Saturday, June 2, 2 PM
A Good Day In RVA 5, feat. Ohbliv, Piranha Rama, Big No, Lance Bangs, Pile (solo set), Kenneka Cook, Ruth Good, Yazan, Sammi Lanzetta, Minor Poet, Bad Magic, Doubtfire, Gumming, The Womps, HeadlessMantis, Elizabeth Owens & the Live Bats, Righter @ Gallery 5 – $5-20 suggested donation
Y’all, it is ALWAYS a good day in RVA when Good Day RVA throws their annual all-day outdoor festival. It’s been going on for long enough now, in fact, that it’s started to feel kind of like the kickoff for the rock n’ roll summer here in Richmond every year. And really, what more could we ask for from such an occasion? The filmmaking, scene-documenting collective that is Good Day RVA are the best at what they do, and an inevitable corollary to their expertise is that they can program the best showcase of local talent you can find anywhere in town. Plus, this year they’ve added a few out-of-town friends to the lineup, as well as the traditional stacked lineup of vendors, food carts, and a beer truck!
And yes, they had to do the beer-truck thing this year, because for the first time, A Good Day In RVA won’t be taking place at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. That’s OK, though, because it’ll be at an even stronger traditional Richmond musical institution — Gallery 5, which will also be the beneficiary of the event’s proceeds (along with GDRVA themselves, who are a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit). There’ve been some lean times for Gallery 5 in recent years, and god knows none of us want to see them go away, so we definitely recommend you dig deep and donate as much as possible at this show. Of course, GDRVA will let you in even if you’re broke, because they’re really nice people, but do what you can, OK?
What actual music is on tap for you at this event? Oh my god, I’ve left myself so little space to tell you! Let me begin by saying that Pile’s Rick Maguire will be playing a solo set as part of the event — and if you’ve been paying attention to indie rock over the past decade or so, you know that’s gonna be worth the donation right there. Further out-of-town guests include Yazan and The Womps, but RVA stalwarts will probably be even more excited for the chance to catch local stars from Kenneka Cook to Doubtfire and from Gumming to Ohbliv (who is doing a Silent/Music Revival set!) all in one spot. Music will be spread across two stages, the one inside and a temporary one outside on Brook Road, and things will get started at 2 PM and carry on until the wee hours, so you really seriously cannot ask for more from a live musical event this weekend. I shouldn’t even have to tell you to be there at this point… but I’m telling you. BE THERE.
Wednesday, May 30, 10 PM
Gabbie Rotts, Decide By Friday, Madison Turner @ Little Saint – Free!
The middle of the week is a great time for some low-stakes free tuneage, and you’ll get exactly that at Little Saint tonight. Little Saint is an intimate food spot up there near the Devil’s Triangle, about a block from Bandito’s, and it makes me feel old to remember that when I moved to Richmond 23 years ago, it was a Papa John’s. They certainly wouldn’t have hosted a show, though, let alone the semi-regular music events Little Saint have started putting on in recent months, so we’re calling this a big improvement (even if I can swing a pizza a lot more easily than a full meal from Little Saint… just sayin).
This time around, we’ve got an appearance by Atlantans Gabbie Rotts, a folky, power-poppy trio led by a lady named Gabbie Watts who once had a countrified riot-grrrl band called Cuntry (and if you don’t think that rules, I have no idea what to tell you). There’s no real country vibe to Gabbie Rotts, but the snarky riot-grrrl thing mingles very well with their jangle-punk tuneage, so I’m down with it — and you should be too. Local support will come from chunky, funky rockers Decide By Friday, who’ve been under the radar locally for a while but deserve some more attention for their heavy, introspective sound, as showcased on recent EP Sankofa. I get some definite early 90s post-hardcore vibes from this record, and I am way into that. And with Madison Turner giving you one of her classic solo folk-punk sets as the opener, you’re sure to be won over from the beginning by her anxiously witty charm. All this and the show is free? You really can’t go wrong here — even if this place doesn’t sell breadsticks anymore.
Thursday, May 31, 8 PM
Ruse De Guerre, Don Fredrick, The Shandies, The Firnats @ Strange Matter – $7
Well well, what have we here? A full bill of bands from around the Virginia area playing melodic rock music, none of which I’ve ever heard before? I know for you, the reader, that might seem like a turn-off, but you must understand, when one spends as much time keeping up on local music as I do, the appearance of a show like this is always intriguing. It’s like — how is this possible? How’d I miss all four of these bands? I need to do something about this! Let’s start with the out of town bands — Ruse De Guerre (I googled it, it’s a French term for military deception) hail from DC and have a speedy, rockin’ delivery of some hard-edged indie sounds that combine with catchy, almost brassy choruses to cement themselves deeply into your brain. Then there’s The Shandies, from across the Potomac in Alexandria. These guys have a bit more of a shambling, lo-fi slacker aesthetic going on, and therefore if nothing else I can imagine them hangin’ with the Lance Bangs/Camp Howard crew centered around Citrus City. The fact that they have a song called “I Just Want To Be Cool” only further cements my opinion on this one, and if you’re the sort who digs the sleepy emo punk sounds of bands like Wavves, you’ll need to get on this band’s wavelength.
