Sunday, June 30, 10 PM
Sea Of Storms (Photo by Jake Cunningham), Doll Baby, Sharpening @ Bandito’s – Free!
It’s been a long time since we got new material from Sea Of Storms, but the wait is finally over. Since 2015 when they released their debut album, Dead Weight, Sea Of Storms added second guitarist Nick Bergheimer, and this weekend they’ll release their first album as a four-piece, Saddest Faction. It’s time to celebrate, and you’ll get the perfect chance to this Sunday night with a free Saddest Faction release party at Bandito’s — so get stoked!
Saddest Faction has been painstakingly crafted by the band over the past two years, and the results are proof that good things come to those who wait. While each of the album’s two sides ends with a longer, slower tune, the majority of the songs here are infused with an increased dose of upbeat energy than could be found on their debut album, harking back to former projects like Mouthbreather, Landmines, and Race The Sun. The result is a good mix of Sea Of Storms’ established emotional feel and jolting punk exuberance.
Whether you’re a longtime Sea Of Storms fan or a curious potential convert, this Sunday night’s Bandito’s gig has a lot to offer you. Not only will you get to see the band bring their brand new album to life before your very eyes, you’ll also get a chance to pick up a copy on cassette, so that next week, you can pop out that cassette adapter you bought online and finally use your car’s tape player for its intended purpose. The show will also feature emotionally driven indie-punk local heroes Doll Baby, along with Sharpening — a brand-new project with a significant RVA punk pedigree. Plus, the show is free, so you can use your admission cash to get some excellent tacos at the bar before the show starts. You really can’t ask for more.
Wednesday, June 26, 9 PM
Cuzco (Photo by Hannah Johnson), Catholics, Colder Planets @ Wonderland – $10
Wonderland may be on East Main Street, but tonight at Shockoe Bottom’s punkest bar, you might feel like you took a wrong turn down Sesame Street, because this show is clearly brought to us by the letter C. Cuzco and Catholics are two Carolina bands — from Charlotte and Charleston, respectively — and they’re receiving local support from Colder Planets. I can’t imagine this was mere coincidence, and I have to wonder whether the promoters responsible for this show had Ernie and Bert as silent partners.
Regardless of your alphabetical preferences, though, if you’re a fan of the complex guitar melodies and intricate structures of modern math-rock, you’re going to want to make it out to this one. Both groups largely eschew vocals, instead relying on their talented song construction to keep a listener interested. They succeed with flying colors, too, as on their latest LP, Sketchbook, Cuzco finds gold by delving into progressive, post-rock songwriting techniques, while Catholics experiment with elements of jazz and European folk music within their guitar-driven melodic template. It’s all quite lovely, and certainly a great way to spend your Wednesday evening. You can leave your Combat boots home for this one, but be sure to bring your Cash.
Thursday, June 27, 7 PM
Lamar Costello & the Dazed Saints, Slogame, Billy Capricorn @ Gallery 5 – $6
Look, I’m gonna admit it to you right now — the fix is in on this one. Lamar Costello is not only a friend of mine, but a former bandmate — a few years ago, he and I played together in a goofy punk band called Sports Bra, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that Lamar’s creative guitar riffing wasn’t crucial to our sound. So of course I’m stoked to see him coming back around with a new project, and I can’t help but assume that Rivanna Youngpool, who books shows at Gallery 5 these days, feels the same way. After all, she was in Sports Bra too.
So what exactly can we expect from Lamar and his Dazed Saints? That’s not entirely clear, as at this point he has no music online. However, from the catchy punk guitar riffs he contributed to our old band to his past experiments in bedroom indie, hip hop, and electronic sounds, it’s become clear over the years that he’s equally talented in a variety of genres, and therefore I have full confidence that whatever he and his band bring to the stage is going to be amazing. With the addition of off-kilter popsters Slogame and hypnotic beatmaker Billy Capricorn to the bill, this one is sure to be a banger. Don’t miss it! Seriously, don’t.
Friday, June 28, 7 PM
Krimewatch, Asylum, Haircut, Lipid @ Studio Two Three – $10
If you’re going to Studio Two Three this Friday night, be sure to wear the combat boots I told you to leave home a couple days ago. Because with Krimewatch coming into town, the stage is set for some serious hardcore-punk mayhem. This New York quartet released a self-titled debut full-length last year on Lockin’ Out Records, which lets you know they’re tough. However, their speedy, straightforward riffs are clearly pulling from an old-school tradition that harks back to a time when dividing lines between circle-pit hardcore and angry political punk were less clear, and less important.
