Monday, February 21, 6 PM
Obituary, Municipal Waste, Gatecreeper, Enforced, Spirit World @ The Broadberry – $30 (order tickets HERE)
In the crazy upside-down world that is Richmond’s live music scene in the hopefully-waning days of Omicron, we find that somehow, the early days of the week are becoming the hottest time for live music. I never would have expected it after last week’s featured show was on a Tuesday, but with this week’s coming on a Monday, it’s really undeniable. So plan for a disco nap after work on Monday, because you’re really gonna want to stay up late and go to work with what the metal kids call a “bangover” on Tuesday once you get a load of this tremendous Monday night bill.
Of course, you already saw it up above: That’s right, it’s the official Decibel Magazine Tour 2022, and it brings legendary death metal pioneers Obituary to the stage of the Broadberry to chop this entire city in half. Obituary were part of that first wave of talented yet unstintingly brutal death metal bands to come out of Florida at the dawn of the 1990s, and stand alongside other groundbreaking Floridians of the era like Death and Morbid Angel as masters who helped set the template for the genre with early masterpieces like 1990’s Cause Of Death and 1992’s The End Complete, both of which showed off John Tardy’s demonic vocals and a veritable cornucopia of fast, heavy riffs.
But I’m kind of burying the lede here, because the real reason Richmonders are gonna flip out for this bill is that Municipal Waste is on it. The grand marshalls of party thrash, hailing from right here in good ol’ RVA, are back in action once again. It’s been five years since their last LP, Slime And Punishment, though they did grace us with an EP called The Last Rager in 2019, just before the pandemic descended upon us all. Thankfully, it wasn’t actually the last of the raging the Waste will be doing, as they’re apparently bringing us a new LP later this year. Get a preview of that, and find out how truly crazy a post-pandemic crowd goes for a band that already brought the insanity, when Municipal Waste hits the Broadberry stage on Monday night. And hey listen, I know you don’t need another reason to be at this show, but you’d be a fool if you didn’t show up on time and lend an ear to talented up-and-comers Gatecreeper, Spirit World, and Richmond’s very own Enforced. Make that shit happen, y’all.
Wednesday, February 16, 8 PM
Yasmin Williams @ The Tin Pan – $27.50 – $34 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s something completely different but every bit as amazing as the above metalfest for you to go pleasure your ears with this very night. Yasmin Williams hails from the Northern Virginia outskirts of Woodbridge, but her instrumental music, based around acoustic guitar and often involving percussive fingerstyle techniques, will immerse you in a world of pleasurable sound that is far from the concrete alienation of suburbia. Which is not to say that her work isn’t informed by the concerns of modern city dwellers — far from it. Her second album, Urban Driftwood, was released last year and finds Williams drawing strong inspiration from the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and the 21st century movements for civil rights that are a political focal point in the new decade.
Honestly, Yasmin Williams’ very presence in the world of traditional fingerstyle acoustic solo guitar is somewhat of a political statement, as she pushes back against the tendency of the entire genre to be dominated by white men like John Fahey, Jack Rose, and Bill Orcutt. She proves on Urban Driftwood that she’s every bit as worthy of canonization as those men — and, unlike most of them, she’s still alive and in the prime of her musical career. In fact, she’s only in her mid-20s right now; she even cites her youthful experiences playing Guitar Hero as a fundamental influence on her guitar playing. These are all good reasons to go see Yasmin Williams at the Tin Pan, and see what a new, more diverse generation is doing today with the classic instruments and sounds of a mostly bygone era.
Thursday, February 17, 8 PM
Mykal Kilgore @ The Tin Pan – $20 – $26.50 (order tickets HERE)
R&B vocalist Mykal Kilgore has had a pretty significant career so far, but most of his credits come from the Broadway stage, where he has acted in such musicals as Motown: the Musical and The Wiz. It wasn’t until 2019 that he released his debut album, A Man Born Black, which got some pretty significant attention at the time, hitting the Billboard and iTunes R&B charts and garnering Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominations.
