Sunday, June 23, 7 PM
Toxic Moxie (Photo by David Morton), Magnus Lush, Among The Rocks And Roots @ Gallery 5 – $6 in advance/$8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
One of the core principles of this-here column is as follows: local music, specifically music from Richmond, is awesome. But that’s not just because our city had the fortune of attracting (or incubating) a lot of really talented people. A big part of what makes this relatively small US city so great at producing a ton of wonderful sounds from talented musicians is the community that exists within the scene here. Pretty much everyone involved in the local scene works to help support each other in our mutual creative endeavors. That’s not only true across styles and genres, it’s also true for people who don’t necessarily play music themselves — the promoters, the photographers, the zine-makers, even the kids who just go to a lot of shows and help make sure that bands get paid.
In that spirit, it’s great to see three local bands with significantly different sounds all coming together at Gallery 5 this Sunday to help a friend. I’ve never known Celeste Canady to play in a band, but her photography and overall scene support has made her an essential member of Richmond’s music community for years. Now she’s headed off to start the next chapter in her life by moving to Chicago — and three great Richmond bands are playing this fundraiser to help Celeste on her way.
Whether you personally know Celeste and also want to contribute, or are just looking for a great night of local music to cap off your weekend, Gallery 5 is the place to be this Sunday night. Toxic Moxie are our headliners, and they’ve been teasing a new LP for a damn minute now, so chances that this show will bring you a live preview of their killer new material are pretty high, I’d say. Magnus Lush’s excellent post-hardcore sound is always captivating and worth your time. And Among The Rocks And Roots are still building yet further from their 2018 LP, Raga, a creative peak in their epic multi-movement song construction and noisy, raging, yet hypnotic and enticing bass-drum duo sound. These groups are very different, but they are all excellent, they’re all coming out of Richmond, and best of all, they’re all coming together to support members of their community. Gotta love it.
Wednesday, June 19, 7 PM
Daddy Long Legs (Photo by Colby Sadeghi), The Bush League, The HellHounds @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s not exactly in the mainstream eye right now, but if you know where to look, you’re sure to notice that there’s quite the revival in rootsy, bluesy rock n’ roll happening these days. Daddy Long Legs are part of that whole thing — the NYC three-piece play music landing somewhere between the amplified Chicago blues of Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, and the noisy gutbucket howls of The Cramps and Jon Spencer. Hard not to love that!
On their new LP, Lowdown Ways, dish out some rollicking noise, making the most of their unusual lineup configuration — a slide guitarist, a singer who plays blues harp at times and guitar at others, and a drummer with a tiny kit and an ever-present maraca in one hand — and crank out some sounds that will appeal both to fans of early Fat Possum Records superstars like RL Burnside and T-Model Ford, and to Richmond punks who miss the heyday of local roots-punk rippers The Nervous Ticks. All of this adds up to a ton of fun; you’ll certainly be moving your feet if you make it out to this one.
Thursday, June 20, 8 PM
Moon Hooch (Photo by Jeffery Allen), Nathan-Paul & The Admirables, Brunswick @ The Camel – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I love it when something totally unexpected rolls through town, and that’s why I’m super-stoked to see Moon Hooch coming through. This trio is the kind of thing you’ve almost never seen before — two saxophones and a drummer, plus some occasional electronic augmentation and a completely unpredictable approach to songwriting that creates some of the freshest sounds I’ve encountered in a while. Moon Hooch are definitely not jazz. Nor are they a sax-driven rock n’ roll band. They aren’t an avant-garde experimental noise ensemble, either. And while their latest release, a collaboration with rapper/producer Tonio Sagan, has a decided boom-bap feel, they aren’t hip hop either.
So if Moon Hooch aren’t any of those things, then what are they? Answer: they’re a whole lot of fun. Any group who got their start as subway buskers are sure to know how to entertain a crowd, and Moon Hooch are no exception. They make danceable tunes full of groove and forward motion that are sure to get your booty shaking. Sometimes the result is reminiscent of John Zorn’s more accessible work, while at other times you just may find yourself thinking of Richmonders Dumb Waiter; those of you with longer memories may also end up thinking at times of Morphine. But mostly what you’re going to be thinking about when Moon Hooch are onstage at the Camel is what a great time you’re having. And that’s ultimately the best result possible.
