Saturday, November 11, 5 PM
Antiphons, Private Cry, Castle Of Genre, Twin Drugs, Groovy Movies @ Hardywood – Free!
If there’s one takeaway from the Richmond music scene in 2017, it’s that the whole Citrus City crew just keeps going with a high rate of great stuff. Antiphons are further proving this with their brand new EP, the release celebration for which will take place at this stacked free show at Hardywood Saturday evening. Fine is a five-track followup to their debut full-length, Groan, which was also released by Citrus City this year.
The EP isn’t out yet, obviously, so therefore we’ve only heard the first song thus far. But right now, it’s clear from opening single “Benadryl” that this band has a lot more in store. The title, referencing a stupor-inducing antihistamine that has had me staggering half-awake through many a spring day in my lifetime, fits well with the sound the band creates on this track and indeed, on all of their material. Glittering guitars flutter above hazy vocals and a muted yet subtly propulsive rhythm, which keeps the whole thing from drifting into somnolence. It’s not shoegaze in any traditional sense, but it would certainly make sense for you to gaze at your shoes while listening.
I’m going to advise you keep your eyes on the stage throughout this Saturday night festival of sound, however, as Antiphons are but one of the many local talents that await you on this bill. There aren’t many recorded sounds out there from Private Cry as yet, but the band’s done a lot to generate excitement on the local scene with striking live performances, so if you haven’t caught them yet, now’s a perfect time. Castle of Genre and Twin Drugs are both worth your time as well, with the former finding a niche somewhere not too far removed from that beautifully sluggish indie sound that’s all the rage lately, as the latter strike a much more traditional shoegaze chord with their Lilys/Swirlies-derived sound. All this plus newcomer Groovy Movies, about whom I know little beyond their admittedly appealing name, kicking things off–and it’s free! You can’t afford NOT to come to this one!
Wednesday, November 8, 8 PM
JonWayne, Danny Watts, EMV, Adam Jackson @ Capital Ale House – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Am I a jerk if I look at JonWayne and my first thought is “Oh, I guess he’s the hipster Action Bronson”? Maybe, but upon listening I’ve learned that I’m wrong (and not just because the hipsters already love Action Bronson). JonWayne is not only a rapper but a producer, and he not only creates the beats for his rap tracks but also has released multiple instrumental albums, in the tradition of Dilla or Peanut Butter Wolf–the latter of which signed JonWayne to his Stones Throw label back in 2012. Since then, JonWayne has released multiple vocal and instrumental albums, his most recent being Rap Album Two earlier this year. Between his thick, soulful beats, which betray a history of serious crate-digging, and his sluggish yet erudite rhymes, the guy’s got a lot to recommend himself. Fans of deep, head-nodding beats and smooth flows should definitely stop sleeping on this guy.
Danny Watts is joining JonWayne on this trip to Richmond, and this Houston rapper just released his first LP, Black Boy Meets World. Coming out on Authors Recording Company, JonWayne’s new label, it also features production by JonWayne, who apparently missed producing for other rappers and signed Watts to give him an opportunity to step back behind the boards again. The results are killer, with Watts’s skilled flow taking center stage over subtler, more melodic beats than one might expect from a JonWayne solo joint. The two will be joined on this bill by LA rapper EMV and local opener Adam Jackson, bringing a night of hip hop to Capital Ale House of all places–which seems to be expanding its horizons lately. Commendable.
Thursday, November 9, 9 PM
Classical Revolutions RVA & Quatro Na Bossa @ Flora – $10
It’s time to expand our horizons, and get outside our comfort zones a little bit. I don’t know about you, but for me, a collaborative performance bringing together a local bossa nova quartet and a classical music ensemble definitely qualifies. Quatro Na Bossa have been playing bossa nova music around Richmond and the world for about 15 years now, and their smooth, sunny take on this traditional Brazilian form is enrapturing and shows off a wealth of talent among the group’s members.
