Wednesday, September 25, 7 PM
Bob Mould, Will Johnson @ The Broadberry – $25 in advance/$30 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This one should just be a given, y’all. That said, we need to talk about Bob Mould, because I feel like he might be fading from the spotlight a bit for anyone who is under 40 — and if you are under 40, and you like loud music played on guitars, you need to be aware of Bob Mould. Here’s why: because he’s been making loud, fast, impassioned, beautiful rock music for four solid decades, and he’s been excellent at it pretty much the entire time. At the dawn of the 80s, he formed Husker Du, a formidable trio who were to the Minnesota punk scene what Black Flag were to LA, or Minor Threat were to DC: the first, the best, the most consistent, the least complacent. Between their 1982 live debut album, Land Speed Record, and their breakup six years later, Husker Du not only made massive innovations in the world of hardcore punk but also laid some of the most important groundwork for the Nirvana-led grunge/alternative rock explosion of the early 90s.
Husker Du had ended by then, but Bob Mould was still heavily involved, then leading an incredible second power trio called Sugar (which also featured future Drive-By Truckers producer David Barbe). Sugar only lasted a few years, but they created a legacy with the four releases they produced in that short time — one that far outlasted their lifespan. Leading lights of the early 00s rock revival like Ted Leo owed a huge debt to the music Mould had created a decade earlier. Today, Mould is in the midst of a late-career renaissance that has seen him, backed by a trio featuring members of Superchunk and Verbow, release four stellar solo albums in a row, the most recent being this year’s outstanding Sunshine Rock.
While Mould isn’t bringing his band to Richmond, his current “solo electric” tour brings us a format with plenty to offer in its own right. Due to his issues with hearing loss (something a lot of us aging musicians can relate to), he often performs by himself, but the lower volume never stops him from giving his all to the performance, and you can certainly expect a powerful set when he takes the Broadberry stage. What’s more, he uses the solo format as an opportunity to perform music from throughout his incredibly consistent 40-year career, so we may be fortunate enough to hear a few Husker Du and Sugar songs mixed into the set as well as a great selection of the many excellent tunes he’s released over the past decade of solo albums. Whether you celebrate Mould’s entire catalog or need a crash course in what makes this guy so great, you’re sure to get a treat tonight at the Broadberry. See you there.
Wednesday, September 25, 6 PM
Through The Eyes Of The Dead, Cognitive, Green Fiend, Applaud The Impaler, Autopsy Affair, Braincell @ The Canal Club – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Being in a tech-death band is apparently pretty brutal — and not just in a musical sense. South Carolina band Through The Eyes Of The Dead spent their first decade or so as a band shedding members willy-nilly, with the only constant remainder being lead guitarist Justin Longshore. Each of their first three albums featured a different singer, a different drummer, and a different rhythm guitarist. However, the turbulence within the band seems finally to have calmed, as 2017 saw Through The Eyes Of The Dead release their fourth album, Diosmus, with almost exactly the same lineup as their third album seven years earlier. An impressive achievement, given the circumstances.
But that’s not the only impressive achievement of the band’s recent history. What’s even more awesome is the musical evolution they’ve undergone from their early days as a white-belt hipster deathcore band into the powerhouse of technical death metal heavyosity they’ve become today. Their recent work doesn’t mess around with melody or simplistic breakdowns — it goes straight for the throat with nonstop brutality, of the sort that’ll keep you headbanging throughout a metal-as-fuck evening at The Canal Club. Regional death metal stalwarts aplenty will be on this bill to get you warmed up, but save some of your energy — you’ll need it if you want to make it through the Eyes Of The Dead set in one piece.
Thursday, September 26, 9 PM
Dirty Fuss, Thin Pigeon, J Clyde Morris @ Wonderland – $10
Down n’ dirty, no-frills rock n’ roll — their ain’t a damn thing wrong with that. Proving this statement to be true is Nashville band Dirty Fuss’s prime directive. They do a great job of fulfilling their mission on debut LP American Animals, which was released earlier this summer and is sure to bring a gleam to the eye of Ty Segall and White Stripes fans everywhere.
