Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26, 7 PM all three nights
J Roddy Walston & The Business 3 Night Stand, feat. The Trillions (Fri), Spooky Cool (Sat), Sleepwalkers (Sun) @ The Broadberry – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s a holiday weekend, so to a certain extent, all bets are off where live entertainment is concerned. There’ll still be something happening, but it’ll be tribute shows, or goofy themed dance parties, or random one-offs. You’ll see most of that stuff later in the column, but right now, we’ve got a rare case in which the holiday weekend has inspired something pretty amazing.
Back in the day, mid-level touring rock n’ roll bands would do multi-night stands at venues all the time, but these days it’s a pretty rare thing. However, one thing J. Roddy Walston & The Business have always been is old-school, and they’re demonstrating that to the fullest extent this weekend with the total baller move of doing a three-night stand at the Broadberry, booking the entire post-Thanksgiving weekend at one of the bigger rock clubs in town. This might have been a mistake that saw the band playing to a half-full hall three nights in a row, but as of now it looks like they pulled it off–Saturday is a hair’s breadth away from selling out, and Friday’s closing in on a sellout itself.
Walston & co. released their long-awaited followup to 2013 game-changer Essential Tremors a couple months ago, and Destroyers Of The Soft Life adds a bit more Kings Of Leon-style swagger to their energetic, sweat-soaked sound, making that four-year wait totally worth it. The Broadberry is, as previously mentioned, one of the bigger clubs in town, but with the Business’s roof-shaking sound, it’s sure to feel like an intimate night communing with the closest this city’s got to a true rock n’ roll hero. So pick the opener you like best (though if the answer to that one is Spooky Cool, you better hop to it!) and grab a ticket for the night of your choice. Party away the extra weight you gained on Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 22, 7 PM
White Boy & The Average Rat Band, Lightning Born, DJ Jeeb, DJ Slimehole @ Champion RVA – Free!
Look, I know–you’ve got holiday traffic to deal with, Mama wants you to make it up to the old homestead before dark, and you always get a kick out of staying up late watching TV on your parents’ couch like nothing’s changed since high school. But I’m gonna advise you to skip all that and do your driving at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving Day, because you’ll really be blowing it in a major way if you don’t stick around Richmond long enough to catch a free show from White Boy & The Average Rat Band over at Champion tonight. A lot of you are probably wondering who the hell that even is, but trust me, your friend with the encyclopedic record collection already knows, and he’s already let Mama know he won’t be at the house til 11 tomorrow morning.
If you want to get in the know here, the best way to do that is to take a chance and come out tonight–but failing that, I can let you in on some of the details. White Boy & The Average Rat Band was a tiny little group out of Tazewell County, VA at the dawn of the 80s. They made one solitary LP full of metallic punk sounds at the time, and it totally rips and would thrill today’s denim n’ leather set. And now it’s got a chance to, since that long-gone LP, which has been fetching heavy prices on the collector’s market for years has finally been reissued on CD–which might be why this band is suddenly back in action. Whatever the reason, come out to Champion tonight and find out why Richlands isn’t as much of a hole as you might have been led to believe. Plus, catch a bonus opening set from Demon Eye, still featuring old Richmond pal Erik Sugg, and now featuring Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity as well!
Friday, November 24, 8 PM
The Spliffs, Imaginary Boys, DJ RIP @ Strange Matter – $5
Here’s one of those fun random one-offs I was talking about before. The holidays are always a bit weird, and for everyone who has a great time with a loving family over each and every holiday weekend, there’s another person with no one to hang out with or nothing to look forward to back at the old homestead but a bunch of awkwardness, discomfort, and maybe even arguments. Plenty of us need a way to blow off steam after all that, and that’s even more true if we have the misfortune to work or even shop on the day known as Black Friday.
Luckily, Strange Matter is giving us all a chance to let our hair down–or put our hair up, as the case may be–and enjoy ourselves with a fun little covers show. Taking the Black Friday name as an ironic theme, this night features tribute acts covering the Smiths and the Cure, the dynamic duo of darkness and despair. Both of these bands are surprisingly danceable for groups with such persistently gloomy lyrics, and local ensembles The Spliffs and Imaginary Boys will bring their sounds to life and get you waving your arms around in a baggy sweater with a big smile on your face, even as you sing along with lines like “I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does” and “Found myself alone, alone, alone above a raging sea.” What’s not to love about that?
Saturday, November 25, 8 PM
Beex, Memory Loss, Smoke Break, DJ Baby Maria @ Strange Matter – $5
All the young and not-so-young punks need to be paying attention for this one. It’s yet another installment of Strange Matter’s Locals Only series, and this one features some punk-as-fuck tuneage from a variety of different scenes and eras of Richmond punk history. Beex go a long, long way back. Best known for early 80s singles like “Beat Beat” and “Black Boots and Pills,” this band was originally led by dynamic vocalist Christine Gibson and her husband, guitarist Tom Applegate. Gibson passed away about a decade ago, unfortunately, but Applegate is still leading a revived version of the band, which has been making excellent new music full of punkabilly swagger for several years now. Recently released album Zero Degree isn’t quite like the Beex of old, but it still has a lot to offer, and it’s great to see these scene legends still out there kicking as hard as ever.
