Friday, October 25, 8 PM
Majjin Boo, Gold Connections, Castle OG, Antiphons, HotSpit @ The Camel – $5
Mathy, melodic indie rock is a sound that’s in vogue right now, and if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself mostly thinking “Yeah, this stuff is cool,” then going months without giving it another thought. However, Richmond’s own Majjin Boo blows all that faint-praise damnation into a million pieces.
I’ve liked Majjin Boo since their earliest demos, circa 2016 when they were just a quartet, but my esteem rose to a whole new level with the two-song single, “Tension Rod/One Wing,” that they released earlier this year after growing to a six-piece. Out of every new release I’ve heard this year, I’ve probably played those two songs most often. Not just out of Richmond bands, either — I love the new Jamila Woods, Bob Mould, and Mannequin Pussy records, but Majjin Boo has them all beat.
That’s why I am stoked as fuck about the fact that their debut full-length, Go Between, comes out next week on Egghunt Records. And that’s why I’m imploring you to go to The Camel this Friday night and catch their record release show. Complex yet glittering guitar melodies are only the beginning with this band — the dual-vocal harmonies, the dynamic and energetic drumming, and the whole band’s incredible ability to perfectly layer their instruments so six different people combine into one beautiful, seamless whole… well, suffice it to say, this is why Majjin Boo aren’t just another mathy indie band. The bandwagon’s pulling up Friday night at The Camel — jump on it now while the getting’s good.
Wednesday, October 23, 9 PM
Carnivora, Future Projektor, Cut The Architect’s Hand @ Wonderland – $7
Straight out of Salem, Massachusetts, some brutal, witchy metal is coming at you tonight in Shockoe Bottom. Carnivora is a band that’s been around for most of a decade. However, the recently released “Bogdweller” single is their first new material in over four years, and it finds the band heading into some new musical territory, thanks in part to the addition of Haydee Irizarry on vocals. Irizarry is capable of unleashing some gorgeous clean vocals, but for most of this song, she growls with terrifying low-end aggression over riffing that’s heavier than anything Carnivora have done before.
Remarkably, that makes this new single both heavier and more melodic than anything this Massachusetts band has done before. And it’s just one song! Imagine how much more awesomeness they have in store for us. Well, if you make it out to Wonderland tonight, you won’t have to. And you’ll get a bonus in the bargain; Future Projektor is a brand new power trio who bring back the early 90s days when heavy, complex instrumental bands (Breadwinner, Alter Natives, etc) ruled the roost around here. They feature members of Kepone, Gritter, and Honor Role as well, so the lineage is definitely there. Local heavy mainstays Cut The Architect’s Hand will kick this evening off with a solid dose of pounding midtempo grooves. Be there.
Thursday, October 24, 8 PM
Cyber Twin, Trash Boy, Deer Eat Birds @ Bingo Beer Co – Free!
There are a bunch of bands running around Virginia these days with “Twin” in their names, so I can understand why Cyber Twin might confuse you. But to clear things up, this is not Silver Twin, Twin Drugs, Glass Twin, or Two Cars (OK, that last one doesn’t really count) — it’s Cyber Twin, a Harrisonburg-based trio with a delightful resemblance to early Green Day showing through on debut EP Wire. Before they wrote the graduation song or the rock opera, Green Day were just a snotty power-pop band with messy hair, and Cyber Twin are pretty much the same thing, a quarter-century later. What’s not to love about that?
This show also features Philadelphia quartet Trash Boy, who have a ton of fun and make some really great catchy punk noise on their new LP, Who Will Take The Trash Out When We’re Gone? Their anthems for the alienated working class — “Job Interview,” “Piss On Their Graves,” and “Perfect Teeth” notable among them — are great things to hear and sing along with on a Thursday night when you’re just struggling to get through the week. The fact that this show is free will help you make it until payday without dying of boredom, and Deer Eat Birds will get things started with some great rock sounds to ensure that the second you walk in, you’ll have a smile on your face.
Friday, October 25, 8 PM
Camp Howard, Night Idea, Alfred @ Gallery 5 – $10 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Damn — almost any other week, a Camp Howard record release show would have scored the feature slot. The fact that Majjin Boo put out my favorite record of the year thus far got them the nod, but it’s by a narrower margin than you might think. Camp Howard’s phenomenally structured indie-pop gems have stood head and shoulders above the average here in Richmond for years now, and their new LP, Cañón, is a stunning collection of their best material — now available on local powerhouse Citrus City Records, natch.
