Friday, August 31, 8 PM
Inter Arma, Valkyrie, Genocide Pact, Paint Store @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The summer is drawing to a close. The fall semester is starting, Labor Day is upon us, and the constant stream of awesome shows that makes summertime one of the most fertile periods of live music all year is starting to wind down. Never fear, though — Strange Matter always has you covered, and this Friday night they’re joining up with beloved Richmond metal veterans Inter Arma to bring you a night of outstandingly heavy sounds that’ll keep your weekend feeling as filled with rock as any weekend you’ve had this summer.
It’s been a couple of years since Inter Arma laid their last full-length slab of epic, ultra-powerful metal rage on us in the form of 2016’s Paradise Gallows. However, the word is that they’ve got another one in the can, so you can expect some fresh new jams from this creative quintet to level your mind once more. And considering their tendency to write veritable symphonies of metal riffing, even one new song will probably have enough going on to bring you at least a dozen killer new parts to get stuck in your head all weekend.
The rest of this bill is made up of friends and labelmates that Inter Arma is particularly delighted to bring to their fans. Foremost among those is Valkyrie, who may be better known for guitarist Pete Adams’ decade-long tenure in Baroness, but have distinguished themselves as a brilliant provider of heavy stoner-doom grooves for over 15 years now, most recently with their 2015 LP Shadows. Now that Pete is no longer performing with Baroness, it seems likely that this revitalized crew will be bringing us some previously-unheard awesomeness of their own, so get stoked! DC’s Genocide Pact are also on the scene with some dark and grimy biker-thrash sounds, as documented on their recent LP, Order Of Torment. And of course, RVA instrumental math-rockin’ trio Paint Store will kick it all off with some unpredictable but excellent tunes. Take heart, Richmond — your weekend’s still gonna start off right!
Wednesday, August 29, 7 PM
Slaughter Beach Dog, Thin Lips, Sammi Lanzetta @ Strange Matter – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s been a while since Modern Baseball went by the way side, and since the release of the second album by former Modern Baseball singer-guitarist Jake Ewald’s new band, Slaughter Beach, Dog, it’s started to seem like Ewald’s found a voice of his own, separate from the emotional pop-punk of his previous band. That’s not to say that Slaughter Beach, Dog isn’t emotional — even with a goofy name like that, there’s a very sincere feeling behind the songs on 2017’s Birdie that make clear that this band is no joke. What started as an outlet for a bit of a different approach than that of Ewald’s old band has become a fully independent project — and an excellent one at that.
Slaughter Beach, Dog’s most recent album finds the group exploring a variety of sounds, from softly-spoken acoustic folk to melodic, emotional indie sounds, even veering occasionally into country territory. Fans of everything from The Weakerthans to Hop Along to Sun Kil Moon will find something to enjoy from Slaughter Beach, Dog’s live incarnation, which is quite sure-footed considering the solitary origins of the group. Fellow Philadelphians Thin Lips will accompany the Slaughter Beachers down to RVA and bring us some pretty amazing pop sounds of their own, though Thin Lips certainly have a more overt wit, as well as a harsher edge to their catchy riffs. They show this off in noteworthy fashion on new LP Chosen Family, and the highlights from that album are sure to pick up some new RVA fans when they’re aired out onstage at Strange Matter tonight. Local phenomenon Sammi Lanzetta kicks off the show with some unmissable tunes that RVA music lovers should already be quite familar with — and if you’re not, what are you waiting for?
Thursday, August 30, 8 PM
Cole Hicks, Joey Gallo, Kenneka Cook @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
RVA hip hop is only getting deeper and stronger as the years go on, and I don’t know who could possibly have a problem with it. For those of us who recognize how wonderful a development this is, the place to be this Thursday night is The Camel, where this city’s newest star of the hip hop community is having a party to celebrate the excellence of her brand new album, May Day. That’s right, I’m talking about Cole Hicks, a tenacious wordsmith with sharp, incisive lyrics and an unrelenting flow. The majority of her new album is produced by NameBrand of Nickelus F and Radio B’s crew, AGM, and it’s full of smooth soul samples that add a moody, elegaic undertone to Hicks’ powerful rhymes.
She’ll take this entire sound to the next level once she hits the stage at The Camel tomorrow night, where she’ll present her May Day album to the world with a full live performance. It’s been out for a few months now, so you’ve had plenty of time to get on her wavelength, but if you still haven’t caught on, your attendance tomorrow night is required. Joey Gallo will also be on the scene, presenting his own excellent multilayered sound and outstanding lyrics — as heard on his powerful 2016 release, The Gallory. And of course, a set from Kenneka Cook will change up the sound and bring a dose of soulful experimentation and incredible vocalizing to the evening. There’s a lot to look forward to from this one — you really don’t want to miss it.
