Saturday, November 20, 6:30 PM
The Fall Of Troy, Strawberry Girls, Kaonashi, Satyr @ The Canal Club – $25 in advance, $30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Most music in the world fits into nice, neat categories. And that can be fine a lot of the time; whether you’re into indie, pop-punk, or vaporwave, it can be nice to hear about a new artist and know just from a one or two word description whether they are relevant to your interests or not. But what’s really great is when a band comes along who don’t have a nice, neat relationship with any one genre, who challenges your expectations no matter what angle you approach them from — but also provides sounds that are accessible from any one of a variety of musical backgrounds.
The Fall Of Troy is definitely in the latter category, and they’ve been demonstrating that about themselves for nearly 20 years now. For many fans, including me, the introduction was Doppelganger, their 2005 sophomore album and first for Equal Vision Records. On that album, songs like “Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles” and “We Better Learn To Hotwire A Uterus” showed off not only an off-kilter sense of wit but a relentless creative energy, throwing riff after riff at you in a madcap combination of emo melodies, math-rock guitar shredding, hardcore punk velocity, and thrashing breakdowns. It was hard to believe that only three people were responsible for all this incredible noise, but it was true.
Now those same three people are back on the road, celebrating the landmark achievement in their career that Doppelganger became by playing the album in its entirety on every night of this tour — including this Saturday night at the Canal Club. So whether you’re a longtime Fall Of Troy fan who’s always longed to see them play “Macaulay Culkin” live in its full eight-minute glory, or an intrigued listener ready for a dose of intriguing weirdness that is both melodic and heavy, you really ought to score yourself a ticket and get ready to rage at this one.
Wednesday, November 17, 6 PM
Vended, Omerta, Hazing Over, Mikau @ The Canal Club – $13 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There are many things in this world that make me feel old; with good reason, too — I’ll be 46 in about two months. But the fact that nu-metal’s second generation is upon us was still not something I was prepared for. I’m being very literal about this: Vended isn’t just another Iowa band with a huge dose of Slipknot in their musical DNA. They literally have Slipknot in their DNA: singer Griffin Taylor and drummer Simon Crahan are the actual sons of Slipknot members Corey Taylor and Shawn “Clown” Crahan. That’s probably got more to do with the massive dose of press Vended’s early singles have received than anything else, but I must say: if you’re a fan of Slipknot, and of the more musically serious and actually heavy side of the original nu-metal wave, you’re going to find a lot to bang your head about when Vended hit the stage. Regardless of who their dads are.
The rest of this show offers quite a bit more for the modern young thrasher to get stoked about. Texas band Omerta are co-headlining this bill, and they mix that same sort of Slipknot-style heaviness with a strong hip hop influence that sees them going for a full-on rapcore approach at times. And yeah, that gets a little goofy at points on their debut EP, Hyperviolence, but in the end, it’s a lot of fucking fun, and even if you’d be embarrassed to blast some of their songs on your car stereo while you drove through Carytown, you will almost certainly have a ton of fun moshing around to Omerta at the Canal Club. This evening also features a bonus appearance by brutal Pittsburgh metallers Hazing Over, who evolved out of the heavy-screamo ensemble Shin Guard and floored everybody earlier this year with the release of their first EP, Pestilence. If you fuck with what Vein is doing with the whole “screamo-influenced metal brutality” thing, Hazing Over are sure to light your fire. So yeah — show up early to this one.
Thursday, November 18, 8 PM
Benjamin Butterworth & The Purgatory Emporium Band, The Inflatables, Captain Grandpa, Ben & The Bajas @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
If you’ve been around the Richmond music scene for a while, you’ve probably encountered Ben Butterworth. He’s been making music in RVA for over a decade, and in addition to his occasional solo gigs, he’s playing in bands of all types, from bluegrass to psychedelic surf rock. However, this month marks the very first time that he has released a solo album. Purgatory Emporium came out back on the 5th, but Ben is getting a big crew together at The Camel this Thursday night to have a formal celebration of the album’s birthing into the world. It’s certainly something you should be there for.
Butterworth’s new album mixes touches of soul, Americana, country, and classic rock into a powerful gumbo of musical greatness. And during his headlining set at The Camel, he’ll be joined by many of the excellent Richmond musicians who backed him in the studio, including members of No BS! Brass Band, Jackass Flats, The Southern Belles, and more. But that’s not all — this evening is not only a celebration of Ben’s new album a veritable festival of everything he’s brought to Richmond’s music scene over the past decade. To that end, the evening will begin with a showcase of several projects Ben has been involved with in the past. The Inflatables, Captain Grandpa, and Ben & The Bajas will all show off different sides of this talented musician and songwriter, and all around great guy. It’s sure to be a fun time for all, especially if you’ve missed the one-big-family nature of Richmond’s music scene over the past 18 months of hiding in our houses. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Friday, November 19, 7:30 PM
Railgun, Almost Gone, Asylum 213, Outerloop @ Another Round Bar And Grill – $5
Punk rock trio Railgun have been around Richmond for a few years now, and they’re steadily getting better as they go along. They demonstrated that with the six-song EP they released during the pandemic, Seishin No Tatakai. If that one missed you, what with everything else that was going on in the summer of 2020, well, you’re not alone, but it’s past time you rectify that oversight. What’s more, you should come spend your Friday night with Railgun at Another Round, because as good as these funk-soul-influenced uptempo punk numbers sound through your headphones, they’re that much better live, in person, and at full volume.
Railgun aren’t just the top-billed group on this lineup, they’ve also been put in charge of booking the other bands, so they’ve brought in a bunch of friends from around the state, to provide what they’re promising as “sick riffs, belting screams, and awkward moments in-between songs!” Sounds like some classic DIY show excellence to me. Almost Gone are melodic rockers with a tendency toward mid-period Green Day or something of that sort. Asylum 213 sound like they’re going to be goth or metal or something, but instead they’re melodic, guitar-driven indie/shoegaze. Which is all good by me. Fairfax rockers Outerloop round things out, for an evening that’s sure to be a lot of good-rocking fun. Get into it.
Saturday, November 20, 6:30 PM
John Hiatt & Jerry Douglas Band @ The Beacon Theatre – $45-60 (order tickets HERE)
Throughout the time I’ve been paying attention to music, John Hiatt has been widely regarded as an underrated genius of American songwriting. I first formed this impression back in the late 80s, when “Slow Turning” was his new single. Songs like “Perfectly Good Guitar,” “Have A Little Faith In Me,” and “Child Of The Wild Blue Yonder” have maintained his reputation over the decades, but he’s never really broken through in the mainstream. These days, he’s approaching his 70th birthday, and his latest record, Leftover Feelings, finds him teaming up with the Jerry Douglas Band to do an acoustic album with a country/bluegrass roots sound. But he’s still John Hiatt, so he’s still writing brilliant tunes that shine through no matter what genre you might file them under.
No matter how you come to Hiatt’s show with the Jerry Douglas Band at the Beacon in Hopewell this Saturday night, you really can’t lose. Whether you’ve followed his career for decades through the many twists and turns he’s experienced, or if you’re just a person who loves good music and wonders what you might have missed with this guy, you’re sure to get a night of music that lifts your spirit and enriches your soul. Douglas, who plays lap steel and resonator guitar with surehanded brilliance, has made over a dozen solo albums, but is better known for his work with big names like Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Elvis Costello, as well as having played on the legendary O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. His collaboration with John Hiatt is just another example of his brilliant taste. Come experience what these geniuses are able to create when they team up; you’re sure to appreciate it.
Sunday, November 21, 7 PM
Woman Crush Wednesdays (On Sunday), feat. Cerulean, Eliza Whitmire, Anterra, hosted by Bri Bevan @ The Camel – $7 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Since I got back to this whole show-column racket, I’ve been looking around for examples of small-scale, more DIY-style shows happening, and I’ve gotta tell ya: they’ve been kinda thin on the ground. I have to wonder if concerns about the lingering effects of COVID aren’t holding people back from some of the more informal sorts of shows that used to be a pretty big part of the local music scene. I don’t blame anyone if so — god knows I’m not going out in public on a nightly basis yet myself — but it is unfortunate for the scene as a whole, because those shows were really important to keeping the soil of the Richmond music scene fertile and enriching.
With all that in mind, I’m glad to see local singer-songwriter Bri Bevan bringing back her ongoing series, Woman Crush Wednesdays, even if she has had to move it to Sunday this time around. This series has brought me my first awareness of quite a few local musicians over the last few years, and this latest edition has awakened me to the pleasing sounds of Cerulean, a project that may or may not be named after an album by a Pennsylvania indie-rock band I liked in the early 90s (let’s be real, though, probably not). On the recordings I’ve heard, Cerulean layers gorgeous vocal harmonies overtop of pleasantly minimal acoustic guitar in a manner that will almost certainly sound great ringing through the Camel’s performance room. Fellow singer-songwriters Eliza Whitmire and Anterra round out a bill that should be an understated and excellent way to end a weekend of noise and fury.
Monday, November 22, 7 PM
Twin Tribes, Lunacy, True Body @ Fallout – $10 in advance, $15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Glad to see Fallout is still out here bringing us the best in underground goth sounds. You can count on the fetish club in town to be up on the latest sounds from the black eyeliner set, and this week, they’re coming through once again by bringing us a set of moody postpunk synth-pop courtesy of Texas duo Twin Tribes. Their latest LP, Altars, features a selection of previous Twin Tribes songs remixed by a variety of electronic heavy hitters, but of course this duo will be bringing their original sound to life onstage at Fallout, complete with chiming guitars, pounding programmed beats, and spooky synth washes. It’ll be a properly moody good time; honestly, if the fog machine isn’t getting heavy use during their set, it’s a missed opportunity.
Pennsylvania’s Lunacy are also on this bill. Currently touring behind “Dust,” an advance single for the LP they’re planning to release in February, these guys demonstrate a severe sound of the sort that makes me think of early 90s Teutonic scowlers like Front 242. Meanwhile, the aforementioned soon-to-be-released LP will be coming on Oliver from A Place To Bury Strangers’ new label, so you know it’s got domestic pedigree as well. This group is one to watch, so come watch them at Fallout this Monday night. Tidewater diehards True Body round out a bill full of doom and gloom — in the best way possible. Of course.
Tuesday, November 23, 7 PM
Undeath, Dreams Of Atrocity @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Another thing that felt slightly lacking in my initial return to the show column grind was truly heavy music. This week has flipped the script back in the other direction with that, and while I don’t know how the masses feel about that, I am truly stoked to be able to send you guys off in the direction of so many heavy-as-hell nights of thrash fury. Here’s one more before we complete the week — a Tuesday night of headbanging phantasmagoria at The Camel, starring Rochester NY deathgrinders Undeath.
These guys don’t appear to be zombies based on their promo photos, but I will say that their 2020 LP, Lesions Of A Different Kind, provides an excellent soundtrack for a zombie-killing rampage (even if that rampage is only happening in a video game. Well, and let’s be honest — I hope that’s the only place it’s happening). These guys have it all: intense growling vocals, brutal rumbling breakdowns, high-speed blastbeat riffage, technical shredding… everything you could possibly want from a death metal band, they’ll hit you with all of it, at top volume, at the Camel this Tuesday night. Show up, raise your fist, bang your head, and get lost in the glory of true metal brutality.
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): firstname.lastname@example.org