Saturday, April 14, 7 PM
SCAN Benefit, feat. Gull, Alfred., Womajich Dialysiez, DJ Jafar Flowers, DJ Synthia Slimez @ Champion RVA – $6-10 donation
Music is at its best when it is used to help make the world a better place. And musicians tend to understand that, which is why you see so many benefit shows taking place over the course of any given month. This particular month, April, is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and in the spirit of that cause, a few Richmond artists in the broader field of experimental electronic music have come together to throw a benefit for Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now). This group runs programs doing everything from providing preschool for children who’ve experienced trauma to ensuring children have advocates for their interests in abuse/neglect cases. They’re doing important work, and community support is essential.
That’s what you’ll be providing by paying admission to this show at Champion Brewing Company, but don’t worry, you’ll be getting something out of the deal as well. For starters, Gull is performing at the top of the bill, and this one-man musical dynamo has been continually impressive for its near-decade of existence. Beginning as a fast, slightly quirky hardcore band, Gull has evolved into a hard-to-define project that takes its main elements — percussion and vocals, both fed through a variety of effects — and does all sorts of things with them. 2017 album Lurcher demonstrates the latest form the Gull identity has taken, bringing together ambient electronic swells with hypnotic repeating percussion patterns and Gull’s distinctive vocals — always sung through a microphone-equipped mask.
Gull won’t be the only artist immersing you in an all-encompassing world of sound at this show. Local rapper Alfred. has undermined a lot of expectations that come along with the hip hop genre by approaching it from an introspective, emotionally open, and musically adventurous mindset. His 2017 mixtape, So Sensitive, makes clear how gloriously unusual this “queer rap scallion” really is, and his unique approach will bloom into full life in the live performance environment. Meanwhile, Womajich Dialysiez is an experimental musical collective that focuses on improvisation from a femme perspective. Its shifting lineup brings a variety of local femme and gender non-conforming musicians together to create spontaneously generated music full of life and energy. Expect a whirlwind of percussion, electronics, and all sorts of other elements; there’s no telling where the music will go, but it’ll definitely take you on a journey. DJ sets from Jafar Flowers of Ice Cream Support Group and Synthia Slimez of Aesthetic Barrier will get this party rolling. Be there, and expand your mind for a good cause.
Wednesday, April 11, 8 PM
Infinite Third, Lobo Marino, Owlrare @ Pik Nik – Free!
I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about this Pik Nik place lately, though thus far no one has elaborated on the role of baskets in this restaurant’s operation. Like, seriously, if they don’t bring your food to the table in a basket I don’t know what this restaurant is up to. However, we’re not here to talk about the food. We’re here to celebrate the fact that yet another local venue is dipping their toe into the world of live music. And since everyone likes seeing new places get into the show-booking game, it’s pretty essential to support those places when they start getting into the game, so they’ll want to continue.
Not that that’s a difficult thing to do when a venue offers an excellent midweek lineup like this one. Florida artist Infinite Third is at the top of the bill, returning to Richmond quite soon after his last performance as part of Silent Music Revival a few months ago. This artist brings us ambient guitar melodies that build into palaces of sound held up by the bones of programmed beats and sampled field recordings; his most recent LP, 2017’s Channel(s), is the sort of sound world one can get lost in for an extended period of time. The thought of this world taking over a restaurant on a Wednesday evening is fascinating, and certainly not an experience to be missed. Infinite Third will be joined on this outing by peripatetic experimentalists Lobo Marino, who bring together a variety of sounds from around the world in their unique, atmospheric style. The whole evening starts off with a set from intriguing local singer-songwriter OwlRare, and will be delightful from beginning to end — even if it doesn’t come in a basket.
Thursday, April 12, 8 PM
Rosetta, Ostraca, Truman, Twin Drugs @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This show is exciting for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the obvious — Rosetta has returned to RVA once again. This Philadelphia band, who started out working with labels but eventually decided to go it alone and has been self-releasing their material ever since, has been producing high quality material for quite a long time, and they’re showing no signs of stopping. 2017’s Utopioid was their sixth album, and it’s every bit as brilliant as previous career highs such as the excellent 2013 album The Anaesthete. With Utopioid, Rosetta continue evolving, expanding, and exploring their sound, now mixing the sludge, noise, and metallic hardcore elements that have been there from the start with increasing doses of shoegaze melody and post-rock atmosphere. They send all of this through a filter of passionate emotion that gives everything they do a heightened level of power and intensity.
