Saturday, March 5, 7 PM
Banding Together: A Benefit Concert For RPS Elementary School Music Programs, feat. No BS! Brass, Fear Of Music, Prabir Trio, Erin Lunsford, Landon Elliott, Buenas @ The Broadberry – $20-$100 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been a rough ol’ decade so far, folks, and 2022 is clearly trying to make sure no one thinks it’s calming down this year. Not only is there a terrible war in Ukraine courtesy of that despicable dictator Vladimir Putin, and not only is Texas literally attempting to put parents in jail for being supportive of their transgender children, but things are pretty dang rough right here in RVA, the most obvious example of that being the fire that gutted Fox Elementary School recently. Considering how much trouble Richmond Public Schools always has coming up with the funding necessary to give our local children a good public education, this is definitely not the sort of thing we as a city needed.
Luckily, a whole bunch of Richmond musicians feel exactly the same way, and they’re doing more than ranting about it on the internet somewhere; they’ve actually gotten together with local music education-focused nonprofit JAMinc to organize not one but two benefit concerts for Richmond Public Schools’ musical education programs, both of which take place at The Broadberry this Saturday. The more kid-friendly one takes place at 2 PM and features children’s hip hop group The Diggity Dudes, Jonathan The Juggler, and more. If you’ve got little ones in the house, you probably should take them out to this one, especially since kids 12 and under get in free. But RVA Mag is for the adults, so we’re officially recommending the grownup-oriented show at 7 PM, as it features an incredibly stacked lineup of local musical talent.
Topping the bill is No BS! Brass, a band who shouldn’t even need any introduction to Richmond music fans after all these years. However, on the off chance you pulled into town last week, I will tell you that this collection of horn players, percussionists, rappers, singers, and all around fun-loving troubadours incorporate everything from soul, funk, and classic jazz to hip hop, metal, and hardcore punk into their hype-as-hell tunes and incredibly energetic performances. They’re reason enough for you to be at this thing all by themselves, but the fact that talented local Talking Heads tribute act Fear Of Music, veteran power-popsters the Prabir Trio, excellent singer-songwriters Erin Lunsford and Landon Elliott, plus even more great acts will all be on this bill makes it easily worth the $20 price of admission. This is especially true when you contemplate the fact that every dime you pay will go toward Richmond Public Schools’ elementary music programs. And don’t worry — if you want to donate more, tickets with face values up to $100 are available in order to make your donation as easy as possible. Because as we all know, life’s hard enough right now.
Wednesday, March 2, 7 PM
Spirit Of The Beehive, Body Meat @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Psychedelic ensemble Spirit Of The Beehive have been around for a while now, and you might think you’ve got them all figured out. But honestly, if you haven’t checked them out in the past year or so, you might get a big surprise when you show up at Capital Ale House’s Richmond Music Hall tonight. For one thing, the band’s lineup has shifted considerably since the pandemic shut down live music for 18 or so months. Their most recent keyboardist switched to drums, and everyone else other than co-founders and lead vocalists Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede left. Last year’s Entertainment, Death LP was their first as a trio, and it foregrounds the experimental, electronic, and sonic-collage aspects of the group in new and fascinating ways that led Pitchfork to give Entertainment, Death a much-sought-after Best New Music designation.
One listen is enough to see why; the hypnotic, psychedelic space pop that’s always been a part of their sound has gotten even more unmoored from conventional reality, even as it has absorbed everything from vaporwave vibes to thrift-store “world music” cassette compilations, shoving it all in alongside their tendency toward abrupt sonic shifts and jarring blasts of noise that depart as quickly as they arrive. What’s left is the kind of head-swimmy dance groove that always makes for the best parties; you’re tapping your feet even though you don’t know the song, but you have no idea what the DJ will reach for next or even if they’ll let it play to the end. After a while, though, it starts to make perfect sense. So come down to Capital Ale House tonight and get on Spirit of the Beehive’s level, because rest assured, no matter how weird it seems from the outside, it’s got a lot to offer.
Thursday, March 3, 8 PM
Well Wisher, Strawberry Moon, Closet Space @ The Camel – $12 (order tickets HERE)
I’m always a sucker for some catchy guitar-driven indie tunes with an undeniable undercurrent of melodic punk, and therefore I can’t in any way resist this performance by New Jersey’s Well Wisher, coming to the Camel on Thursday night to get you spiritually prepared for what the weather people are saying will be an at least semi-warm late-winter weekend. Most recently, Well Wisher graced our cooped-up pandemic time with a series of acoustic singles that did what they could to brighten up the precarious summer of 2020. However, to get a sense of what this quartet is capable of when they’re at full strength, we’ve got to go back to their 2019 LP, This Is Fine, which was chock full of great tunes played on pretty dang loud guitars — the sort of sound that would please any lover of PS Eliot or Speedy Ortiz.
It’s likely that this full-strength melodic indie-punk-pop sound will be what Well Wisher bring to The Camel tomorrow night; however, I’ve got to say, even if things focus on the acoustic moods, it’ll still be great. These songs are more than capable of standing on their own. The same can be said of Strawberry Moon, who’ve been bringing the powerful voice and catchy tunes of Katie Bowles and co. to the RVA music world for several years now. All we’ve gotten since pre-pandemic days from them have been a few minimalist demos, but their Bandcamp page heralds a new LP coming this summer, and that’s sure to be a highlight of 2022 for the entire local music scene. In the meantime, see what sorts of new and old tunes they’re bringing out for this Thursday night shindig, and make sure you show up on time to hear what indie-rock newcomers Closet Space have to offer as well. You’ll be glad you did.
Friday, March 4, 8 PM
Phantom Handshakes, Night Idea, Hotspit, Young Scum @ The Dark Room – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a night of cool moods for a dark room in a historic old building in a hip local neighborhood. Yes, I am of course talking about the Hofheimer’s Dark Room, where a night of excellent local bands will be headlined by visitors from New York. Specifically, I’m talking about Phantom Handshakes, a duo that brings their gorgeous dream-pop tunes south of the Mason-Dixon line to grace all our ear canals. The mix of ambient synth beds, chiming guitars, bouncy programmed beats, and adorable vocals on their 2021 full-length, No More Summer Songs, is truly wondrous, and will surely shine even brighter when it comes to us all from inside a very dark room. Make sure you’re there to see this one glow.
But look, you’ve got a lot of other reasons to be there too, and all of them speak to the always-deep pool of musical talent that has been RVA’s excellent legacy for decades now. Night Idea, a name I haven’t heard in a long minute now, is bringing their melodic math-rockin’ sound back to a Richmond stage at The Dark Room on this fine evening, and what’s more, we’ll also get the first live appearance I’ve heard about in quite a while from incredible local power-pop quartet Young Scum. This is a real dynamic duo of Richmond music right here, and if you’ve been paying attention at all, you know you’ve got to be there when these bands share a stage (and if you don’t know, this is your urgent notice that you need to get familiar ASAP). Rounding out the bill is local buzz band Hotspit, whose lovely indie-shoegaze sounds are getting a warm reception both within and outside of RVA lately. Make sure you don’t miss a moment of this one, folks. It’ll be a night to remember.
Saturday, March 5, 7 PM
Coheed And Cambria, Sheer Mag @ The National – $40 (order tickets HERE)
I’m not as good at being an emo girl as I used to be, and I know this because every time I turn around lately, Coheed and Cambria have yet another new album out, and I’m finding myself once again playing catch-up. I still haven’t really gotten my head around 2015’s The Color Before The Sun, and that’s a seven-year-old album now! Meanwhile, the band has launched into yet another of their multi-album prog epics, in the form of Vaxis. Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures came into the world back in 2018, and Act II: A Window Of the Waking Mind is due out this May, with two advance singles having made it into the world thus far. Oh my goodness! I’ve got a lot of listening to do.
Luckily, at first blush, Coheed’s long-established reputation for metallic, progressive, and eminently melodic emo quality remains sterling — brand new single “Shoulders” shows that they’re still at the top of their game, literally 20 entire years after I saw them for the first time (oh my god, I’m so old). So yeah, all the new jams they’re breaking out for the first time on this tour are sure to knock everyone on their ass, and no doubt they’ll be busting out legendary fan faves like “A Favor House Atlantic” and “Here We Are Juggernaut” to get all us old heads singing along as well. Plus, get this: the opening act on this tour is none other than power-pop-garage-punk titans Sheer Mag, who might not quite be worth the full price of admission just to see them if you don’t dig Coheed (and… why, pray tell, would you not dig Coheed?), but they’re certainly going to provide an excellent bonus for all those in the know who show up on time. So hey, make sure you do that, OK?