Friday, August 31, 6 PM
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs, Big NO, The Shangri-Lords @ Hardywood – Free!
Holly Golightly — for truly, she is none other — comes to RVA this Friday night, and anyone who loves garage rock, rootsy country, and old-school punk rock should certainly be stoked. Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Holly Golightly, wasn’t that the name of Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast At Tiffany’s?” Well, yes, you’re correct, but it’s also the name of a singer (whose mom was apparently a Hepburn fan) who has been making excellent music in a variety of guises since the late 80s. She first came to fame as the frontwoman of UK garage-punkers Thee Headcoatees, an all-female spinoff from wildman Billy Childish’s Thee Headcoats. But she’s done a lot since Thee Headcoats disbanded, too.
In addition to over a dozen solo albums, she’s appeared everywhere from the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers to a memorable guest spot on the excellent White Stripes album Elephant (that’s her giving Jack’s horse a carrot so it’ll break his foot). For the past decade or so, she and her partner, Lawyer Dave, have had a project called Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs, and it’s this project that’s coming to Hardywood Friday night. They’re sure to bring us some tunes from their brand new album, Clippety Clop, which features a collection of cover tunes about horses, originally performed by everyone from Jimmie Rodgers and Johnny Cash to Red Red Meat. And considering Golightly’s excellent voice and talent with a variety of musical genres, whatever else they want to bring to the stage is just as certain to be a delight. With local excellence in the form of Big No and the Shangri-Lords kicking this one off, and a truly delightful pricetag, you have no excuse to miss this one.
Saturday, September 1, 8 PM
North By North, Caterpillar Trap, Solace Sovay, Mister Moody @ Gallery 5 – $6
This one’s gonna be fun. Thumping, rollicking rock n’ roll trio North By North are coming to town, bringing their inexhaustible propensity for touring the world to Richmond, VA. This Chicago group eschews bass in favor of organ, in a manner that gives them a heavy, almost surf-like undertone and an energy that’s sure to get you dancing. 2016’s Last Days Of Magic also shows off a variety of unconventional instruments that give the group an additional layer in the studio, but the songs themselves are sure to stand on their own in the live environment, and ensure that you can’t stand still on the dance floor.
North By North will be joined by a variety of local RVA bands when they hit town, Caterpillar Trap being the foremost among these. Their funk-infused prog-rock sounds are sure to delight those of you who like their rock n’ roll to be a fun blast of high energy. Indie trio Solace Sovay have a bit of a different feel going on, venturing into the sort of post-shoegaze territory of Silversun Pickups, early Smashing Pumpkins, and even Band Of Horses on their underrated new album, It Doesn’t Matter What It Is, Just What It Seems. These guys are the best reason for you to show up early to this one. But of course, you’ll also want to catch Mister Moody, a new crew of rockers who haven’t revealed much about their sound as yet — but are certainly intriguing.
Sunday, September 2, 8 PM
Toke, Sinister Haze, Book Of Wyrms @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
OK, y’all, get ready for some SERIOUS doom. Toke hails from NC, and you know any band that names themselves after the act of taking a drag from a joint is gonna have some top-level slow-n-heavy shit for you. Toke completely live up to their name on 2017 EP (Orange), dropping half a dozen bangers of pure thousand-ton groove on ya, complete with some excellent high, harsh vocals. If you always wished Grief were a little less depressed, or that Fu Manchu would quit pussyfooting around and get seriously heavy, you’re gonna get a big kick out of this Carolina trio.
They’re joined on this bill by a double-shot of local doom power to make you even gladder that you came out, too. For one thing, we’ll be graced by a rare appearance of Sinister Haze, who’ve gone through a significant metamorphosis over the years in which they’ve been active, most recently materializing as a spacefaring psychedelic metal quartet — complete with spooky synths from soundman extraordinaire/former Lost Tribe member JK — on their 2017 EP, Emperor Of Dreams. Book Of Wyrms have a psych tinge of their own, as displayed on 2017’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but end up splitting the difference between Sinister Haze’s space voyaging and Toke’s earthy rumble with ethereal vocals and Hawkwind-ish space sounds finding a home over some pulverizing proto-metal riffage. You’ll have a headbanging good time at this one, folks, so don’t miss it.
