Saturday, March 12, 9 PM
Aertex, Debrider, Stormglove @ Fallout – $8 in advance, $13 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes I pick the featured show for this column based on some super-important local musical context. Other times, I pick it because some legendary band from another city is coming to town and I don’t want anyone to miss it. Then there are times like this: when my choice is guided, first and foremost, by what an unusual situation the show is offering. Specifically, this time around, I’m talking about Aertex, a new darkwave trio from DC. So far, they’ve released a total of three songs: two originals and a Ministry cover. Therefore, I’m sure you’re wondering: what’s so fascinating about this band?
Well, here’s the deal: two of the three members are quite well-known for their previous work. However, said members, Chris Moore and Pat Vogel, made their mark in the worlds of hardcore and grind. Their previous-band pedigree — which includes everything from Crispus Attucks and Sick Fix to Magrudergrind and Repulsion — would lead you to expect that their latest project would be oriented toward speed, heaviness, and ripping rage. Instead, the two of them have combined forces with frontwoman Josephine Olivia to create some pounding darkwave sounds that would fit right in on a Projekt Records compilation from 30 years ago. Oh, you can hear the punkness in their songs — the riffs on “Pray” and the pounding snare on “Superstition” certainly point toward hardcore once you know what’s up — but on the whole, regardless of ex-member cred, this band fits right in with what you’d expect to hear at Fallout on a Saturday night.
And ultimately, that’s why I’m recommending it. I’ve always found that music veterans who are open-minded enough to transcend their initial influences and take what they’ve learned and apply it to some completely different sound come up with great stuff, as a general rule. If you love darkwave and brooding gothic intensity, you’re sure to dig what Aertex is laying down. But even if you usually don’t, you might just find this band’s offerings a cut or two above what you’ve come to expect from the genre. The first performance in years by local shoegazers Debrider will certainly sweeten the pot, as frontwoman Lia Pisa-Relli strips her songs down to the bare essence for a solo set. And Stormglove will start the evening with some gloomy industrial pounding, just to make sure every point on the Fallout musical axis is covered. It’s gonna be cold and dreary, so be sure to wear your black leather jacket to this one.
Wednesday, March 9, 7 PM
The Regrettes, Kississippi @ The Broadberry – $20 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Teenage punk is always a fun time, and even if the members of the Regrettes are technically in their 20s by now, they’ve been an active band since all the members were in high school, releasing their first LP, Feel Your Feelings, Fool!, back when singer Lydia Night was 17. They’re growing up fast: they’ve got their third album, Further Joy, set to release later this year, and the three singles they’ve released show far make clear that, despite a fundamental grounding in melodic punk and power-pop, the Regrettes are taking quite a bit of influence from the sweeter alt-pop sounds showing up in a variety of places recently, from the work of their pal Olivia Rodrigo to the musical stylings of the sisters in Haim.
That’s not a dis — far from it. The new singles are seriously catchy, and while they don’t have quite the crunch and snarl of early singles like “A Living Human Girl,” they still show a lot of spirit, and not just through the plentiful lyrical F-bombs either. If anything, the Regrettes have just evolved into a super-fun dance band — a little more Blondie than The Runaways, but both of those bands are great, so who’s complaining? Not me, especially in light of the fact that emo-pop legends Kississippi are opening up. Their 2021 LP, Mood Ring, saw them drifting in a power-pop direction as well, so they’ll fit right in on this bill, which is sure to be full of booty-shaking fun from the bottom to the top.
Thursday, March 10, 6 PM
Nile, Incantation, Sanguisugabogg, I AM, Gutted Christ @ The Canal Club – $22.50 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Ahhh, fuck… NILE are coming to town. Color me stoked! This South Carolina metal band has always mixed some of the best elements of death metal with a wider understanding of the most outstanding aspects of other extreme metal genres — grind, black metal, etc — and I for one cannot get enough. My favorite of theirs will always be 2000’s Black Seeds Of Vengeance (that title track, ohhhh my god), but their last album, Vile Nilotic Rites, was still filled with a heaping helping of all the things we come to Nile for: roaring monster-style vocals, blasting drum fills, and a million killer riffs to bang our heads to. So I guess what I’m saying is this: come to the Canal Club Thursday night and bang your head!
But don’t just show up right before Nile’s set or anything, because their direct support is a band who are just as much of a legend of death metal, with an even more extensive track record: Incantation. Holy crap, what a great band. I’m an old lady, so their 1992 debut, Onward To Golgotha, will always have my heart, but I can’t deny that 2020’s Sect Of Vile Divinities had just as much raging fire and ripping brutality as their debut showed 30 years ago. Like old thrash bands, old death metal bands never die — they just keep raging. A clutch of more youthful openers, from guttural goregrinders Sanguisugabogg (whose logo sets new standards in unreadability of death metal logos — congrats, guys) to gloriously sacreligious old-school death metallers Gutted Christ, will get the high-quality riffage rolling early. Show up on time, and be prepared to start your Friday with a serious bangover (spoiler: it’s worth it).
Friday, March 11, 7 PM
Nixil, Voarm, Tel, Lichen @ Cobra Cabana – $5 recommended donation
One good night of metal deserves another, and even if you’re the type who always starts your weekend on Thursday, you’ve got to recognize that keeping the party rolling over at Cobra Cabana for a Friday night of some serious shred action is an opportunity not often presented to us. So take advantage of it — especially since it will bring us the sludgy black metal stylings of Baltimore’s own Nixil. Last year’s All Knots Untied was a powerful LP full of downright spooky moments, so if you like sick riffage interspersed with moments that sound almost like horror movie soundtracks, Nixil is definitely the band for you, and you should make a point of coming out to Cobra Cabana Friday night.
And of course, you’re going to need to get there early, because if you’re picking up what Nixil is putting down, every other band on this lineup is going to knock you out just as much. Local stalwarts Voarm have been cranking out the black-metallic rage for years now, and if you haven’t caught up with them in a while, this is a perfect opportunity to renew your acquaintance. Richmonders Tel released a new EP, Vigils, last fall, and considering that its three songs last almost 30 minutes in all, you should be prepared based on that knowledge for some strong examples of sludgy doom riff madness. And listen, if you’re feeling like the whole doom/sludge thing ran its course a few years ago, I get that — but Tel’s creative approach to the genre is truly refreshing, and is sure to remind you why you used to love all those slow-motion headbang bands so much a decade ago. The whole evening begins with some pitch-dark black metal from Virginia Beach trio Lichen, whose 2021 debut EP, Igne Natura Renovatur Integra, showed a whole lot of promise. Go into this one with high expectations — I promise you won’t be let down.
Saturday, March 12, 9 PM
Qlowski, L’Amour, Spacemere @ Fuzzy Cactus – $10 (order tickets HERE)
As we’ve talked about in the past, Fuzzy Cactus has staked its claim over the last few years as the place to go in Richmond for rock n’ roll. That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t get a little weird with it, at least every now and then. In that spirit, Saturday night sees London group Qlowski come to the Brookland Park neighborhood to shake things up a bit with their unusual but highly enjoyable take on postpunk. Basically, this keyboard-driven band mixes deathrock vibes with garage punk riffs and a unique sensibility that the band has been known to refer to as “twee-punk.” Don’t get the wrong idea, though — the second coming of Heavenly this decidedly is not. If you can find an equal appreciation for the noir vibes in the sounds of Bauhaus and Ex-Cult, you’ll definitely be down with Qlowski (even if, like me, you’re not quite sure how to pronounce their name).
This show will also feature a live appearance by L’Amour, which, if you know your Richmond music history, is a downright remarkable thing. This first-wave RVA punk band’s original active era, which lasted from 1978 to 1981, was captured by local label Beach Impediment on an in-depth archival compilation called Look To The Artist, released in 2018. Since then, original L’Amour members David Stover and Tom Applegate have reunited and teamed up with the former Smoke Break rhythm section of Roger Anderson (Springtime) and Alex Wilhelm (Hold Tight) to bring L’Amour back into active existence. That’s right, the sunglass party is on once again, so make sure you make it down to Fuzzy Cactus in time to dance to this one. Local indie rockers Spacemere will also bring a fine helping of their catchy indie tuneage to the event, so there’s a lot to love here. Show up and love all over it, y’all.
Sunday, March 13, 6:30 PM
Yola, Jac Ross @ The National – $25 in advance, $30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
If you were paying attention to the world of music last year, it felt like you had to hear about Yola. This British singer, who didn’t start her career until she was already 30 years old, released her second LP, Stand For Myself, last summer, and proceeded to knock the socks off a lot of people with it. I must admit, I was one of them. Won over by the killer title track when it appeared on a “song of the day” podcast I subscribe to, I marveled at Yola’s sound, which encompassed everything from classic soul and R&B to folk, jazz, country, and even rock n’ roll.
You can hear her dipping into different facets of that wide-ranging sound all over Stand For Myself. Even as she moves through a variety of genres on this Dan Auerbach-produced dozen-song showcase of her considerable talent, though, what unites it all is her powerful, seemingly unstoppable voice. If my description of Yola’s background, sound, and approach makes you think she’s another Amy Winehouse, I can see where you’d get that idea; however, if anything, I think it’s more accurate to compare her to Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Brittany Howard, all rolled into one. But any comparison to any other artist is going to fall short where Yola is concerned. She’s the real deal. And she has a ton of outstanding songs to grace your ears with, so head down to the National this Sunday night and bask in her aural majesty.
Monday, March 14, 7 PM
No Option, Guardrails, TakeOut @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This city’s musical palette is a good bit more varied than it was back when I first started writing about local music back in the mid-90s (no, my old zines are not on the internet, and trust me, that’s a good thing), but this is still Richmond, so just as we need to have a couple of good metal shows every week, we always need a really good hardcore show or two, just to keep in touch with our roots. This Pi Day showcase at The Camel, which promises to liven up your late-winter Monday in a big way, is just what the hardcore doctor ordered, and it’s primarily thanks to the powerful, hard-hitting sound of No Option, who are your headliners for this event.
No Option, who hail from the Delaware/Philly/NJ area, laid down a powerful statement of purpose with 2019 debut full-length Make It Count. They haven’t released anything since the pandemic hit, but based on the raging energy they brought to their first LP, I can’t imagine all that time spent in quarantine did anything but strengthen their resolve. And on that level, they should find Richmond’s own Guardrails a perfect local partner in intensity; their new EP, If You Please, is still a month or so away from release, but judging from the advance single they’ve released, this one is going to hit hard as hell. The live preview their Pi Day set will provide is sure to be rejuvenating for anyone suffering from the dreary March blahs. Virginia Beach’s TakeOut, who definitely should be mentioned alongside Sports Bar in the “ungoogleable band name” sweepstakes, will bring some raw mosh to the equation as well. And based on what I’ve seen online, there may very well be more bands on this bill. Believe me, even if there aren’t, this one will still be more than worth your time and money.
Tuesday, March 15, 7 PM
Nathan Gray & The Iron Roses, Black Guy Fawkes, Benjamin Shepherd @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
If you’re reading the name Nathan Gray & The Iron Roses right now and trying to remember where you’ve heard that guy’s name before, let me just clear up any confusion right now: this is the singer from Boysetsfire’s solo project, which has taken on a variety of flavors over the years but is, in its latest incarnation featuring backing band The Iron Roses, somewhere between upbeat alternative rock and heartfelt Americana — and always featuring a strong political consciousness, as shown on tracks like “Fired Up” and “Capitol Stairs.”
The end result, showcased on 2021’s Rebel Songs, is sort of like Titus Andronicus or the Drive-By Truckers making a record with Ted Leo. And if that sounds as good to you as it does to me, then you’re gonna want to get ready to rock with Nathan Gray & The Iron Roses at The Camel this Tuesday night. If you only know Nathan from his work with Boysetsfire, you still know the man has quite the set of pipes on him, and rest assured, even when he chooses not to do any screaming, he puts a passion into his delivery that you can’t help but feel. This show is sure to move you, so move yourself down to The Camel on Tuesday, and get ready to get fired up.
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]