Wednesday, October 9, 5:30 PM
Municipal Waste, Napalm Death, Sick Of It All, Take Offense @ The Broadberry – $24.50 (order tickets HERE)
I don’t like doing this. And by “this,” I mean recommending that you go to a show that may very well be sold out by the time you read these words. On the other hand, when an absolute epic powerhouse of a lineup like this one comes to town, I feel powerless to do anything else. After all, not only is one of Richmond’s foremost heavy bands at the top of the bill, two absolute legends of two different genres are directly underneath them, and there’s even a fantastic up-and-comer to sweeten the pot. What music journalist can possibly resist this one? Certainly not me.
Let’s get into a little more detail, beginning with the hometown boys. Municipal Waste spent several years being less than fully active, as the members’ various other projects (Iron Reagan, BAT, Cannabis Corpse, etc) hit full speed. However, the last couple of years have seen them crank things up in a big way, first adding former Cannabis Corpse axe-slinger Nikropolis in 2015 to give them a twin-guitar attack after 15 years, then releasing long-awaited sixth LP Slime And Punishment in 2017. This month finds them following up that album with a four-song EP entitled The Last Rager, which is the sort of title that should simultaneously remind us all of past Best Friends’ Day craziness, even as it may inspire some concern about how long the band’s future will extend. If anything, that’s even more of a reason to see them tonight.
Now let’s quickly discuss the other amazing bands on this bill. Napalm Death are absolute legends of UK grindcore and first-wave death metal, and despite many different member changes over the years, are still cranking out face-scorching brutal speed-demon anthems, most recently on 15th album Apex Predator — Easy Meat, released in 2015. As for Sick Of It All, they were one of the key bands defining NYHC in the late 80s. They proceeded to take it worldwide in the 90s with two high-profile major label releases, Scratch The Surface and Built To Last. These days, they’re still going strong, heavy and powerful as ever, and they proved it on last year’s 12th LP, Wake The Sleeping Dragon! The combo of this hardcore legend and the grindcore/death metal legend Napalm Death is unbeatable, especially when topped by RVA’s own legends in the making, Municipal Waste. But show up on time for this one too, because California metallic hardcore rippers Take Offense kick it off, and their brand new third LP, Keep An Eye Out, shows just how ably they carry the legacy of late 80s thrash metal into the modern era. This will be a shred fest from beginning to end. My advice is that you do what you have to do to get a ticket.
Wednesday, October 9, 8 PM
Mr. Kitty, Pastel Ghost, Panic Priest @ Fallout – $8 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)
If you don’t make it into the Broadberry tonight, you can always head down to Shockoe Bottom and join in with the gothic freaks dancing to spooky synth-pop at Fallout. You’ll be wearing black, they’ll be wearing black, you’ll fit right in. Tonight’s headliner is Mr. Kitty, an Austin-based electro-synth auteur who released a double LP, Ephemeral, earlier this year. While the album is every bit as likely to get your feet moving with darkened-dancefloor grooves, the fact is that Mr. Kitty wrote it about the suicide of a longtime friend. The resulting album is strongly influenced by grief and sadness, which come through in the minor-key melodies that add an emotional layer to the 30(!) dance anthems enclosed on Ephemeral.
Mr. Kitty’s Ephemerality tour brings him to town accompanied by another Austin electro-pop artist, Pastel Ghost, who released an excellent, dreamy LP entitled Ethereality last year, and thus provided the other half of the tour title. Pastel Ghost’s music is less dark and gothic, more dreamy and atmospheric, and at times reminds me of the way Grimes sounded at the time of her breakthrough 2012 LP, Visions (I have no idea what Grimes sounds like now). The result is excellent, making Pastel Ghost a perfect pairing with Mr. Kitty that’s sure to get the Fallout dance floor undulating. Gloomy baritone goth balladeer Panic Priest will bring a Sisters Of Mercy-ish sound to the evening as well, making this absolute ear candy for the fog-enshrouded dancefloor habitues of Fallout. Join them.
Thursday, October 10, 9 PM
Pigs Blood, ASM, Skullshitter, Bleeding Out @ Bandito’s – Free!
Things are going to get downright vicious at this Thursday night Bandito’s show, and I’m not talking about the kind of viciousness that occurs when I attack a plate of Bandito’s nachos, either. (Well, I’m not just talking about that kind of viciousness.) This show brings a brutal out-of-town band with a recent release on excellent Brooklyn label Stygian Black Hand to Richmond to join up with a local Stygian Black Hand band and rule the roost at one of the best taco places in town.