Therefore, one can imagine that their performance at Strange Matter Thursday night will be one for the books, with an impact you won’t soon forget. And of course, the same can be said of any performance from local heavy hitters Ostraca, who’ve been unleashing their own intense, passionate take on metallic hardcore for over a decade now. 2017 brought us three new releases from Ostraca, all of which dramatically demonstrate how much better this band continues to get. There’s no better place to experience Ostraca than in live performance, and if you don’t know that firsthand, it’s time for you to find out. The bill offers an added bonus in the form of a performance by Truman, who’ve been playing less often in recent months but are no less awesome. Their epic take on emotionally-driven hardcore will have you riveted, so don’t miss it. Twin Drugs will kick the night off with what promises to be an excellent set of heavy shoegaze sounds, so show up on time and be prepared to immerse yourself in a night of outstanding sound.
Friday, April 13, 6 PM
Movement Presents PLRLS, Danger Boy, Serqet, Nocere, DJ Cortes @ Hardywood – Free!
Movement is an intriguing new group on the Richmond music scene. This vinyl-only DJ collective has two main goals: promoting the post-punk sound, and offering safer spaces for music fans of all types to dance together in harmony (a refreshing and positive goal). They don’t just do these two things in the context of dance nights either; they’re working to bring in killer postpunk bands from around the country and beyond to perform for us right here in RVA — which is how they came to produce Friday night’s show at Hardywood.
The event, which will feature Movement’s DJ Cortes spinning vinyl before and between bands throughout the night, is focused around the arrival of PLRLS, who hail from Baltimore and have a quirky take on postpunk that sees them integrating the goofy catchiness of Devo with the rumbling menace of Gang Of Four and the post-garage drive of The Rezillos. They’ll be joined by South Carolina’s Danger Boy, who bring us a fuzzy, punked-out take on the foreboding melodic sounds of early 80s UK stars like The Chameleons and The Cure. Two local groups will open up for these touring ensembles. Serqet is a local crew featuring former members of Hot Dolphin and Lost Tribe and bringing us a moody mix of early goth-punk Siouxsie and the Banshees, and rumbling peace-punk vibes a la Zounds. Finally, we’ll have the return of Nocere, which brings Shadow Age’s Aaron Tyree together with vocalist Emily Symington to create some prime drum machine-fueled coldwave sounds. This one really is essential.
Saturday, April 14, 8 PM
The Human Race Is Filth, Drugs Of Faith, Coroner’s Report, Amara, Hepatagua @ McCormack’s – $10
It’s a loud, heavy week here in RVA, y’all. We’ve already covered some loud sounds and it’s just gonna get louder from here, so if you can’t handle it, batten the hatches. The rest of us will be out here joyously banging our heads, beginning with Saturday night’s show at McCormack’s in Shockoe Bottom. This show is a Between 2 Beers production, and as usual, they’re out here making sure that we all get the proper amount of metal in our diets. This week’s installment sees excellence arriving in Richmond from several different fronts. Most importantly, this show will bring us the excellently named The Human Race Is Filth, a grinding crust band that can also slow down enough to drop incredible downtuned grooves on us all… at least, once in a while. Mostly though, this is shred-heavy speed freak music about how the world is doomed. I can’t argue with any of that.
Drugs Of Faith are also on this bill, and while they aren’t at the top, they’re at least as big an attraction as our headliners. This is the current project of Richard Johnson, the man known as the “grindfather,” who spent the 90s running pioneering American grindcore group Enemy Soil before forming Drugs Of Faith back in the early 2000s. Drugs Of Faith expand on the Enemy Soil legacy of blistering grindcore by integrating riffy midtempo grooves and more complex songwriting into their sound. And while they don’t release records as often as Enemy Soil did, by any means (their last release, a split EP with Cloud Rat, was three years ago), they keep the quality high and the rage unrelenting. This show will also feature a special appearance by Bostonian duo Hepatagua, who have some driving midtempo sludge-core to lay on us all, and will feature local blackened shredders Amara and brand-new local death metal duo Coroner’s Report laying some ugly sounds on us all. It’s a jam-packed night of unparalleled heavyosity. Just what we all need.