I have definitely mentioned local bands Don Fredrick and The Firnats in passing at least once here in the ol’ Shows You Must See column, so the fact that I didn’t really have an impression of them before now might just be inexcusable. However, I must beg your forgiveness, especially since Don Fredrick in particular have a sound I’ve almost never heard from a local band — funky, jazzy, smooth, fun, and almost reggae-ish at points, it’s nonetheless a cool laid-back rock sound that I can’t help but groove on. If you can appreciate the early days of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and yes, I can, so what?), you’ll find something to enjoy here. The Firnats hail from RVA and Reston, and almost remind me of Interpol when they aren’t sliding into Southern soul vibes. Yeah, seriously! Overall this show’s gonna be unusual and fascinating, and isn’t that always better than the same ol’ thing?
Friday, June 1, 8 PM
A Benefit for Van Hagar, feat. Van Hagar, .gif From God, R-Complex, Charmer @ Strange Matter – $5-20 suggested donation
It’s hard to be in a tiny little band, especially when you play heavy, crazy music that’s got no real potential for Top 40 success. My former roommates in Van Hagar know this struggle well, and this little grindcore trio have found themselves falling upon hard times lately. Between chronic health problems and income instability, they’ve had to struggle for the past year or two, and now they’ve experienced a series of vehicular mishaps that have left them struggling just to drive to their jobs every day. Well, nobody likes to see that happen, and here in the underground music community we take care of our friends as best as we can, so the Great Dismal crew has now banded together to give Van Hagar a helping hand through this benefit show.
And honestly, even if you don’t care about the underground music community and helping the people who are part of it keep afloat (a viewpoint I would frankly find incomprehensible), you’ve still got some really good reasons to come out to this show and throw down a few bones to help out Van Hagar. For one thing, they’re gonna hit you with one of their frantic, nonstop sets of low-end grindcore fury — and rest assured, no matter how tired they are, they’re gonna lay you flat with their raging energy. Then .gif From God will hit the stage to knock everybody out with their sensory-overload take on spastic, thrashing grind, complete with brutal breakdowns. Charmer will steamroll all in attendance with nonstop power-violence onslaughts that will have you on your knees, and R-Complex will offset the sheer insanity of the rest of the bands with a more introspective take on noise. All this, plus you get to help out some great people — who are personal friends of mine, in case I haven’t previously mentioned it? Well, I don’t know how you could say no to this one.
Saturday, June 2, 6 PM
RVA BBB Showcase, feat. Bracewar, Division Of Mind, Ecostrike, Nosebleed, Magnitude @ The Canal Club – $12 (order tickets HERE)
This one’s for the tough kids, the ones who just can’t stand still when they hear the sounds they love, the ones for whom stage-diving and breakdowns are still what gives them life. As a middle-aged lady, I must admit that my glory days for this kind of music are behind me. That said, I still have blood running through my veins, and it’s hard to resist the siren’s call of a serious mosh-core throwdown at least every once in a while. This bill brings us a Richmond-based showcase for Triple B Records, and at the top of the bill, in almost obligatory fashion, are Bracewar, who continue to play a couple shows a year under exactly these sorts of circumstances, reminding us all just how gracefully their brand of pissed-off hardcore violence ages.
But it’s the bands at the peak of their powers that most interest me here, and for that discussion we have to start with Division Of Mind. These guys started out pretty standard mosh-core style, but the more attention I’ve paid, the more depth and darkness I’ve found in their sound. Their most recent promo tape was full of spooky noise and lo-fi grit, and there’s a decided Tragedy-style doom-core influence lurking beneath the surface that just sounds better every time I hear it. The fact that they’re sharing this bill with Ecostrike, a Florida band whose two most recent EPs have impressed me both with their politically-fueled energy and their influences from moody early-90s hardcore trailblazers like Mean Season (an unjustifiably underrated band for at least two decades now), makes this show a perfect opportunity for those of us who don’t really do this whole mosh-core thing anymore to come out of the woodwork for once. With local rippers Nosebleed and Charlotte ragers Magnified rounding out the lineup, this one’s gonna be jam-packed. Jam into the Canal Club and get ready to floorpunch. Or whatever it is the kids do these days — I really don’t know.
