Saturday, April 28, 1 PM
RVA All Day Block Party, feat. No BS! Brass Band, Angelica Garcia, Spooky Cool, Night Idea, Dharma Bombs, Prabir, Yoga w/The Shack Band, Brunswick, Thorp Jenson, DJ Ghozt, plus after party feat. People’s Blues Of Richmond, South Hill Banks @ The Broadberry – $25-30 (order tickets HERE)
Spring seems finally to have arrived — if all this rain and pollen is any indication — and it’s the perfect time to give full vent to your spring fever with an all-day indoor/outdoor block party! And of course, what better RVA band could there be to throw such an event than No BS! Brass Band? I first saw these guys playing outside on a sidewalk during a street fair, and that sort of environment still seems like their most natural home. And of course, having been responsible for the city’s unofficial anthem, “RVA All Day,” they’re an excellent group to get us all up and moving, celebrating the wonderful city we live in!
So of course, it’s no surprise that No BS! Brass Band are the stars of this shindig, being thrown at The Broadberry on Saturday from the early afternoon until late at night. What might surprise you a little more is the sheer jam-packed nature of this lineup. Even the early acts are essential — up-and-coming local country-rocker Thorp Jenson will be kicking off the live music at 2 PM, and the lineup just stays awesome from there, with excellent outdoor-stage sets from local rulers like Angelica Garcia, Night Idea, Spooky Cool, and more! During the early afternoon, the inside of the venue will play host to a record fair, face painting, and other vendors inside, as well as a beer class from Hardywood in mid-afternoon. The Shack Band will be on hand as well; not to perform, but to lead a yoga class!
And of course, No BS! Brass will rock us all at the conclusion of the outdoor festivities, before things move inside for a kickass after-party featuring grungy blues-rockers People’s Blues Of Richmond and goodtime bluegrass strummers South Hill Banks. The after-party has some kind of complicated RSVP system in place, but when you order your ticket, you’ll get an email explaining the whole thing, so no worries! And by the way, you should order your tickets right now — you know you want to be there, and when they sell through the tier 3 tickets (tier 1 and tier 2 are long gone), the price will go up five bucks. Don’t sleep!
Wednesday, April 25, 10 PM
Trampoline Team, Enoch Ramone & The Ebola Boys Jr Esq III, USA Big Dogs, Jonny Drinks @ Flora – Donations encouraged
At some point it seemed like En Su Boca was becoming the new local home for wild garage-punk parties, but with them cutting back on hosting live music in recent months, it now appears that Flora, of all places, is poised to take their crown. Not necessarily a predictable outcome, but certainly a welcome one, as it means we all benefit from regular arrivals in town of beer-soaked rowdy garage ensembles from all over the country and beyond! This time around, we’ve got NOLA maniacs Trampoline Team topping the bill with some quick-hitting rippers sure to get you out of your seat and starting the pit before you’ve even finished your first glass of liquid courage. Get ready to rumble!
They’re joined by Atlanta’s Enoch Ramone & The Ebola Boys, who got seriously grotty on their debut EP last year. The muddy sound, blown-out vocals, and song titles like “My Kinda Scum,” “Get Fucked Up,” and “Bath Salts” should let you know where things stand for this band. Trampoline Team may have the tunes to induce movement, but Enoch Ramone & co. are the types to pick you up out of your chair, overturn your beer onto your head, and throw you across the room. In the best possible way, of course. They’re joined on this bill by a couple of new local rippers — USA Big Dogs, who’ve got a vaguely old-school HC sound mixed with that classic garage-punk snottiness, and Jonny Drinks, about whom I know literally nothing. But their name is promising, at least for certain values of the term. Get ready to tear it up on Lombardy St. tonight.
