Monday, April 18, 7 PM
Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, Negative Approach @ The Broadberry – $35 in advance (order tickets HERE)
Richmond is in for a veritable bonanza of amazing live shows this week, and it all centers around this amazing triple bill of first-wave hardcore bands, all of whom are ready, willing, and able to run rings around millennials half their age and leave The Broadberry in a smoldering heap. It’ll be a blast. You need to be there. But on the off chance you didn’t get handed mixtapes with all three of these bands on them when you were in ninth grade (status quo for teenage punks when I was in high school — which was admittedly over a quarter-century ago) and actually need an explanation, let’s discuss the bands on this bill.
First and foremost, the legendary Circle Jerks. This pioneering California hardcore quartet was formed by Keith Morris (Black Flag/OFF!) and guitarist Greg Hetson (Redd Kross/Bad Religion), who are still at it over 40 years after their classic debut LP, Group Sex, redefined punk rock in terms of speed and energy, helping to define the then-nascent genre of hardcore. In 2022, they’re on tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary reissue of their second LP, 1982’s Wild In The Streets, which just came out on new label Trust Records in a dramatically expanded version. You should definitely order your own copy of that one, but also make sure you show up for this show, because unbelievably, even at the age of 66, Keith Morris is still the energetic maniac we all saw for the first time in 1980 LA punk documentary Decline Of Western Civilization — and you better believe the music still rules. Come ready to skank.
And show up on time, because speaking of amazingly well-preserved frontmen, Negative Approach leader John Brannon is still an absolute hardcore psycho beast, and he and the rest of his band will be bringing their pioneering Detroit hardcore rage to the Broadberry stage to blow all of us away at the start of this show. Not to be outdone, brothers Kevin Seconds and Steve Youth are back together yet again at the head of their legendary melodic hardcore group, 7 Seconds, whose sound an old friend of mine once described as “the aggression of Minor Threat with the hooks of the Misfits” — I can’t argue with that. The point is this: all three of these bands have been incredible and highly worth your time for every second of the past 40-plus years, and they still will be this Monday night. If you don’t already have your ticket, you know what to do.
Wednesday, April 13, 7 PM
Guerilla Toss, Toxic Moxie @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Long running postpunk group Guerilla Toss has been through a whole bunch of changes recently, and they’ve put all of them on display on their brand new album, Famously Alive (their first for the legendary Sub Pop label), which was just released into the world at large a few weeks ago. If you dug the driving, off-kilter funk weirdness and hyperkinetic velocity of previous Guerilla Toss releases, rest assured, the band is still going to make you want to dance like a maniac when they take the Richmond Music Hall stage. There’s a decidedly brighter vibe to their new album, which is truly wild since the songs on it were put together in isolation during the pandemic. Hey, stressful situations inspire different things in everybody.
At this point, though, Guerilla Toss are itching to get back into the world and share the music they’ve created with all of us. And considering how much we all are still recovering from a year and a half without any live music of any kind, what they’re bringing to RVA is exactly what this city needs. Better yet, they’re joined on this bill by Toxic Moxie, who should by now need no introduction to the Richmond music faithful. On the off chance you’re new here, though, let me explain: Toxic Moxie bring a melodic, nigh-psychedelic vibe to songs that are fundamentally constructed at the point where disco groove and punk rock bash come together. Honestly, it’s not too different from what Guerilla Toss does, guaranteeing that these two great sounds will sound even greater together. Make it happen, cap’n.
Thursday, April 14, 7 PM
Pom Pom Squad, Chloe Lilac, Lobby Boy @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $15 in advance, $17 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There’s a real renaissance in melodic punk rock happening these days, and I for one am here for it. And honestly, the best examples of the genre’s recent peaks I can think of are all coming from women. Take Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin, for example, who starts the debut full-length from her poppy, punky project with a song talking about wanting to marry “the scariest girl on the cheerleading team.” Who can’t relate to that one? More importantly, who isn’t totally rocked to death by the many excellent songs on Pom Pom Squad’s Death Of A Cheerleader? Look, if you aren’t, you should probably check your pulse. That’s all I’m saying.
Who am I kidding? I’m gonna say more, and we all know it. The first thing I’m gonna say is that Pom Pom Squad rule more than enough to be the sole reason you come out to Richmond Music Hall on a Thursday night. The second thing I’m gonna say is that the opening acts on this bill constitute one heck of a bonus, with New York’s Chloe Lilac bringing some excellent pop music of her own into the mix. She’s got the biting wit of prime-era Courtney Love mixed with the emotional electro-pop sound of Sky Ferreira at her best, and she’s gonna make you feel some feels when she hits the stage, that’s for sure. Harrisonburg’s Lobby Boy, who only a couple weeks ago released an excellent debut full-length, Pretty Songs/Pursuit Of Personhood, will bring their catchy, vaguely retro indie-electro sound to the river city once more. As openers go, they’re a real treat. So yeah: show up on time for this one. It’s in your best interest.
Friday, April 15, 7 PM
Man On Man, Trapcry, Kuni @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Over two years after we all locked down for the first time, the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the music world keep showing up, and they’re less predictable all the time. For example, who would have guessed back in April 2020 when all the yuppies on social media were tweeting about their sourdough starter that the pandemic would eventually result in all of us getting to enjoy a new band from Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottum and his boyfriend Joey Holman? Probably nobody, but it happened, and it’s the best thing to happen to queer-themed alternative rock in a long damn time.
Man On Man, who make no apologies for the homoerotic content of their music, released their self-titled debut album last summer. Singles like “Daddy” and “It’s So Fun (To Be Gay)” first grab your attention with their titles and lyrics, which make this band the obvious 21st century heirs apparent to groundbreaking 90s punk rockers Pansy Division. However, it’s the sounds created by Man On Man are what will keep you coming back over and over to this truly excellent album of melodic indie tunes. Whether you’re someone looking for more LGBTQ representation in indie music or just a huge Faith No More fan excited for some new music by one of your faves, Man On Man’s performance at Richmond Music Hall this Friday night is sure to delight you. Be there.
Saturday, April 16, 8 PM
The Pack AD, Ten Pound Snail, Celler Dwellers @ The Camel – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There’s something about the genre of garage rock that makes it the perfect sound for a bassless rock duo to sink their teeth into. From The White Stripes to The Black Keys, there’s a noble tradition of guitar-drum duos rockin’ hard in the garage-rock domain. Canadians The Pack AD have been carving out their own lane within that tradition for over fifteen years now, and, as is traditional for bands in this genre, they manage to work up a particularly heavy groove without adding any bass guitar to the mix. It’s impressive, especially in light of the fact that they’ve kept it up for eight albums without breaking up (a la The White Stripes) or turning into a basic-ass radio rock band (The Black Keys).
The last time we heard new music from The Pack AD was just about two years ago, when they released their killer eighth album, It Was Fun While It Lasted, which showed off a perfect road-trip aesthetic (song titles include “Gas Station Food” and “Check Engine Light”) just in time for all of us to spend a year and a half in lockdown. Now they’re making up for lost time, bringing their heavy rockin’ sound south of the border to rock The Camel and get everybody moving their feet. So yeah, spend your Saturday night with The Pack AD. That Sunday morning bangover will be 100% worth it.
Sunday, April 17, 7 PM
Juan Wauters @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been many years since I last wrote about Uruguay-born, NYC-based punk troubadour Juan Wauters, but he’s returning to RVA this Sunday with a whole new spin on his long-running solo project. For 2021’s Real Life Situations, Wauters fought back against the isolation of the pandemic times we were all living through back then, focusing on collaboration and pulling together a variety of talented folks to work with him on different songs from the album — Mac DeMarco, Air Waves, Cola Boyy, and a whole bunch more. This focus on integrating a variety of different voices worked well with his overall mission on Real Life Situations: at a time when circumstances beyond our control were making a whole lot of choices for all of us, Wauters decided to make an album about the way some of the best options and possibilities in life come about when we surrender control and take things as they come.
Musically speaking, the radio is the best metaphor for all of this, and Wauters’ latest album is a lot like listening to a radio on a crowded street corner, mixing tunes in a variety of genres — everything from catchy acoustic punk to traditional Latin American musical forms — with random voices, snatches from newscasts, street sounds, and all kinds of other stuff. The obvious question is: how will all of this translate to the live environment on Sunday night at The Camel? I admit I have no idea, but part of the thrill in catching Wauters on Sunday night will be in finding out. After all, it’s sure to be interesting, and it’s almost definitely going to be unpredictable. So get on Juan Wauters’ level, and take it as it comes. It’s sure to be the most unusual night you’ve had in a while, and who doesn’t need more of that?
Monday, April 18, 7 PM
Digital Hell, Ducttape Jesus, Raneshounds, Hunting Dog @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Mysterious, prolific, experimental, electronic — all of these adjectives and more can be applied to the youthful Richmond collective known as Digital Hell. The music they make is bizarre and somewhat unprecedented, simultaneously based in hip hop and extreme noise. They mix programmed beats and atonal screeching into off-kilter grooves over which they drop rhymes and talk shit with the best of them, along with frequent collaborators like Ducttape Jesus.
Recently, Digital Hell and Ducttape Jesus collaborated for an EP entitled KNC, and it’s that EP they’ll be coming together to celebrate at The Camel. The sounds they’ll be bringing to the stage on that evening are unusual and hard to predict or categorize, but if you like seeing musicians push the limits of multiple genres at once, this is a show you should make sure you get to. Beat-producing wunderkind Raneshounds and experimental electronic project Hunting Dog kick this one off. Come out and broaden your musical horizons.
Tuesday, April 19, 7 PM
Delta Sleep, It Looks Sad, Gender Roles, Colin Phils @ The Canal Club – $16 in advance, $18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
When you’re a fan of the wide world of post-hardcore music, it’s easy to ignore the rest of the world and just focus on America. After all, a ton of great bands on that genre spectrum come from right here in the United States. You don’t necessarily need to look outside our borders to find great examples of emo, math rock, screamo, post-rock, and other affiliated genres. That said, you’re really blowing it if you don’t — there are many great bands doing this sort of thing that come from far-flung corners of the world, and if you sleep on them, you might just miss out on some of the best music being played today.
If you’re wondering whether I’m telling you all this just to get you to pay attention to Kent, UK’s Delta Sleep, well, OK, I admit it, you’ve figured me out. Delta Sleep’s fourth album, Spring Island, came out last year, and it is full of amazing tunes that should absolutely appeal to anyone who appreciates the music of Tera Melos, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and pretty much anything inbetween. They’re coming to the Canal Club on Tuesday night, and I mostly have no idea who with; their fellow UK band Gender Roles apparently broke up acrimoniously just before the tour started, and North Carolinians It Looks Sad cancelled their participation in this tour due to lingering concerns over COVID. As far as I know, Richmond’s own Colin Phils will be on the bill, and they rule, so that’s good at least. But here’s what’s most important: Delta Sleep is gonna play, and they’re gonna be awesome. That’s reason enough to be there, even if all the openers bail out. Don’t blow 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]