Friday, March 23, 7 PM
Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Prisoner @ The Broadberry – $15 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been a long time, y’all, but the time has finally come for the return of Windhand! This crew of almighty shredders has been quite a while away from the recording studio — their last full-length, Grief’s Infernal Flower, was issued nearly three years ago. However, not only have they returned to action this year with a split LP combining their sludgy brutality with the shredding rippage of NoVA slayers Satan’s Satyrs, they’re returning to the stage here in Richmond for the first time in a year with this epic celebration of the aforementioned split LP’s release!
The Windhand side of this full-length is the first release featuring Windhand’s current single guitar lineup, but it shows no diminution in the power, volume, and density of the band’s sound. The spooky gloom sludge of new tunes “Old Evil” and “Three Sisters” carries on the foreboding mood of the band’s previous work, with Dorthia Cottrell’s witchy vocal melodies and some excellent organ undertones making the perfect contrast to the brutal riffs these songs are veritably overflowing with. You’ll get a good taste of their excellent new material as well as some old favorites at this show, so come prepared for the onslaught.
Satan’s Satyrs will be on hand as well, giving you a heavy dose of the rockin’, rollin’ biker metal grooves from their own side of the brand new split LP. They aren’t quite as crushing as Windhand, but they’ll keep your head banging and your ears ringing just fine on their own behalf. And of course, Prisoner will bring plenty of thunderous fury of their own from their opening slot, reminding us all how great their 2017 LP Beyond The Infinite was, with its mix of denim n’ leather thrash and grit-encrusted D-beat doom. Make sure you’ve got some ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet before this one, because your neck and ears will be in serious need the next morning. And you’ll never regret it for a second.
Wednesday, March 21, 7 PM
Forever Came Calling, In Her Own Words, Hold Close, Telltale, Last Night’s Ghost @ The Canal Club – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I try to be honest when shows like this come up, so let’s just get it out front right now — I’m a sucker for emotional pop-punk bands with a vague hardcore edge. The Story So Far, State Champs, Four Year Strong… all that stuff just has me dead to rights. Like those other bands, Forever Came Calling was signed to Pure Noise Records earlier this decade when they were putting out killer LPs like 2014′ s What Matters Most and winning me over with outstanding emo-pop gems like “Defenseless” and “Rather Be Dead Than Cool.” They fell off the map for a bit, leaving Pure Noise and doing some lineup restructuring that kept them off the road and in the practice space for a while.
However, Forever Came Calling have come back full-strength this year with a new guitarist and a new self-released EP, Retro Future. The two advance singles from the EP show that they’re still firing on all cylinders, and between these killer new tunes and the passel of singalong classics from their first two LPs they’ll have for us, tonight’s gonna be a hell of a night! Tourmates In Her Own Words — a pretty good emo-pop-punk band in their own right, though their name would make a lot more sense if they actually had a female singer — and Hold Close — another crew of emo-punk bad boys with a bit of a Knuckle Puck vibe (always good in my opinion) — will bring a significant amount of excellent tuneage to this night as well.
Thursday, March 22, 7 PM
Gavin Riley Smoke Machine, Anneliese, Mylo Shift @ Gallery 5 – $5
It’s getting pretty far along in the week, but the weekend’s not quite here yet — so if what you really need this Thursday night is to add some spice to your week, look no further than the Gavin Riley Smoke Machine show at Gallery 5. It’d be easy to just call Riley’s sound electronic hip hop, but there’s so much more to what he and his Smoke Machine have to offer, and a lot of it only fully comes alive in the live environment. You see, performances by the Gavin Riley Smoke Machine are sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books we all used to read when we were seven years old. Wait, what? Hold on a second, I’ll explain.
Each song presents us with a plot point in Riley’s “Space Needle Adventure.” At the end of the song, the audience will be given two choices, and how they vote will determine what happens next in the story… and, in turn, what song the Smoke Machine plays next. Eventually, we’ll arrive at an ending, though it may not be one you necessarily expected. The songs themselves are fun and amusing, littered with plot twists reflecting Riley’s dark sense of humor. And therefore, it makes some sense that hilarious local one-man band Mylo Shift is one of the locals on this bill — his own twisted sense of humor and wacky antics are enough to put you in the perfect mood for your headliners. And of course, we can’t forget Anneliese, who you may know from The Folly or Museum District but who has some pretty great pop-soul sounds of her own in store for you. Show up on time, and be prepared for an unusual and unforgettable show! It’ll get you through til the weekend, and then some.