So what I’m saying is, you might end up choosing to hit up this Camp Howard record release show at Gallery 5 rather than the Majjin Boo record release show at the Camel, and if you were to do so, I wouldn’t have a single problem with that decision. These boys are moving in a downright Beatlesque direction on some of the new LP’s material, and that’s sure to light Gallery 5 with brilliant rays of sunshine pop this Friday night. With math-rock veterans Night Idea and unorthodox hip hop genius Alfred also on the bill, this show is sure to be a delight. If you’re not at the Majjin Boo show, you damn well better be at this one.
Saturday, October 26, 8 PM
Emily Easterly, Prabir Trio, Kevin Ganley @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $8 (order tickets HERE)
You might know Emily Easterly as a local musician, if you’ve been around Richmond long enough. Back in 2001, when she was still a high school student, she released her first LP, Assembling Emily, by herself here in Richmond. Education took her to Miami later that year, and she’s been living in Brooklyn for the past decade or so, but whether you classify her as a local musician or not, she’s continued to make memorable sounds that whole time, and her first Richmond show in quite a while is certainly worth checking out, even if you’re young enough not to remember the days when she was making records here (and I know some of you are, which makes me feel a million years old).
Easterly’s most recent release is a 2018 single, “Yellow Leaves,” but she’s right on the cusp of releasing her fifth LP — and first full-length release in a decade — The Blems. In fact, it should be out the day before this show happens, so keep an eye out for copies at the merch table. But first, make sure you focus your full attention on the stage when Easterly is playing, because her riveting, dramatic take on alternative rock is positively gripping, with a dark, foreboding instrumental undercurrent that adds depth to her memorable vocal melodies. Easterly will be joined on this bill by Prabir Trio, featuring the talents of another early-00s Richmond singer-songwriter who’s remained local; and Kevin Ganley, a younger performer most familiar to local audiences as a member of HotSpit. This is going to be a wonderful-sounding night throughout. Be a part of it.
Sunday, October 27, 6 PM
Knocked Loose, Stick To Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy, SeeYouSpaceCowboy @ The Canal Club – $22.50 (order tickets HERE)
It’s a heavy night of hardcore at The Canal Club, and it’s getting kicked off early so all the energetic teens who love to stagedive and mosh it up can do their thing in the pit. If you’re solidly middle-aged like me, you might want to stand back from this one a bit, since Kentucky’s Knocked Loose bring some serious pit-heaving rage on their latest LP, A Different Shade Of Blue. The vocals have enough of a raw edge to keep this band from descending into outright tough-guy monotony, instead introducing notes of apocalyptic anxiety into their incredibly brutal metallic hardcore pound.
So yeah, basically, you’re moshing. Or maybe headbanging towards the back of the room, depending on how well your hips are holding up these days. And Knocked Loose are bringing quite a few heavy hitters along on this jam-packed bill, so you can expect to be rocking out throughout the night. Veteran hardcore acts Stick To Your Guns and Rotting Out are also performing at The Canal Club this night. Local chaotic hardcore juggernaut Candy are on the bill too, and you can expect them to blow your mind with their noisy, aggressive attack. Plus, fresh off their first LP of all-new material, The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds, SeeYouSpaceCowboy rounds out this bill with a set of heavy-as-fuck chaotic sasscore that’s sure to get you revved up from moment one. This show’s gonna be mega.
Monday, October 28, 7 PM
Blacker Face, Spowder, Brain Drain, Tavishi @ Poor Boys – $5
Poor Boys, the venue formerly known as Flora, Balliceaux, and — if your memory stretches that far back — the original Bogart’s, has (re)opened their back room, and great sounds have returned to it once again. Let’s all rejoice with this challenging Monday night bill, topped off by Blacker Face. This multi-racial quintet has taken some heat for choosing such a name while also having white members, but co-founder and vocalist Jolene Whatevr has made it clear that she intentionally chose to combine the name and the racial makeup of the lineup, specifically to challenge the biases of their audience — especially the white members of that audience.
