Chino Amobi has remained steadily fascinating throughout his lengthy tenure as part of the RVA music scene. Beginning in his days performing under the name Diamond Black Hearted Boy and continuing to his current solo work, Amobi’s had a constant sonic thrust paired with an intense political message, all of which added up to rejecting of current political realities through genre-spanning works of experimental gothic noise pop. Or something like that. Deep dives into his recently released album PARADISO, the sonic environments of which often give the lie to the sunny-sounding title, will yield a variety of strange electronic grooves, which sometimes bring a hypnotic funk sensibility sure to charm any listener, and other times disrupt themselves with harsh explosions of found sound. It changes from moment to moment, and while the change can wrong-foot you a bit, it’s always an engrossing experience, reflecting Amobi’s noted antipathy towards passive listening. Your listening experience at Strange Matter this Friday night will be an active one–Amobi guarantees it.
In this performance, he unites with several other Richmond artists to raise funds for Advocates For Richmond Youth, an activist group dedicated to preventing youth homelessness in our area. A worthy cause, one that it’s no surprise to see uniting POC and LGBTQ artists who themselves are members of marginalized groups more likely to encounter the grim reality of homelessness than the average person. It’s not just words on paper to them. And not only is this clear from listening to Amobi’s music, it shines through just as brightly from the music of hot local rapper McKinley Dixon, who’s brought a notable social consciousness to his meteoric rise through the ranks of Richmond musicians. Meanwhile, disco-punk ragers Toxic Moxie have always shown a dedication to moving bodies with tremendous grooves backed by sincere conviction. I’m not as familiar with newcomers Lotus, who open this night of noise for a cause, but their position on this bill alone is enough to speak well for them. Come catch this whole show, and dance your ass off for a good cause!