Sunday, April 15, 8 PM
Impiety, Divine Eve, Gravehill, Voarm @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Continuing with our theme, Strange Matter will bring us metal sounds spanning all corners of the globe this Sunday night, most notably Singapore death-rippers Impiety. And what better band could there be to grace the lord’s day than this blatantly sacreligious group of metal veterans, responsible for such classics as 1992’s Ceremonial Neochrist Redesecration EP, and 2009’s Terroreign (Apocalyptic Armageddon Command)? These metal vets have been coming out of the Far East to assault our ears with apocalyptic riffs, insanely precise lightspeed drums, and brutal death metal growls since back when I was in high school (and believe me when I tell you, that was a LONG time ago).
If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Impiety’s pulverizing metallic destruction in person, you better make sure you’re at Strange Matter this Sunday night, because it’s a long way back to Singapore, and chances are they won’t make the trip again soon. Sweetening the pot will be another veteran band, this one from right here in the USA, Texas’s Divine Eve, who grabbed some underground recognition in the early 90s with their crushing death-doom sound, but spent many of the intervening years out of action and are only now returning to the world with a full tour. This band constitutes another rare opportunity, so you’ve got twice as many reason to make sure you don’t miss this show! And of course, we can’t forget California maniacs Gravehill, who’ve made quite a name for themselves with their dark, filthy take on thrash metal. Once you add local black metallers Voarm at the start of the evening, you’ve got a completely unmissable bill full of legends. You know what to do.
Monday, April 16, 9 PM
Seraph, Dr. No, Black Mountain Massacre @ The Camel – $5 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a name I haven’t heard in a while! Seraph were a pretty strong presence in the local metal scene back in the first part of the decade, bringing us a powerful deathcore sound full of skull-fracturing low end intensity. Since not long after the release of 2014 EP Embrace Your Demise, though, Seraph have been on hiatus, biding their time until all members of the band could live in the same place again. Fortunately, that came to pass last fall, and they’ve been woodshedding and playing the occasional live gig around town since then.
This show is the latest step in their return to action, and promises to bring local fans some long-awaited new material as well as the highlights from their previous releases. If crushing ultra-slow breakdowns are your idea of fun, you’ll definitely want to catch this one. Seraph are joined on this bill by Dr. No, a new local group with some heavy metal tendencies, as well as a bit of good ol’ rock n’ roll thrown into the mix. The bill is rounded out by the memorably named Black Mountain Massacre, who get down with the Fu Manchu-style midtempo rockin’ metal grooves to get you raising your fist in the air. It’s gonna get heavy, folks.
Tuesday, April 17, 6 PM
Morbid Angel, Misery Index, Dreaming Dead, Hate Storm Annihilation @ The Broadberry – $25 in advance/$30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Let’s wrap up the week with the most classic and essential metal firestorm of the many hitting RVA this week. At the top of this bill sits Morbid Angel, one of the most important death metal bands to come out of the genre. From groundbreaking 1989 classic debut Altars Of Madness to last winter’s Kingdom Disdained (yes, all their album titles are in alphabetical order), this band has never lost its ability to dish out fast and heavy riffage that is both incredibly brutal and surprisingly catchy. A lot of metal might fade into a rumbling blur, but Morbid Angel’s riffs are always memorable, most likely due to the guitar mastery of sole original member Trey Azagthoth, who has pulled together a variety of killer lineups over the years to keep Morbid Angel shredding at the highest levels.
These days, the band is rounded out by bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker, returning to the position he capably held down in the late 90s and early 00s after yet another departure by founding bassist/vocalist Dave Vincent. With Annihilated’s Scott Fuller skillfully laying down the killer beats, this lineup promises to tear all our heads off with aplomb, just as we always expect from these metal legends. Of course, Morbid Angel are reason enough to go to this show all by themselves; however, it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’ve brought along such a powerful supporting lineup to devastate you throughout the night. The grinding death metal attack of Maryland’s Misery Index is the most notable addition, and while it’s been four years since their last album, brand new single “I Disavow” shows that they’re still as intense as ever, so be prepared. This killer lineup is rounded out by melodic death metallers Dreaming Dead and the excellently monikered tech-death of Hate Storm Annihilation. Get ready to thrash.
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] [and yeah, in case you’re wondering, more awesomeness from my cracked and bleeding fingertips is available at GayRVA — come say hey.]
Top Image by Vivienne Lee, based on a photo by Joey Wharton
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