Classical Revolutions RVA has been around for quite a bit less time than Quatro Na Bossa, but it is this group that is the reason for the event. Classical Revolutions RVA is kicking off a week-long celebration of their fifth anniversary with this performance. The ensemble formed with the mission to bring classical music out of the fancy music halls and back into the spaces where music lives and breathes, and they certainly achieve that end by spending an evening collaborating with a bossa nova band in the back room of a Mexican restaurant. The combined ensembles will bring us a variety of classical and popular compositions from some of Brazil’s greatest composers–and couldn’t we all do with a little more enlightenment where that’s concerned? I’d say so! Let’s hit this one up.
Friday, November 10, 8 PM
Night Idea, Cinemechanica, Dumb Waiter, Doubtfire @ Gallery 5 – $7
Things are getting both mathy and metallic this Friday night at Gallery 5. Night Idea are coming to us directly on the heels of releasing their excellent fourth LP, Riverless, which takes the band’s sound further in all sorts of different directions than it’s ever gone before. I love all the King Crimson-esque touches that bleed into the new songs, and all of the excellent melodies that remain at the foreground as they have throughout the band’s history. However, I must admit, when I think about math-rock, I’m always hoping for something heavier–something that harks back to the genre’s pioneering days here in RVA, with excellent bygone bands like Breadwinner, Slianglaos, and Ladyfinger.
For that reason, I’m super stoked to see that Night Idea will share the top spot on this bill with Cinemechanica, an Athens, Georgia band with a less-than-prolific track record (their 2016 self-titled LP is their first release since 2008 EP Rivals, and only their third release overall) but an incredibly powerful and, yes, heavy sound that makes up for any amount of lag time between albums. The group’s crunchy, powerful sound and completely unpredictable song structures and time signatures all unite to create the same sort of frenetic, powerful vibe generated by bands like Barkmarket, Meshuggah, and Drive Like Jehu. It’s super sick, it’s loaded with energy, and it’s set to knock your socks off when Cinemechanica take the stage–and who knows when the band will be back, considering their track record, so don’t miss this one! Local jazz-metal instrumental firebrands Dumb Waiter and metal powerhouse Doubtfire will kick things off in fine fashion, so show up on time–you won’t regret it.
Saturday, November 11, 8 PM
Thorp Jenson, Deau Eyes, Moosetrap @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the four or so years I’ve been doing this column, it’s that you should never assume you know about everything that’s happening around here, because the Richmond scene is always capable of throwing you a curveball. Thorp Jenson is the scene’s latest curveball for me personally–I was certainly not expecting a heartfelt alt-country singer to suddenly show up fully formed on our local scene, complete with praise from Rolling Stone magazine slotted into his press kit. Of course, a little digging shows that it’s not really as big a surprise as it seems at first blush–Jenson is really local singer-songwriter Chris Ryan, who picked up a goofy name from bandmates poking fun at his ranch-hand mustache and decided to run with it.
Jenson clearly has quite a few great local connections formed back when he was just another dude named Chris, as can be seen in the list of backing musicians and collaborators he’s accumulated on this album. With songwriting help from Spacebomb all-star Cameron Ralston and bass tracks on the album laid down by Butcher Brown’s Andrew Randazzo, it’s clear the man knows who to call to flesh out his tunes. That said, he’s the one who deserves the ultimate credit for new album Odessa‘s stunning mix of Petty, Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and the Drive-By Truckers–and you’re sure to get a kick out of the set he lays down while celebrating that album’s release at The Camel this Saturday night. So don’t let the many twists and turns of the local scene throw you–come out and catch on to this one.
Sunday, November 12, 5 PM
My Enemies & I, Give Em Hell Kid, Vilified, Voids, Telltale, Mending Fences @ The Canal Club – $10 in advance/$13 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve never been ashamed to admit my love for metalcore, but once we cross the line into full-on nu-metal revival, things tend to head towards guilty pleasure territory. That said, if it’s done right I end up loving it just as much, which is why I’m stoked to see Richmond’s own nu-metal revivalists My Enemies & I celebrating the release of their first LP, The Beast Inside, at the Canal Club on Sunday. The album’s on Fearless Records, who I’ll always think of as the least likely home of At The Drive-In but has had considerable success in recent years with much heavier groups like Pierce The Veil and The Word Alive.
It’s pretty cool to see a local group hitting the big time like this, especially when their music is the kind of ridiculous blast of energy straight to the brain that this band brings. Their mix between rebellious mosh anthems and surprisingly emotional breakdowns is leavened with the hip hop-derived rhythms and programmed beats of Korn and the harsh, scraping noise and foul-mouthed irreverence of Slipknot. Songs like “Riot” (“Speak, motherfucker! Stand up, motherfucker!”) and “Funeral Party” (“Fuck what you heard of me”) remind me exactly why I loved blasting Iowa and Life Is Peachy out of my car’s tape deck 15 years ago. It’s high time this kind of thing showed back up. This show starts early and features fully FIVE opening bands, so I’m not gonna say you have to get there right when doors open, but this jammer is all-ages, so if you want to get down front, you better be ready to beat the rush. And watch out for stagedivers.
Monday, November 13, 8 PM
Astronoid, Shy Low, Paint Store @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Oh wow, new discovery of the week alert! Somehow I missed Astronoid’s 2016 album, Air, back when it came out, and only realized what this band actually has going on once I checked out this upcoming show to decide what to write about for Monday. Something like 30 seconds in, the debate was over. There’s no way I can miss the chance to highlight a band doing something this incredible. Air is an album that has received comparisons to Deafheaven and Alcest, which is automatically exciting to me. But what really makes this album stand out in the field of what has annoyingly been called “blackgaze” (shoegaze black metal. Don’t worry, I hate it too) is the way it manages to hide all its brutal riffing and blasting drums beneath gorgeous layers of beautifully harmonized clean vocals and some downright PRETTY guitar leads. Who saw that coming?
I didn’t, but I’m delighted to see this band coming to Strange Matter next Monday, and taking the opportunity to entrance us all with their intriguing hybrid sound, which I am imagining will somehow be both heavier and prettier in a live environment. They are well paired with Shy Low, whose recent Burning Day EP sees the band moving in a heavier direction from their earlier material while still retaining the elements of their epic instrumental sound with which they originally made their sound. Openers Paint Store have some of that Breadwinner-ish metallic math sound I was talking about earlier going on, and it’s always a welcome phenomenon. On the whole, this show is a can’t lose proposition. Don’t miss it.
Tuesday, November 14, 8 PM
Gas Station Mentality, CGI Jesus, Vanilla Summit @ The Camel – $5
I guess this is the week for heavy, metallic math-rock, and I suppose someone could imply that this betrays a lack of imagination on my part. But really, with the kind of bands that are coming to town this week, can you blame me? Gas Station Mentality is the latest intriguing math-metal group to grab my attention, and if you’re the sort of person who can resist a name like that, you’re stronger than I am. Now that I’ve heard the band’s Systematically Manufactured album from earlier this year, though, I know my instincts were correct, because this is definitely a trio to watch.
Gas Station Mentality cite jazz and funk influences in what they do, and you can certainly hear those bleeding through in the background, but the foreground is all Don Caballero/Breadwinner/Blind Idiot God type vibes, and it’s completely thrilling. Headbangers who enjoy the challenge of having to second-guess the beat on which they should throw their hair around will get a kick out of this one, as will the instrumental technicians who prefer to study a band’s dynamic fretwork. With CGI Jesus and Vanilla Summit representing RVA on the bill, there’ll be additional opportunities for study, as both of these bands bring a complex metallic sensibility to the realms of jazz improvisation. Whether you choose to closely follow the moves of the instrumentalists or to rock out with abandon, though, this is the show for you. You’ll have plenty of chances to do either–or both.
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] [yes, my email is through GayRVA, don’t get weird about it]