Saturday, August 31, 1 PM
Brockie Birthday Bash, feat. RAWG, Battlemaster, Occultist, Hewolf, Enhailer @ GWARBar – Free!
It can be a sad thing, to gather in celebration of a dead person’s birthday. However, Dave Brockie was never the sort of person to dwell on sadness, so when GWAR gathers the bohabs together this weekend in celebration of their late, lamented leader, it’s sure to be a party regardless. Things really kick off the day before this show, when the new monument to Brockie’s memory will be unveiled in Hollywood Cemetery. But then on Saturday afternoon, the parking lot of GWARBar will be transformed into a raging outdoor rock-a-thon to commemorate what would have been Brockie’s 56th birthday.
And what a rager it will be! GWAR themselves won’t be performing, but RAWG — their alter-ego from the days when Richmond had a ban against GWAR shows within the city limits — will headline this event, bringing you all the goofily hilarious thrash-metal power of a typical GWAR show… only without the costumes. It’ll be a headbanging good time regardless — after all, these guys have got some great tunes!
They’ve also got some great friends with excellent bands, and a lovely selection of Richmond metal tunesmiths will be taking the stage in support of the GWAR… er, RAWG headlining set on this lovely Saturday afternoon. Battlemaster’s swords n’ sorcery thrash metal is on the menu, as is Occultist’s blackened death rage, finally back to full-time activity after a few years of woodshedding. Hewolf sees the return to action of several longtime Richmond metal veterans from bands like Iron Reagan, Darkest Hour, Alabama Thunderpussy, and HRM, who bring us some groovy headbanging grunge-metal stomp. And Ohio’s Enhailer bring their mostly instrumental doom-sludge to town to liven things up. It’s gonna be an afternoon of amazingness, so don’t miss a moment of the happenings at GWARBar!
Wednesday, August 28, 9 PM
Silence In The Snow, Thief, Serqet @ Wonderland – $10
Here’s an evening of music that’s sure to bring some relief to all you gothic post-punkers currently wilting and melting away in the oppressive heat of Richmond’s scorching, sticky summer. Silence In The Snow brings an icy, fog-enshrouded sound from their home in the SF bay area to RVA tonight. On new LP Levitation Chamber, frontwoman Cyn M. picks out harsh, cold melodies on her electric guitar, while bearing a striking vocal resemblance to Siouxsie Sioux circa 1985.
The whole thing adds up to a spiky gothic postpunk sound that’s sure to thrill all the black-enshrouded night children who wait until darkness has fallen before they venture out of their air-conditioned chambers. Such habitues of the shadows are sure to also be intrigued by LA’s Thief, who bring a spooky electronic sound and a strong influence from sacred chants and medieval hymns to their postmodern gothic sound. And of course, Richmond’s own Serqet is in the house to provide a dose of their always-on-time anarcho-postpunk sound. When the sun goes down, head to Wonderland tonight — you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Thursday, August 29, 7 PM
Habibi, Fruit & Flowers, LIZA @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$13 day of show (order tickets HERE)
New York’s a multicultural place, and the melting pot culture it creates is clear in the music of Habibi. Reflecting the members’ Middle Eastern and Latin American heritage, this NYC group focuses on psychedelic garage pop from a variety of different traditions. On latest EP Cardamom Garden, they use layered vocal harmonies, hazy guitar textures, and rock n’ roll backbeats to create a sound that’s simultaneously reminiscent of The Byrds, The White Stripes, and Brazilian psych group Os Mutantes. The EP even includes a cover of 60s proto-punk classic “Green Fuz,” sung in Farsi — making that Middle Eastern influence that much clearer.
Habibi are joined on this trip to RVA by fellow New Yorkers Fruit & Flowers, who have a more American-oriented garage-punk bounce that’s shown off to excellent effect on their 2017 EP, Drug Tax. Like Habibi, this quartet will get you dancing around, but they’ve got a decidedly more uptempo approach that’ll keep your feet moving double-time throughout their set. This three-band lineup will be rounded out with a set by Richmond locals LIZA, who will bring a live, full-band expansion to the psychedelic bedroom pop tunes of singer-songwriter Liza Grishaeva. It’ll be a great way to start out an evening of delicious psych-pop excellence.