Friday, June 21, 8 PM
Briana Marela, Plastic Pyramid, M4DF4C3 @ Sediment Arts – $9
This Friday night, it’s time to step into a slightly different headspace over at Sediment Arts. Many of us associate shows at art galleries with avant-garde sounds and performances, and while that isn’t universally true, such an instinct is not going to steer you wrong this Friday night. Briana Marela is an electronic musician from the West Coast, who uses her voice to create ambient layers of ethereal melody, then augments these floaty textures of sound with subtle programmed beats, synths, and gorgeous vocal melodies with their own flawless sense of melodic pop excellence.
The result might make you think of more recent work by Bjork, or even Grimes in her pre-Elon Musk days. But Briana Marela very much has her own thing going on, which she shows both on her most recent LP, 2017’s Call It Love, and a song she created last year in collaboration with Radiolab. “4th Amendment” is a song that uses the Bill Of Rights’ prohibition against unwarranted search and seizure to explore important issues relating to consent. Clearly she’s coming from an intelligent mindset — she’s currently pursuing an MFA in Electronic Music at Mills College — and her complex music demonstrates that, giving the listener a lot of sonic rabbit holes to fall down. In the best way, of course.
Saturday, June 22, 7 PM
Minor Poet (Photo by Joey Wharton), The Wimps, HotSpit @ The Broadberry – $10 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
A whole bunch of Richmond indie musicians — Matthew E. White, Natalie Prass, Lucy Dacus — have made it big in that world over the past several years, and now it appears that Minor Poet’s Andrew Carter is set to follow in their footsteps. Following up on And How!, his 2017 debut LP under the Minor Poet name, Carter has just released his follow-up EP, The Good News, with none other than Sub Pop Records. Which technically makes Minor Poet labelmates with Nirvana, and if that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is.
OK, actually, I do know what is — the brand new six-song offering from Minor Poet. The Good News is a triumph of pop songcraft, full of lush instrumental augmentation around a really solid core of pop-rock melody that nods toward both the Beatles and the Shins on the way to an excellent, original place of its own. At The Broadberry this Saturday night, Carter and his allies in Minor Poet will bring the whole thing to vibrant Technicolor life before your very eyes. And then you’ll have a chance to grab a copy of The Good News on vinyl for your very own. Trust me, you’re going to want to.
Sunday, June 23, 9 PM
Greenbeard, Lady Killer, 3:33 @ Wonderland – $10
We’ve explored all sorts of multi-faceted sounds and styles this week, but we all know what the music scene in Richmond was built on, so this Sunday night, let’s all head down to Wonderland and get back to our roots in the rich earth of Southern metal. Two Texas bands are headed to Shockoe Bottom to help us out with that, and with a name like Greenbeard, you know the first of these two has to be good. You might wonder whether that name is intended to be a weed reference, but the fact that the first song on their latest EP is called “Contact High II” should remove any doubt.
And of course, these guys churn out exactly the sort of rumbling sun-baked grooves that you’d hope for from any metal band who like to make marijuana references. Greenbeard’s music occupies a territory bordered on one side by the hazy psychedelia of Hawkwind or Monster Magnet, and on the other by the straight-up Camaro grooves of Fu Manchu. If you like spending time in that territory — and let’s be real, who doesn’t? — this show is for you. Fellow Texans Ladykiller push that vibe in a bit more of an 80s cock-rock direction, complete with some of that slightly-awkward “pretty women as scenery” vibe straight out of mid-80s Motley Crue videos. But once they start to play, all doubts go by the wayside — these guys are riff masters, and there’s no denying it. Local metal-punk madmen 3:33 will kick off their next tour with an opening slot on this one, so expect things to be hard n’ heavy from the word go. Which is exactly what you want.
Monday, June 24, 6:30 PM
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Father John Misty, Jade Bird @ Altria Theater – $59.75 – $79.75 (order tickets HERE)
I’ve been a fan of Jason Isbell since back when he was still in the Drive-By Truckers. He wrote some of the best songs on their albums that he played on, and when he left the group a dozen years ago to kick off a solo career, I certainly wasn’t complaining. Isbell’s been repaying my faith in him ever since, creating half a dozen excellent solo albums thus far. The most recent of these, 2017’s The Nashville Sound, was the first to give his band, the 400 Unit, equal billing, and it makes sense — it’s very much a band record, with a sound that is guaranteed to please everyone who loves heartland rock, alt-country, and any sort of heartfelt anthem delivered with grace and sincerity.