Thursday, April 26, 8 PM
The Lillingtons, Makewar, Park Sparrows, Talk Me Off @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a real blast from the past. The Lillingtons came along in the mid-90s with an excellent no-frills punk sound that did a good job of evoking the Ramones without seeming like a straight-up ripoff — a balancing act a lot of bands of similar inclination weren’t really able to pull off. Their classic 1999 album, Death By Television, gave us some killer tunes with lots of references to gloriously crappy sci-fi B-movies, delivered atop a thick, powerful guitar sound. After a few more albums, though, the Lillingtons disappeared for over a decade, with singer/guitarist Kody Templeman becoming an essential member of killer pop-punkers Teenage Bottlerocket. However, these leather-jacketed Wyoming guitar-slingers are back, having signed to Fat Wreck Chords and released a brand new album, Stella Sapiente, last fall.
The new album shows an expanded range, with some intriguing postpunk guitar textures sneaking into the mix even as Templeman and co. continue to dish out the killer melodies and propulsive rhythms. This isn’t quite the Lillingtons you knew back at the turn of the millennium, but would you really want them to sound exactly the same nearly 20 years later? Progression is essential, and it looks really good on them, so come out to Strange Matter Thursday night and find out exactly what these guys have been cooking up over the past several years. They’re coming through in the company of Makewar, who have a sorta aggressive-sounding name and presentation, but are actually pretty melodic and emotionally-oriented, so those of you who dig bands like Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four will probably find a lot to enjoy here. Local emotional-punkers Park Sparrows will connect pretty well with these guys from their opening slot, while Talk Me Off will give us a great dose of snotty punk gnarliness to kick the evening off.
Friday, April 27, 7 PM
Hawthorne Heights, Listener, Hotel Books, Sienna Skies, Heavy Things @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $20 in advance/$25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Is it time once again to cut our wrists, black our eyes, and get emotional with Hawthorne Heights? It sure seems to be, at least metaphorically speaking (definitely not advocating self-harm here — if you’re seriously feeling that way, skip the show and call someone, OK?). It’s fair to say that these guys are true survivors of that post-Y2k emo scene — after all, they’ve survived the death of an essential member, staying strong and continuing to make great music year after year with no real diminishment in quality. I never would have predicted back in 2004 that this band would have a more consistent career than Fall Out Boy, but sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.
This year sees the release of the sixth Hawthorne Heights LP, Bad Frequencies, which follows up on the trilogy of EPs, Hope, Hate, and Hurt, that were released over the past few years. Lead single “Pink Hearts” concentrates on the melody and gives us a juicy taste of pop-punk greatness, but they’re sure to turn up the intensity at other points on the album — and certainly in the live setting, which is what you really don’t want to miss. They’re joined by an amazing lineup of touring acts, most notably the almost-indescribable post-rock sound of Listener, which pairs intriguing musical soundscapes with the spoken poetics of Dan Smith. These guys are secretly just as good a reason to show up on Friday night as your actual headliners, and when you add in performances from Australians Sienna Skies, Californians Hotel Books, and Ohio’s Heavy Things, you’ve got a jam-packed lineup that’s cheap at twice the price.
Saturday, April 28, 8 PM
Cannabis Corpse, Salvaticus, Perpetuated, Eldritch Horror @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Decriminalization is definitely still a goal, but as we Virginians bemoan our continued inability to attain it, we can at least console ourselves that we will always have Cannabis Corpse. This veteran project, which has been through a variety of lineups but has always been led by brothers Landphil (Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan) and Hallhammer (Cruelsifix), just keeps on ripping it up with amazing death metal albums channeling the Floridian mid-90s heyday of Morrisound… but if all those songs about gore and Satan were really all about WEED. Their latest record, Left Hand Pass, pays homage to Swedish killers Entombed with its title, but the music contained within is pure original and hits every bit as hard as… I dunno, I don’t smoke the stuff, insert your own “really good strain of bud” joke here.
I may not be willing to do 10 minutes of googling to make a good marijuana joke, but I sure am willing to bang my head at whatever sounds Cannabis Corpse choose to dish out to us at Strange Matter Saturday night, whether they be brand new heavies from their latest album, classics from debut LP Tube Of The Resinated, or anything inbetween. It’s all killer, no filler — which can’t be said of that sack of oregano your best friend bought at the last Bonnaroo, am I right? Cannabis Corpse are joined on this bill by a trio of excellent thrashers from around the extended region: Charlottesville’s Salvaticus, who have managed to carry on after losing an essential member and will be bringing us a new album soon; DC’s Perpetuated, an old-school raw death onslaught; and brand new Lovecraftian Raleigh rippers Eldritch Horror. It’s a festival for the senses, and the THC in the air is sure to soothe the pains in your neck from all the headbanging. You know what to do.
