Friday, December 6, 8 PM
Punks For Presents Night 1, feat. Elvzig, Smashing Presents, High Voltage, Rock You Like A Candy Cane @ Bandito’s — Donations requested
Saturday, December 7, 8 PM
Punks For Presents Night 2 Pt 1, feat. Good Cretins, Black Flake, Sled Boys @ Fuzzy Cactus – $10 requested donation
Saturday, December 7, 8 PM
Punks For Presents Night 2 Pt. 2, feat. Snow Control, Sled Dynamite @ Boogaloos – Donations requested
Last week, we discussed the fact that Thanksgiving is the holiday for jam bands. This week we have to tackle the fact that, as holidays go, Thanksgiving is an exception — the rule for live music around holidays is that there will be punk and metal bands doing tribute sets. It used to be just a Halloween thing, but it’s spread to a variety of other holidays, and through the generous work of Punks For Presents, the punk-and-metal-tribute holiday show has been a fixture of Richmond for around a decade now.
Punks For Presents ensures that our celebrations of this, the most materialistic of holidays, do not overlook the less fortunate. At all of these shows, the group will be collecting donations of toys and cash to be given to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, so we can be sure that the sick and disadvantaged kids of the area have a good Christmas too. It’s a great cause, and you can be a part of that effort by spending your weekend rocking out at three tribute shows taking place at three different clubs on two nights, which is a pretty good exchange when you think about it.
Start off on Friday over at Bandito’s, where members of Hewolf are presenting a Christmas-themed take on the works of the almighty Danzig, accompanied by equally holiday-themed tributes to Smashing Pumpkins, AC/DC, and the Scorpions, all brought to you by some of the most beloved and talented musicians Richmond has to offer. Then spend your Saturday on Brookland Park Boulevard, where across-the-street neighbors Fuzzy Cactus and Boogaloos will present two shows in one, with bands staggering set times so you can troop across the street to catch the next band as soon as the last one is done! Long-running Ramones tribute act Good Cretins top the bill over at Fuzzy Cactus, with tributes to Black Flag and Dead Boys sharing the stage there as tributes to Bad Religion and Kid Dynamite rock the house across the way at Boogaloos! The block is rocking for a great cause — make sure you’re there to enjoy and support it.
Wednesday, December 4, 6 PM
Woman Crush Wednesdays December showcase, feat. Jenna Kole, Tiara, The Emma Garell Band, Viktoria Ashley @ Lickinghole Creek Shockoe Bottom – Free!
The problem of male dominance at shows, and the need to counteract it by booking shows focusing on female artists, has long been a relevant topic in the worlds of punk and hardcore. However, we’re clearly seeing real progress in the music world as a whole, because the desire to make space for female musicians has spread locally to encompass the indie-folk/singer-songwriter scene as well. That’s what the monthly Woman Crush Wednesday showcases coming to the stage at Lickinghole Creek’s Shockoe Bottom location are all about, and as a woman who loves all genres of music, I couldn’t be happier to see it happening.
This month’s showcase takes place tonight, and the bill is headed up by Jenna Kole, bringing her quietly intriguing folk-rock sounds from the countryside into the heart of the city. She’ll be joined by the female half of local indie-soul duo Tiara & Andrew, presenting a solo set full of smooth, intriguing vibes. The Emma Garell Band will show off their catchy, energetic tuneage and get the room moving, and Viktoria Ashley will open things up with a solo set to get everyone in the mood. It should be a lovely evening of sounds brought to you by women who are too often relegated to the background while men strut their stuff. And if that’s not crushworthy, I don’t know what is.
Thursday, December 5, 6 PM
Death Angel, Exmortus, Hell Fire, Spiral Fracture, SiNN, Deathtrap @ The Canal Club – $18 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been over 35 years since five Filipino-American cousins, all of whom were then teenagers, came together to form one of the earliest and most important bands of the original thrash wave. Death Angel may not be quite as well-known today as the much-vaunted Big Four, but their first three albums made a huge impact on the west coast thrash-metal movement of the 80s, combining galloping speed and guitar pyrotechnics with youthful energy and a wry lyrical approach that shows through in classic tunes like “Bored.”
Three decades later, and Death Angel aren’t as young as they once were (though for a band with a 35-year career, their average age being right about 50 is still noteworthy). But they’re still going strong, dishing out the speed-thrash riffage with intensity and vigor on their ninth album, Humanicide, released earlier this year. Rest assured, Death Angel will rock you right out of your socks at The Canal Club this Thursday night, mixing excellent new jams with time-tested classics in order to create a perfect recipe for maximum headbangs. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Friday, December 6, 7 PM
RVA Krampusnacht “Yuletide Monsters,” feat. Infinite Xmas, Those Weird Neighbors, The Nine 22’s, The Embalmers @ Gallery 5 – Free!
Ah, Krampusnacht. This celebration of Santa Claus’s devilish counterpart, complete with horns and hooves, has become a strong tradition of Richmond’s holiday season, and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. The traditional Carytown Krampus walk will take place this Saturday night, but you’ll be able to get in the mood the night before by spending First Friday at Gallery 5 for their annual “Yuletide Monsters” throwdown.
Music is just part of what you’ll find when you head down to Jackson Ward this Friday night, but there are some noteworthy sounds on offer at Gallery 5 this fine evening, headed up by Infinite Xmas, a project featuring an ambient take on traditional holiday tunes from Lobo Marino’s Laney Sullivan. This will certainly be a new twist on the often-overplayed music of this holiday season. Local performing arts mainstays Mark Slomski and Madame Onca will also bring you a set by their vaudevillian musical duo, Those Weird Neighbors, which should be a true holiday treat, and we’ll hear garage-punk and surf-psych sounds from The Nine 22’s and The Embalmers, respectively. Plus there’s way more artistic and performing action happening, including a wild n’ crazy variety show hosted by Ego Von Hubris, a photo booth run by the Red Vein Army, a dance party featuring ANIMAL’s fearless leader, DJ Dirt Thurston, and of course a fantastic group art exhibition with contributions from over 20 noteworthy local creators. Missing this one may actually endanger your immortal soul. Don’t take that risk.
Saturday, December 7, 6 PM
Thank You Scientist, Bent Knee, The Tea Club @ The Canal Club – $18 (order tickets HERE)
Prog-rock is a much-mocked genre of music, but the main thing people have always mocked about it is its overwhelming solemnity, which tends to come off as humorless pretentiousness. By contrast, prog-rock as a strictly musical genre can be quite enjoyable, especially when a band approaches it with sense of humor at the forefront. That’s the sort of approach Thank You Scientist has always taken — as the above photo of the group in matching bathrobes should make clear. Which is why, regardless of your opinion of bloated prog-rock monstrosities like Yes’s Tales Of Topographic Oceans, you should still make some time for Thank You Scientist in your life.
Their new LP, Terraformer, mixes complex jazz-fusion aspects, driven by the band’s saxophone, trumpet, and electric violin players, with a virtuosic approach to melodic rock riffs that call to mind groups like Circa Survive or Coheed And Cambria. It’s catchy, it’s dynamic, and it’s a whole lot of fun. So whether you want to engage in an in-depth study of complex chord structures or just dance around with a goofy grin on your face, Thank You Scientist will have you covered when they hit the Canal Club stage this Saturday night. Be there.
Sunday, December 8, 7 PM
Kadavar, Ruby The Hatchet, Mister Earthbound, Astral Void @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $15 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Thanksgiving’s over, but for Kadavar, the pilgrim hats are a year-round thing. This German band, who’ve been cranking out witchy, psychedelic proto-metal for nigh on a decade now, take an occult-driven approach to groove-laden doom metal. When you think “occult metal,” it’s easy to assume you’re getting Slayer’s Show No Mercy or that first Hellraiser movie, but on their new LP, For The Dead Travel Fast, Kadavar are much closer to Black Widow’s Sacrifice and the original Wickerman. The spookiness of the European countryside is not to be denied, y’all.
Kadavar come to town in the company of Ruby The Hatchet, who hail from a closer proximity (specifically the city of Philadelphia), but still have a strongly witchy doom vibe. These guys strike a really good balance between 70s and 80s pop-culture occult metal on their latest LP, Planetary Space Child, which sounds like an early Blue Oyster Cult record blasting from the tape deck of a Trans Am headed to Camp Crystal Lake, if you know what I mean. With Mister Earthbound and Astral Void rounding out this particular bill, this one will be a real treat for all you denim-vested rock n’ rollers with quartz pendants around your necks. Get with it.
Monday, December 9, 6 PM
A Will Away, Small Talks, Sunsleeper, Black Liver @ The Canal Club – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
You don’t necessarily need something all that challenging to brighten up your Monday night. After all, we’ve all got a long work week ahead of us, and no one’s really got their Christmas shopping done, no matter what they tell you. So here’s an easy way to bring some lovely sounds into your Monday night — head down to the Canal Club and enjoy a set from Connecticut’s A Will Away.
The quartet describe their sound as “80s pop-rock on acid,” and that might be fair, but just as fair would be to say that their latest EP, the just-released Soup, is a fun slice of catchy tuneage that stands directly on that thin line between power-pop and pop-punk. Which side of the line it leans towards depends on the song, but all of them are a blast to listen to, and this group’s sure to provide a charming end to a day that might need a bit more charm by the time it’s over. South Carolinians Small Talks are slightly more emotionally focused, but still have that killer pop sensibility that will bring a smile to your face even when they’re singing about forlorn topics. Between the two, these bands can brighten up the rainiest and coldest of Mondays. And this Monday might be one of them. Plan to spend it at this show.
Tuesday, December 10, 6 PM
Insignificant Other, dad, Madison Turner @ Garden Grove Brewing – Free!
It’s always nice to have a reason to head to Garden Grove — and when you’re a sober girl like me, the brews are never enough. But they’ve subtly carved out a niche for themselves in the local music scene by becoming an extremely reliable source for poppy punky musical fun, and that’s something we can never have too much of around here. This time around, it’s a Close By Air production featuring Florida/Alabama queer pop-punk trio Insignificant Other, and you can certainly expect to get some smiles out of this Tuesday night bill.
I’m So Glad I Feel This Way About You! is the name of Insignificant Other’s newest LP, and it’s a ton of fun, from the both witty and extremely real lyrics about the difficulties of interpersonal relationships to the bouncy, scrappy sound, complete with handclaps, of the super-catchy tunes. Expect a good bit more of that sort of thing when Insignificant Other takes the Garden Grove stage. You can also expect some powerful grunge-punk angst from Richmonders dad, and some speedy acoustic punk tunes full of heart and honesty from Madison Turner. Everything about this one’s gonna be great.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Wednesday, December 4, 7 PM
Downhaul, Nonfiction, Every King & Commoner, Karen Estrella @ Charlie’s American Cafe (Norfolk) – $5
Down in Norfolk, there’s a non-local show featuring a local band on tour that I want to bring to your attention, and I assure you, it’s worth it. Whether you’ve caught up with Downhaul around Richmond, where they’ve spent the past couple years working hard to prove their talent, or you’re still wondering exactly what’s up with this band whose name shows up on a lot of local flyers, anytime is a good time to see what Downhaul is up to. They’ve just released a four-song cassette entitled Tornado Season, and it’s a great demonstration of their Smoking Popes-meets-Hop Along take on melodic, emotional alt-rock. Would calling it “post-pop-punk” make sense to anyone? I have no idea, but it seems appropriate nonetheless.
This current tour for Downhaul pairs them up with Philly’s Nonfiction, a group who are slightly more straightforward in their alt-rock approach, but are sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys sounds in the general emo/indie/pop-punk realm, at least if their latest EP, Same Pain, is any indication. Norfolk locals Every King & Commoner and Karen Estrella round out this bill, making it well worth your time whether you’re a curious Tidewater head seeing what’s up with these regional delights or a Richmonder who knows that a Downhaul set is worth your time even if it involves a 90-minute drive. You’ve got the gas money, right? So use it.
Thursday, December 5, 7 PM
Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Dorthia Cottrell, Buck Gooter, Gull @ The Golden Pony (Harrisonburg) – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes doom metal powerhouses are just as intense without all the volume. This double-headlining bill featuring two legendary frontpeople of the doom world — Scott “Wino” Weinrich of The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, and more; and Dorthia Cottrell of the almighty Windhand — is here to act as proof positive of that fact. Both of these performers have had some artistic success with solo ventures in recent years. While it’s been several years since Wino released a new acoustic venture, 2010’s Adrift is a powerful testament to the strength his music can have even without amplification.
Dorthia Cottrell had a solo release of her own a few years ago, and that self-titled LP on Forcefield demonstrated that the memorable vocals that made Windhand a standout are still attention-grabbing and hypnotic even if they’re laid over an ambient acoustic soundscape rather than a succession of towering riffs. So if you’ve ever had any doubt that heaviness can be achieved without an excess of volume, head for Harrisonburg and this Thursday night and learn what you’ve been missing from two masters of the craft.
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]
Top Photo by Drew Sim Photography, via Facebook
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