Memory Loss are a much more au courant example of the punk form, bringing it old-school USHC style in a manner that has become quite popular in recent years. Memory Loss brings together people you’ll know from quite a few other recent local punk bands, and speed, anger, and noisy undertones mark the sound they crank out. Get ready to start the pit. Smoke Break have a similar speedy punk vibe going on, but where Memory Loss are abrasive, this trio bringing together members of Sundials, Hold Tight, Springtime, and more is melodic and fun. Their 2016 LP Everything Is Wrong didn’t really get enough attention locally, either, so if they’ve got any left, you’d do well to pick up a copy. Hell, buy all these bands’ records. After the show, though–you wouldn’t want them to get messed up while you’re rocking out.
Sunday, November 26, 8 PM
Exhumed, Arkaik, Disintegration, Loud Night @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
What a way to cap off Thanksgiving weekend–with a night of brutal, gory death metal! Exhumed, the legendary California gore metal band who released a bushel of 90s classics before disappearing in the early 2000s, has been back for a while, and thankfully, they’ve now brought us their third LP of new material since their reformation. Their lineup has switched around a bit over the past several years, but leader Matt Harvey’s still heading things up, and his current backing group is mainly made up of veterans from 90s-era Exhumed lineups, so take heart–this is still the brutal machine of death you’ve always loved. Seventh album Death Revenge carries on the band’s traditions of alternating high-low vocals, shredtastic riffage, and surprisingly memorable hooks that’ll keep these powerful songs running through your head all day.
Exhumed are joined on this trek by fellow Californians Arkaik, who are certainly bringing plenty of death metal on their own behalf, though theirs has a bit of a different flavor than that of Exhumed. Where Exhumed are dark and messy, Arkaik is technically-driven and clean as a whistle. Both bands have one thing in common, though–they’ll rip your head off if you’re not careful. Arkaik’s brand new full-length, Nemethia, is a full-on killer, and you can believe that this tunes will knock your socks off even quicker in a live environment. Add opening sets from local grinders Disintegration and thrash shredders Loud Night, and you’ve got a full night of ripping metal power. Don’t miss out on that!
Monday, November 27, 8 PM
Jake McKelvie & The Countertops, Sid Kingsley, Blush Face, Addy @ The Camel – $5 (order tickets HERE)
And now for something completely different. Unlike that last show, this one is not heavy at all, but Jake McKelvie and his Countertops are bringing a sound to the Camel that’s sure to make you smile. Their undistorted guitars, bouncy tempos, and vocal harmonies are closer to a folky power-pop sound than anything, although there’s a nervous energy underlying all of their tunes that make a punk lineage completely undeniable. These guys seem like they’d appeal to fans of Jeff Rosenstock, or the Violent Femmes. Maybe even if you like the dBs or the Bongos you should check this out, though at this point I’m making references that will probably only even ring a bell if you’re at least as old as I am. Oh well, let’s move on.
There’s plenty to move on to, with the lineup of local support this bill is carrying. Sid Kingsley’s been doing a lot to raise his profile around town lately, at least if live dates are anything to go by. His soulful crooning and layered piano melodies stand out in a town full of guitar-slingers, but he’s a bit more Elton John than Little Richard–which is a nice thing, especially in this context. Local up-and-coming power-pop crew Blush Face are also a good compliment to the whole vibe being created here, as has been shown by their excellent new LP, What Do You Want? I honestly have no idea who Addy are, and it’s not an easy name to google, but one band being a mystery is easily dealt with when the other three are this much powerful, melodic fun.
Tuesday, November 28, 8 PM
Cloak, Occultist, Embra, R-Complex @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets HERE)
Metal is a great thing. Whenever you’re confused, not knowing where to turn, you can always count on metal being there for you. It’s the same with this excellent bill happening at Strange Matter Tuesday night–Atlanta killers Cloak will be there to give you something to headbang about and dissolve the mid-week doldrums. Their new album, To Venomous Depths, simultaneously reaches deep into the heart of metal’s mournful roots and explores the sonic rage of classic Swedish death metal sounds like At The Gates, all while bringing a feel that’s completely modern and entirely their own. Seeing this volcanic sound come alive onstage is sure to burn you, but only in the best possible way.
RVA metallic-punk (or is it punk-ish metal?) vets Occultist have been keeping a low profile lately, what with two of the band’s members getting busy in gothic side project Unmaker and all. But they’ve chosen to rear their head for this evening of metal thrashery, and not a moment too soon. We could all use a fiery jolt of blackened thrash terror, and this is just the band to give it to us. Be prepared. Brand new shredders Embra and the experimental noise industrial weirdness of R-Complex round out the lineup, and if the night won’t necessarily be wall-to-wall headbangs, it’s sure to jolt you with a full dose of that cosmic energy. BASH!
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]