Sunday, January 19, 9 PM
Chief Tail, Suppression, PCP Parade @ Bandito’s – Free!
It’s a funny thing about musicians — the most talented and original of them are often the type of people who live at the extremes of society. And for that reason, some of the best bands ever have also had some of the most chaotic, unhinged, and unpredictable live presences ever. In Richmond, if you love to see things get truly nuts when a band plays, there are several reliable local exponents of exactly that sort of mania. But in this day and age, none of them hold a candle to the departed torchbearers for true Richmond musical insanity: PCP Roadblock.
Back in the late 90s and early 00s, if you wanted to see a band that mixed a noisy, harsh, but always rockin’ sound with a wild performance that, as often as not, featured blood, piss, and/or nudity, you couldn’t do better than to catch PCP Roadblock live in Richmond. And it was kind of hard to do, because a lot of clubs wouldn’t let them play! Unfortunately, a few years after the new millennium began, they moved as a band to the San Francisco Bay area, disbanding a couple of years later. And we’ve never seen their like again.
But now, we’ve got the next best thing! Chief Tail reunites 3/4 of the classic PCP Roadblock lineup, and they’ve got a new LP coming out the night before this show on Reptilian Records. I doubt they’ll be quite as insane live as they once were — after all, the members are all in their 40s now — but their ability to deliver Jesus Lizard/Flipper-style raging noise remains intact on their brand new Steve Albini-recorded LP. On the live front, I expect far fewer incidents involving smashed bottles and exposed genitalia from these older, more mature rockers, but musically, this is sure to be every bit as fiery as prime PCP Roadblock ragers. With old pals Suppression and NoVA grind-noise duo PCP Parade along for the ride, this show is completely unmissable. So do the right thing, and be there.
Wednesday, January 15, 8 PM
Albert Lee @ The Tin Pan – $30 (order tickets HERE)
You’ve gotta love what the Tin Pan does for us here in Richmond. In a city where places like the Broadberry, Wonderland, and Fuzzy Cactus bring us the best of the current music scene in all sorts of different genres, the Tin Pan has carved out a lane for music scene veterans with lengthy resumes to give us subtle yet powerful displays of the reasons they’ve had multi-decade careers full of unforgettable highlights. This week, it’s Albert Lee who is getting a chance to strut his stuff before an audience of discerning music heads, and we should all take heed and journey to the West End to enjoy what he has to offer.
British guitarist Albert Lee has been a highly active musical journeyman for over 60 years now, getting his start in the British scene and working with everyone from blues singer Chris Farlowe to Deep Purple organ player Jon Lord. In the 70s, he moved to LA and played with legends like Emmylou Harris and Eric Clapton. And from the late 80s until only a few years ago, he fronted the country-rock ensemble Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes. Throughout, he distinguished himself with his lightning-fast guitar picking and his embrace of country, blues, and rock sounds equally. These days, he’s heading into his sixth decade of guitar wizardry with his latest album, a tribute to Buddy Holly called Gypsy Man. Come to the Tin Pan tonight and see what’s given Albert Lee such resonance and staying power, and hear some damn good guitar playing while you’re at it.
Thursday, January 16, 8 PM
Drekka, Timber Rattle, This Hollow Machine, Voice Of Saturn @ Fallout – $5
When you think of industrial music, it’s easy to think of the best-known interpretations of the genre: Ministry, Skinny Puppy, maybe KMFDM or Front 242. But as anyone who has done a truly deep dive into the genre can tell you, it gets way weirder once you start exploring the outer fringes of what can be called industrial. Out there, you’ll find everything from foreboding ambient textures to bleak, apocalyptic folk sounds. And one of the artists you’ll surely run into in these sorts of circles is Drekka.