Whether you find yourself on the hardcore or the punk side of that line, you’re going to want to be there when Krimewatch tears Studio Two Three a new one (hopefully not literally — there’s some expensive equipment in that place). They embody the sort of intersectional political consciousness that marks the best of today’s punk movement, and just as importantly, they rock hard as fuck. With local powerhouses Asylum, Haircut, and Lipid on the bill as well, this is going to be the sort of rager that we don’t see enough of here in RVA. Make sure you’re part of it.
Saturday, June 29, 9 PM
Tied To A Bear (Photo by Adam Parshall), Save Ends, Big No @ Wonderland – $10
Back once again to Shockoe Bottom, though this time there are neither complex interlocking guitar melodies nor Sesame Street-style single-letter sponsorships. There’s just a whole lot of catchy, emotionally-driven punk rock from two Boston bands. The first of those, Tied To A Bear (which sounds like a precarious situation), has some Richmond connections that are sure to generate some intrigue; specifically, former Landmines vocalist Paul Picillo is playing guitar and singing in this band. As any fan of that late, great Richmond band will be delighted to hear, Tied To A Bear carry on with the same sort of melodic intensity and punk fire that made Landmines such a memorable band.
Their tourmates, Save Ends, don’t have RVA roots to draw on, but don’t worry about them — their excellent combination of raw emotion and polished pop melodies will be more than enough for them to grab the attention of everyone in attendance. 2017 LP A Book About Bad Luck is an absolute classic I’m just discovering now, and I have no idea how I made it through the last two years without it in my life. Head out to this show and discover for yourself just how excellent both of these Boston-based bands are — and while you’re at it, rediscover the excellence of Richmond psychedelic powerhouse Big No, who will provide local support for our visiting Bostonian friends.
Sunday, June 30, 8 PM
Williamsfest 2019, feat. Craig Perry/Gnarcave, Benderheads, Weird Tears, Nightcreature, Horse Culture, MSD @ En Su Boca – Donations requested
It’s been over a year since Richmond musician Kyle Trax passed away, and his many friends within the RVA music scene continue to mourn his loss. This Sunday, a year after the first Williamsfest rocked En Su Boca in his honor, they’re getting together once again to rock out in Kyle’s memory, and raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It’s a bit scaled-down from last year — indoors, and only six bands instead of the dozen or so that performed last year — but it’s no less essential if you were a friend of Kyle’s, a fan of his bands (Cherry Pits, Benderheads, and others), or even if you just love Richmond music and recognize the importance of those who make it, in all of our lives.
There’ll be a bunch of great music at this event — sets from Kyle’s former punk band, Benderheads, and his former black metal band, Gnarcave, will take place, with friends standing in Kyle’s stead on drums, of course. There’ll also be a set from Weird Tears, a melodic punk group featuring former Cherry Pits frontman Chris Jordan and a formidable group of Richmond rockers backing him up. The bill will be rounded out in fine fashion by punk rock maniacs Nightcreature, raging grinders MSD, and sludge-punkers Horse Culture, and all donations go to the cause of juvenile diabetes research, so you’re definitely going to want to be there to support the cause, remember a great musician and friend, and rock the night away.
Monday, July 1, 6 PM
Off Road Minivan, Blis, Benet @ The Canal Club – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s been over two decades since the sound came onto my radar, and I still show no signs of ceasing to love emo music, y’all. At this point, it’s fair to assume that I am an emo lifer. That said, I wouldn’t just recommend that you go see just any old emo band — there are plenty of mediocre examples of the genre out there. Thankfully, New York’s Off Road Minivan is not one of these, by any stretch. On their new EP, Spiral Gaze, they demonstrate massive talent, both mining influences to excellent effect and adding new elements that make them stand out from all who have come before.
Specifically, I hear elements of fellow New Yorkers Moving Mountains in their driving, powerful riffs, recent work from Have Mercy in their melodic songcraft, prime Hopesfall in their ringing lead guitars, and something entirely new in the approach of vocalist Ryan O’Leary, who brings elements to his vocals that are soulful without bearing any overt resemblance to the new breed of R&B-influenced emo vocalists like Tyler Carter. Off Road Minivan have a powerful sound to offer, and in a relatively crowded field, it has no trouble establishing itself at the top. Tourmates Blis, who hail from Atlanta, have a more dynamic approach to the same genre, with a bit of a heavier undertone, making this an adept pairing of two bands that are far from alike, but nonetheless hit a lot of the same high points. Whether you’re an emo lifer like me, or just need a change of pace for a Monday night, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Tuesday, July 2, 7 PM
Kaycie Satterfield, Sarah Jordan, Kenneka Cook, Rebekah Rafferty and The Wakes @ Gallery 5 – $6
This is sure to be a treat! Kaycie Satterfield, an excellent guitarist and songwriter with a beautiful voice, is coming through town to liven up a Tuesday night in Richmond, and we are all the beneficiaries. Satterfield just released her latest EP, Women’s Fiction, which not only shows off her jazzy vocal approach and songwriting approach grounded in the fundamentals of old-time western swing, but also focuses on the ways existing as a 21st century woman puts her into a lot of contradictory positions and requires a lot of emotional struggles. Damn, I know that feel.
Satterfield’s forthright approach to such issues makes it eminently appropriate for her to tour with Sarah Jordan, a Nashville-via-Brooklyn singer-songwriter whose latest LP, Dressed In The Dark, shows a similar sort of inclination toward jazz, with some retro-soul elements as well. Both of these singer-songwriters have a lot to offer, and it’s wonderful to see them teaming up with a couple of Richmond’s best singer-songwriters, both of whom also happen to be women: loop-station soul songstress Kenneka Cook and haunting alt-rock diva Rebekah Rafferty (along with her band, The Wakes). This is going to be a lovely evening from start to finish — I encourage you to partake.
Elsewhere Around the State:
Thursday, June 27, 8 PM
Broke Body, Wineteeth, Magister Ludi @ Little Grill Collective – $5-10 donations
We’ve spent a lot of time over the past several months covering the musical goings-on in Hampton Roads, but recent weeks have helped me realize that things are just as active an equal distance from Richmond in the opposite direction. Which is to say: if you’re up for traveling short distances within the state to see excellent musical performances, Harrisonburg is just as strong a bet as Norfolk. Take, for example, this show at H-burg’s Little Grill Collective tomorrow night. It’s headlined by Broke Body, a Philadelphia band with a psychedelic postpunk sound that gets downright scary at times, while displaying a subtle but pervasive melodic sense at others.
On this bill, they join up with Harrisonburg’s Wineteeth, who bash out some rudimentary punk tunes with a surprising knack for catchy riffs that get your feet moving. The whole thing opens up with a set by Harrisonburg newcomers Magister Ludi, who’ve only been around for a few months but have quickly established themselves as having one of the weirdest, most confusing internet presences in the state. So what do they sound like? Who knows? Finding out will be interesting enough to make their set worth your time.
Friday, June 28, 6:30 PM
Irae, Violated Right, Cancer Priest, World Below, Split Wrist, Close Quarters @ West Beach Tavern – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Meanwhile, back in good ol’ Hampton Roads, things, as they often do down there, are getting very heavy. This show features four different touring bands, all of which hail from different places and have different approaches, but all of which will also crush your skull with their raw power — in the best way possible, of course. DC’s Irae are at the top of the list, and their 2018 LP, Spirit, mixes a variety of spiritual themes together into a cocktail of unrelenting metallic heaviness that’s sure to send you flying across the room. Again, in a good way.
They’ll be joined on this one by Florida’s Violated Right, who take more of a straight-up hardcore approach, but are nonetheless heavy as fuck, so don’t be mistaken. Then there’s Delaware’s Cancer Priest, who have a decidedly metallic sound but are clearly rooted in hardcore, as their 2018 EP Worldwide Cemetery proves. And of course, there’s Philadelphia’s World Below, who bring in plenty of that blackened thrash spookiness in their pursuit of maximum intensity. With VB locals Split Wrist and Close Quarters rounding this one out, it’s sure to be an evening of absolute brutality over at West Beach Tavern. Well worth whatever drive you have to make.
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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