Saturday, September 10, 3:30 PM
Future Projektor @ The Byrd Theatre – $12 (order tickets HERE)
I’ve seen some pretty amazing shows at The Byrd over the years — and I’m not just talking about Bob Gulledge playing the Mighty Wurlitzer on Saturday night before the movie, either (though that is always amazing). From a Boom Boom Basics holiday burlesque show featuring two Statler-and-Waldorf type guys doing comedic heckling from the balcony to a showing of 1963 B-movie X: the Man With the X-Ray Eyes featuring a live soundtrack by pioneering postpunk group Pere Ubu, live performances at The Byrd are never just another show. They’re always something special.
That’s true of this live performance taking place at The Byrd on Saturday afternoon at 3:30. It involves up-and-coming Richmond-based metal band Future Projektor playing their brand new album in its entirety, and it’s not just the Saturday-afternoon time slot that’s family-friendly — Future Projektor is also entirely instrumental, so you won’t have to worry about the kids picking up any bad words from them. Perfect! Kids might get their minds blown at this event, though, and you might too. The new Future Projektor album, The Kybalion, is a seven-part, 42-minute ambient instrumental metal epic named for an occult tome from 1908 that purported to contain ancient philosophical teachings. It will be accompanied in this performance by a short film that was created to go along with the album as a whole.
With Sorvino Pro Rehearsal Spaces coming in to provide sound reinforcement so the amps don’t shake the Byrd apart, rest assured that this performance will be even louder than that Friday night showing of Mad Max: Fury Road I saw at The Byrd a few years back. But that’s OK — in a cavernous, acoustically designed space like The Byrd, it’ll still sound amazing. With spoken-word ace Ryan Kent acting as master of ceremonies and an opening act provided by the Mighty Wurlitzer to sweeten the pot, there’s really no reason for you not to go take in the amazing audio-visual experience that this event promises to be. So grab a few tickets, and bring the whole family! Just make sure they’re prepared for some headbanging riffs and mind-expanding sights.
Wednesday, September 7, 7 PM
ShotClock, Shehehe, Bashful @ Bingo Beer Co – Free!
Free shows are always amazing, y’all — it’s a rule. Getting to see a bunch of great bands rock out after you just randomly wandered into a venue? Outstanding. Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but the cash flow around here hasn’t exactly been generous lately. Being able to head over to Bingo Beer Co. tonight and see three excellent bands for the low, low price of zero dollars works perfectly with my budget — and I’ll bet it’ll help yours out a fair bit as well. But look, these aren’t just any three bands playing this show. This is the kind of lineup that would be a bargain even if they were charging ten bucks at the door. For free, this show is flat-out crazy. You would be a fool to miss it.
At the top of the bill, it’s ShotClock, a relative newcomer on the Richmond melodic punk scene. This trio is led by Pedro Aida, who’s been part of a variety of Richmond pop-punk acts over the past decade, including Fun Size, Ann Beretta, and Los Ramones, as well as owning and operating the Audio Verite recording studio. A talented sideman and an able producer, ShotClock proves that he’s just as talented when he steps out and fronts a band — brand new single “Can’t Explain” is reminiscent of pop-punk legends like Down By Law and The Parasites, and features a really fun cover of Sponge’s “Molly (Sixteen Candles)” on the b-side. A full set of this kind of goodness will keep you going all week! Plus, we’ll get a set from ShotClock’s tour partners in Shehehe, an Athens, GA-based trio with a scrappier, garage-infused pop-punk sound. Kicking the whole thing off is Bashful, a killer pop-punk trio featuring 3/4 of outstanding Richmond quartet Hold Tight!, who I sorely miss. This show is gonna be rad from the first note to the last goodnight, and you don’t want to miss a minute of it.