This project of Michael Anderson, a musician from Bloomington, Indiana, of all places, has released a ton of material over the past two decades, from tiny DIY pressings to projects for well-known experimental music labels like Dais. Dais released Drekka’s 2019 compilation No Tracks In The Snow, which has industrial textures at its core but mainly focuses on the intersection between lo-fi drone and ambient folk. Hearing this sort of hypnotic soundscape recreated in a live environment might not be exactly what you expect from the fetishy atmosphere of Fallout, but it’s sure to create exactly the sort of gothic mood that club’s habitues are known to love. Immerse yourself in it.
Friday, January 17, 9 PM
Alice & The Reverie, Debrider, Elizabeth Wise @ The Dark Room – $5
Alice & The Reverie is a name I’ve been seeing around the Richmond music scene for a few years now, but I never really took a long look at what this quintet were up to. Now that I’m doing so, I’m intrigued to learn that they feature not only former Kindling Kind frontwoman Miriam Martin but also ex-Carbon Leaf drummer Scott Milstead. It’s an intriguing pedigree, and the band lives up to it on their latest LP, 2018’s The Way We Go, which features a hypnotic alt-rock sound with doses of folk and synth-pop mixed in. And of course, overtop of it all are heaping helpings of Martin’s gorgeous voice, which is really the reason for the season.
At The Dark Room this Friday night, Alice & The Reverie will be sharing the stage with two other powerful female vocalists. Debrider, the emotional shoegaze project of Lia Pisa-Relli, has evolved through many incarnations — even I was in the group for a few months — but Pisa-Relli’s sharp songwriting talent and intense lyrics have remained the focus throughout, to powerful effect. They’ll surely offer a strong contrast to the other artists on this bill, one which also includes the deep blues of singer-guitarist Elizabeth Wise. Rest assured, this lady knows how to use a bottleneck slide for maximum impact, and you’ll learn all about that on this night. Don’t miss a moment.
Saturday, January 18, 9 PM
Mister Earthbound, Sibyl, Snake Mountain Revival @ Fuzzy Cactus – $6
It’s a psychedelic showcase, VA style, over at Fuzzy Cactus this Saturday night, and Richmond’s own Mister Earthbound and Sibyl are sharing the glory. These two groups will be celebrating the release of Hypnotic Rhythm, a four-song split cassette featuring two tracks from each of them. Mister Earthbound dips into the bubbling pot of swampy psych-blues that is their trademark, dishing out a couple of rip-roaring rockers. Meanwhile, gives us a witchier, spookier serving of heavy blues psychedelia that might veer into stoner territory if it weren’t for the group’s undeniable, unrelenting energy.
And of course, all of that will be showed off at maximum volume onstage at Fuzzy Cactus this Saturday night. It’s going to be a head-tripping party of astral proportions, and that only becomes more clear when you see that the bill will be rounded out by Snake Mountain Revival. This VA Beach crew shows on their recently-released EP, The Valley Of Madness, that they know how to combine crunching riffs with guitar-driven atmosphere to create an almost spaghetti-western take on psychedelia… one which everyone who stops into Fuzzy Cactus this Saturday night is sure to enjoy. Wear your space cowboy suit for this one, folks.
Sunday, January 19, 8 PM
Urin, Left Cross, Scheme @ Mojo’s – $7
There’s something undeniably fun about straight-up crust punk. Some of it comes from how truly fierce and unrelenting an attack these bands tend to have. Some of it is that they seem to get off on making their music as atonal, noisy, and inaccessible as possible. And some of it is that they tend to revel in giving themselves socially unacceptable names with incredibly filthy names. Such is the case of Berlin’s Urin, who have gathered members together from across the punk rock world to engage in some harsh Swedish-style crust/D-beat sounds.
Their recent EP, Incydent, is a truly unrelenting slab of shit-fi music bordering on noise, the kind of barely-musical chaos a lot of experimental-music types only wish they could crank out. The sound from the street outside Mojo’s when this quartet gets rolling Sunday night will probably be appalling, but if you’re inside with the proper safety equipment (earplugs and steel-toed boots), you’ll have a blast in the pit for this one. The evening will be further intensified by a performance from Left Cross, who straddle the line between crossover hardcore and old-school death metal so completely that it’s hard to say on which side they truly belong. It’ll all kick off with some noisy metallic punk from newcomers Scheme, which should be fun and maybe just a little frightening… but that’s the way we like it.