Pigs Blood hail from Milwaukee, and play what they like to describe as “bestial black/death war metal.” New LP A Flock Slaughtered adds the imprimatur of truth to that genre designation with ten tracks of gory, guttural rage to blast your head apart. Expect them to deliver a similar effect at Bandito’s this Thursday night. Their brutality will be matched by that of Richmond’s ASM (Antichrist Siege Machine), whose crawling early Carcass-style chaos is shown off to excellent effect on brand new LP Schism Perpetration. As a bonus treat, NYC’s Skullshitter and Toronto’s Bleeding Out will hit you with a heaping helping of the brutal grind chaos excellently displayed on their brand new split LP on Nerve Altar Records, a copy of which you will no doubt be able to score at the merch table after their set. Do it.
Friday, October 11, 9 PM
Alien Boys, Future Terror @ Wonderland – $10
The second I discovered Alien Boys, they delighted me. I hadn’t even heard a note of their music, but after so many bands full of men have given themselves “so-and-so girls” names, it makes me incredibly happy to see a band full of women (or at least non-men — some members use “they” pronouns) going with a “so-and-so boys” name. Outstanding — I love it. And fortunately for me, I also love Alien Boys’ music!
Their LP Night Danger is a rip-roaring blast of fast, catchy punk with urgent lyrics about the violence visited upon women in this patriarchal society — a message more people need to hear. It’s sure delivered in a delightful package; Alien Boys’ sound evokes memories of melodic punk ragers like The Gits, Naked Aggression, and The New Bomb Turks. When these “boys” pull up at Wonderland this Friday night, they’re going to rock you hard and leave you stoked. RVA speed demons Future Terror, who feature members of Asylum, Prisoner, and Enforced, will blast you with some powerful thrash to kick this one off, and you might just get a third band on the bill as well. Even if you don’t though, trust me, this lineup is awesome enough.
Saturday, October 12, 9 PM
Solar Halos, Holy Fingers, Horse Culture, Sibyl @ Wonderland – $10
If I am to be completely honest, I got pretty bored of that whole 70s-inspired doom metal wave a few years ago. However, it’s been nice over the past couple of years to see it mutate into a new wave of epic progressive psychedelic sludge, and the fact that we’re getting a double dose of that exact sort of thing at Wonderland this Saturday night is pretty delightful on the whole.
It begins with Chapel Hill riff-rockers Solar Halos, who display formidable talent and powerful creativity on their latest LP, Coiled Light. These space-traveling slow-motion riffs are sure to get your third eye wide open. Not to be outdone, Baltimore’s Holy Fingers will summon up the peyote-drenched desert landscapes of last year’s Holy Fingers II, taking you on a spectral acid trip that’s entirely their own. RVA sludgeheads Horse Culture will add their own locally-grown take on the sound into the mix, while local newcomers Sibyl take things in a hazier direction to kick off an excellent evening that’s sure to thrill all the lysergic travellers among you.
Sunday, October 13, 7 PM
Bedouine, Gus Seyffert @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $15 (order tickets HERE)
In recent years, there’s been a movement in serious record-nerd circles toward rediscovery of obscure folk artists who released albums on tiny labels with press runs in the low hundreds. Vashti Bunyan is just the tip of the iceberg; in 2019, if you really wanted to dig, you could find dozens of such artists, all of whom tap into an almost psychedelic atmosphere of minimal yet beautiful acoustic songwriting, which is given an unusual character by the lack of budget afforded them at the time. You might well wonder what those artists could have accomplished in a proper studio — but if you want to hear what an artist from that niche could have created had they been allowed to fully realize their vision, you have to turn to Bedouine.
Bedouine is the project of acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter Azniv Korkejian, who displays subtle yet undeniable prowess on this year’s Bird Songs Of A Killjoy. The lush string sections and jazzy, understated instrumental accompaniment given her voice and guitar on this album never overwhelm the gorgeous melodies and poignant lyrics Korkejian brings into the world with a relaxed grace that belies the powerful emotion at work in her music. Bedouine’s performance this Sunday night might require a quieter, more attentive posture than you’re used to engaging during rock n’ roll shows, but it’ll be 100 percent worth it. Listen closely — there’s an entire world within their music.
Monday, October 14, 7:30 PM
Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Piranha Rama, J. Clyde Morris @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Mike Watt has been an absolute legend for decades now. An incredibly talented and influential bass player, he’s exercised formidable influence over the past 40 years of low-end sounds in the worlds of punk, jazz, alt-rock and more. His membership in groups like The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges, J Mascis & The Fog, and a thousand others has led to his indelible imprint on pretty much every bass player who has picked up the instrument in the last 30 years (including me). And it’s allowed him to remain an incredibly busy guy, even at 60-plus years old. Now, after joining with the surviving members of 80s noise-punk deathtrippers Flipper for a European tour, he’s returned home to reactivate one of his several backing bands and head out on a solo jaunt across America.
The Missingmen was Mike Watt’s backing band on his most recent solo LP, 2011’s Hyphenated-Man — an excellent collection of invigorated tunes capturing the spirit of his classic work with The Minutemen and fIREHOSE. This 2019 tour, named “the Dick Watt tour” after Watt’s late father, sees a slightly rearranged Missingmen hitting the road to play a selection of faves from throughout Watt’s career, as well as a variety of covers that he’s made his own over the years. If you dig anything Mike Watt’s done, the set’s sure to offer some songs to make you smile in delighted recognition — and the rest of the time, you’ll be just as thrilled, because it’s Mike Watt and he absolutely wails on bass, just like he always has.
Tuesday, October 15, 7 PM
Mariee Sioux, Angelica Rockne @ Black Iris – $20 (order tickets HERE)
Two quiet acoustic folk shows in a week? Hey, my ears aren’t what they once were — and if you keep blowing yours out at loud metal shows, yours won’t be either. A couple of quiet nights listening to incredibly talented folk singers certainly won’t kill you — if anything, it’ll do the opposite. That’s particularly true when Mariee Sioux is at the top of the bill.
This Native American singer-songwriter has a very different approach than that of Bedouine, who we discussed earlier. As is made clear on her recently-released third album, Grief In Exile, her delicate fingerpicking and charming high vocal harmonies have an intricate and soothing effect. Sioux’s performance will display quiet beauty of a sort that’s sure to stick with you long after you leave Black Iris on this cool autumn Tuesday night.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, October 12, 6 PM
Lee Bains III & Glory Fires, Nana Grizol, Colebrooke @ Picker’s Alley (Fredericksburg) – $10 (order tickets HERE)
It’s a little too on-the-nose to call Lee Bains III & his Glory Fires glorious, isn’t it? That said, it’s an easy adjective to land on with this group, a ripping Southern punk band who mix heartland rock riffs with the roaring rage of classic American punk like MC5 and the Dead Boys, even as they consistently foreground a strong political consciousness that’s more than a little reminiscent of the Drive-By Truckers. Have you ever wished DBT were 25 percent less country and 25 percent more punk? If so, Lee Bains III & Glory Fires are definitely the band for you.
They’ll be hitting Fredericksburg this Saturday in the company of Nana Grizol, a band that simultaneously draws from roots in the American folk-punk scene of a decade ago and the psychedelic indie-pop Elephant 6 scene of the late 90s. Featuring former members of Defiance Ohio, Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel and many more, Nana Grizol combine the shambling melodic grace of folk-punk with the DIY pop psychedelia of the classic Elephant 6 bands, keeping you dancing with lovely tunes played on unexpected instruments, and an approach that is punk in execution even as it brings us a bounty of delightful pop gems. This duo of contrasting Southern punk groups will offer a cornucopia of genres for the delight of the Fredericksburg punks — and it could offer the same thing to you, if you’re willing to drive an hour north for a great show. And why wouldn’t you be?
Sunday, October 13, 8 PM
The Minks, Molly Drag, Past Life @ The Golden Pony (Harrisonburg) – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
We all know by now that Nashville isn’t just for country music, right? Having brought us groups like Los Straitjackets, Be Your Own Pet, and Diarrhea Planet, that city has shown us all by now that it’s more than capable of rocking the fuck out. Therefore, it’s not really a surprise that their latest export is The Minks, a group driven by the “create or combust” approach of frontwoman Nikki Barber. This raison d’etre manifests itself on The Minks’ brand new LP, Light and Sweet, in some rollicking blues-garage rock n’ roll with a strong Southern twist and a ton of swaggering energy.
Grabbing hold of that powerful energy is the main reason for you to wrap up your weekend at Harrisonburg’s Golden Pony with the Minks, but openers Molly Drag and Past Life have quite a bit to offer in their own right. Molly Drag’s just-released Touchstone offers quite the contrast to what the Minks have to offer, in the form of introspective, emotional guitar-driven ballads that should appeal to the emo kids who’ve spent some nights sitting up alone in dark bedrooms. Philadelphia’s Past Life is a good bit more upbeat, bringing some indie-style power-pop that’s sure to offer a strong dose of energy to get this show kicked off in proper fashion. Let’s rock.
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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