Friday, August 30, 9 PM
Deathcrown, Appalling, The Day Of The Beast, Gutterance @ Wonderland – $10
Death metal still rules. We all know it, even if we don’t always talk about it. But on a Friday night like this one, it becomes clear that the best way to spend our live music dollar is to head to Shockoe Bottom and let almighty death metal roll overtop of us in its own inimitable way. That’s the opportunity that Wonderland is offering us with this tour-kickoff show for Deathcrown and Appalling, a couple of the heaviest death metal bands currently active in this town.
Deathcrown’s been dishing out that raging sound that’s sure to appeal to fans of bands that came out of Florida in the 90s — think Morbid Angel, or Death themselves — for a while now, most recently on their 2018 split LP with Ribspreader, Comorbid Diagnosis. Meanwhile, Appalling take a more Scandinavian approach to raging speed on their recently-released LP, Inverted Realm, evoking the harsh snarling rage that you At The Gates fans can never get enough of. Virginia Beach rippers The Day Of The Beast will augment all this heavy-as-fuck pummelling with some furious death metal noise of their own, while King George-based newcomers Gutterance will get things kicked off in proper fashion. Come ready for serious headbangs — because you’re going to get them.
Saturday, August 31, 9 PM
Museum District, Hot Coffee @ The Dark Room – $5
When Saturday night comes around, it’s time to dance, and this weekend, The Dark Room has you covered, presenting a set by Museum District. Not actually a performance by an entire neighborhood (which was called “the Upper Fan” when I was living up there in the 90s, grumble grumble, I’m an old person who hates change), but instead a duo made up of two talented RVA musicians with credentials of their own. Jame Moorfield has been producing dancefloor bangers on his own around town for years now, while Anneliese is a fixture on the local music scene due both to her longtime membership in The Folly and her solo work.
When the two combine their talents, though, magic happens, and on recent EPs like Hairdown and I Like It, Museum District has unleashed some powerful disco-house grooves with strong diva-style vocal melodies and thrilling musical crescendoes. They’ll fill The Dark Room at The Hof with some powerful booty-shaking anthems this Saturday night, and you’ll want to save some energy throughout the day so you’re prepared to dance the night away with them. DC producer Hot Coffee will be warming up the joint with a set of his own, but Museum District is what this evening’s all about.
Sunday, September 1, 7 :30 PM
Leya, Thieves Of Shiloh @ Shockoe Denim – $10
If you’re a fan of musical experimentation, you’re definitely going to want to end your weekend at Shockoe Denim this weekend, regardless of who makes your pants. On this Sunday evening, Little Dumbo is bringing Leya to town, and this New York duo combines instruments with centuries of history into sounds that are unlike any you’ve heard before. Leya brings together harpist Marilu Donovan (Eartheater) and violinist Adam Markiewicz (PC Worship) in pursuit of a sound that has nothing to do with the classical music fields in which these instruments are normally deployed.
On their 2018 album The Fool, Leya run their instruments and their voices through a variety of effects and use unorthodox tunings to create otherworldly sounds that would be completely at home on the soundtrack to a horror movie, but also manage to evoke an atmospheric beauty. It’s the kind of thing that fans of Philip Glass or Diamanda Galas might tap into, but for most will take some getting used to. It’s worth the effort, though — this evening of unusual sounds is sure to be rewarding for all in attendance. Leya will be joined by local sound experimentalists Thieves Of Shiloh on this bill — news that’s sure to make attendees of Cheap Fest in years past very happy.
Monday, September 2, 8 PM
Danet Jackson, Bryan Fountain, The Gilberts @ The Camel – $5 in advance/$7 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Band names are getting weirder and weirder, y’all, and Danet Jackson might just be the weirdest one I’ve heard yet. That said, if you’re expecting a combination of The Dan Band and the lady who sang “Rhythm Nation” from this Richmond group, you may or may not be let down, as this group fronted by local singer-songwriter Dan Jackson (the name makes a little more sense now — but only a little) dishes out some shambolic bedroom indie-pop in a manner that evokes both Wavves and Washed Out. Or maybe that’s just me.
Either way, on recent LP Planet Danet, this group is better than you’d ever expect them to be based on the name. Give them a listen. And expect things to get even weirder when fellow Richmonder Bryan Fountain takes the stage, bringing a memorable form of psych-damaged hip hop that, at least to me, sounds like Lil Ugly Mane at times, Lil Uzi Vert at others. The man can definitely rhyme, but if you ask me, the weirdness is the best part. The stumbling, jangly punk-pop of The Gilberts rounds out this fun evening of Labor Day musical madness. Get with it.
