Ant The Symbol and Gritty City Records present CITY DAWGZ TAKEOVER.
HOLYFIELD compact discs will be available.
1309 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Ant The Symbol and Gritty City Records present CITY DAWGZ TAKEOVER.
HOLYFIELD compact discs will be available.
1309 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Friday, March 6, 7 PM
RVA Game Jams presents Split/Screen: A Video Games Themed First Friday Art Show, feat. Buzzard Dust, Ages, Gull, Mister Earthbound, Danet Jackson, F1NG3RS @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Sometimes, you guys, the world is just a major letdown. At those times it can be easy to get overwhelmed and feel like taking to your bed, pulling the covers over your head, and not coming out for six months. But take heart — there are still things worth being awake and in the world for. One of those is happening this Friday night, as RVA Game Jams partners up with Gallery 5 to bring us a First Friday art opening with a bit of a twist — it’s entirely focused on video games.
This event is a celebration of indie games in the Richmond area, and will feature playable demos of half a dozen games by local creators, including memorably named examples like Not Safe For Bugs and Deer In The Headlights. You’ll get a chance to check out art and artifacts from the creative process of video game development, as well as the opportunity to play these games yourself. And you’ll get to hear some really great tunes from local musicians while you’re at it!
Between rounds of the playable demos, you’ll enjoy sounds from Buzzard Dust, the fiery blackened thrash group who last released an LP on Richmond’s own Forcefield Records back in 2017. Word has it they’ve got a grip of new material to lay on us, though, so get stoked for that. Plus there’ll be a performance from Ages, the latest project from former Magnus Lush leader Age Shurte and talented members of other rad local groups like Weird Tears and Dumb Waiter. And we’ve still only scratched the surface, as several other area performers, from the almighty Gull to the psych-stoner jams of Mister Earthbound, as well as the video-game inspired electronica of F1NG3RS, are all on tap for the night as well. Let the often-solitary pursuit of video games be an opportunity for connecting with the world, and head over to Gallery 5 this Friday night. It’s better than hiding in bed — I promise.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 PM
Mind Shrine, Majjin Boo, Alfred., Castle OG, Shormey @ The Camel – $8 (order tickets HERE)
Mind Shrine may be from Texas, but things will be getting downright tropical, at least in a musical sense, at The Camel tonight when this catchy quartet brings their remarkable sound to town. On their recent self-titled EP, Houston’s Mind Shrine create a warmly glowing pop sound with roots in both smooth 70s AM radio sounds and the music of Brazilian leading lights like Caetono Veloso and Os Mutantes, but fed through an undeniable 21st century indie filter, resulting in pure indie-pop gold. You’re going to want to dive into the warm, sunny sounds this band produces, and the Camel’s giving you the perfect opportunity tonight.
The evening will also present a set from Majjin Boo, who released my favorite Richmond music of 2019 and still have a very secure place in my heart two months into the new year. If you’re not on their wavelength yet, now’s the time. You’ll also have the chance to catch excellent musicians Alfred and Shormey just before they leave town together on a pre-SXSW tour that will culminate with them performing at that legendary Austin, Texas music fest later this month. And of course, Castle OG will round out the bill with some rad local indie sounds. You’re not going to want to miss a minute of this one — so make sure you don’t.
Thursday, March 5, 9 PM
Triumvir Foul, Human Agony, Antichrist Siege Machine, Predation @ Wonderland – $10
That place on the spectrum of musical genre where death metal meets filthy lo-fi noise is a fascinating one for me personally, as it reflects a lot of the turmoil I find myself dealing with on a daily basis. If you, like me, are someone who has your fair share of mental struggles, you might find yourself connecting with Triumvir Foul, the Portland-based death-black-thrash group whose 2019 EP, Urine Of Abomination, covers old-school Autopsy-style death brutality with a rumbling haze of foreboding terror. In other words, it’s fucking awesome. And you’re going to want to see how it translates live.
Meanwhile, Triumvir Foul’s Invictus Productions labelmates, Human Agony, hail from across the northern border in Vancouver and bring a more grinding speed-metal assault on their most recent LP, Putrescence of Calvary, with just as much of the ominous lo-fi grit as Triumvir Foul has to offer. These two groups should make a great team — and locals Antichrist Siege Machine are the perfect complement, bringing the sort of unrelenting death metal rage they displayed on 2019’s Schism Perpetration to the Wonderland stage this Thursday night. They’ll be accompanied by mysterious noise project Predation, who I hear has something to do with Division Of Mind, but that’s all I can tell you. Assuage your inner turmoil with some outer turmoil at this show. You’ll thank me later.
Friday, March 6, 10 PM
Ant The Symbol’s City Dawgz Takeover, feat. Sneeze, Reppa Ton, Rah Scrilla, Ben FM, PT, DJ Elliot Ness @ City Dogs – Free!
Ant The Symbol’s always up to some interesting things, and in 2020, that definitely has not changed. 2019 saw the veteran RVA hip hop producer release The What?!, a dozen tracks featuring a who’s who of the city’s best MCs dropping rhymes overtop of Ant’s always-killer productions. Now in 2020, he’s surprised us all with a follow-up, Holyfield, featuring new versions of all of the songs from The What?! along with a few entirely new tracks. From my initial lessons, I’d guess he took the vocal tracks from The What?! and laid them over new productions; and since Ant’s productions are always the stars of the show, that makes it damn close to an entirely new album only a few months removed from the last one. That’s something worth throwing a party for.
So that’s what Ant The Symbol will be doing this Friday night at City Dogs, as he enlivens this hot dog shop with a variety of leading MCs from around the city, almost all of whom (with the exception of Sneeze) appear on Holyfield, The What?!, or both. DJ Elliot Ness is providing the music, and rappers who should need no introduction to Richmond hip hop heads, such as Reppa Ton, Rah Scrilla, Ben FM, and PT will contribute the rhymes. This leaves Ant The Symbol to hawk copies of the new Holyfield CD, contribute the tracks that Elliot Ness spins, and hang out with his many talented friends. Come chill with Ant The Symbol this Friday night, hear some great rhymes and dope beats, grab a copy of the new CD, and have a couple chili dogs while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.
Saturday, March 7, 8 PM
Addy, Spooky Cool, Young Scum, Castle OG @ Gallery 5 – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It still feels to me like Addy are a relatively new band on the Richmond scene. Therefore it’s kind of wild to note that they are just about to release their first LP on emo heavy-hitters Topshelf Records — but I’m definitely happy for them, and to see them representing Richmond so well. At Gallery 5 this Saturday night, they’ll be celebrating their debut full-length, Eclipse, which finds the group, originally a minimalist solo project of leader Adam Watkins, moving toward more of a group identity as their current four-piece lineup becomes the focus of their recorded sound.
On Eclipse‘s early singles, we hear Addy embracing a warm, laid-back version of the indie sound, one that definitely pulls in a little Southern flavor to spice things up country-style. There’s an undeniable charm to this band’s aural presence, and that’s sure to translate with ease to the live environment created at Gallery 5 Saturday night. Addy will be accompanied on this joyful musical evening by a few other great Richmond indie groups, including Young Scum, Spooky Cool, and Castle OG, but their new LP is what the evening is all about, so bring a few extra bucks to pick up a copy for yourself, and enjoy a pleasant evening enveloped by the wonderful sounds of Richmond, Virginia.
Sunday, March 8, 7 PM
Lance Bangs, The Firnats, You’re Jovian, Magic Wand @ The Camel – $8 (order tickets HERE)
The Citrus City Sunday residency at the Camel is such a boon to Richmond music, I swear — every time it rolls around, we get a wonderful mix of mainstays from one of Richmond’s leading indie labels and new sounds you might not expect but are always a pleasant surprise. This time around, we’re getting a little more of the known quantities than the unknown delights, but it’s very hard to complain when the known quantity at the top of the bill is Lance Bangs, the slacker-rock trio who’ve slipped into a quieter presence on the Richmond scene recently but still have a ton of excellent tunes to brighten your Sunday evening with. If it’s been a while since you’ve caught these guys live, remember what it was you dug about them so much to begin with this Sunday night at the Camel.
And make sure you show up on time for the other musical delights Citrus City has to offer this evening — rest assured, they are plentiful. The Firnats, who are currently working towards the release of a new album sometime this year, have been described to me as 50s doo-wop and 90s grunge, and as crazy as that sounds, it’s pretty much dead-on — and a very enjoyable listen that will appeal to the indie kids and Future Islands fans out there. You’re Jovian’s Norfolk-based shoegaze sound has been an underrated fave of mine for years, and I’m glad to see them making it up to Richmond more lately. If you don’t know the deal, find out on Sunday — you won’t be sorry. Melodic punk-grunge newbies Magic Wand will kick this evening off with a shot of much-needed energy. Come out to this one — it’ll be a blast.
Monday, March 9, 7:30 PM
Michale Graves, JJ Speaks @ Another Round Bar & Grill – $10 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
How you feel about this event is sure to depend to some extent on what the 90s were like for you. Back then, Glenn Danzig’s original punk band, The Misfits, had a revival in which brothers Jerry Only (bass) and Doyle (guitar) revived the long-dormant project with a new vocalist and some new material. Michale Graves was that new vocalist, and while people who’d grown up with the original Danzig-fronted Misfits were often dismissive of late-90s Graves-fronted releases like American Psycho, those records accumulated a strong following amongst the younger set — many of whom, thirtysomethings today — no doubt hold warm memories of Michale Graves-era Misfits in their hearts.
