Friday, April 29, 9 PM
The Mitras, The Firnats, Celler Dwellers, Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve learned a few lessons over my 30 years as a music journalist (yes, I released my first fanzine in 1992, let’s not dwell on it), and one is that there’s a fine line you have to walk in order to cover any music scene, especially a hyperfocused local one where everyone knows everybody, with the proper perspective. This involves walking a fine line: being in the loop, but outside the “discourse.” You gotta both know what’s going on and be blissfully ignorant to the prevailing opinions of any particular clique ABOUT the things going on. In the post-pandemic era, though, I feel like I’m striking a pretty great balance with that.
Which brings us to The Mitras. I don’t know if these guys are cool with the cool kids, or if they’re seen as upstart weirdos, or what. And honestly, I don’t care! Because I dig the Mitras. They first jumped onto my radar a few months ago when they had every other band they were playing a show at The Camel with drop off the bill, and managed to rebook the entire date and turn it into a “Last Minute Fest” with eight bands! That kind of (non-toxic) moxie is always going to impress me. I’m also pretty damn impressed with the single they released back in January, “Ugh,” which is a fun little rock tune that should work for anyone who appreciated the work of bands like Local H, The Marvelous 3, or my own lesser-known faves, Material Issue — plus a little Weezer/Nirvana vibe thrown in there. OK, yeah, they’re pretty 90s sounding, but I love a lot of 90s music, and I’m never gonna complain when your contribution to the genre is this strong.
The Mitras are going to release their follow-up single on the day of this show, and I’m very intrigued to hear it. The song, “You Got It,” is a cover of a Roy Orbison song that reached the charts just a month after Mr. Orbison unfortunately passed away back in 1988. As you may have gathered from how long I’ve been doing this gig, I remember that song hitting the airwaves back then, and it’s a truly great one. I look forward to hearing what spin The Mitras put on it, and I would think that if you’re at this show on the very night the single is released, you’ll get a live unveiling. What could be better than that? Show up and rock out — do it for Roy.
Wednesday, April 27, 7 PM
Blu Anxxiety, True Body, Crossspitter @ Fuzzy Cactus – $7
I love it when hardcore gets weird. And I know some of you who already know who these bands are will be reading this going, “Does this really even count as hardcore?” But considering I found out about this show from an “upcoming hardcore shows” Instagram account, I think it counts. What’s more, Blu Anxxiety frontman Chi Orengo used to sing in the NYC hardcore punk band Anasazi, and he brings that band’s raw fury to his new project. He does so even as the music he sings over, created by members of industrial groups X Harlow and Informant, is closer to some of the gothic industrial sounds you might find at a Fallout dance night.
Believe it or not, the combination of heavy industrial beats and angry political hardcore vocals works really well, and Blu Anxxiety made that very clear on their 2021 LP, Plaay Dead. The mix of goth, punk, industrial pounding, and hip hop bravado is an intriguing and unusual sound that should appeal to fans of everything from Bauhaus to Death Grips to Sisters Of Mercy to Ceremony (the California one… or, hell, the Virginia one too). With raging NYC death-metallers Crossspitter accompanying Blu Anxxiety on their trip down to the Commonwealth and local gothic post-hardcore ensemble True Body offering VA-based support, this show is going to bring together every corner of the dark, heavy musical world into a maelstrom of rage. Get sucked up in it. (BTW, the flyer says Cobra Cabana, but I got word last night that the show was moved to Fuzzy Cactus, so update your plans accordingly.)
Thursday, April 28, 7 PM
Path To Exile, Cut The Architect’s Hand, 3PEACE, Disposed @ Another Round Bar And Grill – $10
It takes all kinds to keep a music scene going strong, and Another Round Bar And Grill is a great example of a venue that fills an important niche of Richmond’s musical ecosystem. This show is a great example of what they have to offer, and that is: real, honest-to-god metal. Not punk rockers playing metal, but actual headbangers unleashing serious riffage in Autopsy t-shirts. Fredericksburg’s Path To Exile is a great example of the kind of band you’re only gonna find here in Richmond; brutal, heavy, featuring plenty of growling vocals, high-speed double bass rumbles, and wailing guitar solos. If you want to spend your Thursday night headbanging — and who doesn’t? — these guys are the band to see.
Even more delightful is the news that Cut The Architect’s Hand is also on the bill. It’s sort of hard to believe that this trio has been rocking together for 20 solid years now, but it’s true, and they celebrate 20 years as a band with their latest LP, The Eternity Box, released digitally back in January but getting a physical release at this very show. Their tortured vocals and pounding riffs are in as fine a form as ever on this new release, a concept album about 19th century hauntings and, apparently, cannibalism. Sounds sick, right? As sick as the new album is, the live set is sure to blow you away twice as hard and four times as loud, so don’t miss this one under any circumstances.