Sunday, June 3, 7:30 PM
Dance Gavin Dance, I See Stars, ERRA, Sianvar @ The National – $20.50 in advance/$23 day of show (order tickets HERE)
To be straight-up with y’all, I have zero time for the latter-day exploits of Jonny Craig — probably still the most famous member of Dance Gavin Dance despite his not having been associated with the band for most of a decade. He can do whatever drugs, scams, and sketchily-named bands he wants to, but I’m not here for it. However, as the years have gone on and Craig’s faded further into DGD’s rearview, I’ve found that this goofily named melodic metalcore band has retained an enjoyability that I never would have predicted for them in their early days. Indeed, “Midnight Crusade,” the first single from their forthcoming eighth album, won me over instantly when it dropped a couple months ago. Say what you will about this band’s issues with shifting lineups — at this point, it seems the Pearson/Mess/Swan incarnation of DGD has proven itself as a reliable generator of quality.
So yeah, whether they’re playing classics like “Lemon Meringue Tie” and “Me And Zoloft Get Along Fine” these days or not, I’m here for it. And I’m also here for a fun evening of openers, which isn’t exactly the norm at bigger-venue shows like this one. However, if you don’t see the addition of tourmates I See Stars to this bill as a big bonus, I don’t know what to tell you. Granted, this band’s electronic textures and tendencies toward crabcore goofiness are a bit of a psychic barrier for entry — as they pretty much always have been. But their mix of chunky breakdowns and almost R&B-level emotional melodies never fails to deliver, if you ask me. Prog-metallers ERRA will provide an early highlight on this bill, and an opening set from Will Swan’s technical, melodic metal supergroup Sianvar certainly sweetens the pot as well. This one’s gonna be worth it, for sure.
Monday, June 4, 8 PM
Post Animal, Paul Cherry, Spooky Cool @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This Monday night, let’s take a trip into space. Post Animal may be a midwestern band with the sort of agrarian Illinois connections I once associated with midwestern emo — which is to say, their latest LP, When I Think Of You In A Castle, is on Polyvinyl Records, onetime home of Braid — but to listen to their sounds is to feel like you’re getting on board a rocket aimed straight into deep space via the punked-out psychedelic revival sound of California’s own Castle Face Records. Yeah, I’m definitely getting some Thee Oh Sees vibes from these guys, but there are some more contemplative space sounds mingled in here too, as well as even some funky rockin’ tuneage that might appeal to those of you who don’t hate jam bands.
Those of you who do, don’t panic — I’m not saying Post Animal are a jam band. If anything, I think they’re finding a sweet spot between modern, more laid-back ideas of math-rock (shoutout Houdan The Mystic) and the sort of rockin’ psych feels floating through the scene these days, neither of which you can ever have too much of. This band is gonna be an excellent sight for your sore eyes (and sound for your sore ears, of course) after a crappy Monday spent back at work, and I highly recommend that you inundate both ears and eyes with their set at Strange Matter. Tourmate Paul Cherry brings some of those lush, soulful synth-pop sounds that were a hallmark of the late 70s and early 80s with him, and if you find yourself thinking of Pete Curry when you’re checking him out, you’re not alone (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Local powerhouse Spooky Cool will kick things off, and it’ll only get awesomer from there.
Tuesday, June 5, 8 PM
The Bummers, Black Plastic, The Goodbye Forevers, Vegan Llamas, Dreadnot @ Strange Matter – $8
The Bummers. How could you not expect rock n’ roll from a band with a name like that? And guess what — you wouldn’t be disappointed, either. This New Orleans ensemble definitely knows how to crank out some dirty riffs and get your fist pumping. They’ve also got some dynamic grasp, able to integrate quieter melodic moments in order to make the kickass parts kick that much more ass. And make no mistake, kicking ass is what this band are all about.
They’ve found themselves some good company in the crew of local bands that’ll be appearing on this bill. The Goodbye Forevers are getting some local attention lately, at least if the frequency of their name on bills is a good indication, and listening to last year’s Lay Where You Fall LP will tell you exactly why — they’ve got a high-energy, vaguely punk-ish sound that comes across like Dillinger Four jamming with The Knack or something like that. I’m into it; you should be too. Black Plastic, Vegan Llamas, and Dreadnot are all fellow local rockers trying to make their mark on the RVA scene, and all of them deserve your time and attention as well. Come to this show and rock it on out.
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] [and yeah, in case you’re wondering, more awesomeness from my cracked and bleeding fingertips is available at GayRVA — come say hey.]
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