Tuesday, September 3, 9 PM
Croy & The Boys, Bean Weatherford @ Fuzzy Cactus – $8
Fuzzy Cactus just opened a couple weeks ago, but they’re already integrating themselves into the Richmond live music scene, and that’s certainly a wonderful thing. This Tuesday night show is billed as “Totally Pauly Tuesdays,” and is apparently themed around which bartender is behind the bar, but as far as I’m concerned, the main reason you want to be at this show is because Austin, Texas’s Croy & The Boys are playing it. This quintet brings classic country, Western swing, and Tejano-style bounce to their classic Lone Star sound, but it’s frontman and chief songwriter Corey Baum’s wry, tongue-in-cheek approach that really makes them stand out.
On new LP Howdy High-Rise, fun songs like “A Song To Play The Next Time That I Meet Your Mother” and “For The First Time I’m Starting To Think About My Age” alternate with humorously-delivered but sincere laments about income inequality and working-class struggles that any Richmonder without a $75k a year Capital One job is sure to relate to. Singing along with “I’m Broke” by Croy & The Boys might not make you any richer, but it’ll bring a smile to your face this Tuesday night, and with the rent coming due any day now, that’s something we could all use.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Saturday, August 31, 4 PM
LAVA Mini-Fest, feat. Super Doppler, Piranha Rama, Court Street Company, The Heart Stompers, Dominy, Pet Name, Righter, Daniel Clark, Logan Vath, Deau Eyes, Pip The Pansy @ Toast – $12 in advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
We’ve definitely got a big afternoon outdoor fest of our own happening here in Richmond this weekend, but if you’re not feeling like an afternoon of metal, you certainly can’t go wrong heading down 64 E to join our indie-rock pals from Norfolk-based LAVA, who are throwing a one-day fest of their own at Norfolk’s own Toast this Saturday evening. It’s jam-packed with talent, too, and topping the bill is Super Doppler, whose Beatlesque psychedelic pop sound has been a Tidewater treat for years now. They’re about to release their self-titled debut album, and this show will mark the official release celebration, so get ready to party with them!
But there’s a lot more happening at this party, so you’ll want to show up early and plan to stay all night. RVA’s own Piranha Rama have been making their mark in the region with their unique, multi-layered indie-psych sound over the past year or two, and if you haven’t gotten down with that yet, the time has definitely come. There’s plenty more to enjoy on this bill as well, from Norfolk alt-country veterans The Heart Stompers to Atlanta pop goddess Pip The Pansy and even a solo set from Richmond’s own Deau Eyes. There’s even more than that, but we frankly don’t have the space to go through it all — you’re just going to have to show up and find out for yourself. Trust us, it’s worth the trip.
Sunday, September 1, 7:30 PM
The Alarm, Modern English, Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel @ The NorVA – $25 in advance/$30 at the door (order tickets HERE)
The UK punk explosion of the late 70s affected a lot of musicians, and in the next few years, the punk-influenced musicians of the British Isles went in a variety of different directions, from the noisy, ferocious hardcore of Discharge to the experimental weirdness of Flux Of Pink Indians. Welsh group The Alarm represent yet another branch on that post-punk evolutionary tree, having landed on an acoustically-fueled anthemic sound with a ringing, emotional power that retained all of the furious defiance of the classic first-wave punk bands. On 1984 debut Declaration, the band staked out a sound somewhere between U2, The Pogues, and The Clash at their arena-filling height.
35 years later, The Alarm is still marching on, and despite only retaining original singer Mike Peters throughout their career, the group currently features former members of Gen X and Joe Strummer’s Mescaleros, so the fact that their 17th album, Sigma, released earlier this year, still shows plenty of their arena-filling anthemic power only makes sense. They come to The NorVA this weekend in the company of two other 80s UK post-punk powerhouses — Modern English, about whom I need only say four words: “I Melt With You”; and Gene Loves Jezebel, best remembered for their late 80s gothic glam-rock smash, “Jealous.” If you loved the big anthemic sound of the 80s New Wave, this is your night.
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@example.com
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