Friday, April 29, 7 PM
Toxic Moxie, Black Plastic, Gusher @ Gallery 5 – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I always love to go to shows at Gallery 5, and it’s great to see a classic weekend-kickoff bill taking place at this Richmond institution this Friday night — especially since its headlined by RVA’s dirty disco punk legends, Toxic Moxie. They’re on the scene playing their killer jams and throwing glitter everywhere as everybody dances like a maniac because they’re supporting a good cause: the show is a benefit for Camp Spokes, a free weeklong summer camp for girls and gender non-conforming youth, teaching the kids the finer points of bike mechanics. The leaders of the camp, which is organized by Rag And Bone and Groundwork RVA, will even be at the venue for a happy hour event, so if you need to know more, want to help out, or have a kid who might be interested, show up early!
Then stick around for amazing sounds — not just from Toxic Moxie, either. Richmond indie rockers Black Plastic are also on the bill, and they’ve released their self-titled first full-length earlier this month, so they’ll almost certainly have tapes to sell at the merch table. Once you hear their set, which pulls from all kinds of influences, from The Velvet Underground to The Shangri-Las to The Wipers, plus probably a million other things… well, you’ll want a copy of the tape for yourself. So bring a few extra bucks, punk! And show up on time, lest you miss the set from up-and-coming RVA post-punkers Gusher, who are really worth being punctual for. (Should I say “punktual”? …no, you’re right, probably shouldn’t.)
Saturday, April 30, 9 PM
Love Roses, Riot Queen, Torino Death Ride @ Bandito’s – Free!
So many wonderful venues around Richmond are on the list this week; that always makes me happy. In this case, we’ve got a Saturday night of punk rock sounds at Bandito’s. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I can never decide whether I’m more stoked about the delicious food at Bandito’s (best nachos in the WORLD), or about the amazing sound system their live room has to offer. Well, there’s another thing to be stoked about where Bandito’s is concerned: The shows are always free! So this Saturday night, you can save your cash for some delicious tacos, and get to rock out to your heart’s content regardless!
What’s more, rest assured there’s some amazing music on this bill for you to rock out to. Love Roses, the rip-roaring punk rock trio who’ve been making their name around the RVA scene for several years now, are still riding high on the release of their latest LP, Stubborn Future, last fall. It’s chock-full of killer punk tunes and is available on three different physical formats, so no matter how you listen to music, you can get your hands on a copy just for you. Maybe bring some cash for that, too. Show up on time, because energetic DC post-hardcore combo Torino Death Ride is a band you don’t wanna miss. They’ll keep your feet moving for sure. And listen, I know the nachos are outstanding, but make sure you don’t miss Riot Queen’s set either. This groovy metal band features one member I used to be in a band with and another member whose brother I used to be in a band with; if you can solve that riddle, you should probably be writing this column instead of me. Either way, I’m real stoked for what my former compatriots are up to with this one; you’ve really gotta hear it for yourself.
Monday, May 2, 7 PM
Great Wide Nothing, Halfcast, Tiny Lights, Nancy Raygun @ The Camel – $10 in advance, $12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I always get a little nervous when I hear people describe a band as “progressive rock.” When I was young, that meant bands who were really ambitious, writing side-long epics with complex narratives and embroidering it all with technical chops and studio wizardry. But then at some point, it became a catchall term that, 90% of the time, just meant “jam bands.” And while I dig some prog rock — after all, I own multiple King Crimson albums — I really don’t have much interest in jam bands. So when I heard that Atlanta’s Great Wide Nothing were a “progressive rock trio,” I had some concerns. Specifically: did that mean they were a jam band?
Thankfully, I am able to report to you upon further investigation that they are not. Great Wide Nothing’s most recent release is a 2020 LP called Hymns For Hungry Spirits, Vol. 1, and it’s part one of a two-album cycle exploring themes of loss, longing, and finding inner peace. That’s what I’m talking about! Musically, these guys have a great deal of not only technical capability but energy and capable song construction, meaning that, even on the mutiple eight-minute songs on Hymns For Hungry Spirits, they never lose the plot, and always stay focused on the part of the term “progressive rock” that matters the most — the fucking ROCK. These guys rock, and I’m sure they will rock the hell out of the Camel when they take the stage there this Monday night. So if, like me, you dig prog-rock but prefer it to be more Rush than Phish, show up for this one. You will not be disappointed.
Tuesday, May 3, 7 PM
Born Ruffians, Sham Family @ The Camel – $17 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a fun one. Born Ruffians, who hail from Canada, started playing together when they were still teenagers. But at this point, more than 15 years have gone by since then, and this veteran indie-rock trio has eight albums to their name. The most recent full-length, PULP, wrapped up a trio of fruit-themed albums, beginning with 2020’s JUICE, which was followed by SQUEEZE later that same year. In fact, all three albums made it into the world in just barely over a single calendar year — so rest assured, these guys did not use the pandemic as an excuse to get lazy!
They’ve recently gotten back on the horse with new single “Chrysanthemum,” which carries forward the breezy, sunlight-filled indie pop sound this trio’s been perfecting for close to two decades now. This tune proves that, while they may have spent last year squeezing the juice to a pulp, but they’re by no means dried up. And thank goodness for that! After all, you’re going to want to delight in Born Ruffians’ musical nectar at The Camel this Tuesday night, and they’re fully prepared to deliver for you. How sweet is that?
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]