Since that album was released, Isbell has contributed a song to the Star Is Born soundtrack. Meanwhile, his current tourmate, Father John Misty, recently started playing a song that he swears was rejected from that same high-profile film. Of course, as with anything Father John Misty is up to, you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt — the guy’s been one of the music world’s most notorious tricksters since he quit Fleet Foxes and changed his name from plain old Josh Tillman back in 2012. But for someone who’s public persona is sometimes quite difficult to figure out, Father John Misty’s music is always excellent, something he proved yet again on last year’s God’s Favorite Customer. You might hear all sorts of weird between-song pronouncements during his set at the Altria this Monday night — but you’ll definitely hear some powerful music. And that’s really what it’s all about.
Tuesday, June 25, 7 PM
Damien Jurado, Corrina Repp @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $18 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s another pretty impressive labelmate Minor Poet can now claim as a result of his Sub Pop signing. Damien Jurado’s been making his spare, affecting music for around 25 years now, and in the late 90s and early 00s, he was recording for Sub Pop, releasing moody acoustic singer-songwriter masterpieces like Ghost Of David back before Iron And Wine was a name anyone knew.
In the years since, Jurado’s released over a dozen albums, at times dabbling in full bands and more electrified sounds. But on his latest, the just-released In The Shape Of A Storm, Damien Jurado has once again returned to his roots, producing an album of haunting ballads that aren’t quite folk, country, indie, or emo, but will likely appeal to people who enjoy any of those genres. Jurado’s music is always an intense, haunted listening experience, even on record. When he takes the stage at Capital Ale House this Tuesday night, you should be prepared for an emotional journey — one that may take you to some pretty dark places. But even so, you’ll be tremendously glad you took the ride.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, June 22, 7 PM
The Connells @ The Jefferson Theater – $20 (order tickets HERE)
It may very well be that you have to be “of a certain age” to remember the Connells in 2019. And if so, that’s a shame, because while this band’s most successful periods were the college radio era of the late 80s and the post-Nirvana alt-rock boom of the early 90s, their songwriting talent was more than sufficient to make them the authors of some truly classic alt-pop tunes. Granted, they weren’t as heavy as the grunge bands of the day. What’s more, their roots in North Carolina linked them much more closely to fellow Southern indie groups like REM and Dillon Fence than to the quirkier collegiate alt-rock of the Massachusetts area (like the Pixies or Dinosaur Jr).
All the same, songs like “Stone Cold Yesterday,” “Slackjawed,” and “Fun And Games” showed that namesake brothers Mike and David Connell, along with perennial lead vocalist Doug MacMillan, knew exactly how to put together a perfect pop tune. The results on album after album harked back to 60s classics by the Beatles and the Byrds while also indicating a clear kinship with UK groups like The Smiths and The House Of Love. All that sounds pretty great, right? And see, that’s why you should definitely make it out to the Jefferson Theater Saturday night when The Connells come through — regardless of whether or not you saw them on the lawn at your college in 1994. Their heyday may be a bit far back in the rearview, but these songs are timeless.
Tuesday, June 25, 7 PM
Kristin Hersh Electric Trio, Fred Abong @ The Golden Pony – $12 in advance/$14 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Kristin Hersh has been making music for nearly 40 years, and she’s been a unique and fascinating artist that entire time. Beginning in the early 80s with her band Throwing Muses, Hersh used a spiky iconoclasm learned from punk to twist her noisy pop tunes into strange, off-kilter shapes that made the results fascinating. Beginning in the early 90s, Hersh began alternating full-band Throwing Muses albums with more minimal but no less fascinating solo albums, which veered from raw emotional declarations to covers of old Appalachian folk ballads.
These days, Hersh has managed to distill all her disparate musical threads into a single unified sound. 2018’s Possible Dust Clouds integrates the noisy, tangled postpunk sound of Throwing Muses and Hersh’s post-Throwing Muses project, 50 Foot Wave, with the arresting minimalist songcraft of her previous solo material. Now she’s out on tour performing not as a solo artist or a bandleader but something in-between — fronting an Electric Trio featuring former Throwing Muses bassist Fred Abong and former 50 Foot Wave drummer Rob Ahlers. Will the result be an overview of her 35-year recording career, or will Hersh plunge fearlessly into the future on the trail of her unique muse? Regardless of which way things go, the result is sure to be a captivating performance. Head up to Harrisonburg and see it for yourself — it’ll be worth the trip.
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]
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