Friday, September 30, 7 PM
City Of Caterpillar, Loud Night, Dorthia Cottrell @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $15 in advance, $18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Reunions of 90s/00s era bands have become so commonplace these days, that they’re starting to fit into a formula. The first stage is where they get back together in the first place, announcing half a dozen or fewer reunion shows and sending their fanbase (inevitably much larger than it was when they broke up) into a frenzy. Tickets to the shows sell out in seconds, more shows are announced and they sell out… everyone is in love with the band all over again — maybe more than they were the first time. Inevitably, the band stays together, starts touring semi-regularly. The frenzy dies down, but they become a steady draw within their particular subgenre. People aren’t losing their minds anymore, but they’re still stoked about seeing them (this, by the way, is the stage Avail is currently occupying).
Then there’s the difficult third stage of a band reunion, where the band has been practicing regularly for long enough that they know all their old songs as well as they did during their original active period. Inevitably, the members start bringing in new riffs, jamming on fresh ideas, and writing their first new songs in 20 years or whatever. This stage of the process culminates when the band releases their reunion album. And this is where things can go really, really wrong — if the band’s sensibilities have changed too much in the time they were away, if they just don’t have the creative spark that ignited their original discography, if they maybe just don’t have the energy they once had… the steady fanbase they’ve rebuilt can fade away quicker than you ever thought possible. City Of Caterpillar have reached that particular moment of truth; having reformed in 2016 and started to tour semi-regularly over the next couple of years, they have now created a full album’s worth of new material. Entitled Mystic Sisters, it’s coming into the world via Relapse Records on Friday, September 30 — the same day as this show. Which means that this show is put up or shut up time for City Of Caterpillar.
But look — they’re gonna be fine. Any nervousness about City Of Caterpillar’s ability to carry on their legacy as one of the groundbreaking acts of the early-00s screamo scene; their continued ability to write the sort of atmospheric, cinematic masterworks that would build for upwards of five minutes, then explode into fiery chaos; it’s completely unwarranted. Like everyone else, I’ve only thus far had access to three of the eight songs on the new LP, but considering the sheer genius on display, the way “Paranormalities” captures the driving fury of “Fucking Hero,” and “Mystic Sisters” puts a new spin on the ominous horror-movie atmosphere of “A Little Change Could Go A Long Ways”… yeah, they’re gonna be fine. So go rage at this City Of Caterpillar show like it’s the heady days of that first 2016 reunion weekend — you won’t be disappointed.
Wednesday, September 28, 7 PM
The Nude Party, Pearl Charles @ The Broadberry – $18 (order tickets HERE)
I’ve always thought that there was a certain amount of implied class if you use the word “nude” instead of “naked” when you’re talking about people with no clothes on. I don’t really think North Carolina’s The Nude Party is really worried about such things, however. Their music blends a sort of degenerate big-city rock n’ roll swagger you might recognize from the third Velvet Underground album, the Stones’ Exile On Main Street, or The Strokes’ debut album with an almost countrified melodic sense that reminds you, if you ever forget for even a second, that these folks are from the south.
Their 2020 album, Midnight Manor, lands somewhere between Southern-gentleman charm and the sort of elegantly wasted debauchery that is Keith Richards’ standard method of operation. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and The Nude Party are guaranteed to be a fun midweek ticket when they hit the stage at The Broadberry tonight. Will there actually be any nudity on display? Considering that the spectre of the pandemic still looms, I’m not sure such a thing will be a good idea, if it does happen. However, there’s really only one way to find out. And you’re sure to have a blast regardless. Show up to this one.
Thursday, September 29, 9 PM
Partner Look @ Fuzzy Cactus – $10?
I love Fuzzy Cactus. You should know that if you’ve been reading this column for a while; I once went on a whole tangent about how they’ve replaced XL102 as “Richmond’s home of rock n’ roll.” I stand by that; however, the wild, spontaneous lifestyle that goes along with being Richmond’s foremost rock n’ roll bar does get at least a little bit on my nerves at some point. See, for example, the holes in my knowledge base where this show is concerned; I know Australian quartet Partner Look are playing (more about them in a minute) and what time the show starts, but I have no idea who else is playing or how much the admission price is. If previous patterns continue, Fuzzy will post that information on their Instagram around noon-ish on the day of the show, so if you really need to know, check that out.
For now, you’ve got to deal with the relatively scant knowledge I have about this show. But look, it should be more than enough for you. Partner Look may not be all that easy to search for on some social media sites (try it, you’ll see), but they are a great band, made up of two German sisters and their Australian boyfriends; the members have previously played in such Australian sensations as Cool Sounds and The Ocean Party. Their current project is long on indie-pop charm, while also maintaining an unpredictability and creative edge that keeps their debut album, By The Book, entertaining and delightful throughout. They’ll undoubtedly keep that same energy when they hit the stage at Fuzzy Cactus tomorrow night, and their winsome, upbeat tuneage is sure to keep you smiling. The price up top is only a guess, but honestly, whatever they charge, whoever opens up this show, it’s going to be worth it regardless. Come prepared.
Friday, September 30, 7:30 PM
The Human Tragedy, Down To One, Trivial Difference @ Another Round Bar & Grill – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Symphonic deathcore? Operatic slam? Back in the 90s when my friends and I were way into Dying Fetus and Dimmu Borgir, none of us would have predicted this sort of thing. Nonetheless, over two decades later, Lexington Kentucky’s The Human Tragedy have manifested it into the world, and on their latest album, Legacy of Extermination, they prove that a brutal death metal trio backed by a symphony orchestra can sound really goddamn cool. On tracks like “The Architects” and the title track, they achieve a certain transcendence that can only occur when their guttural vocals, rapid double-bass pounding, and chugging, downtuned riffs meet the dramatic grandeur of a classical symphony.
While the video for the album’s title track depicts the group performing with an actual orchestra, I’m pretty sure they tour as a three-piece and just use tape loops to recreate the symphonic elements of their sound. But hey, at least that way we can be sure they’ll fit onto the stage at Another Round, right? They’ll certainly bring a heaping helping of metal power and epic high drama when they pull up on Lakeside Avenue this Friday night, and honestly, you’d be a fool to miss out on it. So hey — don’t. Be there.
Saturday, October 1, 7 PM
Spill Tab, Boyish @ The Camel – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Named for the thing bartenders charge for spilled drinks (and hookups to friends), Spill Tab is the musical project of Claire Chicha, an LA-based pop maven with a knack for glitchy hooks and an intriguing mixture of electronic textures and analog rock instrumentation. In keeping with the direction the pop music world has been going for most of a decade now, Spill Tab doesn’t actually have an album out, even though the project began releasing music over three years ago now. Two EPs, 2020’s Oatmilk and last year’s follow-up, Bonnie, are the closest she’s come, though there are quite a few loose singles that have beefed up the group’s discography over the past few years.
2022 has seen the release of two new Spill Tab singles, “Sunburn” and “Splinter,” and they’re probably the best work she’s done yet. Between those two bangers and previous career highlights like “Velcro” and “PISTOLWHIP,” Spill Tab has all the ingredients she needs to throw down an excellent set of electrifying indie-tinged pop bliss. And be sure to show up on time, as “queer indie” duo Boyish, who open the evening, have plenty to offer in their own right. Their latest EP, My Friend Mica, finds them treading the same dividing line between electronic textures and rockin’ analog pop, though if anything Boyish are about 20% more indie. The distinction, though, isn’t as important as the awareness that both of these bands are going to get you up on your feet and dancing. Don’t miss it.
Sunday, October 2, 7 PM
Titan To Tachyons, Dumb Waiter, Bermuda Triangles @ Gallery 5 – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
We all love it when things get weird, right? OK, maybe not everyone in this city agrees with me on this one, but I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself. I know plenty of Richmond freaks who’ll be completely stoked about hitting this show up for a wild end to a fun weekend. Instrumental jazz-metal quartet Titan To Tachyons certainly have an excellent pedigree: guitarist and composer Sally Gates hails from New Zealand and was previously in Orbweaver; bassist Trevor Dunn has done time with everyone from Mr. Bungle to the Melvins; drummer Kenny Grohowski has been in both New York black metal combo Imperial Triumphant and jazz legend John Zorn’s backing band; and Matt Hollenberg, who has generally been a guitarist but plays a Bass VI in this band, is a veteran of Philly death-metallers Cleric, among others.
So what happens when you bring this formidable mix of talented players together? You get the fascinating collision of experimentation, creativity, and full-on heavyosity that is on display on Titan To Tachyons’ 2020 debut, Cactides. Featuring five lengthy songs that are often too complex for headbangs but remain volcanically heavy and powerful nonetheless, it’s an incredible listening experience that’s certain to be taken to the next level when this band takes the Gallery 5 stage Sunday night. Whether you’re a math-rock obsessive who likes it when things get heavy, a headbanger who enjoys a challenge, or just someone who misses the days when Breadwinner were one of Richmond’s most formidable active bands, this is a show that’s sure to connect with you. Don’t miss a moment of it.
Monday, October 3, 7 PM
Leone & The Ascension, Dhemo, Pharaoh Sistare @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $13 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Things usually get pretty intriguing on Monday nights at The Camel, and this Monday night is no exception. Leone, a Richmond R&B vocalist with two EPs to his name thus far, will bring his backing band, The Ascension, to the Camel’s stage to present his latest EP, Private Life, in full glory on a live stage. Released over the summer, this EP finds Leone bringing the soulful swagger he demonstrated on his earlier work to a new, more electro-pop oriented batch of tunes. The results are invigorating, and make quite the listening experience — which should be bettered significantly when Leone performs these tunes with a live backing band onstage, up close and personal.
He’ll be joined on the bill by two other Richmond performers, one of which performs under a truly odd moniker. I’ve been wondering for months, when I see Dhemo’s name around, whether there’s a trick to the pronunciation. No, as it turns out — the artist’s bandcamp reveals that the project’s name is pronounced “demo.” Throwing that H in there certainly helps with SEO, though, so Dhemo definitely has my respect. Their freshly released LP, Spinning In Place, wins me over even further with its smooth, soulful indie tuneage. This stuff should be incredible live. Same is true for Pharaoh Sistare, a local funk artist with some really catchy tunes in his repertoire and the ability, as demonstrated on 2021 single “Strobe Light,” to challenge Michael Jackson at his peak (which is to say, Off The Wall. It’s all downhill from there. Yeah, I said it). Who wouldn’t want to catch that?
Tuesday, October 4, 7 PM
Slowbleed, Gates To Hell, Sentenced 2 Die, Torment, Victim Of Suffering @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Let’s wrap this week up with something for the mavens of brutality, shall we? California’s Slowbleed are almost terrifying in their metallic power, and they make that indisputably clear on their latest LP, The Blazing Sun, A Fiery Dawn. Sounding sort of like Converge and Gehenna (the infamous one, from Reno) collaborating with Autopsy and Misery Index, this band stands astride the incredibly thin and porous line between metallic hardcore and outright metal. From the pounding monstrosity of the riffage on display here to the foreboding terror evoked by the atmospheric elements of Slowbleed’s sound, this band is absolutely incredible, and a must-listen for fans of thrash metal, horror movies, and black t-shirts with scary graphics printed on them.
A variety of other amazing groups will be on this bill, both locally based and from beyond our region. Louisville’s Gates To Hell push things about 20% in the death metal direction from Slowbleed, but if you can enjoy one, you’re sure to enjoy the other. On their brand-new self-titled LP, Gates To Hell demonstrate a high aptitude for mosh riffs, too, which will surely be put to good use by the crowd at this show. Minnesota’s Sentenced 2 Die take things both further in a brutal, guttural death metal direction and integrate more brutal mosh parts, so their set is guaranteed to go off. Richmonders Torment deliver powerful moshcore with vocals and lyrics that are inspired by trauma and emotional pain, making them eminently relatable — to me, if not to you. Finally, Virginia Beach’s Victim Of Suffering will set the mood for the evening with some rage-filled metallic hardcore. This one’s gonna be unrelenting. Don’t shy away.
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]
Top Photo: City Of Caterpillar by Fil Baird, via City Of Caterpillar/Instagram