Sunday, April 29, 10 PM
KINGS, RVA Entertainers Club @ Bandito’s – Free!
The Jellowstone crew doesn’t keep quite as high a profile around Richmond as they once did, but if anything, they’re getting even more done than ever before. This is particularly true of KINGS, which brings together soulful singer-songwriter Kelli Strawbridge (who you might know from his many appearances around town with his James Brown tribute act, The Big Payback, as well as quite a few other projects) with producer/drummer/keyboardist DJ Harrison (aka Devonne Harris, of Butcher Brown, Tennison, and many other projects including the latest Jack White album!). What with everything else Kelli, DJ Harrison and the rest of the crew have been up to, KINGS themselves haven’t been hitting the live stages all that much lately — but that’s about to change, this Sunday night at Bandito’s.
As always, the lineup KINGS hits the stage with is somewhat subject to change. However, once you know you’ll get participation from the two main creative figures in this project, what more do you need? And if in fact you do need more, the infrequently appearing but always-incredible RVA Entertainers Club is sure to bring it to you. This locally-focused jazz-funk supergroup is likely to feature Marcus Tenney, Reggie Pace, DJ Harrison, Andrew Randazzo, and quite a few more of the best players this town’s musical underground has to offer. Plus, all of this is available to you for free! Can you beat that? You most assuredly cannot! And you know what they say — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em at Bandito’s for some great food and killer music. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Monday, April 30, 8 PM
Benefit For Carver Promise, feat. Well$pnt, Sundream, Lennon Does Loops, Soul Burst @ Strange Matter – $5
This random Monday evening show may not feature any of the biggest names in RVA music (or at least, no one who’s achieved that status YET), but it’s certainly worth your time regardless. Part of this is because the groups you’ll be checking out — new Charlottesville alt-rockers Sundream, spacy cloud-hopping rapper Well$pnt, chiptune-tinged instrumental beatmaker Lennon Does Loops — have a lot of widely varying but always intriguing sounds to offer. But another big part of this is the charity this event will benefit: Carver Promise.
This group helps provide aid for students attending George Washington Carver Elementary, one of the many underfunded public schools in our area, pairing college student mentors with younger kids who benefit from one on one help with basic academic skills as well as more artistic and creative pursuits. There’s a lot of talk around town these days about the crisis in our local public school districts, and how more funding needs to be found to help bring these schools up to passable levels. While we wait for the city to find solutions, it never hurts to help out the organizations who are stepping in to make sure something is being done in the meantime. Plus, you’ll get to hear some cool tunes while you’re at it.
Tuesday, May 1, 7 PM
Boy Named Banjo, Ghost Of Paul Revere @ The Broadberry – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
That whole roots-Americana thing started to seem overdone for a little bit there, back around a decade ago. However, now that the trends have moved on, it seems that the younger people who’ve stuck with it are sincerely in it for the long haul. That might just explain why the bands that rise to the top these days have high-quality instrumental talent and plenty of memorable tunes. That’s definitely something that can be said for the bands on this show at The Broadberry, both of which are sure to put a smile on your face.
Boy Named Banjo is a quintet that’s been integrating the high-lonesome twang of old-time bluegrass with some catchy emotionally-driven melodies for a good while now, most recently on their 2016 EP Lost On Main. If you’ve been following this scene for a while, chances are you’ve caught them — they’ve been through Richmond a few times now — but if, like me, they’re just hitting your radar, this Tuesday-night shindig is the perfect opportunity to get more familiar. Meanwhile, The Ghost of Paul Revere has been getting a little bit of shine lately from such venues as the Conan O’Brien Show, where they appeared back in January promoting their new third LP, Monarch. That album sees them integrating an alt-country influence — a little My Morning Jacket, a little Drive-By Truckers — into their rootsy, passionate vibe, and boy does it work. Don’t miss either of the bands on this excellent gig.
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.]
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond