Saturday, June 23, 6 PM
Rock N’ Roll Benefit for Daily Planet, feat. Toward Space, Ladygod, Long Arms, Venus Throw, Minimum Balance @ Sound Of Music – $10 donation
Music isn’t all fun and games. Often, it helps us get through our toughest moments, when we’re struggling with some of the most intense emotional experiences of our lives. That’s why, as often as live shows are a respite from our daily struggles, they also frequently help us tackle the most pressing issues affecting us as a community. Which brings us to this Saturday’s Rock N’ Roll Benefit for Daily Planet at Sound Of Music Studios. Put together by Toward Space bassist Seyla Hossaini, this show stands both as a memorial to a close friend and relative who passed away due to an overdose, and a benefit for the Daily Planet, which provides treatment options for those who struggle with substance abuse, including those with limited finances and no insurance.
Those who attend this show will be providing valuable support to this organization, which provides essential health care of the sort that too many of us may find ourselves needing at some point in the future. Those who attend this show will also get rocked to the heavens by a group of excellent rock n’ roll bands from the RVA area. Despite the seriousness of the show’s reason for being, there’s still going to be a lot of fun to be had. This all starts with Toward Space, the organizers and headliners of this whole shebang. This youthful garage-rock trio has been working on a full-length for quite a while now, most recently in the studio with Ladygod’s Skye Handler, and the limited amount of tunes they’ve already released are enough to knock this whole city on its ear. Suffice to say, they’re gonna rock your ass when they take the stage.
Speaking of Ladygod, this eclectic, psychedelic group of rock n’ roll troubadours will be on this show as well, giving us selections from their fascinatingly weird and bizarrely catchy 2017 debut LP, Rock N’ Roll Kaliphate. Long Arms will be here as well; James Menefee’s songwriting vehicle started off as an alt-country sort of thing, but by their 2017 LP Young Life had metamorphosed completely into a delivery system for Menefee’s killer Westerberg-esque rockin’ melodic tunes with a ton of heart. If you ask me, they’re better than ever. You really need to see all three of these bands, and for good measure, catch the sets from fellow RVA rockers Venus Throw and Minimum Balance as well. It’s for a good cause, and a great Saturday night out. What more could you ask for?
Wednesday, June 20, 9 PM
Debt Neglector, Park Sparrows, Talk Me Off @ Wonderland – $5
This one is gonna be a blast. Florida’s Debt Neglector might be a new name for RVA music fans, but when I tell you that members of this band used to be part of melodic punk mainstays New Mexican Disaster Squad, as well as Tony Foresta’s melodic punk side project, No Friends, it’s sure to perk your ears right up. And don’t worry, this band has not failed to bring the legacy of those past projects forward into 2018 — last year’s Atomicland full-length shows that their facility for melodic hooks, dirty guitars, and the sort of simultaneously catchy and gravelly vocals that make for the sweetest combination of acid and sugar has not faded in the slightest.
Debt Neglector are joined on this show by Park Sparrows, a local group with a similar sound and a similarly formidable pedigree — members of Landmines, Strike Anywhere, post-Avail group Freeman, and more. Park Sparrows just released a new EP, More Peace, and it is an excellent showcase of what these guys have to offer — a similar sort of melodic punk to that of Debt Neglector, but with both a more introspective feel and a witty, irreverent bite. It’s awesome, and they’ll surely be awesome live as well. Raging local hardcore punks Talk Me Off will kick off this short-and-sweet three-band bill, and it’s all happening at Wonderland, the perfect place to rock out on a Wednesday night with some catchy punk awesomeness. Don’t let the bike ride back from Shockoe Bottom dissuade you — this is gonna be worth it.
Thursday, June 21, 10 PM
PRIDE at Little Saint, feat. Result Of Choice, Deviant, Lipid @ Little Saint – Free!
It’s June, and while some of the more hetero-inclined among you may not take much notice, in the LGBTQ community, this is Pride Month, the time of year when we all stand up and let the rest of the world know that we’re here, we’re not going away, and we deserve the same respect and acceptance given to straight cisgender people. This show at Little Saint on Thursday night brings us a trio of hardcore bands doing exactly that, and the show is headlined by Florida’s Result Of Choice. Straight-up hardcore can sometimes get a little boring, but Result Of Choice do a lot to keep your attention, from their frantic riffing and speedy tempos to their vocalist’s intense fury. They may be playing in a tiny restaurant, but this group is going to bring a huge dose of energy to their performance.
They’ll join two Richmond hardcore bands that wear their pride on their sleeve. Deviant have named themselves after the sort of things that LGBTQ people are often called by disapproving homophobes, and as someone who has always appreciated the way our community reclaimed the word “queer,” I approve. Deviant have a rougher, harsher sound than Result Of Choice, but a similar sort of driving energy and fury that feels angrier and darker. This promises to be intense. The show will begin with a set from Lipid, and I’ve learned more about this band since I last wrote about them. Featuring members of Kuni, Leather Daddy, and No Tomorrow, this band is proudly queer and punk as fuck, and should be a great way to kick off a concisely excellent show with an awesome theme and the perfect price over at Little Saint.
Friday, June 22, 9:30 PM
GELD, Terrorist, Fried Egg, Future Terror @ Flora – $8
Hardcore is apparently getting pretty insane in the land down under. GELD is a great example, hailing from Melbourne and featuring members of Kromosom and a couple other Aussie bands I don’t really know too well. I guess I’m missing out, though, because GELD are pure blistering mania and I want more. This band’s new EP on No Patience Records will rip your face off with riffs that sound like Negative Approach fed through a pile of noise and vocals that sound like a psychotic maniac in full-on meltdown. This band is hectic, and I’m sure they’ll be an imposing presence when they hit the Flora stage Friday night. You might wanna stand back.
GELD are joined on this bill by NYC hardcore crew Terrorist, who have a similarly harsh sound to GELD, though they do have a recognizably human vocalist. That’s not a strike against them, by the way. These guys hit hard and will knock you on your ass. As will Fried Egg, one of the more weirdly named hardcore bands to come out of Virginia — apparently there’s a limited-edition of their vinyl EP with a white and yellow pattern to make the record look like a literal fried egg. I approve. Anyway, these guys have a bizarre name, and their take on hardcore is kind of bizarre too, but it’s sure to draw you in, especially since they have such an energetic live attack. The whole thing will start out with some blown-out hardcore noise from local newcomers Future Terror — this one is sure to appeal to the Discharge fans among you. Kinda crazy to imagine all of this hectic noise happening in Flora’s back room, but it’s sure to be even crazier to see. You know what to do.
Saturday, June 23, 8 PM
McKinley Dixon & Friends, G.U.M.P., Contour, Shormey @ Strange Matter – $6 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I don’t even have to tell you about McKinley Dixon at this point, do I? A young man with a new approach to the rap game, who spits powerful lyrics with a strong political undercurrent, and both performs and records with a killer live band but also has been known to rhyme over powerful hip hop production, as well as taking the DIY-or-die approach to touring and spreading the message that originated with underground punk — how can you not love this guy? This show is a release party for his new Citrus City cassette, The Importance Of Self-Belief, a sort of positive answer to his powerful 2016 debut, Who Taught You To Hate Yourself? It is absolutely essential if you still drive a beater with a cassette deck in the car (the best way to live, in my middle-aged opinion), that you grab yourself a copy of this one and bump it when you’re cruising around town.
It is also essential that you be at this show to score yourself a copy, as the set from McKinley and Friends, while absolutely the #1 reason to be there, is far from the only live musical joy you will experience at Strange Matter on this fine evening. A trio of fine acts from around the Mid-Atlantic region are also on this bill, starting with DC’s G.U.M.P, who capture a similar sort of vibe to that of McKinley and Friends, though there’s clearly a strong influence from heavier sounds running through their music as well — think Rage Against The Machine with a more contemplative vibe. South Carolina’s Contour take things in a jazzier, more psychedelic direction with their hazy, multi-layered music. And Tidewater-area musician Shormey takes a unique approach to singing and songwriting, with electronic sounds mingling with R&B and indie pop in a surprising manner (sometimes including Mac DeMarco covers). This whole show will be an excellent musical experience of the sort you won’t get anywhere else. You really need to come out.
