Saturday, August 25, 11 AM
Vinyl Conflict X Rest In Pieces Customer Appreciation Day, feat. BIB, Nickelus F, Nosebleed, Slump, Deviant, Sinister Purpose, Benderheads @ Vinyl Conflict/RIP parking lot (324 S. Pine St) – Free!
It happens once a year, lasts all day, and is hot as hell. Sure enough, I am talking about the Vinyl Conflict Customer Appreciation Day, a once-a-year all-day outdoor party thrown by Oregon Hill’s best punk rock record store, Vinyl Conflict. This year sees them joining forces with neighboring oddity shop Rest In Pieces to come together in their joint parking lot and have the loudest block party you’ve been to all year. It also sees us in the midst of a relatively cool August by RVA standards, so with a forecast of partly cloudy skies and a high of 82 degrees, you may not have to worry as much about overheating as you usually do.
Not that high temperatures are ever an excuse to keep you away from this annual extravaganza. You’ll also do well to get an early start — things kick off with sidewalk sales at both shops starting at 10 AM, so show up early and hit the racks before all the good stuff gets cherry-picked. Then get ready for a nonstop thrill ride of killer music lasting until the evening hours. The bill will bring us a smorgasbord of killer punk, hardcore, and hip hop, enough to keep the mosh pit swirling all day. Plus, there’ll be food aplenty, provided by Cobra Burger and Go Go Vegan Go — so no matter your dietary requirements, you’ll be able to chow down! Stow your purchases in your car, grab some tasty treats, and get ready to mosh!
Headliners BIB will definitely get you moving — this Midwestern psychedelic sludge-core crew is apparently “egg punk” according to the internet, but don’t let memes stop you from jumping into the pit when they take the stage. They’ll rock your faces off, and so will local hip hop legend Nickelus F, who has been going higher and harder than ever in recent months, with his recent tour with Lil Ugly Mane and his incredible new album, Stuck — soon to be released on vinyl from Vinyl Conflict Records — lighting up hip hop heads from coast to coast. There’s a lot more hardcore and punk to enjoy on this bill, from the ripping rage of Nosebleed and the high-speed fury of Deviant to the rockin’ riffs of Sinister Purpose and the raw, noisy vibe of Benderheads. By 7 PM, you’re gonna be exhausted — but you’re sure to have a smile on your face.
Wednesday, August 22, 8 PM
Multicult, Heads, Hex Machine, Oozing Meat, R-Complex @ Strange Matter – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I don’t know what’s been going on with midweek shows lately, but it seems like we’re in the midst of a steady run of absolutely incredible Wednesday night bangers. Maybe it’s just that it’s the summertime, and all the bands are using their vacation time to hit the road. Whatever’s up, I certainly can’t complain, because it’s brought us a ton of incredible entertainment in the middle of the week lately. The run will continue tonight at Strange Matter with a double-headlining show by touring partners Multicult and Heads.
Multicult are from right up the road in Baltimore, and they’ll be bringing us some incredible 90s- throwback noisecore, sure to evoke positive memories of past DMV-area greats like Circus Lupus and Bluetip. Signed to Learning Curve and featuring former members of Triac and Fight Amp, this group is ready, willing, and able to prove their mettle/metal to all comers. Touring partners Heads come all the way from Berlin to deliver some similarly heavy sounds, though with a strong dose of postpunk darkness and gothic cool stirred into the mix — as displayed on their incredible new album, Collider, released earlier this year. These two excellent groups will be joined by a wealth of excellent Richmond-based acts, from the long-running noise-rock awesomeness of Hex Machine to the brilliantly fucked lo-fi grind mess of Oozing Meat and the harsh electronic fuzz of R-Complex. You’ll probably be going in late on Thursday morning, but it’ll be worth it.
Thursday, August 23, 8 PM
High Command, Left Cross, Enforced, Destruct @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s getting heavy in here. Thursday night brings us to Strange Matter once again, this time for a show presented by Terror Assault, a promotional group I’m not familiar with (though they are assuredly NOT involved with Dragon Ball Super CCG). The headliners this time around will be Massachusetts headbangers High Command, whose recent 7 inch from Haftvad Records, The Primordial Void, shows them to have some incredible thrash chops and a decidedly dark feel that goes incredibly well with their high-speed riffage. If you’re thinking Possessed, you’re on the right track.
High Command may sound like a thrash metal band straight out of the legendary Metal Massacre comps of the mid-80s, but I’m honestly not sure if they’re a metal or a hardcore band. I say this because they’re joined on this bill by three different ultra-heavy local bands, all of which are at least hardcore-adjacent. The most noteworthy of the three is, of course, Left Cross, who devastated us all late last year with the release of their excellent slab of ultra-heavy thrash, Chaos Ascension. Less established RVA groups Enforced and Destruct tread similar territory, though Enforced lands closer to a post-NYHC crossover sound that simultaneously reminds me of Judge’s Bringin’ It Down and Agnostic Front’s Cause For Alarm. Meanwhile, Destruct sound almost like the more metallic takes on D-beat issued in the early 90s by groups like Destroy and Disrupt. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether any of these bands lie on the hardcore or metal side of the fence — headbangers and circle-pit starters from all around the metropolitan area are equally likely to love every single band on this bill. Don’t sweat the genre, just throw on your denim vest and show up.
Friday, August 24, 7 PM
Boy Harsher, Void Vision, Sacramence, Child Of Night @ Gallery 5 – $15 (order tickets HERE)
It’s undoubtedly clear to all with a more than cursory knowledge of each shop that Vinyl Conflict has taken the lead on coordinating bands for the VCxRIP Customer Appreciation Day show discussed earlier. However, just because Rest In Pieces aren’t as directly involved in bringing music to RVA doesn’t mean that the folks at Richmond’s leading oddity shop aren’t ready, willing, and able to curate a powerful musical lineup on their own behalf. And this Customer Appreciation Day show at Gallery 5 on Friday night is Rest In Pieces’ time to shine.
I must say, though, “shine” seems like entirely the wrong word for a lineup like the one they’re bringing us. Headlining the affair is Boy Harsher, a coldwave duo with a solid grasp on the electronic sound that brings postpunk weirdos and goth rivetheads together to pogo grimly while wearing sunglasses inside at night. Their excellent Lesser Man EP can turn any bright suburban bedroom into a darkened Berlin dance floor — so imagine what they’ll be able to do with Gallery 5. Philly electro-goth group Void Vision has a similarly dark and hypnotic sound to offer, while Ohio’s Children Of Night adds a bit of a Teutonic industrial resonance to their take on the sound. Local openers Sacramence introduce a bit more of a electro-dance element to the evening, and show that the locals can bring it just as well as the out-of-town bands. This is a sound that deserves to be heard under cover of darkness — I can’t imagine any of these bands trying to perform under the Oregon Hill sun on Saturday afternoon — so be sure to start your weekend at Gallery 5 Friday night, and get the full Customer Appreciation Day experience.
Saturday, August 25, 9 PM
Trunk, Petrichor, Roy Batty @ Wonderland – $?
I love it when things work out so that I can advocate for a weekend doubleheader — a situation in which the featured show and the other show for that same day are happening at such different times that anyone could easily go to both. Such is the case with this Saturday’s festivities; the last band at Vinyl Conflict’s Customer Appreciation Day will finish hours before the first band starts up at Wonderland that night. You can totally go to both — and you should, if you have the energy. Especially since the Wonderland show will give you an opportunity to see Trunk.
Trunk are a Pennsylvania trio that calls themselves “hippie death metal” and sound more to me like the excellent early works of Eyehategod and Cavity crossed with the downcast Southern grooves of bands like Buzzoven and Sourvein. Their self-titled EP, released last fall, is a certified banger from beginning to end, and you can expect these songs to bowl you over when this band hits Wonderland’s stage. Local support comes from Petrichor and Roy Batty; the former has a sort of psychedelic doom feel, simultaneously melodic and crushing, while the latter hits you with some energetic rock n’ roll, featuring an undeniably heavy bottom end that’ll make this one a surprising hit with metalheads. Clear your schedule for this Saturday — you’ve got a lot of rocking to do.
