Saturday, July 23, 7 PM
Tired & Pissed Vol. 4 Release Show, feat. The Get Off, Krode, Skincrawler, Mean Jesus, Rough Dose @ Powers BMX – $10
The pandemic put paid to a lot of lovely efforts across the underground music scene. The fact that live music basically ceased to exist for a year and a half, across not only the United States but most of the world, had an adverse effect on pretty much everyone involved in making music. And just as going a year and a half without natural light, or water, will kill some plants but not others, that long musical drought took out a fair amount of bands, venues, record labels, record stores, etc. Here in Richmond, one of the endeavors it seemed to have prematurely cut off was Tired & Pissed Records, a local label that was heavily involved in punk, hardcore, and metal music around Richmond. The series of compilations the label released during the late 00s, featuring many Virginia artists who were then flying under the radar, had built up a sense of community that hadn’t existed before.
It seemed like a lot of the momentum they had built up got sapped when the pandemic shut everything down, and for over two years, Tired & Pissed Records went completely dark. That could have been a really sad ending to a positive project, but fortunately, only two months ago, the label reappeared, back in action as if nothing had ever happened. The word hit the streets that they were putting together a fourth compilation of regional musicians who all operate in the wider realm of heavy music, and a release show for that compilation showed up on the calendar. I’m sure I’m not the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when that happened. Oh, thank god, I thought. One more excellent project survived the pandemic after all. If that’s not an occasion for celebration, I don’t know what is.
The celebration is happening this Saturday at Powers BMX Shop. While Tired & Pissed can’t feasibly have all 21 of the bands on Tired & Pissed Vol. 4 play at this show, they have lined up five excellent contributors from across the state to blow us all away with a much-needed dose of noise. At the top of the bill is The Get Off, a Richmond hardcore-punk band with a snarky sensibility that is often focused on feminist issues, as reflected in songs like “Walkout At The Baby Factory” and “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer” (nope, it’s not a QOTSA cover). Then there’s Harrisonburg’s Krode, who sound kinda like what you’d get if Slayer decided to write an album of original tunes in the same vein as their 80s hardcore tribute album, Undisputed Attitude. Metal ragers playing hardcore bangers, basically. They rip. Richmond’s Skincrawler abrade you with fast, raw grindcore that’s way more “-core” than you might expect based on their death-metallic name. Norfolk’s Mean Jesus have an outstanding name and an equally outstanding old-school hardcore sound — think Agnostic Front or Cro-Mags with the crossover impulses toned down, slightly. Rough Dose rounds out the bill with old-school tunes from some old-school dudes with a major pedigree. If you like raw metallic punk, old-school hardcore velocity, and harsh raging noise, this is the show for you. Let’s celebrate the continued existence of Tired & Pissed Records. All hail!
Wednesday, July 20, 5 PM
Ballet In The Garden, feat. Holy River, The Concert Ballet of Virginia @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens – $17 (order tickets HERE)
Holy River have been an interesting band to watch on the Richmond scene for a damn long time now. I know, I know, they only released their debut album in 2020, but the group is basically a continuation of long-running duo Lobo Marino, and the wandering ways of Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price, and the ways those wanderings inspire and influence their many-layered musical creations, just get more fascinating as the years go on. Holy River are basically the only band in Richmond who can say, “We’re doing a collaboration with the Concert Ballet of Virginia at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens,” and I’m completely unsurprised to hear it.
That said, I am very intrigued. While it may be hard to describe the Holy River sound, as embodied on their excellent 2020 LP, Courage, it’s easy to imagine their cosmopolitan psychedelic hypno-space-folk (I told you it’s difficult to describe) being used as the soundtrack to a complex dance performance. In fact, they’ve apparently been performing the piece they’ll be bringing to us all this evening, entitled “Our Bodies Are Water,” for a while. This is the last scheduled performance date for this collaborative production, though, so if you haven’t caught on to it yet, tonight’s definitely the night to do so. The event is free with admission to the garden, too, so if you have the afternoon off work, you should definitely show up a little early and stroll around the grounds. Show up at the Rose Garden (or the indoor conference room if it’s too hot, which it really might be) at 5 pm for an interactive community movement class with the ballet, or just get there at 6 for the performance. Either way, you’ll be glad you did.
Thursday, July 21, 8 PM
Hotspit, Lizdelise, Strawberry Moon, Rikki Rakki @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Count on The Camel, y’all. On some random weekday evening, when you can’t find live original music happening anywhere else in the city, The Camel is sure to have something — and it won’t just be any old performance, either. It’ll be good bands that you already like, or new bands well worth taking a chance on, or both! “Both” is what we’re looking at with this Thursday night bill, presenting three Richmond ensembles that anyone who reads this column regularly should already be familiar with. I know, I know, “Every episode is somebody’s first one,” so here’s a crash course: Hotspit plays hazy yet melodic guitar-driven music that’s equal parts slowcore and shoegaze; Strawberry Moon make indie rock with a strong punk edge; Rikki Rakki integrate all sorts of sounds, everything from folk vibes to desert psychedelia, into an intriguingly fuzzy alt-rock sound.
OK, those are the ones on this bill you probably already know. And they all rule! But the band on this bill that’s most likely to be new to you, as they were to me, is Philadelphia-based Lizdelise. A trio led by a singer-songwriter named Liz De Lise, what was founded as a solo project evolved into a rock n’ roll trio over the course of the past eight years or thereabouts. Their brand new single, “WMN,” is not only an affecting, multi-layered slice of indie rock balladry, it also speaks honestly about the struggle to come out as genderqueer/gender fluid to a parent, in a manner that I, for one, can strongly relate to. Even if your gender turned out to be the same as the doctor’s best guess when you were one minute old, you’ll probably feel some feels seeing this band play this song — not to mention the rest of their set, which is sure to be just as powerful. So yeah: all of that, plus three well-established top-level local talents, on a random Thursday night for ten bucks. Give it up for The Camel, y’all.
Friday, July 22, 9 PM
Broke Royals, Anna Leonard, Rough Age @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Get ready, y’all, because here comes Broke Royals! This quintet, who just released their latest LP, Local Support, hail from Washington DC. However, they’re coming to Richmond this Friday night for a special record release show, two hours south of their official home base, at The Camel. Now, I’ve got a theory as to why they’re coming down to Richmond for their record release show (it’s got to do with the fact that Broke Royals bassist Taimir Gore is a member of multiple Richmond bands, including Armagideon Time and The Great Beforetimes), but ultimately it doesn’t matter if my theory is correct or not. What’s important is that we all get to come together with Broke Royals and celebrate the release of their new record.
Because let me tell ya, Local Support is an excellent record. It’s a bouncy, upbeat rock record that manages to incorporate elements of pop and indie without losing it’s straight-down-the-middle appeal. It’s the kind of thing everybody can get together and dance to. I hear elements of Ted Leo, Beach Slang, The Hold Steady, Titus Andronicus, even a little bit of The Killers at points. All of it’s great, is the point, and if the live performance captures even half of the feel-good energy generated by Local Support, this show is going to be the absolute highlight of your weekend. So hey, show up and get your weekend started right, why don’t you? You’ll thank me later.
Saturday, July 23, 7:30 PM
New Lions, Dark Waters, Rough Age @ Gallery 5 – $5
The pandemic put a lot of bumps in the road for a lot of bands in this town, and New Lions were no exception. This group, which evolved out of frontman Clair Morgan’s solo project and took its name from his second album, New Lions And The Not-Good Night, were hard at work on their first (third?) full-length when the shutdown hit, and that was a tough enough setback. They also endured some lineup shakeups along the way — the kind of thing that has derailed many a band in the past. However, they managed to bounce back over the first few months of 2022, and now they’re not only a regularly performing live act once again, they’re also putting the finishing touches on the new album!
Meanwhile, they’ve been releasing new videos designed to reintroduce the world to their last release, the 2019 EP End Story, which still sounds great three years later. In fact, their sound remains surprisingly fresh; in a time when most indie/alt-rock bands kinda sound like warmed-over dad rock (I’m sorry, but it’s true), Clair Morgan and co.’s complex, energetic sound stands out. They’ve clearly still got a strong DC postpunk influence, simultaneously evoking the deceptively complicated melodies of the Dismemberment Plan and the challenging versatility of late-period Fugazi. Suffice it to say, you can count on a performance by New Lions to keep you not only wide awake but moving with the music throughout. And isn’t that what we all want from a Saturday night?
