Friday, March 6, 7 PM
RVA Game Jams presents Split/Screen: A Video Games Themed First Friday Art Show, feat. Buzzard Dust, Ages, Gull, Mister Earthbound, Danet Jackson, F1NG3RS @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Sometimes, you guys, the world is just a major letdown. At those times it can be easy to get overwhelmed and feel like taking to your bed, pulling the covers over your head, and not coming out for six months. But take heart — there are still things worth being awake and in the world for. One of those is happening this Friday night, as RVA Game Jams partners up with Gallery 5 to bring us a First Friday art opening with a bit of a twist — it’s entirely focused on video games.
This event is a celebration of indie games in the Richmond area, and will feature playable demos of half a dozen games by local creators, including memorably named examples like Not Safe For Bugs and Deer In The Headlights. You’ll get a chance to check out art and artifacts from the creative process of video game development, as well as the opportunity to play these games yourself. And you’ll get to hear some really great tunes from local musicians while you’re at it!
Between rounds of the playable demos, you’ll enjoy sounds from Buzzard Dust, the fiery blackened thrash group who last released an LP on Richmond’s own Forcefield Records back in 2017. Word has it they’ve got a grip of new material to lay on us, though, so get stoked for that. Plus there’ll be a performance from Ages, the latest project from former Magnus Lush leader Age Shurte and talented members of other rad local groups like Weird Tears and Dumb Waiter. And we’ve still only scratched the surface, as several other area performers, from the almighty Gull to the psych-stoner jams of Mister Earthbound, as well as the video-game inspired electronica of F1NG3RS, are all on tap for the night as well. Let the often-solitary pursuit of video games be an opportunity for connecting with the world, and head over to Gallery 5 this Friday night. It’s better than hiding in bed — I promise.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 PM
Mind Shrine, Majjin Boo, Alfred., Castle OG, Shormey @ The Camel – $8 (order tickets HERE)
Mind Shrine may be from Texas, but things will be getting downright tropical, at least in a musical sense, at The Camel tonight when this catchy quartet brings their remarkable sound to town. On their recent self-titled EP, Houston’s Mind Shrine create a warmly glowing pop sound with roots in both smooth 70s AM radio sounds and the music of Brazilian leading lights like Caetono Veloso and Os Mutantes, but fed through an undeniable 21st century indie filter, resulting in pure indie-pop gold. You’re going to want to dive into the warm, sunny sounds this band produces, and the Camel’s giving you the perfect opportunity tonight.
The evening will also present a set from Majjin Boo, who released my favorite Richmond music of 2019 and still have a very secure place in my heart two months into the new year. If you’re not on their wavelength yet, now’s the time. You’ll also have the chance to catch excellent musicians Alfred and Shormey just before they leave town together on a pre-SXSW tour that will culminate with them performing at that legendary Austin, Texas music fest later this month. And of course, Castle OG will round out the bill with some rad local indie sounds. You’re not going to want to miss a minute of this one — so make sure you don’t.
Thursday, March 5, 9 PM
Triumvir Foul, Human Agony, Antichrist Siege Machine, Predation @ Wonderland – $10
That place on the spectrum of musical genre where death metal meets filthy lo-fi noise is a fascinating one for me personally, as it reflects a lot of the turmoil I find myself dealing with on a daily basis. If you, like me, are someone who has your fair share of mental struggles, you might find yourself connecting with Triumvir Foul, the Portland-based death-black-thrash group whose 2019 EP, Urine Of Abomination, covers old-school Autopsy-style death brutality with a rumbling haze of foreboding terror. In other words, it’s fucking awesome. And you’re going to want to see how it translates live.
Meanwhile, Triumvir Foul’s Invictus Productions labelmates, Human Agony, hail from across the northern border in Vancouver and bring a more grinding speed-metal assault on their most recent LP, Putrescence of Calvary, with just as much of the ominous lo-fi grit as Triumvir Foul has to offer. These two groups should make a great team — and locals Antichrist Siege Machine are the perfect complement, bringing the sort of unrelenting death metal rage they displayed on 2019’s Schism Perpetration to the Wonderland stage this Thursday night. They’ll be accompanied by mysterious noise project Predation, who I hear has something to do with Division Of Mind, but that’s all I can tell you. Assuage your inner turmoil with some outer turmoil at this show. You’ll thank me later.
Friday, March 6, 10 PM
Ant The Symbol’s City Dawgz Takeover, feat. Sneeze, Reppa Ton, Rah Scrilla, Ben FM, PT, DJ Elliot Ness @ City Dogs – Free!
Ant The Symbol’s always up to some interesting things, and in 2020, that definitely has not changed. 2019 saw the veteran RVA hip hop producer release The What?!, a dozen tracks featuring a who’s who of the city’s best MCs dropping rhymes overtop of Ant’s always-killer productions. Now in 2020, he’s surprised us all with a follow-up, Holyfield, featuring new versions of all of the songs from The What?! along with a few entirely new tracks. From my initial lessons, I’d guess he took the vocal tracks from The What?! and laid them over new productions; and since Ant’s productions are always the stars of the show, that makes it damn close to an entirely new album only a few months removed from the last one. That’s something worth throwing a party for.
So that’s what Ant The Symbol will be doing this Friday night at City Dogs, as he enlivens this hot dog shop with a variety of leading MCs from around the city, almost all of whom (with the exception of Sneeze) appear on Holyfield, The What?!, or both. DJ Elliot Ness is providing the music, and rappers who should need no introduction to Richmond hip hop heads, such as Reppa Ton, Rah Scrilla, Ben FM, and PT will contribute the rhymes. This leaves Ant The Symbol to hawk copies of the new Holyfield CD, contribute the tracks that Elliot Ness spins, and hang out with his many talented friends. Come chill with Ant The Symbol this Friday night, hear some great rhymes and dope beats, grab a copy of the new CD, and have a couple chili dogs while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.
Saturday, March 7, 8 PM
Addy, Spooky Cool, Young Scum, Castle OG @ Gallery 5 – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It still feels to me like Addy are a relatively new band on the Richmond scene. Therefore it’s kind of wild to note that they are just about to release their first LP on emo heavy-hitters Topshelf Records — but I’m definitely happy for them, and to see them representing Richmond so well. At Gallery 5 this Saturday night, they’ll be celebrating their debut full-length, Eclipse, which finds the group, originally a minimalist solo project of leader Adam Watkins, moving toward more of a group identity as their current four-piece lineup becomes the focus of their recorded sound.
On Eclipse‘s early singles, we hear Addy embracing a warm, laid-back version of the indie sound, one that definitely pulls in a little Southern flavor to spice things up country-style. There’s an undeniable charm to this band’s aural presence, and that’s sure to translate with ease to the live environment created at Gallery 5 Saturday night. Addy will be accompanied on this joyful musical evening by a few other great Richmond indie groups, including Young Scum, Spooky Cool, and Castle OG, but their new LP is what the evening is all about, so bring a few extra bucks to pick up a copy for yourself, and enjoy a pleasant evening enveloped by the wonderful sounds of Richmond, Virginia.
Sunday, March 8, 7 PM
Lance Bangs, The Firnats, You’re Jovian, Magic Wand @ The Camel – $8 (order tickets HERE)
The Citrus City Sunday residency at the Camel is such a boon to Richmond music, I swear — every time it rolls around, we get a wonderful mix of mainstays from one of Richmond’s leading indie labels and new sounds you might not expect but are always a pleasant surprise. This time around, we’re getting a little more of the known quantities than the unknown delights, but it’s very hard to complain when the known quantity at the top of the bill is Lance Bangs, the slacker-rock trio who’ve slipped into a quieter presence on the Richmond scene recently but still have a ton of excellent tunes to brighten your Sunday evening with. If it’s been a while since you’ve caught these guys live, remember what it was you dug about them so much to begin with this Sunday night at the Camel.
And make sure you show up on time for the other musical delights Citrus City has to offer this evening — rest assured, they are plentiful. The Firnats, who are currently working towards the release of a new album sometime this year, have been described to me as 50s doo-wop and 90s grunge, and as crazy as that sounds, it’s pretty much dead-on — and a very enjoyable listen that will appeal to the indie kids and Future Islands fans out there. You’re Jovian’s Norfolk-based shoegaze sound has been an underrated fave of mine for years, and I’m glad to see them making it up to Richmond more lately. If you don’t know the deal, find out on Sunday — you won’t be sorry. Melodic punk-grunge newbies Magic Wand will kick this evening off with a shot of much-needed energy. Come out to this one — it’ll be a blast.
Monday, March 9, 7:30 PM
Michale Graves, JJ Speaks @ Another Round Bar & Grill – $10 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
How you feel about this event is sure to depend to some extent on what the 90s were like for you. Back then, Glenn Danzig’s original punk band, The Misfits, had a revival in which brothers Jerry Only (bass) and Doyle (guitar) revived the long-dormant project with a new vocalist and some new material. Michale Graves was that new vocalist, and while people who’d grown up with the original Danzig-fronted Misfits were often dismissive of late-90s Graves-fronted releases like American Psycho, those records accumulated a strong following amongst the younger set — many of whom, thirtysomethings today — no doubt hold warm memories of Michale Graves-era Misfits in their hearts.
For those kids — and really, for any of us willing to give an aging punk rocker’s solo project a chance — this acoustic evening with Michale Graves at Another Round should be a treat. His acoustic performances find him bringing new power both to late-90s Misfits songs he wrote and material from his many solo albums since he left that group, all by himself with just an acoustic guitar and his strong, powerful voice. If you have a soft spot for “Dig Up Her Bones” or “Die Monster Die,” you’ll hear them in a whole new way this Monday night at Another Round. You won’t want to miss that.
Tuesday, March 10, 8 PM
Robbie Fulks, Jenny Scheinman @ The Tin Pan – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Based solely on talent, Robbie Fulks should be an outright legend in the country world. However, he’s never completely gotten his due in Nashville circles, partly because he has never been willing to play along with the way the country music industry works. For evidence of that fact, look no further than his classic tune about Music City, the memorably titled “Fuck This Town.” Thankfully, his cult following his given him a viable career over the last few decades, and he’s been able to follow his muse in a variety of fruitful directions.
Fulks’ latest move is one that shows why you should expect the unexpected from this talented songwriter — last year, he self-released a vinyl-only double LP called 16, which is a track-for-track reinterpretation of the long-maligned late-70s Bob Dylan album, Street Legal. That might sound like a recipe for disaster, but Fulks and his band find gold amid the critically-reviled nadir of Dylan’s career. They’ll surely demonstrate this with their Tuesday night show at the Tin Pan; whether Fulks does a whole bunch of Dylan tunes or sticks to his own delightful catalog, this is a musical evening that’s sure to delight all comers.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Friday, March 6, 9 PM
VV, Community Witch, Dysphonia, LEYA @ Taphouse Grill (Norfolk) – $5
Whether you’re a Richmond reader facing the prospect of an hour-plus drive to catch this show by a local favorite or a Tidewater denizen wondering what this RVA band has to offer, I can’t help but encourage you all to make your way to the Taphouse Grill this Friday night to catch VV. This Richmond postpunk foursome brings a harsh undercurrent of horror to their rumbling, dissonant sound on III, the EP they released in January that constitutes their first new material in over two years. If you didn’t catch up with VV a couple years ago when they first arrived on the scene, you should definitely get familiar with what they do now that they’re back in action. This group definitely brings the noise.
They’ll be performing with three homegrown Tidewater musical projects, all of whom bring the outsider punk vibes in plentiful amounts. Community Witch have a charming yet spooky lo-fi rumble to their jangle-punk sound. Dysphonia are hard to find evidence of online, but appear to have a bit more of a jangly indie vibe, one with a bit more melody than the other two groups we’ve discussed so far. And LEYA are just downright odd, but in a riveting manner. So this one is sure to both surprise and enlighten you. Expect the unexpected.
Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 PM
Dead Kennedys, DOA, Demons @ The NorVA (Norfolk) – $22.50 in advance/$27.50 at the door (order tickets HERE)
To all the aging punks out there, I’m sure it seems just as weird to you as it does to me that the Dead Kennedys have been around for longer without frontman, chief songwriter, and punk godfather Jello Biafra on vocals than they ever were with Biafra. But of course, in their post-Biafra incarnation, they’re pretty much a nostalgia act, mainly performing classics from the band’s original early-80s era, and releasing nothing more than a live album or two since they regrouped in the early 00s.
So why go see them? Well, because you certainly won’t ever see them with Biafra on vocals again, and this is the next best thing. Because they’re only gonna play old stuff you already know and love. Because if you can enjoy a DK’s tribute act at a Halloween covers show, you can certainly enjoy one featuring most of the original band. And because Canadian punk legends DOA and Hampton Roads hardcore group Demons are both on the bill as well. The cumulative whole of what this show has to offer is worth appreciating, even if it doesn’t feature Jello Biafra behind the microphone. So enjoy it, and don’t worry too much about the provenance.
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