Sunday, August 26, 7 PM
Tiny Stills, Get Married, WISH, Tyler Meacham @ The Camel – $8 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Take heart, emo kids — Tiny Stills knows sometimes it can get difficult just to get through the day. And they’re here to help, as they demonstrate with the assured power-pop sound they deliver on latest LP Laughing Into The Void. This LA group has a definite 90s throwback feel, but that’s not to say that their sound is predictable; they’re just as likely to channel The Anniversary as they are to remind you about forgotten 90s acts like That Dog and Fuzzy. And the heartfelt delivery makes it all that much easier to connect with. As their bandcamp page says, “Even the worst days have a silver lining. You’re not alone.”
Tiny Stills are on a mission to make you smile, and on Sunday night they’ll succeed with flying colors — and so will tour partners Get Married. There’s a decidedly more punky feel to this California crew’s sound; just-released LP Songs For The Sleepless lands somewhere between early Jawbreaker and the best work by Reggie and the Full Effect. The result is a surefire dance-party starter and a blast of sunny energy that’ll keep your smile at full strength throughout their set. Local newcomers WISH will bring a dose of shoegaze to this musical evening, though their version of that rather nebulously-defined genre is closer to Hum than My Bloody Valentine (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Singer-songwriter Tyler Meacham will open up with a set of charming folk-pop songs with a strong emotional resonance that’s sure to connect with all the emo kids coming out for this one. So show up, and find a reason to smile — god knows we all need one.
Monday, August 27, 8 PM
T-Rextasy, Piranha Rama, Lawndry, Big No @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
If you’re happy after Sunday night at The Camel, rest assured Monday night at Strange Matter will NOT bring you down. Brooklyn’s T-Rextasy is coming to town, and while the title of their 2016 LP, Jurassic Punk, might make you think you’re in for some serious “chain punk” action, the truth is far less predictable — and more fun. T-Rextasy are a jangly power-pop group that embrace the link between girl groups and garage rock most strongly illustrated by the Shangri-La’s, but they add an undeniable dose of sunny melodies and tongue-in-cheek fun that’ll make their Monday night set at Strange Matter the perfect opportunity for bopping around with a big grin on your face.
And rest assured, the other bands on the bill will make you smile as well, if for no other reason than the sheer fact of their talent. Nashville’s Lawndry are the other out-of-town act playing this one, and their psychedelic folk-pop tunes show a wide scope of influences coming together in intriguing new ways; the fact that the group covered Lee Hazelwood, Scott Walker, and Animal Collective on their most recent EP certainly tells you something. Swiftly-rising local heroes Piranha Rama carry on the excellent momentum generated by last month’s self-titled debut LP, giving us another heaping helping of their twangy surf-psych-rock n’ roll melange. Meanwhile, hazy psych groove merchants Big No get things started with a big bang. This one’s gonna be a wall-to-wall delight.
Tuesday, August 28, 9 PM
Sissy Spacek, Suppression, Taciturnal @ Sediment Arts – $9
Just to get this out of the way up front: no, this show has nothing to do with actress and Virginia resident Sissy Spacek — this is another thing entirely. Sissy Spacek, the band, is made up of two members: bass player/electronic noise purveyor John Wiese (best known for his involvement in Bastard Noise) and drummer Charlie Mumma (of Sewer System, Bloody Phoenix, and at least a dozen other projects). The two have been working together for a couple of decades now, and have churned out an unbelievable 30 albums of blurry hyperspeed grind/noise violence. Their latest, Ways Of Confusion, was released last month on Nuclear War Now Records and blows through close to 40 songs in about half as many minutes. As musical extremes go, you don’t get much harsher than this.
And then there’s Suppression, another bass/drum grind project with a two-decade history. Bassist/vocalist Jason Hodges (Bermuda Triangles, Amoeba Men) and drummer Ryan Parrish (Iron Reagan, Darkest Hour) have been working together for about that long, but 2018 is nonetheless a milestone year for this duo: the year they release their first full-length LP in nearly a decade. Placebo Reality was released in May on their own label, Chaotic Noise Productions, and sees the group, which had gotten much closer to a bizarro form of noise-rock at one point, returning to their filthy, violent grindcore roots with something like 73 songs (assuming I didn’t lose count), again in about half as many minutes. These two groups are clearly made for each other. Local experimental project Taciturnal will get the harshness going with their opening set. Bring earplugs for this one.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Thursday, August 23, 6 PM
Belmont, Such Gold, Southpaw, Invaluable, Boxford @ 37th And Zen – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Remember what I said earlier about how great Wednesday nights have been for live music in RVA lately? Down in the Hampton Roads area, it seems like Thursday nights are the sure-fire winners — I’ve found myself sending y’all down 64 East on Thursday nights pretty much every week since we started doing these bonus HR picks. I’m curious to see whether the trend continues. But before I worry about all that, I’m very excited to point out that Belmont and Such Gold are hitting 37th And Zen tomorrow night, and you’d be well advised to gas up the vehicle in preparation.
This is especially true if you’re a fan of ultra-catchy, emotionally-infused pop-punk — and god, who isn’t? Belmont’s 2016 EP, Between You & Me, is a rock-solid collection of excellent tunes to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, and their two post-EP singles, “Water Weight” and “Step Aside,” are even better. Fans of everything from Title Fight to Knuckle Puck are sure to enjoy the hell out of this band’s set. Such Gold should need very little introduction to fans of this style; after all, they’ve been plying their poppy, energetic take on that whole “easycore” microgenre of a decade or so ago since… well, a decade or so ago. Last year’s Deep In A Hole EP was their first new material in a few years, and showed that they’ve very much still got it — and believe it or not, a hint of introspective maturity creeps in there at a few points as well. Both of these bands are sure to thrill, and with Michigan’s Southpaw and locals Invaluable and Boxford opening up, this bill is sure to be a direct hit from top to bottom. Get stoked!
Saturday, August 25, 5 PM
BHRex Fest 3, feat. Ancient Torture Techniques, Bandit, Bruised Ego, Primitive Impulses, No/Mas, Constituents, Uncle Buck, Tomb Warden, War Bonds, Sex Dagger @ Charlie’s American Cafe – $10
Wow, some serious shreddage happening on Saturday night in Norfolk. Brain Hemorrhage Records, purveyors of fine grinding noise from Tidewater and beyond, are holding their third annual one-day fest at Charlie’s this Saturday night, and anyone who found the Sissy Spacek/Suppression double bill above intriguing should definitely have this show on their radar. At the top of the bill is an always-delightful battle set, in which bands set up at the same time and trade songs back and forth. In battle this evening will be Ancient Torture Techniques, who veteran followers of VA grind will remember for their split with RVA’s own Street Pizza, and current Philadelphia grind faves Bandit. This is sure to be a wall of power-violence insanity, and a treat for those who’ve missed ATT over their past few years of decreased activity.
There’s a lot more grind to find elsewhere on this bill; most noteworthy outside the battle set is sure to be a set from Primitive Impulses, a pre-Ancient Torture Techniques duo that returns for their first live performance in six years. Make sure you’re there for this one! There are a ton of other highlights that await you as well. Baltimore’s Bruised Ego will blaze through a couple dozen or so numbers in less time than you thought possible; DC’s No/Mas will deliver their dark, filthy take on crust/grind; Baltimore’s Uncle Buck have a definite Spazz resemblance that’s sure to delight the power-violence fan massive; VA Beach’s War Bonds go for some tough, old-school hardcore sounds with some surprisingly fast parts mixed in there. And there’s a whole bunch more in store for ya, all for the low low price of 10 bucks! You blastbeat freaks would really be blowing it if you missed this one.
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.]
Top photo by Emma Penrose
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