Sunday, July 24, 6:30 PM
Decrepit Birth, Pathology, Unmerciful, Stabbing @ The Canal Club – $18 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Look, y’all, I love metal. I’ve been listening to metal since I was a little kid, and the heavier it got, the more I liked it. That’s still true, and for that reason and many others, I absolutely have to tell you to go see Decrepit Birth when they come to The Canal Club this Sunday night. Ever since the release of their debut album, …And Time Begins, back in 2003 (damn, almost 20 years ago now), they’ve been one of the leading exponents of brutal, blistering death metal on the scene. These guys know how to crank out the hair-flailing, headbanging metal riffs, and they know how to keep them moving at hyperspeed, full of powerful energy that only cranks up even higher when they slow it down and get the whole place moshing.
In recent times, founding Decrepit Birth vocalist Bill Robinson has stepped back from the group, allowing an understudy of sorts to step in for live performances. However, for whatever reason, the current Decrepit Birth tour sees Robinson returning on vocals, so this show will bring us the lineup that’s made some of the best death metal albums of the past two decades. That’s definitely not something you want to miss. And you also don’t want to miss openers Pathology, the long-running project of drummer Dave Astor, who previously blasted the beats for The Locust and Cattle Decapitation. Pathology carries on the hyperblasting brutality of his previous groups, and that’s clear from their latest album, The Everlasting Plague. With technical grind-metal ragers Unmerciful and gore-metal maniacs Stabbing rounding out the bill, this is going to be a truly excellent example of death fucking metal. And I, for one, am here for it. You should be too.
Monday, July 25, 7:30 PM
Simon Joyner, Shane Kelley @ Black Iris Social Club – $10
But hey, let’s switch gears a bit. Because humans cannot survive on heavy music alone. Sometimes you’ve just got to relax and appreciate the work of talented singer-songwriters who tend towards quietude rather than mind-shearing volume. Where those sorts of musicians are concerned, they don’t get much more brilliant than Simon Joyner. Based in Omaha, Joyner’s been making his moody folk Americana sounds for over three decades now, and has been cited as an influence by all sorts of talented midwesterners, from Beck to Gillian Welch to Bright Eyes. And yet, throughout all that time, he’s remained somewhat underrated. Witness the fact that his latest tour sees him headlining Black Iris Social Club, and not The Broadberry, or The National.
That’s OK, though, because music like Simon Joyner’s lends itself to intimacy, to being heard in small rooms where the chatter from the bar never risks overwhelming the brilliant fella with the acoustic guitar onstage. Joyner’s currently on tour for his brand new album, Songs For A Stolen Guitar, which shows him still at the top of his game, writing dark, perceptive tunes that peer fearlessly into the microscopic details of ordinary lives in a manner that’s sure to hit you straight in the heart. I don’t say this lightly, but with the loss of John Prine, Joyner might be the best living troubadour of ordinary American lives that we’ve got. And if that sounds like I’m laying it on a little thick, well… make sure you come to this show before you say that. Because trust me, the man really is that brilliant, and we’re lucky as hell to have him playing a small room in the heart of our city. Don’t mess this one up, y’all — be there when Simon Joyner hits the stage at Black Iris this Monday night. You won’t be sorry.
Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 PM
LA Guns, Dividing Face @ The Beacon Theatre – $25-$32 (order tickets HERE)
OK, here’s the deal, y’all: I’ve written about LA Guns in this space before — three years ago, the last time they played The Beacon down in Hopewell. And, as befits a band that’s been around for damn near 40 years, not too much has happened with LA Guns since then. They’re still led by frontman Phil Lewis and guitar hero Tracii Guns, who made up the band’s core back when they were one of the best glam metal bands of that whole late 80s scene. And if you’re like me, and have fond memories of their dirtbag brilliance, as displayed on tracks like “Sex Action,” “Never Enough,” and “Rip And Tear,” you’re gonna have a blast at this show — just as you would have three years ago.
Now, if you’re not familiar with LA Guns, or if you’ve never really given much time to glam metal in general, you might be like, “Why send us back to see this band again, Drew?” Look, I get it, but it’s a Tuesday night, you’ve got nothing else going on, and there really aren’t that many shows to pick from. When I lay ’em all out in a row, this one’s the one that stands out the most — and it’s not close. So if you’re the type of person to dig in your heels and refuse to check out anything that might come off as “cheesy” or whatever, I beg of you to drop the pretension this once, and give LA Guns a real chance to show you why they can still play theatres 30 years after their biggest hit. They may all be 60 years old by now, but they can rock as hard as dudes half their age — they proved it with the album they released last year, Checkered Past, and they’ll prove it when they come to The Beacon this Tuesday night. I guarantee 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]