Thursday, August 16, 8 PM
Big Freedia, Jafar Flowers, Sofia Lakis, DJ Skrt Skrt @ The Broadberry – $20 in advance/$22 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The Queen Of Bounce is back! Big Freedia is one of the foremost practitioners of the New Orleans-based style of music known as bounce, and she’s brought the sound worldwide with an LGBTQ-centered presentation and a collection of nuclear-powered dance floor bangers. She had a big moment here in RVA several years ago, getting huge crowds of people dancing everywhere in town, from The Hat Factory to Hadad’s Lake. It’s been a couple of years since Freedia has hit town, but she’s here to get booties shaking once again tomorrow night at The Broadberry. And if you’re not ready for the dance explosion that will take place once she hits the stage, you better start limbering up now.
It’s been four years since Freedia’s 2014 LP, Just Be Free, entered the world, and she’s been busy with a variety of projects, from a book and a Christmas album to working with Beyonce on “Formation,” but she’s back with 3rd Ward Bounce, a brand new EP that is her first major-label release. Her sound is still the sort of nonstop parade of banging beats that it’s always been, but new singles like “Rent” introduce a bit more dynamics into the mix — it no longer has quite the same sensory-overload quality of groundbreaking early singles like “Y’all Get Back Now.” But if you think Freedia’s music is going to be a less powerful inducement to getting on the floor and shaking that azz, you’ve got another think coming.
So get out your dancing shoes and get ready to lose control at the Broadberry tomorrow night. And get there on time, because the festivities will start well before Big Freedia takes the stage. The DJs of Ice Cream Support Group will be on hand to open things up; back-to-back sets from DJ Skrt Skrt, Sofia Lakis, and Jafar Flowers will get the party turned up to the maximum velocity, and do a great job of representing Richmond’s POC and LGBTQ communities in the bargain. This one’s gonna be epic; whether you’ve caught Big Freedia in the past or this is your first time encountering the reigning diva of bounce, you need to be at The Broadberry for this one.
Wednesday, August 15, 8 PM
Band Of Horses, Bonny Doon @ The National – $27.50 in advance/$33 at the door (order tickets HERE)
I admit it — I’ve always had a soft spot for Band Of Horses. Their melodic indie sound, which mingles dashes of alt-country twang and folk atmosphere into a mix of incredibly tuneful choruses and subtly infectious guitar melodies, has always had the ability to connect on that same gorgeously emotional level that the best work of Wilco and My Morning Jacket hits. They’ve had a variety of lineup shifts since their excellent 2006 debut LP, Everything All The Time, but leader Ben Bridwell has kept things together smoothly throughout that time, and continued to explore intriguing new facets of the group’s sound on each new release.
Their latest LP, Why Are You OK, saw the band (of horses) get together with Grandaddy leader Jason Lytle to add a few more electronic ingredients to their sound, with fabulous results. But really, it’s just more of what we’ve come to expect; from recent singles like “Casual Party” to the old-school favorites like “Funeral,” Band Of Horses have plenty of excellent songs at their disposal. And now they come to The National to present fans who’ve stuck with them over the past decade with a collection of gorgeous tunes that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face — even if you’re just discovering them now. Don’t miss the boat.
Thursday, August 16, 8 PM
Enemy Soil, Suppression, Ampallang Infection, Disintegration @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a huge treat for grindcore lovers past, present, and future. Enemy Soil, one of the most brutal and prolific bands of the 90s grind/power-violence heyday, have returned to action once again. Founder and only constant member Richard Johnson, affectionately known as “the grindfather,” is taking some time away from his current project, Drugs Of Faith, to resurrect the band that originally brought him fame. And while Enemy Soil spent a considerable portion of their career existing as a drum-machine backed mostly-solo project, this reunion brings back several original members of the group to restore the full-band lineup that (in my humble opinion, at least) was responsible for their best stuff.
And see, this is where you should really get stoked. Because this lineup features some real heavyweights, including longtime Enemy Soil bassist Russ Mason, also of Reeking Cross; drummer Adam Perry, who longtime Richmonders will remember from his tenure with chaos masters PCP Roadblock; and vocalist JR Hayes of Pig Destroyer. From lightspeed grind slaughteramas to brutally heavy breakdowns, this group has it all, and this lineup is the perfect one to bring their outstanding sound to light once again. 90s grind survivors and certified hometown weirdos Suppression will join Enemy Soil on this gig to make it a double dose of legendary VA blastbeat insanity. Plus, we’ll get sets from DC drum-machine grind maniacs Ampallang Infection (um, ouch) and RVA thrash-grinders Disintegration, just to sweeten the pot. Outstanding.
Friday, August 17, 6 PM
Sports Bar, New Lions, Magnus Lush, Naked Pictures @ Hardywood – Free!