Sunday, March 6, 7:30 PM
Summer Salt, Renata Zeiguer, Kate Stephenson @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $19.99 in advance, $23 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Winter’s been rough around here this year, speaking strictly in terms of temperature: like, I can’t remember the last time we got a heating bill as high as the one we were slapped with last month. For that reason alone, it’s good to hear that Texas pop duo Summer Salt are coming through town to wrap up all of our weekends with a lovely performance at Richmond Music Hall Sunday night. You see, where Summer Salt are concerned, the warm sunny sea breezes aren’t just implied by their name; they come through in their glowing, gorgeous pop tunes, to the point where you can almost feel that warm wind on your face when you listen to them. It’s a pleasant prospect, especially with the kind of winter we’ve had.
Summer Salt’s current tour is even more likely to bring the beach vibes; the band is touring in support of their upcoming album, The Juniper Songbook, which will be released mere days after their performance at Richmond Music Hall. It’s a collection of Summer Salt favorites re-interpreted in a more stripped-down, acoustic fashion. And in order to get everyone in the mood, their current tour features the same feel. So not only will we be getting a laid-back acoustic take on Summer Salt’s tunes at this show, we’ll also be getting similarly stripped-down performances from singer-songwriters Renata Zeiguer and Kate Stephenson, each of which has plenty to offer in their own right. Clearly you know what you must do: come down to Capital Ale House’s downtown location and enjoy the vibes this Sunday night.
Monday, March 7, 7 PM
Computer, ApathyFire, K!LL SCREEN @ Fallout – $7 in advance, $10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This show at Fallout had me ready for some serious goth vibes, as I usually expect from any musical performance taking place at Richmond’s premier fetish bar. However, they threw me for a bit of a curve with this performance by Computer, a mysterious, prolific New York-based project whose work veers between ominous electronic sounds and outright harsh noise in a manner that’s likely to please fans of everything from Pharmakon to Author & Punisher.
Computer’s music seems less likely to inspire dancefloor action than Fallout’s usual fare, but their atonal sonic approach definitely seems at least somewhat appropriate for the moody atmosphere this place always has in abundance. Opener ApathyFire has plenty of additional noise with which to bewitch all comers, while the pounding techno of K!LL SCREEN should be able to at least start the evening with some dance beats before diving fully into the chaos. Jump in and ride the wave, folks.
Tuesday, March 8, 7 PM
Rick Maguire (of Pile), Allie Smith (of Blush Face), Brent McCormick (of The Wimps) @ Gallery 5 – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’m guessing it’s the pandemic that did it, but lately we’ve been seeing a move toward more stripped-down, acoustic takes on bands’ and songwriters’ previous material. Indeed, it’s a phenomenon that already appears elsewhere in this very column. However, it takes on a whole different feel when it’s explored by someone like Pile’s Rick Maguire, who normally plays a loud, distorted guitar and hollers animatedly overtop of Pile’s pounding noise-rock anthems. He’s completely subverted that formula with his 2021 solo album, Songs Known Together, Alone. This album sees Maguire stripping Pile’s blasting tunes down to their core elements and converting them into songs full of ambient sound, singular emotion, and lyrics that take on a whole new meaning with the harsh pounding of his backing band stripped away.
It’s an interesting choice from a musician whose songs normally sound like they wouldn’t work at all without all the distortion and screaming noise. What Maguire proves on his new solo album is that you can just as easily love a quiet, bare-bones recreation of a Pile tune just as much as you loved the chaotic, raging original. His set at Gallery 5 on Tuesday is sure to bring that fact home in even more dramatic fashion — and what’s more, it’ll give Richmond heads a chance to see local talents Allie Smith of Blush Face and Brent McCormick of The Wimps do similar things with their own bands’ rockin’ tunes. The results are sure to be illuminating — so come down to Gallery 5 on Tuesday, and let the light shine upon your face.
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]