Thursday, September 8, 7:30 PM
Neal Francis, Threesound, DEADSUN @ The National – $22 (order tickets HERE)
Melodic punk is pretty goddamn cool, but I sometimes wonder if power-pop gets enough love. Even I probably don’t give the five-decade-old genre enough respect — sure, I’ve listened to plenty of Big Star and Cheap Trick in my lifetime, and 90s revival bands like Teenage Fanclub, Material Issue, and Velvet Crush were all big in my personal universe. But there’s still a lot within the power-pop universe that I should probably pay more attention to — primarily the work of Todd Rundgren, The Raspberries, and XTC.
Neal Francis has no such problem. On his second album, 2021’s In Plain Sight, the Chicago-based singer/songwriter/piano player proves himself to have a thorough understanding of the sheer brilliance of Todd Rundgren and Eric Carmen’s many 70s gems. What’s more, he demonstrates that he’s just as capable of writing amazing tunes today as they were fifty years ago — and that he’s able to effortlessly capture the sensibility of the original 70s power-pop era while also bringing in a 21st century feel that keeps his music firmly rooted in the modern era. Fans of Matthew E. White will certainly appreciate the soulful, Americana-derived touches within Francis’s music, but it’ll connect just as well for those who love digging old Allman Brothers and Rod Stewart records from the early 70s out of their dad’s record collections. Basically, if you can appreciate the place where powerful pop songcraft, a deep sense of musical history, and strong rock n’ roll performance all meet, you need to catch Neal Francis at The National. The dance floor will be ground zero for the center of that particular Venn diagram this Thursday night, and you’re guaranteed to be glad you’re within it.
Friday, September 9, 9 PM
Dragonship, Armagideon Time, Halfcast @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Richmond has always been pretty metal, at least for the entire three decades I’ve been living here. However, this city’s metal quotient was at an apex about a decade ago. That was a time when Richmond metal was showing up on the international map in a big way — Pitchfork featured Richmond as one of five American cities in which the metal scene was strongest. Lamb Of God had an album hit the Billboard Top 5, Municipal Waste debuted at #1 on the Billboard New Artists chart, and bands like Cough, Windhand, Balaclava, Cannabis Corpse, and Inter Arma were releasing albums on high profile metal labels. At a slightly smaller level, a whole bunch of Richmond bands were evoking the triumphant grandiosity of 80s metal, including Immortal Avenger, Humungus, Battlemaster, and the band we’re here to discuss: Dragonship.
Now, as with quite a few bands on the scene at the time, Dragonship always had a tongue-in-cheek approach to their music, playing up the most ludicrous elements of 80s metal stage presence and image, even as they lampooned it all for maximum fun. Of course, the music was serious — their sole full-length release, 2010 live album Heavy Metal Night On Parkwood: 4, is full of blazing guitar solos, powerful driving tempos, and killer headbanging riffs. They even do a cover of glam metal classic “Round And Round,” originally by Ratt, and play it totally straight. No matter how ridiculous Dragonship was at the time, the songs were always more than able to back it up. Which is why it’s pretty great that Dragonship are playing a reunion show this Friday night at The Camel; at this point, anyone who can inject some fun into the 365-day panic attack 2022 is turning out to be is more than welcome. This Friday night, forget your troubles for a few hours, dig your ripped jeans and black t-shirts out of the closet, and head over to the Camel to drink some beer (if that’s your thing) and raise some hell with Dragonship. You’ll be glad you did.
Saturday, September 10, 8 PM
Doobie, Caskey & Hylyte, Jay?Duhhh, Young Wabo, King Moodyy @ The Camel – $20 (order tickets HERE)
When you use the term Doobie in a musical sense, I’m inclined to react the same way Google does: by thinking of the Doobie Brothers, those aging 70s classic rockers best known for “China Grove” and “What A Fool Believes.” But we’re not talking about that; instead, this Doobie is a young rapper with a sound that would have felt completely out of left field ten years ago. Look, I’m 46 years old — these days, I’m often thrown by what the kids are into. That said, I think it’s great; if music fans who are literally young enough to be my children are into something I don’t understand at all, that means culture is moving forward, and we should all be glad of that. That said, I do get what’s up with Doobie — and I gotta tell ya, I really dig it.
What’s important in order to understand Doobie is to get the context he’s working within. It’s clear from listening to recent singles like “Toxic” and “Stay Dangerous” that Doobie is influenced by stoned-out, emotional rappers like Lil Peep and Lil Uzi Vert. There’s a lot of melody and musicality to his backing tracks, which more often that not sound like they’ve been played by live bands rather than sampled or put together on a computer program. His lyrics vacillate between doomed love songs and tracks about self-medicating for depression with pills and booze. And while his melodic delivery proves he can sing very well, his moments of outright rapping also show that the kid has flow and can spit rhymes with the best of them. Honestly, I dig this guy’s music, and I’m really interested to see how he translates it into a live environment at The Camel on Saturday night. Chances are everyone at the show will be half my age or less, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sunday, September 11, 8 PM
Jive Talk, Parsley @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
When I tried to find Nashville band Jive Talk on my streaming service of choice, I had to duck multiple attempts to steer me to “Jive Talkin’,” the legendary disco hit by The Bee Gees. I have no idea if this group named themselves in reference to that Bee Gees song, but having listened to a fair amount of their music, it wouldn’t surprise me that much. Because while Jive Talk have an obvious rock base, featuring guitars, bass, drums, and so on, there’s a bouncy dance groove underlying the majority of their tunes, one that makes nearly anything you hear by Jive Talk almost impossible not to dance to.
Their latest EP, Lo Rise, is a great place to start, and it’s sure to get your booty shaking. One can only assume that hitting Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House to experience Jive Talk live will bring much the same sort of body-moving energy into contact with you. It’s sure to be a blissful experience. They’ll be joined on this show and this tour by Parsley, whose latest EP, Clean Break, has a slightly less electrified feel than Jive Talk’s most recent work, but still fits in right alongside it, with its explorations of the dance-focused end of 21st century hipster rock n’ roll — like the Strokes on a Stax/Volt binge. I’m with it. I’m pretty sure you will be too.
Tuesday, September 13, 6 PM
Movements, Angel Du$t, One Step Closer, Snarls @ The Canal Club – $22 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The Canal Club is definitely the place to be on Tuesday night. And not just because of the headliner on this four-band bill, either — because every band on this show is incredible. The excellence, of course, starts at the top of the bill, with California post-hardcore combo Movements showing off their melodic prowess. 2020’s No Good Left To Give was an excellent slice of introspective, emotional melody, along the lines of groups like Have Mercy or Moving Mountains. Last month, they released their first follow-up single, “Cherry Thrill,” and it definitely injects some 80s-retro new wave grooves of the sort that makes you imagine these boys have been listening to Haim lately. It’s different from the old stuff, but it’s just as rad.
Then there’s Angel Du$t, a band whose Baltimore hardcore connections might surprise you if you checked out 2021’s YAK: A Collection Of Truck Songs with no prior knowledge of who these dudes are. But it’s true; the band who produced this upbeat collection of primarily acoustic tunes that sound like first-LP Aztec Camera jamming with Evan Dando are ex-Trapped Under Ice. Who really cares, though? When the tunes are this great, you’d be a fool to. One Step Closer are the first straightforwardly hardcore band on this bill, but with their undercurrent of melody and strong, powerful emotion, they’ve got the same sort of broad appeal that bands like Modern Life Is War and Crime In Stereo showed off a decade ago. Not to be outdone, openers Snarls tap that same jangly, moody post-punk pop vein that groups like Heavenly, Alvvays, and Tiger Trap have spun gold from in the past, though they bring a fair bit more energy than those aforementioned groups, thereby making them a great band to kick off a great night of excellent music. So hey — get stoked.
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]