Ah, Sports Bar. You’ve gotta love these guys, no matter how slack they are. And make no mistake, Sports Bar are slackers. They’ve released three songs in the past four years. They’re still using a 2010 quote from this magazine in their promo material, even though we’ve written about them several times since then. They don’t even play shows very often anymore — this Friday’s Hardywood appearance is their first Richmond show since early spring. But all of that is 100 percent OK, because when they do get material out, it’s invariably outstanding. From “Get Da Body” to “I Was Going To Shave My Beard, But I Took A Nap Instead” to “Big Mac Yeah” to “Roll High, Lie Well (Kuriki),” their catalog is full of catchy classics that’ll stick in your head for weeks after you hear them.
And they’ve got a whole lot more of them for you in the coming months. Eight years after getting together, Sports Bar is finally about to release their debut LP, and while it doesn’t officially come out until October, the word is they have copies. Will you be able to score one for yourself at this show? I have no idea — but I do think it’s pretty highly likely you’ll at least hear a few tunes from it during Sports Bar’s set. And that’s worth coming out for right there — especially since this show, part of Hardywood’s ongoing “Fresh Can Friday” series, is absolutely free! You’ll get sets from excellent RVA bands New Lions, Magnus Lush, and Naked Pictures as well, so you really don’t have any reason not to go. Show up ready to sing along — you’ll have plenty of opportunities.
Saturday, August 18, 8 PM
Lazer/Wulf, Backwoods Payback, Dumb Waiter, The Bronzed Chorus @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This show promises to be a festival of the senses for those of you who appreciate serious musical craftmanship, but also like it heavy and energetic as hell. Lazer/Wulf, an Atlanta band that reincarnates the classic spirit of RVA’s own (mostly) instrumental math gods, Breadwinner, and mingles that complex crunch with the shred-tastic power of Coalesce or the Dillinger Escape Plan, are coming to town to bowl us all over — and simultaneously inspire us to marvel at the complexity of their instrumentation and arrangements. Indeed, their 2014 LP, The Beast Of Left And Right, was “written as a musical palindrome,” with songs at the beginning of the album constructed as musical mirror images of songs at the end.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: How the hell does that work? Honestly, you don’t have to worry about it. Regardless of the multi-layered elements of their song structures, it’s simplicity itself to just let yourself be rocked like crazy by the pulverizingly heavy riffs this band dispenses. And they’ll be joined on this bill by the equally heavy (though far less instrumental) PA sludge-rock group Backwoods Payback, who recently drafted Erik Larson (Alabama Thunderpussy/Avail/Parasytic) to hold down the drum kit, as well as releasing an excellent new LP, Future Slum, earlier this month. If you don’t know this band, you’ll need to check it out. The bill is rounded out by instrumental tech-math wildmen The Bronzed Chorus and local jazz-thrash freaks Dumb Waiter, and you can expect to get a massive kick out of all involved. It may have nothing to do with lawnmowers, but this one’s gonna be fun regardless.
Sunday, August 19, 9 PM
Captive, The Concussion Theory, Curtana, Dr. No @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
The emo scene in this town is kind of a well-kept secret, and if you ask me, that’s a real shame. We can all help shed more light on some of the excellent bands plumbing the depths of this genre Sunday by heading out to The Camel, though. Captive might not strictly count as emo, at least by their own definition, and their ability to bust out some nearly prog-metal breakdowns — as demonstrated on 2016 concept album A Lost Dream; The Dreamer Lost — shows that if nothing else, they’re stretching the limits of the genre. But the way they always return to emotionally-resonant melodic choruses with a subtle underlying crunch, a la Moving Mountains or Hopesfall, shows where their roots lie.
Therefore, it makes a ton of sense to see them sharing a bill with The Concussion Theory, who’ve been making melodic yet passionate music here in Richmond for about half a decade now. Recently released EP Lament shows that they’ve only improved over the course of that time, as songs like “Simile Of Light” create the perfect mixture of driving rock riffs and emotionally-driven melodic choruses. They’re in completely different scenes, but these guys would probably appeal strongly to fans of fellow Richmonders Sea Of Storms (have these two bands really never played together?), and if you’re one of those, you should definitely make your way to the show this Sunday night. This all-local bill is rounded out by progressive instrumental guitar-slingers Curtana and Deftones-style metallic post-hardcore rockers Dr. No. Get familiar with it.
Monday, August 20, 7 PM
Antiphons, Treadles, Jupiter Styles, missangelbird @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Keeping up with the indie scene in this town is a full-time job, but it’s a really FUN full-time job, and you’re sure to have a blast at the Camel this Monday night when Antiphons headlines a group of indie bands from both within and outside of RVA. Antiphons themselves are taking solo form on this show; recent facebook posts indicate that the full-band version is still getting up to speed after some lineup changes, which means leader Brian Dove will be going this one alone. Tunes like “Benadryl” and “Human Bruise” are sure to reveal entirely new dimensions in the solo format, and maybe we’ll even get a stripped-down preview of some new material. We can hope.