This isn’t complicated music, and it isn’t recorded in a highly polished and sterilized studio. Instead, it’s the kind of wild noise you’d expect to hear in a sweaty barroom with inadequate climate control, the kind of place where by the end of the night, there are empties with cigarette butts floating in them sitting on every flat surface (gross). Wonderland isn’t quite that room, but it’s as close as you’re gonna get in smoking-ban Richmond, and you’ll be able to catch your breath a little bit easier after you spend an evening dancing your ass off to Dirty Fuss. Hard to complain about that.
Friday, September 27, 9 PM
Oxx, Gorrak, Paint Store @ Wonderland – $10
Back to Wonderland once again, and this time it’s for an entirely different type of chaos. The sort of massive hectic noise that Danish math-metal trio Oxx brings to Shockoe Bottom this Friday night may be summed up by the fact that they called their new album The Skeleton Is Just A Coat Hanger; These Are The Black Strings That Make You Dance.
Having just blown 10 percent of my word count on that title, it’s going to be that much harder to describe exactly what Oxx has in store for you, but considering the complexity, unpredictability, and sheer panicked energy of their music, I have to admit that it’s not all that easy to describe anyway. Do you like fast, heavy, hectic music that makes you want to bang your head but challenges you with knowing exactly when to do so? If so, Oxx is the band for you. Get ready to rock the hell out — and expect some strong help with the rocking from two Richmond noise-rock powerhouses: wild jazz-metal hybrid Gorrak, and math-rock fascination machine Paint Store. It’s gonna rule.
Saturday, September 28, 8 PM
Leopard Print Taser, Brain Drain, Baby Grill, Jimmy and the Delay @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I love it when a band with a truly original name comes across my radar for the first time. Leopard Print Taser? Holy shit, that’s great. I don’t even care what they sound like — I’m in. Fortunately for me, I didn’t get let down at all once I listened to this Massachusetts quartet, who manage on their 2018 EP, Teeth Are Not Bones, to bring exactly the sort of shocking bite you’d expect from their name to a melodic punk sound that is both energetic and emotionally-driven, in a manner that is sure to please fans of bands like Mannequin Pussy and Screaming Females.
There’s a bunch of awesome local stuff happening on this bill as well, starting with Brain Drain. This trio bashes out some wild, hectic rock n’ roll noise that seems like the perfect fit for this bill — if you haven’t been rocked by this Richmond crew yet, now’s the perfect time to start. Baby Grill, a grungy two-piece who may or may not have a drummer with them at this performance, will get you dancing around the room with a particularly excellent combo of catchy tunes and rumbling distortion. And finally, I have to give a shoutout to RVA Mag contributor Jimmy O’Keefe, who apparently has a solo project that will be opening this show — I had no idea! Bringing catchy indie tunes with baritone vocals, this opener should be a fun time. And so should this entire show — so don’t miss it!
Sunday, September 29, 8 PM
Neighbor Lady, Isabella VanKesteren, Coy Pond @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
As a kid, I would have used this band’s name to describe some weird person who lived on my block. As an admittedly weird adult, I’m sure that phrase gets applied to me on at least an occasional basis. But I’m cool with that, and I’m also cool with Atlanta band Neighbor Lady, whose music has a laid-back cool and relaxed catchiness that makes it easy to slip right into.
On Neighbor Lady’s 2018 LP Maybe Later, they mix a psychedelic take on indie rock tunefulness with more than a touch of old-time Appalachian mystery, in a manner that should definitely appeal to Richmond music fans who miss The Diamond Center and wish Julie Karr would play local solo shows more often. They may not exactly blow the roof off the Camel this Sunday night — they’re too subtle for that. But their set is sure to expand your mind in some pleasing directions.
Monday, September 30, 9 PM
Shadow Age, Wingtips, Korine @ Bandito’s – Free!
Last year, Shadow Age’s self-titled LP was an undisputed highlight of Richmond music. It was made bittersweet when it was followed only a month later by the announcement of the group’s indefinite hiatus. But in light of the fact that they’d departed the scene at the very moment of gaining some incredible creative momentum had to make you wonder whether they wouldn’t be back pretty soon. Sure enough, by December, the occasion of Strange Matter’s extended farewell celebration brought them back from their hiatus to perform their first show as a quintet.