Monday, January 20, 8 PM
Minimum Balance, Beeline, I VK @ The Camel – Free!
For a lot of us, Monday means a new beginning to the work week. However, for those who work in the service industry, Monday’s often an easy day. Everyone else’s weekend is over, so business slows down and the bartenders and servers of the world can get a night off. The Camel knows all about this, and they’re celebrating Industry Night on this lazy Monday evening with a free show that’s sure to bring delight to the many waiters and barbacks who were at work while the big Saturday night gigs were happening.
This show is headlined by Minimum Balance, who’ve steadily worked over the past few years to make a name for themselves in the Richmond alt-rock scene. Their catchy tunes are both introspective, with an emotional tinge, and well-constructed examples of rock n’ roll from a thinking person’s perspective. They’re sure to spread some smiles when they take the Camel’s stage. Meanwhile, local newcomers Beeline offer catchy indie tunes with a clear influence from melodic punk, while solo artist Isabella VanKesteren, now going by her initials, I VK, will kick things off with a set of moody, stripped-down sounds. The whole evening will be a great way to celebrate a night off.
Tuesday, January 21, 7 PM
Jonathan Facka, Ben Madlinger, Silas Frayser, Matt Sease @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
On these early weekdays, things thin out a bit, but The Camel always stays reliable, bringing us chill evenings of lovely sounds to get us through the nights when we’re all looking for sweet music to help us recover from the intensities of the weekend. That’s why it’s a great idea to head over there this Tuesday night for a whole passel of local singer-songwriters displaying their talents in an intimate setting.
Richmond’s own Jonathan Facka has some lovely indie tunes with an acoustic-emo feel to bring us. Fellow Richmonder Ben Madlinger brings us a sound that pulls more from the heartland, integrating pastoral alt-country and folk vibes with an Americana feel. Silas Frayser hails from the countryside a couple hours west of here, and integrates some Dave Matthews/John Mayer vibes into his energetic acoustic tuneage. And Matt Sease, who hails from somewhere in the region but that’s all I know, will get things going with some sweet tunes of his own. So head down to the Camel this Tuesday night and chill.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, January 8, 7 PM
Nine Pillars Hip Hop Cultural Fest presents War Games 4, feat. Mike Lanx vs. 808Spinz, Doughman vs. Roxx, Itsthewave vs. Noxid, Phd Khari vs. CEO, Sneeze vs. Ayo Ave, with Shamika Shard’e, Gryscl, Music by DJ SG & DJ Double U, Hosted by Remy St. Clair @ IX Art Park – $5 suggested donation (Order tickets HERE)
It’s only been happening for a couple of years now, but the Nine Pillars Hip Hop Cultural Fest is rapidly growing into a Charlottesville musical institution, and I for one am nothing but glad to see it. That city needs a positive artistic movement happening after all the crap it’s been through over the past couple years, and there’s no denying that the Nine Pillars folks have brought a lot of hard work and creativity to the hip hop scene in central Virginia.
You can see that in what they’ve got on offer here at War Games 4, a producer battle between eight different leading lights of hip hop production in the C-ville area in which producers compete for a chance at a bigger battle in May. It takes battle-rap culture and mixes it with classic pro wrestling tournament action in a manner that’s sure to be entertaining to behold. Plus there’ll be a freestyle battle between MCs Sneeze and Ayo Ave, guest spots from champion rhymers Shamika Shard’e and the crew known as Gryscl (aka Grayscale), two DJs behind the decks, and Nine Pillars leading light Remy St. Clair hosting it all. This event will light up IX Art Park for the whole weekend. Make sure you’re a part of it.
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]
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond