Sunday, August 18, 7 PM
The Mob, Serqet, Benderheads @ Gallery 5 – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Classic UK punk takes many forms. Defiant yet melodic bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash are the most popular one, and made a huge imprint on the music scene for the next several decades. There’s also the rawer, angrier, melody-free political hardcore of bands like Discharge and Antisect, which led to long-running subgenres like crust and d-beat. But there’s another entire world of classic UK punk, one that is sometimes known as peace punk, or anarcho-punk, but is much harder to describe musically. It’s from that world that Somerset, England’s The Mob was born.
Associated with the loose-knit circle around anarchist punk band/label/collective Crass, The Mob were one of quite a few bands in that world who created their own original sound. Their most famous single, “No Doves Fly Here,” is almost gothic in its dirge-like gloomy sound, stretching on for nearly seven minutes and fully capturing the post-apocalyptic horror of war’s devastated aftermath. However, it’s their 1983 LP, Let The Tribe Increase, that is the peak expression of The Mob’s ominously gothic punk mood, one that connects them both to legendary 80s UK acts like Amebix and Zounds and modern Danish groups like Iceage and Lower.
The Mob disbanded in the mid-80s, but they’ve been back together in their original lineup for almost a decade now. However, this is the first time they’ve ever made it to Richmond, and you’d definitely be best advised to join with the punks who’ve been waiting to see them for the last four decades by heading to Gallery 5 this Sunday night. They’ll be joined by two Richmond punk powerhouses; their kindred spirits in postpunk crew Serqet and hardcore maniacs Benderheads. No matter how long you’ve been waiting, it’ll be worth it.
Wednesday, August 14, 9 PM
Skizophrenia, Vaaska, Under Attack, Destruct @ Mojo’s – $8-$10 donation
Japanese punk is definitely its own thing. It was born of influences carried across the oceans from the US and UK, but the effect of Japanese culture was formidable, and led to a completely different spin on hardcore punk — one that has spawned a rich cultural history over the past several decades. Skizophrenia are part of that history, and their output over the past decade and a half has made up for its relative sparseness with a fiery attack that stands as unique even within the sui generis world of Japanese punk. Which is why you should definitely make it out to Mojo’s to see them tonight.
Their raw, speedy sound manages to communicate energetic rage while not taking on any sort of heaviness or macho aggression. Instead, Skizophrenia plays a form of Japanese punk that is both melodic and fun, even as it retains the noisy, frantic elements that are so endemic to the punk rock of their native country. They’re coming through Richmond tonight in the company of Vaaska, a Texas band with whom they shared a split EP, and whose Spanish-Scandinavian crust-punk hybrid is fast and scorching in its own right. Richmond punk supergroup Under Attack and noise-core newcomers Destruct round out a bill that’s guaranteed to blow your mind.
Thursday, August 15, 9 PM
Frankie & the Witch Fingers, Weird Tears, Deli Kings @ Wonderland – $10
Frankie & the Witch Fingers sounds a lot more like a band from decades past than it does like the name of a modern band, but don’t let their throwback band name throw you off — this group has a very up-to-date take on the many genres they dip into over the course of their latest LP, ZAM, which was released back in March. Over its one-hour running time, you’ll catch everything from Blue Cheer-style proto-metal to guitar-driven acid funk to straight up rock n’ roll — all with a strong tendency toward psychedelia.
This group has had a prolific history thus far, releasing five LPs in the past seven years, and the creative energy it takes to churn out killer sounds at that kind of pace absolutely shows through in their frenetic live performances. When they hit the Wonderland stage tomorrow night, you’re going to have a lot of trouble standing still. And why would you want to? Dance the night away! You’ll also be able to enjoy the rock n’ roll sounds of Weird Tears and the psychedelic heavy-osity of Deli Kings as part of this evening, and that’s always a lovely bonus. What are you waiting for? Set the controls for Shockoe Bottom.
Friday, August 16, 8 PM
Volk, Mackenzie Roark, Toward Space @ Garden Grove Brewing – Free!
“Cowpunk” was a term you heard for a while in the 80s. It was applied to everyone from The Meat Puppets to Lone Justice back then, and while as a Southern girl myself I certainly got excited about this subgenre’s potential when I first heard about it, I was usually disappointed to find that the bands lumped into it were far more country than punk. 30 years later, though, Nashville’s Volk have come along to give me what I wanted from all those bands back then.
On their latest EP, Average American Band, this wild n’ crazy two-piece inverts the usual cowpunk formula and injects some of the rawest, most fire-spitting moments of the Bloodshot Records scene into a sound that’s got a lot more to do with the White Stripes and the Gun Club than anything you’d hear on an alt-country Pandora playlist. I love it, and you should too, especially if you love to get wild and crazy to the out-of-control garage rock sounds of local trio Toward Space, who are, by an amazing coincidence, also on this show! Singer/bandleader Mackenzie Roark is also on this bill, to inject just enough of that lovelorn country balladry into the evening for you honky-tonkers out there.
Saturday, August 17, 7:30 PM
Mannequin Pussy, Empath, T-Rextasy @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Damn, talk about taking things to the next level. Like a lot of Richmonders, I already liked Philadelphia’s Mannequin Pussy quite a bit; their frequent visits to the city over the past five years or so have seen them rise up from the basement and win the hearts of punk rockers all over town. But their latest LP, Patience, not only sees them signing to Epitaph Records but also finds them creating the strongest, most assured music of their career thus far.
On Patience, they’ve found a way to both crank up the bile-spitting punk intensity and delve into the kind of heart-wrenching melodies that make brilliant breakup songs like “Drunk II” and “Fear/+/Desire” into instant classics. It’s as if Live Through This-era Hole had collaborated with White Lung. So yeah, it’s awesome, and hearing it communicated at top volume as one of Mannequin Pussy’s incredible live performances is only gonna make the whole thing hit that much harder. They come to The Camel accompanied by upstart Philadelphia psych-punk band Empath and Brooklyn alt-poppers T-Rextasy, both of whom will up the ante on what’s already guaranteed to be an outstanding night of music. Don’t blow this one.
Sunday, August 18, 9 PM
Insect Surfers, Atomic Mosquitos, Armistead’s Army @ The Camel – $7 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s hard to stand out in the genre of instrumental surf rock, a land where many people seem most interested in slavish imitations of the legendary greats — Dick Dale, The Ventures, maybe Man Or Astro-Man for the more modern heads. But there are still quite a few bands out there in the surf world proudly walking their own path, and the Insect Surfers are definitely one of them. Getting their start fully 40 years ago, this group loves to refer to themselves as “Planet Earth’s longest-running modern surf band,” and show off the exact sort of interstellar sensibility that motto brings to mind on their many ripping tunes.
The Insect Surfers were directly influenced by the manic instrumental surf-guitar groups of the early 60s, but they took just as much inspiration from the early days of punk rock, which was getting started all around them in their own formative years. If you listen close, you can also hear a bit of the space-faring psychedelia of trippy early 70s groups like Hawkwind and 60s spaghetti western soundtracks mixed into recent material like 2017’s Datura Moon. All of this will add up to a night of awesomeness when these guys pull into The Camel; we guarantee that their tunes will keep you dancing all night long, just like those beach-blanket babes of yore.
Monday, August 19, 9 PM
Bermuda Triangles, No Question, Lipid, Archbishop @ Cary Street Cafe – $10
There are a lot of panicked rumors going on, but have no fear — things are still going strong over at Cary Street Cafe! And there’s no better proof than this latest edition of Slimehole’s weekly “Heavy Mondays.” For starters, it’s bringing us a killer set from borderline-indescribable percussion-focused trio Bermuda Triangles, who’ve been blasting Richmond with their unique form of postpunk space-dance jazz-funk for years now. These guys create the best bizarro-boogie soundtrack happening in Richmond right now, and you won’t want to miss this opportunity to get weird with it.
Plus, they’re playing in the company of Wisconsin noisemongers No Question, who blast out some dirty, grungy rage at hyperspeed on their 2018 self-titled EP. They’re prepared to do the same thing, live and in your face, at this gig, and you should definitely come prepared to be blown away. Local punk freaks Lipid are on the bill as well, which is always enjoyable, and this show will open with the debut performance by Archbishop, the latest assemblage of maniacs from past RVA terrors like Olde Shame, The Skin, and Memory Loss. There’s nothing about this one that’s not gonna rule.
Tuesday, August 20, 9 PM
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Annabelle Chairlegs, DJ Chrissie @ Fuzzy Cactus – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Of course we were all terrified about the future of Richmond live music last year when Strange Matter closed, but as has long been said, crisis creates opportunity, and as this city has warmed up over the course of 2019, we’ve seen more and more live music venues popping up all over! Fuzzy Cactus is the latest example, coming to Brookland Park Boulevard this weekend with some delicious fried chicken and a stage that’ll be full of rock n’ roll sounds on a weekly basis.
The first big show they’re bringing in takes place only a few days after they open up, as Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears pull into town. This Texas ensemble is based around the wild vocals and raging guitars of frontman Lewis, who’s sure to remind you of both Little Richard and James Brown. But it’s the extended ensemble he tours with, complete with horn section, that makes his performances hit so hard — somewhere between BB King and King Khan & the Shrines. They’ll christen the stage of the Fuzzy Cactus in outstanding fashion, and kick off the Brookland Park reign of what’s sure to be yet another great live music venue for Richmond to cherish.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Wednesday, August 14, 5:30 PM
Knotfest Roadshow, feat. Slipknot, Gojira, Volbeat, Behemoth @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater (Virginia Beach) – $41-$250 (order tickets HERE)
Maybe this is just me, but I gotta tell y’all — I find it really hard to feel anything other than love for Slipknot. This crew of Iowa metal misfits with as many members as your average brass band blew everyone’s mind when they showed up in the late 90s with their crazy masks, abundance of percussion, and overflowing amounts of adolescent fury. From there, they just got heavier, shaking off their early nu-metal tinges in favor of brutal, anthemic breakdowns and even the occasional blastbeat. Since losing founding bassist Paul Gray back in 2010, they’ve struggled a bit, ultimately firing a couple of other longtime members in pursuit of the return to fighting form that is this year’s We Are Not Your Kind.
It’s that album they’re celebrating with this summer’s Knotfest Roadshow, and they’ll be bringing their patented brand of masked insanity to the Veterans United stage in VA Beach as part of that. Expect headbangs aplenty as they break out classics like “Disasterpiece,” “Spit It Out,” and “Duality” alongside some excellent tuneage from their new LP. Plus, they’ve got a murderer’s row of metallic excellence along as support, including French death-metallers Gojira, bizarre Danish metalbilly group Volbeat, and legendary Polish thrashers Behemoth. This one will be an absolute feast for anyone who loves metal — and trust me, once they hit the stage, Slipknot’s antics are sure to command your undivided attention.
Saturday, August 17, 5 PM
Suburban Living, Ladada, The Evening Attraction @ Smartmouth Brewing – Free!
Philadelphia indie-gaze crew Suburban Living had a pretty strong buzz a few years ago, but they’ve largely been quite on the release front for the past few years, so it’s a relief to see them rolling through the Commonwealth once again! This Saturday night finds them topping the bill at Smartmouth Brewing’s Norfolk warehouse, which has been throwing a series of free early-evening shows over the past several months. This summer-ending rocker is the last one on the schedule that we know of, so if you haven’t gone and checked the place out, now’s the time!
And of course it will be great to hear the sounds of Suburban Living, whose dreampop deliciousness was showed off to perfect effect on 2016’s Almost Paradise. Will they have some newer material to show off? Well, one never knows — but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for. The same is true of the support set by Norfolk’s own Ladada, who’ve been at the top of the heap where Tidewater indie is concerned for a while now. And as a bonus, you’ll get a set from Chicago rock n’ rollers The Evening Attraction to kick things off with a bang. This is going to be a blast — gas up the whip.
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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Top Photo by Beau Patrick Coulon, via Facebook