Friday, March 23, 8 PM
Palm, Spirit Of The Beehive, Lance Bangs, Basmati @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets HERE)
This Friday night, Palm comes to town to prove to everyone who thinks there’s nothing new under the sun that they’re just not paying close enough attention. The zany, frenetic hybrid sound of Palm’s brand new second album, Rock Island, is the kind of thing that could never have existed before the current moment in the indie continuum, synthesizing as it does disparate influences from mellow math-rockers like Tera Melos, pop experimentalists like Animal Collective, and impossible-to-categorize hyperkinetic weirdos like Deerhoof. If any of these bands appeal to you, you’re sure to enjoy watching Palm dash headlong through sounds that remind you of all of them and a good deal more, in the space of a single song. And somehow, they keep the melodies memorable and the tunes entertaining throughout it all.
Spirit Of The Beehive are another excellent product of the recent indie evolutions, though they have landed in a very different spot. Initially channeling that whole early 90s “shoegaze” sound that many bands attempt these days (with varying rates of success), their second LP, last year’s Pleasure Suck, is an altogether different animal that sees Spirit Of The Beehive retaining their sense of tuneful energy but adding programmed beats, underwater synth sounds, and an air of general weirdness that shifts the whole thing at least 90 degrees off-kilter. The result is something that local Citrus City fans should really dig, which makes it all the more apropos that Citrus City standard-bearers Lance Bangs bring their jangly slacker-pop to one of the opening slots on this bill. Basmati interject their own unique take on math-pop indie sounds as well, making this a night full of bizarrely captivating music that is sure to win you over.
Saturday, March 24, 8 PM
Gumming, Lipid, Butt, Haircut @ Mojo’s – $8-10 donation to RRFP
Punk rock has gotten really psychedelic and weird in recent years and I love it. I’m particularly stoked about Gumming, a relatively new RVA band featuring members of fellow psych-punk oddities Pucker Up and Whorecough. They’ve got a brand new tape, Human Values, out on Not Normal Records, which showcases their rumbling, pounding riffs, messy guitar sound, and frustrated vocal ranting. The sum total of the whole thing reminds me of incredible UK punk band Good Throb with some demented Flipper/Butthole Surfers energy and a dose of early-80s psychos The Crucifucks. Gumming might freak you out at first, but if you stand your ground and give yourself a chance to get on their wavelength, the rewards will be plentiful. Trust me.
This show celebrates the release of Human Values, but it also benefits the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, and Gumming will even be giving a portion of the money from their merch sales to RRFP, so that’s all the more reason to score your own copy of Human Values at this show. The other bands on this bill offer plenty of additional reasons to show up. Butt aren’t quite as ranty as Gumming but definitely have that weirdo psych-punk vibe in excess. Haircut drop the psychedelia in favor of full-on angry old-school hardcore, but without going all tough-guy style and ruining it. Lipid follow the trend of one-word names that is apparently sweeping the city based on this bill, but that’s all I can really tell you except that the facebook event page calls them “rap punk” and I have no idea whether to take that seriously or not. Regardless, you already have more than enough reason to make it to Mojo’s this Saturday night, and I haven’t even mentioned their food! Get there.
Sunday, March 25, 8 PM
Love Roses (photos by Eric Maupin), Ruin By Design, LNT, Brainbuster, Hanoi Jane @ Wonderland – $8
I tend to think of package tours as the sort of thing that brings four or five emo or metalcore bands to The Canal Club and turns a show into an all-day festival even before there are openers added, but if the bill hitting Wonderland this Sunday night is any indication, package tours aren’t just for Warped Tour graduates anymore. The final date of the Worldwide Weekend Tour sees five different bands from around VA finish up a jaunt across the state that will bring the same five bands to clubs in DC and Roanoke before finishing up down in Shockoe Bottom. I wonder if they rented a bus for the occasion?
In all honesty, I can’t imagine. After all, these are hardly the sort of well-scrubbed heartthrobs you’d find on a Warped Tour bus. Instead, we’ve got the raging old-school HC/punk hybrid of RVA’s Love Roses at the top of the bill — and anyone paying attention knows these guys are always a blast. DC’s Ruin By Design bring a tough yet somewhat melodic take on fast USHC, while NoVA rippers LNT, aka Like No Tomorrow, bring some Dwarves-style raging punk with a hint of melody. Then there’s Fredericksburg spiky punks Brainbuster, who mix Casualties-style US punk with some old-school Boston HC sounds. And of course, we wrap it up with Roanoke’s Hanoi Jane, who mingle Poison Idea’s rockin’ punk rage with some oddly Op Ivy-ish ska-punk moments. It’s gonna be a lot to take in all at once, but since all of these bands keep the pedal to the floor, you’ll be able to skank on through to the other side with no problem. So throw away your preconceptions about five-band tours and come out ready to circle-pit — it’ll be a blast. And it won’t take all night!
Monday, March 26, 8 PM
Patsy’s Rats, Scott Yoder, Big No, Sick Bags @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It kinda keeps to itself, but if you pay attention, you’re sure to notice just how active the local garage-punk scene is here in Virginia. If you haven’t caught on just yet, this show is definitely a good reason to pay attention. After all, Patsy’s Rats, an incredible power-pop ensemble out of Portland that combines the talents of former Scavenger Cunt frontwoman (and Howe Gelb of Giant Sand’s daughter) Patsy Gelb with those of Mean Jeans frontman Christian Blunda, aka Billy Jeans, have turned to the VA garage scene for their current rhythm section: Paul Kirk (Cherry Pits) and Tim Abbondelo (the Ar-Kaics). If you want to see these favorite local sons rocking it with a killer group from the left coast — and you do, I assure you — this Monday night’s your chance.
Patsy’s Rats will arrive in town in the company of their Burger Records labelmate Scott Yoder, who hails from Seattle and has a sweet acoustic sound on his 2016 LP, Looking Back In Blue. Regardless of the decided lack of punk snarl, Yoder’s work has a real kinship with what Patsy’s Rats are doing, being just as firmly grounded in the basics of excellent pop songcraft as the Rats are. This can also be said of Big No, the local band featuring Tim Abbondelo’s long-ago Crestfallen bandmate Nathan Grice and his partner, Heather Jerabeck, delivering some psychedelic sounds that will add a measure of outer space to this evening’s festivities. Sick Bags will open up with all the snotty punk snarl you could ever want in your garage punk, just to keep all the leather-jacket kids happy. This one’s got it all.
Tuesday, March 27, 8 PM
Ceschi, Onry Ozzborn, Moodie Black, ESH, Trauma Lavern @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
If you’re both stoked on the DIY underground and a true-blue hip hop head, this might just be the best show for you all year. Ceschi Ramos, who records and performs under his first name (which is pronounced chess-key), has been running his own label, Fake Four Inc, for a decade now, and he’s on tour with some labelmates to bring the celebration across the country. Ceschi has an intriguing sound that is more hip hop in approach and mindset than strictly in sound — while the man can rap rings around most emcees working these days, he sometimes forgoes the boom-bap beats in favor of acoustic guitars, choosing to sing instead of spit. His expanded palette always keeps his performances interesting, and everyone from open-minded hip hop fans to singer-songwriter types are sure to find plenty to love in his performance Tuesday night.
But Ceschi’s got a whole crew of Fake Four artists along with him this time around, and those artists are at least as much an attraction as Ceschi himself. Onry Ozzborn, who may be best known for his membership in Seattle rap duo Grayskul, is showing up solo with sounds from his 2017 release, Black Philip, and presumably quite a bit more as well. With less genre-hopping tendencies than Ceschi, Onry is mainly here to spit some killer lyrics over strong beats and electronic vibes. Meanwhile, Moodie Black brings the noise rap sounds from way back, coming out of Arizona with an aggressive sound that originated long before any of us had heard of Death Grips. Boston rapper/producer Esh rounds out the crew of Fake Four tourmates with some sick rhymes and unusual beats, while PT Burnem continues his long local association with Ceschi and Fake Four by bringing his current group, Trauma Lavern, to an opening spot on this bill. Liven up your week with this one.
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] [for more of my deranged ramblings, check GayRVA each and every day. Sometimes I even write about music over there.]
Top image by Vivienne Lee
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