Kid In Town.” He wrote “Faithless Love,” which was originally recorded by Linda Ronstadt and was later a hit for Glen Campbell. And he both co-wrote and duetted with James Taylor on Taylor’s 1981 hit, “Her Town Too.”
Souther was mostly working behind the scenes throughout the 80s and 90s, but the last decade or so has seen him return to playing music in a big way; he’s released four albums in the past decade, including 2011’s Natural History, on which he did his own versions of many of his classic compositions for other artists, including most of the ones I mentioned in the previous paragraph. His more recent recordings prove that he’s lost none of his power as both a composer and a performer, and you’ll get a dramatic demonstration of just that fact when he takes the stage at the Tin Pan on Tuesday night. I assure you, you’re going to want to be there to see for yourself.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Friday, January 10, 8 PM
Kix, The Roadducks @ Elevation27 (Virginia Beach) – $30 (order tickets HERE)
Maryland rock n’ rollers Kix are not nearly as well-remembered as some other bands from that late 80s glam-metal era, but that’s kind of a tragic thing, because where talent was concerned, Kix were at the top of the glam-metal heap. Their classic 1989 LP, Blow My Fuse, contained some absolutely incredible tracks, and not just the mega-hit anti-suicide power ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” either — the title track is a stomping AC/DC-style rocker, and “Cold Blood” is both energetic as hell and has one of the catchiest choruses of the 80s.
Thirty years later, Kix still features four-fifths of their classic 80s lineup, and they’re currently on tour supporting a 30th anniversary edition of Blow My Fuse, so you’re sure to hear all the great tunes from that album at Elevation27 Friday night. Plus you’ll get a set from Virginia legends The Roadducks, who’ve been bringing their southern-fried take on Stones/Aerosmith hard rock to the Commonwealth for over four decades now and, in a bit of trivia, are the first band I ever saw live, back in 1987 when I was 11 years old. If my 32-year-old memories are any indication, they are well worth getting there on time for.
Saturday, January 11, 7 PM
Smallhands, Pump Fake, VVestern VVomen @ Central Rappahanock Regional Library (Fredericksburg) – $5
The DC suburbs have been creeping south down I-95 for a long time now, and in recent years, Fredericksburg’s growth has certainly been spurred as a result. However, there are still some undeniable small-town touches about the city halfway between Richmond and the nation’s capital, and this all-ages show taking place at the city library confirms that fact. I certainly hope Fredericksburg retains these charming quirks in years to come, but for now, it’s cool enough to know that something like this is happening only a few days from now.
The evening will feature a few Virginia-based bands from the region, and at the top of the list is Smallhands, a band with some screamo connections (they’ve done a split with Infant Island), but more of a hazy, atmospheric sound. That said, there’s certainly an undercurrent of subdued heaviness in their work, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they got loud at least on occasion. Not too loud, though — this is a library! Pump Fake are more of an emo/alt-rock combo, pulling equally from Nirvana and Sunny Day Real Estate. All I can tell you about VVestern VVomen is that they do that two-Vs-instead-of-a-W spelling thing in their name, which means they must be pretty hip. This event may be a bit off the beaten path, but that’s all the more reason to be a part of it.
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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