Kilgore, who is queer, has been very open about making R&B music that deals with LGBTQ subject matter; in particular, his single “The Man In The Barbershop” deals with the heartbreak of falling for someone whose sexual orientation is different than your own. And who hasn’t been there? Of course, as has happened to many other artists, Kilgore’s ability to tour on his excellent solo album was cut short by the pandemic. Thankfully, he’s back on the road now, and you can catch him at the Tin Pan this Thursday night to catch some pretty powerful vibes from his rich voice and soulful songs. If old-school slow jams are your thing, this is going to be a night full of music you’re sure to love. And hey, if you’re really feeling daring, bring your crush along. Maybe Kilgore will inspire the two of you to take things to the next level. Stranger things have happened.
Friday, February 18, 7 PM
Immolation, Imperial Triumphant, Mortiferum, Voarm @ The Broadberry – $20 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Only halfway through this week’s column and we’ve already come full circle — from death metal to solo acoustic guitar to R&B and now back to death metal. However, where Obituary is one of the groundbreaking pioneers of first-wave death metal from Florida, Immolation are equally pioneering in the first wave of death metal from quite a ways north — specifically, New York. Along with fellow pioneers like Suffocation, Incantation, and Cannibal Corpse, Immolation helped create the template for a heavier, more powerful, and more low-end dominated take on death metal with early classics like 1991’s Dawn Of Possession and 1996’s Here In After.
Three decades later, they’re still cranking out the brutal New York death metal at just a high level of quality. Indeed, their eleventh album, Acts Of God, will be released the very night of this show, and based on advance singles from it, picking up your own copy at the Broadberry merch table on Friday will be an excellent use of your hard-earned dollars. But even more essential is getting to see Immolation pound out riff after headcrushing brutal riff on the Broadberry stage on the very same night. That’s what it’s all about right there. And hey — this time you’ll get to nurse your “bangover” on a Saturday morning, which should make things a little easier, right? No matter how you slice it, you’ve got no excuse for missing this one. So don’t.
Saturday, February 19, 7:30 PM
Deau Eyes, Landon Elliott, Ms. Jaylin Brown @ The Dark Room – $10 in advance, $12 at the door (order tickets HERE)
A night of Richmond’s most talented singer-songwriters at the Hofheimer Building’s Dark Room? Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday, if you ask me. With this bill topped by a solo performance from Ali Thibodeau, the artist otherwise known as Deau Eyes, you know this one’s gonna be amazing. Thibodeau’s first album, which had been years in the making, unfortunately arrived to us all a couple of months into the pandemic. She didn’t let that slow her down, though, and recently she announced a sequel, Legacies, coming this summer, and graced all of our ears with an incandescent new single called “Moscow In The Spring.” Its atmospheric sound and synthesizer-driven instrumentation lands it at some distance from Let It Leave, but who wants to love an artist that never grows artistically? Let’s be real — none of us do.
What will be really interesting about this show will be seeing how Thibodeau’s latest single comes across in a solo performance — and whether she graces our ears with any other new tunes from the forthcoming sophomore album. The mere possibility of such things is reason enough to show up for this one. And then we also get performances from Landon Elliott and Ms. Jaylin Brown in the bargain! Elliott’s heartfelt melodies were given an excellent showcase on 2019 debut Domino, and he’s been releasing some excellent stand-alone singles over the past couple of years to give us all hope for an even better follow-up just around the corner. As for Ms. Brown, you may have seen her around town singing for local soul-funk group Evolution Of the Groove, but she shows strong songwriting chops on her solo material, and if you haven’t delved into what she has to offer, this show is the perfect opportunity to get familiar.
Sunday, February 20, 8 PM
Levi Douthit, Abby Huston, Angels Cant See, Nathan Grice @ The Camel – $6 in advance, $8 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Levi Douthit has done some intriguing things around the Richmond music scene in the past, mostly as part of off-kilter local punk groups like Teenage Cenobite and Black Button. But last year, he stepped out on his own with debut solo album Lucky Pennies, released on cassette by Citrus City Records. If you read this column regularly, you know that when Citrus City gets involved with a local artist, I pay attention, and Douthit’s album is a great example of why that’s a course of action I fully endorse. Its psychedelic take on acoustic indie-folk shows off not only Douthit’s background in strange punk music but his childhood immersed in old-time music and post-hippie Americana.
Filled with memorable, unusual acoustic tunes and unpredictable sonic shifts, Lucky Pennies has quite a bit to offer, and I fully expect to hear a similar aesthetic at work when Douthit takes the Camel’s stage on Sunday night to cap off a warm winter weekend with a sound you won’t hear anywhere else. He’ll be joined by Abby Huston, another unique Richmond singer-songwriter whose Egghunt Records debut LP, AH HA, was one of the more noteworthy releases this city produced in 2021. Angels Cant See is a mysterious lo-fi solo project of local musician Virginia Aveline and appears to delete the apostrophe from its band name on purpose — which only adds to the mystique. Last but by no means least, Big No leader Nathan Grice will start the evening with a solo set. All of this should be quite fascinating and well worth your time. You know what to do.
Monday, February 21, 8 PM
Worriers, Talk Me Off, Remote Control @ The Camel – $12 (order tickets HERE)
Whether you’re a musician or just a fan of music, the pandemic sure did screw all kinds of things up, didn’t it? For example, Worriers, the Brooklyn punk band led by Lauren Denitzio, who followed up their second album, 2017’s excellent Survival Pop, with an album entitled You Or Someone You Know in March 2020. Of course, that unfortunate release date meant that any post-release touring was quickly nipped in the bud by the need for isolation, and no one could blame you if you ended up missing the album entirely (or at least I hope no one could… since I missed the album entirely. Oops).
Luckily, we all get a second chance to get acquainted with the latest excellent material from Worriers when Denitzio and company pull into town this Monday night and grace The Camel with a set of their excellent indie-influenced power-pop punk tuneage. When they made You Or Someone You Know, Worriers included members like Mikey Erg (Ergs/a million other bands) and Frank Piegaro (Degenerics/Conquest For Death), but regardless of who is part of the lineup now, it’s Denitzio’s talent — as a singer, a songwriter, a guitarist, and a frontperson — that we’re all there to see. No matter who backs them up at The Camel on Monday night, they’re sure to bring the fire. So show up — and enjoy sets from veteran Richmond punks Talk Me Off and Remote Control while you’re at it. This one’s gonna be great.
Tuesday, February 22, 7 PM
Clairo, Arlo Parks @ The National – $42.50 in advance, $47.50 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Clairo kind of came out of nowhere a few years ago, when the artist otherwise known as Claire Cottrill was barely out of high school. Her early stuff was quickly tagged as the sound of Generation Z, but Clairo chafed at that label pretty quickly, and by the time of 2021 second album Sling, she seemed to have retreated from anything that could be tagged as accoutrements of modern, 21st century youth. Instead, she followed in the footsteps of early Waxahatchee and pandemic-era Taylor Swift, getting back to the basics with acoustic guitars, her excellent voice and lyrics, and very little else. The result is that Clairo has been shown to be what she probably was all along: a talented young singer-songwriter with a facility for connecting with the emotions and experiences of other young (and not-so-young) people who can easily relate.
No telling how all of this will translate to the stage of the 1500-capacity National, but chances are it’ll all work out fine; regardless of what phase her career has been in, the songs have always been what kept people coming back. By now, we know she’s got real staying power, and her set is sure to prove that. Let me also strenuously urge you to show up to this one early — opener Arlo Parks’s album Collapsed In Sunbeams was one of my favorite albums of 2021, and its mix of almost-retro soulful pop and coffeehouse indie-folk jams is truly excellent. She’s worth the price of admission for this one all by herself. When combined with Clairo, this show rises to the level of the truly unmissable. So like… don’t miss it. OK? OK.
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]