Monday, September 3, 8 PM
Ohmme, Renata Zieguer, Tinnarose @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I will freely admit that this Chicago duo’s name through me for a loop, at least until I found out it was originally spelled “Homme,” but was changed either to avoid confusion with a K-pop group or to appease the fans of that Queens Of The Stone Age guy (only their lawyer knows for sure). They’re doing some pretty interesting stuff on their brand new album, Parts, stuff that shows both a facility for pop songcraft and a love for experimentation with all sorts of unusual sounds. Apparently they’re both classically trained pianists, but these days they’ve left keyboards behind for the most part, in order to do weird stuff with guitars and sing in perfect harmony.
Ohmme’s got a lot of fascinating sounds and catchy tunes to bring to the ears of discriminating indie-pop fans, and the same folks are sure to enjoy New York’s Renata Zeiguer, who’ll be joining Ohmme on their trip to Strange Matter. Zeiguer’s debut LP, Old Ghost, encapsulates a variety of genres, moving through new wave, rock n’ roll, pop, country, and influences from older sounds like swing and gospel in a nimble fashion that I can imagine appealing both to fans of Haim and to those who love Natalie Prass. With recent RVA transplants Tinnarose, a folk-psych project with an enchanting aura, opening up, this show is sure to be a treasure trove of musical delights.
Tuesday, September 4, 8 PM
Shadow Age, Serqet, Pain In The Yeahs, Widow Rings @ Strange Matter – $8
New York group Wax Idols were scheduled to headline this show, but instead they cancelled their tour and broke up. That’s a real bummer, but we can’t let it get us down for too long, especially since this evening still has so much excellent music to offer us. Shadow Age, for one, who’ve brought us a couple of excellent EPs over the past few years and will be celebrating the release of their self-titled debut full-length at this show.
From the three songs that have been revealed on the internet thus far, it sounds like it’s going to be a great one, carrying on the group’s synth-infused, guitar-driven gothic postpunk sound with even stronger melodies than they offered before. Fans of the band are sure to be stoked. And with a packed lineup of VA-based excellence, from the gloomy, profound postpunk of RVA’s Serqet to the morose electro-goth sounds of Tidewater group Pain In The Yeahs to lachrymose Fredericksburg darkwave project Widow Rings, there’s plenty more for those able to get on Shadow Age’s wavelength to enjoy… or at least appreciate.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Friday, August 31, 9 PM
The Muslims, The Cazz, The Breach @ Taphouse Grill – $5
When I saw the band name “The Muslims,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was this just another group of suburban white kids attempting to provoke? Thankfully, no — it’s just the opposite. The Muslims are a trio of musicians of color, taking a confrontational approach to calling out all of the racist and discriminatory politics that are running wild in today’s climate of right-wing ascendancy. Their snotty, ramshackle punk sound and wittily confrontational lyrics, displayed on their self-titled full-length debut in songs like “Jihadageddon,” “Muslims At the Mall,” and “One Black Friend,” is exactly the sort of fearless, irreverent musical activism we need in this world right now.
The Muslims have had videos removed by YouTube and status updates censored by Facebook, but IRL, this Durham group can’t be stopped, so head out to Norfolk’s Taphouse Grill this Friday night and get your mind blown by this brilliant musical finger in the face of everything that sucks about 2018. They’ll be joined by Norfolk locals The Cazz, an old-school punk trio with some jangly tendencies and snarky lyrics. Opening up will be The Breach, who hail from Virginia Beach and clearly love early 80s hardcore and playing really fast. This one’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Tuesday, September 4, 7 PM
Dead Boys, Ghost Wolves, The Nerve Scheme, Norfolk Nightmares @ Shaka’s – $15 (order tickets HERE)
It’s been over 40 years since the Dead Boys released their groundbreaking debut album, Young Loud And Snotty, and if you’re thinking, “Wait, aren’t they all, you know… dead?” You’ve got another think coming. It is indeed true that original vocalist Stiv Bators passed away in the early 90s, but original members Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz have, believe it or not, recruited a couple of members of a Dead Boys tribute act called The Undead Boys and hit the road once again in celebration of a brand new, rerecorded version of their legendary debut.
Still Snotty: Young Loud And Snotty At 40 shows singer Jake Haut (the punk rock Ripper Owens) doing a great job of recreating Stiv’s snarky rage on classic tunes like “Sonic Reducer” and “Ain’t Nothin’ to Do.” And he and the other still-living Dead Boys are sure to tear things up at Shaka’s on Tuesday when they bring you all the hits, as speedy, as energetic, and yes, as snotty as ever. Raw, roots rockin’ duo the Ghost Wolves will also be on this bill, laying down some primitive noise sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who enjoys The Cramps. Tidewater locals The Nerve Scheme and Norfolk Nightmares will kick the night off and ensure that this one is a blast from the word go. Be there.
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, there’s plenty more of my writing to read over at GayRVA — come say hey.]
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