Sunday, June 24, 8 PM
Warpark, Squid., Deli Kings, Black Plastic @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This is a pretty hardcore/metal-heavy week, but we’ve still got a few for the indie-rockers among you, and this appearance by NYC’s Warpark should certainly get your juices flowing. Reconstituting themselves late last year from the ashes of The Lounge Act, Warpark are still a pretty new thing — their “Early Onset Regret” single is all they’ve released thus far. However, that song has such a promising sound that one could be forgiven for getting a little excited about it. It’s incredibly well-played, with layered guitars and melodic vocals that sometimes mingle in a manner reminiscent of sunshine indie groups like Grizzly Bear. However, Warpark knows how to kick on the distortion and floor us with the heaviness as well, and that’s certainly a big part of their appeal. Based on this one song, seeing what more they have in store at The Camel this Sunday night seems like it’s the move.
Squid., from Chicago, are also on this bill, and their Watersports LP (“Not about pee!” reads a disclaimer on their bandcamp page) shows them exploring an emotionally-driven sound that traces roots to both the “emo revival” of half a decade or so ago and the mellower post-Y2K sound of math-rock. It tends to stay quiet a lot of the time, but they know how to give their emotional sound a powerful weight through occasional applications of distortion — something I wouldn’t be surprised if they learned from old shoegaze records. I definitely approve. Local garage rockers Deli Kings and somewhat mysterious psych-rockers Black Plastic open up for a night of varied, yet consistently excellent, sounds.
Monday, June 25, 9 PM
Body Void, Tel, Horse Culture @ Cary St. Cafe – $7
OK, y’all, prepare yourself for some serious, unrelenting doom. In fact, what Body Void delivers is somewhere beyond doom, hitting the realm of crushing, terrifying slowness that marked the best work of Corrupted and Khanate. Body Void’s new LP, I Live In A Burning House, finds the group exploring similar terrain of torturously extended metallic horror. Other than the intro, only one song on the album is under 15 minutes in length, and the slowly-developing epics that Body Void deliver here build an enormous atmosphere that looms over the listener like hurricane stormclouds approaching ominously across a long expanse of placid ocean.
Then, with a sudden shriek of feedback, the storm breaks, and you’re pummeled by waves of distorted chords, pounding drums, and monstrous, otherworldly screams. And it does. Not. Stop. At least not until you’ve slo-mo headbanged yourself into a trance that, were this a horror movie, would make you the perfect victim for the vampires you can totally imagine sneaking up behind you. Don’t worry, that’s just the bartender. Go ahead and order another drink — this isn’t stopping anytime soon. And you don’t want it to, either.
Tuesday, June 26, 8 PM
Mortuary Drape, Volahn, Battlemaster, Voarm @ Strange Matter – $15 (order tickets HERE)
This is one for the serious metal scholars. Mortuary Drape hail from Italy and trace their origins back to the mid-80s, when their brand of occult-influenced black/death metal was a new and groundbreaking sound for anyone to tackle. Their landmark debut full-length, All The Witches Dance, is up there with other mid-90s European metal classics, delivering nonstop brutality with a fascinating atmosphere incorporating spectral chanting and what certainly seem to be occult invocations. While the group today only retains one original member, vocalist Wildness Perversion, they have retained their incredible ability to flatten all comers with powerful black/death metal, as proven on 2014’s Spiritual Independence.
But if I’m to be real with y’all, I can’t deny that Volahn is the group I’m most excited about on this bill. Hailing from the American Southwest, Volahn are the founders of the Crepúsculo Negro (aka Black Twilight Circle) label. The bands on this label use their music to explore their roots in pre-colonial Latin America, and the native tribes that were ultimately overtaken by Spanish conquistadors. Volahn and other Crepúsculo Negro bands declare their independence from colonization through fierce European-inspired black metal, which incorporates tribal influences to take their sound to another level entirely. You can hear the explosive results on Volahn’s 2015 LP, Aq’ab’al, which is certainly one of the better black metal releases of the last few years. And you can hear them more immediately by coming to Strange Matter on Tuesday night and letting Volahn work their magic upon you. Don’t miss it.
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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