If you’re ready for that challenge, you better be ready for a musical challenge as well, because once you get used to how Blacker Face’s members look, you’ll be confronted with their fascinating musical mixture of jazz, postpunk, soul, and experimental music. On their latest LP, Distinctive Juju, the band throws clashing moods into the same songs, alternating between dissonant heaviness and soulful beauty and sometimes even layering them overtop one another. It’s not predictable or easily categorizeable, but Blacker Face definitely is an invigorating listen that is sure to be twice as eye-opening in the live environment. This is one performance you owe it to yourself to catch — even if it does take a few minutes for you to wrap your head around what Blacker Face is doing, the result is sure to be rewarding, and to provoke thought. And, speaking as a white person, I will say that we in particular always need more provocation to use our brains.
Tuesday, October 29, 7 PM
Wine Lips, She, Captain Scrunchie @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I’m inclined to have warm feelings toward Toronto’s Wine Lips, and not because I drink wine, or any other alcohol — you know by now that I don’t. It’s because “Wine Lips” is the name of a song by my favorite outlaw country singer, Lydia Loveless. However, this Canadian trio didn’t go along at all with my expectations before hearing them. Rather than even a touch of country, they bash out some energetic, catchy garage punk with a strong helping of rock n’ roll majesty mixed in. If you dig the more recent work of Ty Segall or Thee Oh Sees, Wine Lips are sure to connect with you.
They’re joined on this Tuesday night Camel bill by She, a group led by Liza Grishaeva and, indeed, formerly known as LIZA. It seems Grishaeva is pivoting towards a band identity rather than a solo project, but that doesn’t diminish the massive atmospheres and mournful ambience of the songs She has released thus far. Perhaps there’ll be a thicker sound backing them this time around? We’ll only know for sure once Tuesday night rolls around. This event will be rounded out by a performance from Captain Scrunchie, whose girls-in-the-garage aesthetic results in some very pleasing tuneage on their recently-released demo. Get ready to rock at this one.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, October 26, 5 PM
LAVA Halloween Extravaganza, feat. Black Sabbath, The Strokes, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty And the Heartbreakers, System of a Down, Pavement @ Toast (Norfolk) – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
OK, so it’s almost Halloween, and you can’t be but so surprised to see shows like this popping up. Musicians love to learn sets of material by bands they love and play shows “in costume” as those other bands on Halloween, and if you’re a music fan, chances are you get a big kick out of it too. Therefore, this LAVA Extravaganza should bring you some delight, as a variety of Hampton Roads-area musicians come together to present the music of their faves on a fun Saturday evening at Toast.
A couple of these sets bring us a single band interpreting their favorites, and these are always pretty intriguing. For example, a Black Sabbath set by progressive soul band Paper Aliens and a System Of A Down set by indie-rockers Berries both inspire questions along the lines of “What’s THAT gonna be like?” Meanwhile, members of Tidewater-area notables like You’re Jovian, Mas Y Mas, LADADA, Mae, The Last Bison, Pet Name, Cupid McCoy, and more will join together to bring us sets of material by The Strokes, Pavement, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac. All of this should be quite enjoyable, and to top all that off, there’s a costume contest too! What’s not to love about this one? So come on, all you Halloween heads! Get in the car this Saturday afternoon and get there.
Sunday, October 27, 6 PM
Taking Meds, Infant Island, Smallhands, Dozing @ The Recreation Center (Fredericksburg) – $5
Taking Meds is the sort of band name that lets you know where you stand right away. Nobody who’s in a super great place in life names their band Taking Meds. And sure enough, their most recent LP, I Hate Me, New York’s Taking Meds give us a collection of melancholy melodies with a powerful underlying crunch that’s sure to evoke memories of Dear You-era Jawbreaker or the last couple of Wonder Years LPs. It’s music for people who are getting older and still not quite finding the place in life where they fit. If you’ve ever felt that way, even for a moment, you’re sure to connect with what Taking Meds is bringing to Fredericksburg this Sunday evening.
They’ll be joined by a few Fredericksburg locals who do a lot to make clear that there is a real honest-to-god scene in that small city halfway between Richmond and DC. Infant Island’s energetic screamo has been buoyed considerably over the past couple years by the band members’ go-getter nature, and their contribution to a recent 4-way split EP shows that they’re only getting better as they go. Expect some serious emotional-musical fireworks from this performance. Fellow Fredericksburghers Smallhands have a hazy yet metallic approach that might make you reach for the term “blackgaze,” but gimmicky terms like that never really convey the full impact of bands like this one, so expect something quite a bit more expansive than that subgenre tag might evoke. The show will be rounded out by the first performance from Richmond melodic hardcore crew Dozing. Overall, this one should be well worth the single hour’s drive north. Make it happen.
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]
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