Saturday, July 13, 5 PM
Punks For Presents: Christmas In July, feat. Operation Icy, …And Out Come The Wools, Snowed Out, Hanging From The Trio, Santa Flag @ Hardywood – Free!
Christmas. As the old song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Such a sentiment is certainly up for debate, but one thing’s for sure — if there’s anything you really love about Christmas, you’re as far away from it now as you could possibly get. Thankfully, the folks at Punks For Presents understand that a year is an awfully long time to wait — so once again this year, they’re bringing us a Christmas In July celebration to tide us over until the temperatures drop and the snow (doesn’t) fall once again.
Punks For Presents have been doing their thing for years now, and it’s always awesome. Not just because of the music, either — they’ve been hooking up the Children’s Hospital of Richmond with cash and toy donations for years now, which is a cause always worth supporting. But the music itself is definitely amazing. Here’s how it works — local musicians form tribute bands to classic punk, hardcore, and metal bands and come up with a killer set of that band’s material. Then they rewrite the lyrics to take on a Christmas-related theme, and away we go!
This time around at Hardywood, this free gig presents five excellent holiday takes on classic bands of the 90s. Operation Icy and …And Out Come The Wools pay tribute to Tim Armstrong’s punk/ska legacy. Snowed Out, a No Doubt tribute band with a very clever name, stretch a point a little, but it’s all in pursuit of some fun, so I can’t get too mad at it. Santa Flag finds the Alex Jonestown Massacre boys putting together a set intended to evoke Anti-Flag’s early-2000s peak, while Hanging From The Trio mash up MxPx, Blink 182, and Alkaline Trio into one great set of 90s pop-punk jammers. The show is free, and the weather is great, so celebrate Christmas In July with Punks For Presents and bring the most wonderful time of the year a little bit closer.
Wednesday, July 10, 7 PM
Soccer Mommy, Kevin Krauter, Kate Bollinger @ The Broadberry – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Hard not to get stoked about this one. Soccer Mommy were pretty much my favorite new artist of 2018, blowing me away with their debut LP, Clean, and definitely giving me the feels with their raw, cutting lyrics on songs like “Your Dog” and “Last Girl.” Granted, there are a lot of sad indie girls with guitars out there writing songs about their angst; who you are probably has a big effect on your overall tolerance for that kind of music. But if you’re going to make room in your heart for even one of these artists, Soccer Mommy should be the one.
It’s not even just about the lyrics (though if any of my readers are the sort of early 20s indie-boy heartbreakers that seem pretty easy to find in most music scenes, you probably need to hear these songs ASAP), it’s about the fact that Soccer Mommy singer-guitarist Sophie Allison’s ear for a hook is flawless, and her ability to write a memorable chorus you’ll be walking around singing to yourself all day is pretty much unmatched. If you’ve never spent an entire afternoon with “I don’t want to be your fucking dog that you drag around” running through your head, you need to get familiar with the excellent songcraft of Soccer Mommy. Tonight’s the perfect time to do so.
Thursday, July 11, 7 PM
Little Hustle, HotSpit, Missangelbird, Liza & The Heart-Takers @ Gallery 5 – $7
Get your weekend started a day early this Thursday night, and break out of the work-week doldrums with a bunch of rad bands at Gallery 5. Little Hustle are coming down from New York to rock us all, and their killer sound, as demonstrated on brand new album Notepasser, finds them indulging in Asobi Seksu-style delicate shoegaze moments at times, then blasting off into hard-charging Sleater-Kinney style choruses that will have you dancing around the room before you even realize what’s going on. As rad as they sound on record, they’re sure to be a tremendous experience live.
Plus, you also get the tour kickoff show for two excellent local indie groups, HotSpit and Missangelbird. Missangelbird was born out of the solo songwriting adventures of Erica Lashley, who has since recruited a rhythm section and begun dishing out quietly hard-hitting versions of her precisely-constructed indie tunes. She’s also a member of HotSpit, a louder, more ensemble-style indie quartet with some anthems of their own to regale the entire East Coast with over the next couple weeks. But first, they’ll be rocking Gallery 5 on the way out of town, and you really shouldn’t miss this chance to catch ’em before they go.
Friday, July 12, 8 PM
Franks & Deans, Glitterally Can’t Even @ Wonderland – $10
This one’s gonna be kind of nutty — but in a good way, I promise! Here’s the deal with Franks & Deans: in the tradition of Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, they focus on punk rock versions of classic tunes. Franks & Deans dips further into the past than Me First, though, bypassing the 70s AM Gold era for a deep dive into the tunes and styles of the Rat Pack. That’s right, this band does punk rock versions of songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their legendary associates — and sometimes they mash them up with actual classic punk tunes. For example, Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash” to the tune of Rancid’s “Roots, Radicals,” or Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady” sung overtop “Ghost Town” by The Specials.
See? I told you it’d be nutty. But I think we’d all be lying if we said our interest wasn’t at least a little piqued. The fact that this four-piece punk group tours with their very own dancer, Miss Nicole Muse, only furthers the Vegas-decadence vibe. You’re sure to cut loose once these guys start rocking Wonderland this Friday night, and you’ll be put into the perfect mood for such hijinks and tomfoolery by an opening set from local Kesha tribute act Glitterally Can’t Even, who do classics like “Tik Tok” and “Animal” in a ska-punk style. It’s Friday night, y’all — let’s head down to Shockoe Bottom and get weird.
Saturday, July 13, 9 PM
Jocko, WatchDogs, Cement Shoes, Old Gods Defied @ Champion RVA – Free!
Here’s a really interesting hardcore group that doesn’t just sound like everyone else on the scene these days: Jocko, from Omaha Nebraska. The tagline on this band is “mixing hardcore with hip hop,” but the experienced HC fans among us may then expect them to sound like Cold World. However, instead of going for the Biohazard-ish intersection of metallic breakdowns and banging beats, Jocko goes a different route, mixing a more old-school, less metallic USHC sensibility that draws from both coasts with a braggodocious vocal approach that switches back and forth from angry shouts to rhythmic rhymes.
On Jocko’s debut LP, Expressions, this midwestern group pulls from all sorts of different regional hardcore traditions — New York’s Madball, Boston’s Negative Approach, Central Cali’s Trash Talk, and LA’s Rage Against The Machine are all obvious influences on this group. But what really makes their music hit so hard is their strong, energetic attack, which is sure to get the pit stirred up at Champion RVA this Saturday night. They’re accompanied on this gig by a triple-threat of local groups; WatchDogs’ chugging low-end brutality, Cement Shoes’ speedy energetic punk, and Old Gods Defied’s aggressive mosh-metal thrill will get you hyped from the moment you walk in the door.
Sunday, July 14, 6 PM
Phantom Limb, VE, Grem Smiley @ Garden Grove Brewing – Free!
When you hear a band described as “postpunk,” there’s probably a certain image that comes into your head — one that involves laser lights piercing the gloom of a dark hazy club as a band dressed in all black does its level best to sound like Joy Division. Phantom Limb can easily be called postpunk, but they are definitely not that kind of band. Instead, on their 2017 LP Townies, they tap into a wild rock n’ roll energy that lands somewhere between the spooky garage punk of bands like Ex-Cult and the synth-punk madness of Lost Sounds, all while keeping an atmosphere of intriguing mystery floating around.
When Phantom Limb hit the stage at Garden Grove Brewing this Sunday night, they’re gonna cap your weekend off with a bang — one that’ll thrill you whether you’re wearing thick black eyeliner or not. You will also get to enjoy the unique stylings of VE, who at least at one time were named Various Eggs and may still be. Their music is strange, and not too much like anything else you’re going to hear anywhere, but “postpunk” would also be a fair categorization of it. And “very good” would be too. The show will begin with some rad rock n’ roll from local newcomers Grem Smiley. This one’s gonna be fun.
Monday, July 15, 7 PM
Kevin Seconds, Josh Small, Sammy Kay @ Gallery 5 – $15 (order tickets HERE)
You’ve really gotta love this. Hardcore pioneer Kevin Seconds, who began his legendary, long-running group 7 Seconds at the very dawn of the 80s and went on to influence multiple generations of punks with his patented blend of unflinching socio-political commentary, hardcore energy, and unforgettable melodic hooks, has been performing solo acoustic shows off and on since the late 80s. These days, with 7 Seconds having finally ended in 2018 after nearly 40 years, catching him solo is certainly your best bet — and with his solo tunes, most recently brought into the world on his 2016 album Band-Aid On A Bullet Wound, carrying every bit the high quality 7 Seconds’ music always had, it’s a guarantee of a fun musical evening.