For those kids — and really, for any of us willing to give an aging punk rocker’s solo project a chance — this acoustic evening with Michale Graves at Another Round should be a treat. His acoustic performances find him bringing new power both to late-90s Misfits songs he wrote and material from his many solo albums since he left that group, all by himself with just an acoustic guitar and his strong, powerful voice. If you have a soft spot for “Dig Up Her Bones” or “Die Monster Die,” you’ll hear them in a whole new way this Monday night at Another Round. You won’t want to miss that.
Tuesday, March 10, 8 PM
Robbie Fulks, Jenny Scheinman @ The Tin Pan – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Based solely on talent, Robbie Fulks should be an outright legend in the country world. However, he’s never completely gotten his due in Nashville circles, partly because he has never been willing to play along with the way the country music industry works. For evidence of that fact, look no further than his classic tune about Music City, the memorably titled “Fuck This Town.” Thankfully, his cult following his given him a viable career over the last few decades, and he’s been able to follow his muse in a variety of fruitful directions.
Fulks’ latest move is one that shows why you should expect the unexpected from this talented songwriter — last year, he self-released a vinyl-only double LP called 16, which is a track-for-track reinterpretation of the long-maligned late-70s Bob Dylan album, Street Legal. That might sound like a recipe for disaster, but Fulks and his band find gold amid the critically-reviled nadir of Dylan’s career. They’ll surely demonstrate this with their Tuesday night show at the Tin Pan; whether Fulks does a whole bunch of Dylan tunes or sticks to his own delightful catalog, this is a musical evening that’s sure to delight all comers.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Friday, March 6, 9 PM
VV, Community Witch, Dysphonia, LEYA @ Taphouse Grill (Norfolk) – $5
Whether you’re a Richmond reader facing the prospect of an hour-plus drive to catch this show by a local favorite or a Tidewater denizen wondering what this RVA band has to offer, I can’t help but encourage you all to make your way to the Taphouse Grill this Friday night to catch VV. This Richmond postpunk foursome brings a harsh undercurrent of horror to their rumbling, dissonant sound on III, the EP they released in January that constitutes their first new material in over two years. If you didn’t catch up with VV a couple years ago when they first arrived on the scene, you should definitely get familiar with what they do now that they’re back in action. This group definitely brings the noise.
They’ll be performing with three homegrown Tidewater musical projects, all of whom bring the outsider punk vibes in plentiful amounts. Community Witch have a charming yet spooky lo-fi rumble to their jangle-punk sound. Dysphonia are hard to find evidence of online, but appear to have a bit more of a jangly indie vibe, one with a bit more melody than the other two groups we’ve discussed so far. And LEYA are just downright odd, but in a riveting manner. So this one is sure to both surprise and enlighten you. Expect the unexpected.
Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 PM
Dead Kennedys, DOA, Demons @ The NorVA (Norfolk) – $22.50 in advance/$27.50 at the door (order tickets HERE)
To all the aging punks out there, I’m sure it seems just as weird to you as it does to me that the Dead Kennedys have been around for longer without frontman, chief songwriter, and punk godfather Jello Biafra on vocals than they ever were with Biafra. But of course, in their post-Biafra incarnation, they’re pretty much a nostalgia act, mainly performing classics from the band’s original early-80s era, and releasing nothing more than a live album or two since they regrouped in the early 00s.
So why go see them? Well, because you certainly won’t ever see them with Biafra on vocals again, and this is the next best thing. Because they’re only gonna play old stuff you already know and love. Because if you can enjoy a DK’s tribute act at a Halloween covers show, you can certainly enjoy one featuring most of the original band. And because Canadian punk legends DOA and Hampton Roads hardcore group Demons are both on the bill as well. The cumulative whole of what this show has to offer is worth appreciating, even if it doesn’t feature Jello Biafra behind the microphone. So enjoy it, and don’t worry too much about the provenance.
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]
Saturday, January 4, 9 PM
Djanuary, feat. Stu Kindle, Sweet Potatoes Music, The Pop-Up Duo, Lil Jimmy & The Robinsons @ The Dark Room – $5
Well folks, it’s 2020. We made it through another holiday season — and another decade — alive, and it’s time to get our bearings and ease into yet another year here in Trump’s America. And what better way to get a non-stressful start on the 20’s (finally, a decade with an abbreviation that makes sense!) than with a week heavy with the wonderful sounds of jazz?
That’s what we’ve got for you this week, and at the top of the list is Djanuary, a year-beginning celebration of legendary Romani jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt masterminded by local ukulele strummer Stu Kindle. Reinhardt was one of the first guitarists and first Europeans to exert a strong influence on jazz, a feat made that much more remarkable by the fact that he only had the use of three fingers on his left hand due to an injury he sustained in a fire at the beginning of his career. Reinhardt’s integration of Romani folk music, and focus on stringed instruments rather horns and woodwinds, helped kickstart an entire genre known as “gypsy jazz.”
You can hear a strong influence from Reinhardt’s approach on Stu Kindle’s own agile, speedy ukulele technique, which makes it eminently appropriate that he’s the Richmond musician spearheading this entire evening. He’ll be joined in this evening-long tribute to Django Reinhardt by a variety of local talents including jazz combo Sweet Potatoes Music, the acoustic jazz-folk of Pop-Up Duo, and swinging acoustic string band Lil Jimmy and the Robinsons (which also features Kindle on ukulele). It won’t be loud, it won’t be heavy, but rest assured, Djanuary at The Dark Room definitely will be hot.
Thursday, January 2, 7 PM
Plastic Nancy, Hollywood Cemetery, Big Fundamental, Cleophus James @ Poor Boys – $5
I can’t imagine anyone isn’t glad to see Poor Boys and PRSMCAT carrying on the banner of Locals Only in this post-Strange Matter era — and it’s even better when it results in a rock-solid bill like this one. Plastic Nancy top the bill with some pretty outstanding psych-pop alt-rock that hit a new high on recent single “Think Of Now.” I for one can’t wait to see what their next batch of tunes sounds like — and chances are we’ll get at least a little bit of a preview tonight!
Hollywood Cemetery are a newer group from right here in the river city, but they’ve certainly got their sound locked down tight if recent EP Sweet Dreams is any indication; I never would have thought the mixture of catchy emo pop and Interpol-style postpunk drama would be anywhere near this much fun, but I’m happy to stand corrected. Alt-rockers Big Fundamental and soulful postpunks Cleophus James (old-person points for you if you know the reference) round out a killer bill of talented Richmond groups you should be paying attention to in the new decade.
Friday, January 3, 7 PM
Opin (Photo by Joey Wharton), ADAR, Velocity 128, Bri Bevan @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Gallery 5 turns 15 this year (as does RVA Mag — watch this space), and they’re showing no signs of slowing down as they roll into 2020 with an awesome art show featuring custom-made toys. That alone should make turning up at their free First Friday event a no-brainer, but the musicians they’ll have on hand only make it that much more essential. Opin, the post-White Laces group featuring members of Magnus Lush, Night Idea, and Navi, among others, is currently gearing up to release the long-awaited follow-up to their 2017 self-titled debut.
New single “No. 3” finds Opin in powerful form, with driving rock rhythms, multi-layered synths, and an incredible vocal melody overtop of it all. Can’t wait for more where that came from. This show will also feature DC retro synthwave duo Velocity 128, turning the whole place into the dancefloor from an 80s crime movie, as well as a performance by Charlottesville jazz-soul-rock hybrid ADAR. Local singer-songwriter Bri Bevan rounds out an excellent bill you’re sure to enjoy — get there.
Saturday, January 4, 10 PM
The Gilberts, Black Plastic, Lounge Lizzard @ City Dogs – Free!
It’s rare for too many bands to be touring around the holiday times, so this early into a new year, you’ve got to expect a lot of locally-focused shows. Fortunately for us, Richmond has a wonderful music scene that in no way, shape, or form has any need of out-of-town bands to make for excellent live musical experiences. For example, this Saturday, we’ve got this outstanding three-band local bill happening at City Dogs, the Main Street hotspot that was, in the early days of the 21st century, home to one of the best live venues in the city — the glorious chaos that was Nara Sushi.
City Dogs may or may not get as wild on this Saturday night as Nara used to back in its prime, but the music is certainly worthy of excitement regardless of how crazy y’all get out there in the crowd. Local quintet The Gilberts dish out indie-pop tunes with a shambling punk spirit. Black Plastic raves up with some driving alternative rock tuneage. And then there’s Lounge Lizzard, whose vocalist, Sera Stavroula, will be celebrating a birthday this evening — they’ll rise to the occasion with a big dose of their raging metallic punk sound. It all adds up to an evening you’re sure to enjoy, especially in light of the lack of cover charge. Use your cash to grab some chili dogs instead! Just be sure you don’t take them into the pit — that’s always a sloppy proposition.
Sunday, January 5, 8 PM
Brydge/Williams/Kartari @ Cary Street Cafe – Free!
Get ready for the first full work week of the new year — and the first non-holiday week since back in the first half of December — with this evening of fine jazz sounds over at Cary Street Cafe. Bassist Chris Brydge has worked with a lot of local jazz talents around town, including JC Kuhl, Fred Hibbard, and quite a few others. He usually does so in the company of drummer Emre Kartari, his rhythm-section partner in crime. And this evening finds the two of them together once again, this time working with saxophonist Eddie Williams.
This same lineup has performed gigs under the name The Eddie Williams Trio as well, so will the equal billing for the three indicate a different instrumental priority in this performance? The improvisational nature of jazz as a musical style all but guarantees we won’t know until the three musicians take the stage, but regardless of how it all plays out, we can certainly expect some outstanding bebop sounds from this trio of instrumental talents. Just what we all need so we can face the boss on Monday, right?
Monday, January 6, 8 PM
Zack Mexico, Landon Elliott, The Flavor Project, Manzara @ The Camel – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
North Carolina group Zack Mexico have an intriguing approach to the art of creating psychedelic indie music, and you can tell the second they start setting up their gear. Beginning as a quartet, the group has expanded significantly in their decade together, most prominently with the addition of a second drummer. Seeing two full kits up there onstage is always powerful, and this band’s laid-back, tuneful approach does indeed carry a lot of power, even as it is often wielded with a subtle grace.
This is part of why Richmond singer-songwriter Landon Elliott is such a good match for Zack Mexico, musically. Elliott’s recently-released LP, Domino, shows off strong songcraft, making judicious use of 80s-style production and instrumentation at times while always first and foremost serving the gorgeous, introspective pop songs Elliott creates with a natural ease. It will be a treat to see this multi-layered sound come to life on the Camel’s stage this Monday night. The Flavor Project and Manzara will round out this eclectic bill with injections of funky Latin hip hop and dark, heavy postpunk. It’s sure to be a good time.
Tuesday, January 7, 8 PM
Dexter Moses & Marcus Tenney @ The Dark Room – $5
This Tuesday brings more jazz to the Dark Room, in the form of a meeting between two talented local saxophonists. Dexter Moses is the younger of the two, a blazing jazz talent who is still too young to order a beer at the HofGarden bar (at least for a few more weeks), but has been making a name for himself around town since his high school days. His skills at sax are worthy of a player twice his age.
Marcus Tenney isn’t quite there yet — his 2019 LP Triple Trey was a celebration of his having reached 33 years of age — but anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to the local jazz, funk, and hip hop scenes is sure to know that he’s got a ton of talent in his own right, whether he’s showing it off in Butcher Brown, No BS! Brass Band, hip hop duo Tennison, or as the leader of his own jazz quartet. What sort of fireworks will ensue when the veteran comes together with the young gun in a fiery sax duo on the stage of the Dark Room? Something you’ll definitely want to see.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, January 4, 5 PM
True Body, You’re Jovian, Gone, Carnival Bird @ Smartmouth Brewing (Norfolk) – Free!
Down Norfolk way, Smartmouth Brewing’s warehouse seems to be about the closest thing they’ve got to Richmond’s wonderful Hardywood — a place predominantly concerned with creating craft beer (which I know the kids all love), which also brings the area some excellent free musical performances on a somewhat regular basis (now this is what I’M here for). They’re kicking off the year with exactly that sort of thing this Saturday as they bring us all a live performance by Norfolk gothic-postpunk ensemble True Body.
True Body haven’t given us a new helping of their dark, dramatic, synth-driven sound since the 2017 “Over It”/”Tourists” single, and that was three years ago now, so catching them live has become a must. Plus, they’re joined on this bill by fellow Norfolkers You’re Jovian, whose shoegazey indie-rock sound is always a hazy delight. There’s also a band called Gone on this bill, and all I can tell you for sure is that they’re not the same Gone featuring ex-members of Black Flag. But we do have a bit more information about Virginia Beach’s Carnival Bird, an indie-electro-pop duo featuring members of Radflux and Berries who will return to the stage at this event for the first time in over a year. So yeah, all of this is definitely worth being present for — especially since it won’t cost you anything to get in.
Sunday, January 5, 6 PM
Watersdeep, Route 29, Old Old, Good Grief @ Flipside Lounge (Fredericksburg) – $5
I freely admit that I don’t know as much about Fredericksburg’s music scene as I’d like to, but I’m always trying to learn, so I’m glad to have discovered a new F-burg venue to keep an eye on — Flipside Lounge, which is starting the new year off right by presenting this bill of catchy emo-punk groups from throughout the Old Dominion (should I be capitalizing those letters? Shrug). Watersdeep, at the top of the bill, are technically from DC, but close enough, right?
The Watersdeep boys refer to their sound as “sadboi pop-punk,” and if you enjoy bands like Saves The Day, Taking Back Sunday, and Knuckle Puck as much as I do, you’re sure to get a charge out of this band’s energetic, intense sound. Route 29, who coincidentally enough hail from my own hometown of Warrenton, have more of an indie feel, but still draw on emotional undercurrents that give their music a welcome resonance. Blacksburg’s Old Old are tough to google for, but reward the tenacious internet searcher with both a tough side and a sweet sensitivity. The entire evening kicks off with some fine power pop from Good Grief. Taken as a whole, it’s more than worth the hour’s drive up 95.
Top Photo: Django Reinhardt in 1946, by William P. Gottlieb, Public Domain, via Wikimedia/Library of Congress
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]
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond
National Hot Dog day is about as real as Festivus, but hot dogs are delicious, and local restaurants are celebrating the fake holiday tomorrow with real deals. I don’t need an excuse to eat hot dogs–I mean, I went out of my way to sample the haggis dogs in Edinburgh, Scotland, on my summer vacation–but a discount makes everything taste better.
Richmond’s best-known and oldest hot dog joint, City Dogs, is offering their Richmond Original Dog for $1.50 all day. This classic, our web editor Amy David’s favorite, is served “all the way” with chili, mustard, and onions at both the downtown and Fan locations.
Over in Scott’s Addition, the Dog Wagon Plus is offering the American hot dog with fries and a drink for $2.99. If you’re looking for something fancier, they’re also offering a buy-one-get-one deal on any specialty dog. Richmond’s newest hot dog shop also has a new owner, David Silversmith, who stepped in this past February. He’s expanded the vegan and vegetarian options (including Vegenaise!) and their hours. The Dog Wagon is open until 3 AM weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends.
If you’re looking for lunch and a show, head to The Diamond for $1 hot dogs and a noon game between the Flying Squirrels and the Erie SeaWolves. Gates open at 11 AM and tickets are available online.
The Boardwalk, which promises “Richmond’s best hot dog on wheels,” is offering two hot dogs, fries, and a drink for $8 tomorrow at the Riverfront Plaza at 901 E. Byrd St. from 11 AM to 2 PM. After 18 years in the business, the family-run shop suffered a fire at their Henderson Road location and re-opened as a mobile food truck.
Local grocery stores aren’t in on the discount game, but Ellwood Thompson’s is still a great choice for those celebrating at home. For the health-conscious, all of their dogs are nitrate, hormone, and antibiotic-free, and they carry several vegetarian and vegan alternatives. The top pick from Ellwood: Pastured pork dogs from The Piggery.
Whatever your preference, one thing is clear: at least tomorrow, Richmond is for hot dog lovers.
THE RUMORS ARE TRUE! ITS TIME, COME ONE COME ALL! TO THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!
This day, this night, at this place, these guys will be playing music. Special guests included. Snacks for purchase, plenty of room for family.
Sunday, July 1, 12 PM
Williamsfest (In Memory of Kyle Trax), feat. Earthling, Gnarcave, Slump, Cruzer, Nightcreature, Naked Baby, Weird Tears, Big No, Craig Perry, Mindy Alexander, Matt Carter, Buttafly Vazquez @ En Su Boca – Free!
All-day music fests are always a great time, but sometimes they are bittersweet. Such is the case with this one celebrating the life of Kyle Trax, who passed away a couple of months ago due to complications from Type 1 diabetes. Kyle worked at En Su Boca, played drums in local rock n’ roll groups The Cherry Pits and Benderheads among others, and had a ton of friends around town. I didn’t know him well, but he was always nice to me, and I had a blast when his band played my living room for a Valentine’s Day party a few years ago. To say he will be missed is an understatement.
Kyle loved music, and this all-day outdoor festival in his memory is an appropriate occasion on which to celebrate his life. Earthling are the headliners, and this VA metal band has grabbed a lot of attention with their Spinning In The Void LP, released last year on Forcefield Records. If brutal metal crunch mingled with blazing solos and thrashing riffage sounds like fun to you, you need to get on this band’s level. Also on the bill is Gnarcave, an atmospheric black metal band that Kyle was in years ago. Co-founder Craig Perry, now a classical guitarist, will join up with Earthling bassist Sean Weber and Kyle’s childhood friend Ryan Nottingham (filling in for Kyle on drums) to recreate Gnarcave’s ripping black metal rage one last time. Perry will also perform one of his classical guitar compositions as an introduction to Gnarcave’s set — so you fans of technical guitar playing should get up front for this one.
A ton of other things will be happening as part of this all-day festival; performances from a ton of local hardcore, punk, and garage-rock bands including Slump, Cruzer, Nightcreature, Naked Baby, and a bunch more. There will be acoustic sets from several of Kyle’s friends, including local soul singer Buttafly Vasquez (Crucial Elements/Flavor Project). You’ll also get to see the premiere of a Cherry Pits video, indulge in some delicious En Su Boca tacos, and more! The whole thing is free to attend, but Kyle’s family is currently collecting donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, so if you have cash to spare, please donate to help find a cure. And then come rock out in memory of an awesome dude who left this world way too soon.
Thursday, June 28, 8 PM
Blac Rabbit, Sun Parade @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s an interesting gig for y’all to check out, especially if you’ve seen these guys on Ellen. Yeah, seriously, twin brothers Amiri and Rahiem Taylor, who founded Blac Rabbit, got onto Ellen due to their day job of sorts, busking on New York subways with some killer Beatles covers. This is a pretty excellent story, but it might sound like nothing more than a novelty to you — until you hear the originals Blac Rabbit create when they’re not busking for cash in Times Square.
Their self-titled debut EP, released late last year, brings together psych-rock touchstones from past eras, including The Beatles and Love, as well as modern groups like Tame Impala and MGMT. On songs like “Closer To The Sun,” the group paints hazy dayglo mind pictures that will be a big hit with fans of Dungen or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It’s really incredible stuff, and it’s sure to shine that much brighter in the live setting. You’ll have a blast when these guys take the stage, even if they don’t play a single Beatles cover. And while Massachusetts’ Sun Parade has a somewhat different sound, they’re still an apt pairing for Blac Rabbit due to the group’s similar origins as buskers. These days they’re making colorful pop music that brings in equal influence from folk music and psychedelia, to excellent effect. These two groups will be the perfect vehicle with which to drift away across the stratosphere… at least for a few hours.
Friday, June 29, 9 PM
Imaginary Sons, Leach @ City Dogs – Free!
Damn — in certain segments of the local scene, this is bound to be the news of the year. Not only are the Imaginary Sons back for a one-time-only reunion show, they’ve reunited the original four-piece lineup that brought us all the irreverent, excellent Let It Beer LP back in 2015. With a ridiculous Beatles parody cover and some truly unforgettable costumes, these guys led with goofy spirit, then pulled you in with the absolute power of their rock n’ roll tunes. Equal parts Cheap Trick and Weezer, plus a dose of AC/DC for sheer power, the Imaginary Sons were a band you weren’t going to overlook.
First slimming down to a trio lineup, then breaking up in early 2017, Imaginary Sons left a gaping void in the RVA music scene. It’s no surprise that, when they announced this reunion earlier this year, people were stoked. And now the payoff to all that anticipation will finally arrive this Friday night when Imaginary Sons rage at City Dogs once again. They’ll be joined by Leach, the current project of former Sons Mike Cruz and Russell Redmond, and DJ Frontyard will be spinning tunes to kick off the night, but we all know the main attraction: the opportunity to hear all the hits — “Kicking The Cup,” “Never There,” etc — in a live environment once again. Eat your hot dogs early, because the mustard’s gonna fly when these guys take the stage.
Saturday, June 30, 7 PM
RVA Lyricist Lounge, Episode 5; feat. Nickelus F, Cole Hicks, IGB vs Swerve 360, Robalu vs Leek Bucks, Southpaw Battle Coalition cypher, and more @ Strange Matter – $15
There is, as always, a lot of great hip hop happening in this town, and you sleep on any of it at your peril. However, I must urge you to make specific effort to be at RVA Lyricist Lounge Saturday at Strange Matter if you care about hip hop at all. These ongoing events, presented by Southpaw Battle Coalition, have been putting cyphers and battles back into the scene in a big way over the past year or two, and are pushing the local scene forward in obvious ways. Most importantly this time around, though, is that Nickelus F will be performing his newest album, Stuck. Nick F shouldn’t need any introduction to hip hop fans around here by now — his 15 years of consistently excellent releases proves the quality he’ll deliver every single time you hand him a mic, and we’re seeing that same quality on his latest release. The sluggish beats and dazed lyrical flow that set the mood on the album help bring the title to life, and the man also known as Sweet Petey will make it hit hard when he hits the Strange Matter stage Saturday night.
But that’s just the beginning of what this show has to offer. Also on tap is a performance from up-and-coming local rapper Cole Hicks, who’ll be bringing us selections from her buzzworthy new release, May Day. Then there are the two battles on the card, pitting IGB against Swerve 360 and Robalu against Leek Bucks. Southpaw Battle Coalition will hit us with a cypher, as will a variety of local MCs you know and love. Plus, there’ll be room for new faces — 30 open cypher slots means that if you feel like you’ve got rhymes to deliver, there’s room for you to get on the mic and show your stuff. And if you just want to see some high-quality rhyming and keep up with the genre as it moves forward here in RVA, you’re definitely going to want to be here to watch. Mark your calendar.
Sunday, July 1, 8 PM
To Live And Shave In LA, New Ting Ting Loft, Oozing Meat, Fuk U / Idiot, DJ Rat Ward @ Strange Matter – $5
This one’s gonna be weird — and a whole lot of fun. To Live And Shave In LA, whose name certainly appears to be a joking reference to a William Friedkin movie, have a 25 year career behind them and are still going strong. The group primarily arises out of the collaboration between early Pussy Galore member Tom Smith and Florida noise legend Rat Bastard — though it’s involved a ton of other people over the years, from Thurston Moore to Andrew WK. Listening to To Live And Shave In LA is a challenging experience. Beginning from the proposition that “genre is obsolete,” Messrs. Smith, Bastard, and co. combine all sorts of experimental insanity, from ambient tape loops to metal-bashing harsh noise and untraceable electronic weirdness.
How does that translate live? Hard to say… a quick spin through their extensive discography will demonstrate to you that it’s pretty much different every time. But it’ll certainly be worth seeing, even if you have no idea what you’ll get — if there’s one term that does not describe To Live And Shave In LA, it’s “boring.” The local acts on this bill will keep things interesting as well; New Ting Ting Loft is a totally maniacal improvised-music ensemble who takes experimental jazz as a point of departure and ends up in all kinds of ludicrous places. The results are always fascinating. Oozing Meat is a collaboration between Eric Tomillon (Fake Object) and Jason Hodges (Suppression/Bermuda Triangles/etc) that, at least on last year’s Splatter High, leaps dramatically from ambient noise weirdness to shit-fi grindcore, then back again. Who knows how that’ll translate live, but it’s sure to keep your attention. Which is really the story for this entire show — there’s no way to know exactly what you’re gonna get, but you can be sure that it won’t bore you.
Monday, July 2, 8 PM
Late Bloomer, Lovelorn, Teen Death, Sea of Storms @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Here we are at the end of a trio of Strange Matter shows, all completely different, and all completely awesome. This one’s for the fans of straight-up rock n’ roll with a melodic edge and some killer hooks; Late Bloomer brings all of that to us with their brand new LP Waiting, out on 6131 Records this Friday. It’s so brand new, it isn’t even out yet — but it will be on Monday night, so bring some cash and pick yourself up a copy! Then enjoy the bushel of killer tunes this North Carolina trio will be bringing with them, both from their latest ripper and excellent earlier LPs, such as 2014’s Things Change.
They’ll also be bringing Lovelorn with them, and if you’re a little unfamiliar with this Philadelphia trio — who’ve only released one song so far — it might help you recognize them if I tell you that they are three of the four members of the unfortunately departed Philly psych project Creepoid. That band was really hitting their peak with their third and final LP, 2015’s Cemetery Highrise Slum. Lovelorn’s sole demo release thus far has more of an ominous, spaced-out vibe reminiscent of Mazzy Star than the fuzzy, garage-damaged sound Creepoid were perfecting towards the end, but it’s close enough to make it really incredible in its own right. And hey, it’s only one song — getting to hear a full set is sure to leave us with a much stronger impression of where these excellent musicians are taking things next. Opening sets from awesome locals, including hard-rockin’ punk n’ rollers Teen Death and melodic, emotionally-driven rockers Sea Of Storms, will make for a bill full of highlights. Don’t miss a moment.
Tuesday, July 3, 6:30 PM
Have Mercy, Kississippi, Super American, Downhaul, Warrington @ The Camel – $14 in advance/$16 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Here’s something I didn’t expect at all; directly on the heels of their third LP, 2017’s excellent Make The Best Of It, Have Mercy are returning to town with a tour celebrating the five-year anniversary of their debut LP, 2013’s The Earth Pushed Back. What makes this unexpected is the fact that frontman Brian Swindle pretty much acquired a completely new backing band around the time of Make The Best Of It. This means the band that’ll be celebrating the anniversary of their debut album is mostly made up of members who weren’t in the band at the time of its release.
That’s all right, though; if there’s one thing Make The Best Of It proved, it’s that Swindle’s current compatriots are totally capable of delivering top-quality Have Mercy material that is capable of standing alongside the best work of their original lineup. And since The Earth Pushed Back is every bit as good as their latest album, the current incarnation of Have Mercy should have no problem doing it justice. I can’t help but hope they’ll play at least one or two new songs, though. They’ll be ably accompanied by Kississippi, a goofily named but excellent emo-pop group from Philly whose latest LP, Sunset Blush, is a real standout in the world of passionate melodies and evocative lyrics from which they ascend. Upbeat pop-rockers Super American will round out the trio of touring groups on this bill, which will be joined by locals Downhaul and Warrington. This is one to look forward to.
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.]
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