And now, this Monday at Bandito’s, we get another return engagement from Shadow Age, one billed as their “only show this year.” This melodic, fog-enshrouded gothic postpunk group have a ton of great songs in their catalog, and the thought of hearing them live one more time should definitely be enough to entice both longtime fans and new converts down to Bandito’s for this free Monday night show. No word on how many members the group will have for this performance, but trio, quartet, and quintet lineups have all charmed in the past, so it’s sure to be worth it regardless.
Tuesday, October 1, 6:30 PM
Catfish And The Bottlemen, July Talk @ The National – $25.50 in advance/$28.50 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes it feels like rock music is on a long downward slide into irrelevance. It can be tough to find rock bands that are able to attain a share of popularity while also retaining artistic quality. As has been true for decades now, though, the British continue to be much better at locating exactly that sort of band, and ensuring that they do achieve some degree of success — at least, across the pond.
Catfish And The Bottlemen’s current American tour has brought them to The National, so they’re doing pretty well on this side of the Atlantic as well, but if you haven’t checked them out yourself yet, you owe it to yourself to fix that. This Tuesday night is the perfect time to get better acquainted with this charming group and their catchy brand of melodic pub-rock, which lands somewhere between first-LP Radiohead and The Libertines. Their new album, The Balance, shows that, even though not every song hits the highs of their all-time greatest tune, “Cocoon,” they’ll always keep your toes tapping and give you some great choruses to sing along with. Consistency — it’s an underrated virtue.
Elsewhere Around the State:
Wednesday, September 25, 7 PM
Strung Out, The Casualties, Dead Aim @ The Bunker Brewpub (Virginia Beach) – $20 (order tickets HERE)
In the mid-90s, the California skate-punk sound ruled the world. NOFX and Bad Religion were the kings of the proto-Warped Tour hill, but the bands on their respective labels (Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph) had ways of distinguishing themselves from the pack. Propagandhi was political, Lagwagon was emo, Ten Foot Pole’s singer was a major-league baseball pitcher… and Strung Out were metal. Don’t get me wrong, they still had the speedy melodic riffing and unforgettable catchy choruses that were common across the entire genre, but the licks guitarists Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos busted out were definitely the group’s most distinguishing characteristic.
These days, though, you’d also have to give Strung Out credit for staying power. After a 2018 acoustic EP, Black Out The Sky, they released their ninth full-length, Songs Of Armor And Devotion, just last month, and it proves they haven’t lost a single step since the heady days of the Survival Of The Fattest compilation. Catchy choruses and metal leads are still in abundance, and they surely will be at The Bunker Brewpub tonight as well! So if neither of the Richmond shows I’ve already told you about tickle your fancy, you certainly can’t go wrong gassing up and heading East on 64. If you hurry, you can catch opening sets by drunk-punk mainstays The Casualties and VA Beach hardcore survivors Dead Aim, which will certainly sweeten the pot.
Sunday, September 29, 7 PM
Dori Freeman @ The Front Porch (Charlottesville) – $18 in advance/$20 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Dori Freeman isn’t from any of the cities our more urbane readers would necessarily expect a Virginia musician to come from. She’s from Galax, a Southwest VA town close to the NC border, about 90 minutes south of Blacksburg. They used to build a lot of furniture down there, but the factories have gone away; these days, the main industry in that city is old-time folk and country music. Therefore, the fact that Freeman has risen to prominence with her old-fashioned blend of Appalachian influence and the Nashville sound of the mid-20th century isn’t nearly as surprising as you might think at first.
Freeman’s set to release her fourth album, Every Single Star, any day now. In fact, it will be released between the time when I write these words and the day this show will take place. The new album finds Freeman much happier than she’s been on previous work — newly married, she’s largely turned away from lonesome lover’s laments in favor of songs about making a relationship work. The result is a collection of positive tunes that incorporate 60s pop influences into a country framework that should delight fans of Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris. Dori Freeman will bring all of this to wonderful full-color life at Charlottesville’s the Front Porch this Sunday evening, and you’re going to want to be there. Mark your calendar.
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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