What might be the most fun about this particular gig is that Kevin Seconds is wearing his reason for this particular East Coast tour on his sleeve. As the poster says: he’s come for Avail. Kev will hit the Gallery 5 stage four days before Avail begins its run of reunion gigs over at The National, and it’s delightful to see an absolute pioneer of punk rock still so excited about music 40 years into his career that he’d book an entire tour around that opportunity. It’s to all our benefit, too, as it offers us all a chance to see Kevin Seconds play Richmond for the first time in quite a while. Come out and see what sort of tunes he has to offer — we can guarantee you’ll enjoy them.
Tuesday, July 16, 7 PM
Tomb Mold, Superstition, Left Cross, Under Attack @ Gallery 5 – $12 (order tickets HERE)
Look, sometimes we’ve just gotta get down with some serious brutality. When you’re as stoked about metal as I am, it’s hard to get through even one week without it. But even if total headbanging action isn’t your preferred version of musical enjoyment, even you have got to recognize that sometimes you’ve just gotta thrash. Tomb Mold is coming through town this Tuesday night, and they’ll be offering you the perfect opportunity for such a thing. Brutal riffage in a classic old-school death metal style to bring smiles to the faces of all the Autopsy, Obituary, and Incantation fans out there — that’s what they’ve got to offer. You should really take them up on it.
They’ll be joined in their trek through RVA by Superstition, a Santa Fe, NM ensemble with a similarly old-school approach to death metal madness. If you dug those old Earache cassettes your uncle used to blast in his car, these groups are really gonna make you happy. They’re joined on this bill by RVA’s own dirty thrashin’ death-metallic hardcore powerhouse, Left Cross, as well as brand new Richmond hardcore supergroup Under Attack, which features members of Limp Wrist, Suppression, Municipal Waste, and Red 40 (not the one from Tennessee a long time ago, the one from Richmond an even longer time ago — yeah, I remember). This whole show is definitely gonna be worth your time, so mark your calendars.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Thursday, July 11, 6 PM
Belle And Sebastian, Ex Hex @ Sprint Pavilion – $36-$50 (order tickets HERE)
It’s hard to believe that indie darlings Belle And Sebastian have become popular enough to play the 3500-seat Sprint Pavilion in Charlottesville. But if anything, it shows the buying power of grown-ups who were indie kids in their college days. So this one is for everybody who booked a sitter months in advance so they can enjoy a lovely evening with their partner smiling to classic tunes like “Dylan In The Movies” and “Piazza, New York Catcher.” But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t go too, and enjoy the many wonderful highlights of Stuart Murdoch and co.’s consistent career of outstanding tunes.
Belle And Sebastian have decidedly not become just a 90s nostalgia act, either. They’re preparing to release their 11th album, a soundtrack for English film Days Of The Bagnold Summer (the directorial debut of Inbetweeners star Simon Bird), later this year. First single “Sister Buddha” shows that this seven-person Scottish ensemble have still got what it takes to create indie-pop classics every bit the equal of the ones they were dishing out with regularity over 20 years ago. This certainly bodes well for an evening of excellent music. Plus, you’ll get an opening set from Ex Hex, the dynamic Mary Timony-led rock n’ roll trio whose recently released It’s Real makes clear that their awesome, swaggering debut, Rips, was no fluke. Even if you can only afford the cheap seats, this one’s essential.
Saturday, July 13, 8 PM
Digger, Fun Size, Invaluable, Single-Use Plastic @ Taphouse Grill – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK so here’s another 90s throwback for all the music fans among us, though this one will certainly be more intimate, taking place at Norfolk’s Taphouse Grill. It finds two 90s pop-punk legends coming together once again. Digger are the first ones we must discuss — this Pennsylvania band cranked out some outstanding albums on Hopeless Records in the late 90s and early 2000s, the best being the prescient Promise Of An Uncertain Future. Today, when we’re all living in that very uncertain future, Digger have returned to action and hit the road once again, regaling all us 90s kids who miss the innocent days of our teenage angst, when getting a ride to the show at Twisters on Friday night was our biggest concern.
Fun Size is the other pop-punk legend on this bill, and chances are they were also on the bill of that show we were all trying to get a ride to 25 years ago. Having released a couple of outstanding albums back then, these guys returned to action at the dawn of this decade with a long awaited third LP, Since We Last Spoke. That album proved that they were still every bit the world-class talents they’d always been, and seven years later, they’re still proving it. Seeing these guys on a bill with Digger is sure to take you back to your teenage days, even if you don’t quite fit into those tiny t-shirts you used to wear back then. That’s OK — I’m sure the bands would be glad to sell you new ones after the gig. Get there and rock out like there’s still a Clinton in the White House.
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]
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