New Orleans’ Treadles add a powerful inducement for attendance to this show on their own behalf. This quartet’s latest EP, Bees Are Thieves Too, shows that they’ve grown ably from their origins as a solo project into an excellent example of a complicatedly melodic indie rock band with a ton of tricks up their sleeves. They’re joined on this tour by Chicago’s Jupiter Styles, who have a bit more of an alt-garage slacker rock sound, full of wry irony and melodic sincerity. Both bands have an infectious spirit that’s sure to have you bopping along. Local opener missangelbird will kick things off with another solo set full of jangly-rockin’ indie tunes. The whole thing’s gonna be a blast.
Tuesday, August 21, 11 PM
The Impalers, Iron Reagan, Lipid @ En Su Boca – $8
Oh my goodness, all you hardcore punks and punked-out hardcore kids better get out your boots for this one, because the Impalers are gonna inspire a powerful urge within you to put down the tacos and start the pit. That’s my way of saying… get the munchies out of the way early at this one. It shouldn’t be hard, since this rager of a gig doesn’t even get going til 11 PM, but I want to make sure to emphasize the point, because The Impalers’ 2017 LP, Cellar Dweller, is such a nonstop blast of outta-control USHC/punk n’ roll riffs that once it gets going, you’ll have to either jump on the ride or get the hell out of the way. We humbly suggest the former.
You’ll have to be careful to have some energy left for the Impalers set, too, because with Iron Reagan going on right before them, the velocity’s sure to be high. Their last LP, Crossover Ministry, demonstrated that this project of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and Suppression members has retained its masterful ability to bust out the exact sort of incredible mid-80s thrash-core that made the original wave of DRI and Suicidal Tendencies fans want to flip their hat-brims up and scribble slogans onto the underside. “IRON REAGAN” will fit under their with ease; grab your sharpie. This show will open up with a set from relative newcomers Lipid, who just released an EP full of snarky hardcore punk rage on Vinyl Conflict and are ready to drag the classic Dead Kennedys sound into the 21st century and kick off this show in proper fashion. Make sure you’re ready; this one’s gonna get nuts in a hurry.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Thursday, August 16, 8 PM
Ensepulcher, Organ Trail, Redundant Protoplasm, Kryptcest @ Riffhouse Pub – $5
As if there isn’t enough happening in Richmond on Thursday night, there’s also this incredible show happening just down the highway at Chesapeake’s Riffhouse Pub. It’s an appropriate name for a venue that will host Fresno, CA death metal trio Ensepulcher, a crew of no-frills headbangers who keep the classic sound alive in fine fashion on their debut EP, No Sanctity In Death. Subsonic guttural vocals join rumbling drums and downtuned axes cranking out classic Florida-style riffs that is eminently appropriate from members of Fiend and Acephalix. If the sounds of Autopsy, Dismember, and Left Hand Path-era Entombed are music to your ears, you’ll need to gas up the hatchback for this one.
PA’s Organ Trail are also on this bill, and anyone who caught them at the Tired & Pissed showcase last week will know that they’re the kind of band who’ll fit perfectly on this bill. Not quite as full of low-end as Ensepulcher, this band’s sound is nonetheless deep, dark and brutal; what’s more, it’s got the sort of gore-drenched over-the-top lyrical madness going on that makes Exhumed such a fun listen. This one’s appointment listening, for sure. The bill also features Redundant Protoplasm, whose name reminds me of Ren chastising Stimpy and whose song titles remind me of early Carcass’s medical-textbook examinations. Sonically, these guys are pure lo-fi death-grind, while fellow VA Beach group Kryptcest are pure low-end brutality. This one will be loud.
Monday, August 20, 8 PM
Pusha T, Valee @ The NorVA – $37.50 in advance/$43 at the door (order tickets HERE)
It’s not like I need to tell you who Pusha T is. Even if you’re not aware of hip hop at all, his beef with Drake this year has been at the forefront of pop culture news, and you’re sure to have heard. But if you actually pay attention to hip hop, you know that this beef is way, way down the list of reasons why you should hit The NorVA on Monday to see Tidewater native Pusha T headlining a show in his old stomping grounds. For one thing, there’s the legacy of amazing material left behind by the Clipse, the groundbreaking duo that originally brought Pusha and his brother, No Malice, to fame.
Since the Clipse dissolved, though, Pusha’s continued to make incredible music, most recently on Daytona, which was produced by Kanye West as part of his five-part “Wyoming Sessions” earlier this year. From LP tracks like the excellent “If You Know, You Know” and spooky-sounding single “What Would Meek Do” to the fiery Drake-diss single “The Story Of Adidon,” Push’s lyrical style can’t be touched right now, and the top-quality production provided by Kanye and others results in some of the best hip hop being made right now. And it’s out of Virginia — so what better place to see it brought to life onstage? This show’s gonna be off the hook. Make sure you’re 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] [and yeah, there’s plenty more of my writing to read over at GayRVA — come say hey.]
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond