Thursday, October 31, 7 PM
Halloween at G5, feat. Nosebleed, Benderheads, Unmaker, Haybaby, Chicki Parm, Niche Brand, hosted by Michael Smith @ Gallery 5 – $8 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night… it’s Halloween once again, and in classic Richmond fashion, we’ll be doing it up right, regardless of what day of the week October 31 arrives on. The classic Richmond tradition of Halloween covers show got thrown off this year when the venue Return Of The Living Dead Bands was booked into closed down, but never fear — there’s still plenty of fun, costumery, and punk rock madness to go around on this All Hallow’s Eve!
The cynosure of the music-related celebration in RVA this Halloween night is at Gallery 5, where my old pal Rivanna and Raw Mom Presents are doing it up in proper fashion, with more than just music for your entertainment. There’ll also be drag performances featuring Chicki Parm and Niche Brand, a costume contest with prizes, and host Michael Smith keeping the action going throughout the night. So come dressed up, and have some fun!
But make sure you catch the music, because this night is full of local groups with a lot to offer! At the top of the bill is furious Richmond hardcore group Nosebleed, who are going to be releasing a new EP on venerable HC label Triple B Records later this year. They’re sure to blow you away, and metallic postpunk rockers Unmaker, punk rippers Benderheads, and indie rock balladeers Haybaby will do much the same. Liven up your Halloween this year at Gallery 5, and get a full helping of devilish fun before the sun rises and the saints come out.
Wednesday, October 30, 7 PM
Russian Circles, Windhand @ The Broadberry – $18 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes genres tagged with a “post-” prefix can get a little limiting. For Russian Circles, who’ve debatably been standard-bearers for the “post-metal” subgenre for over a decade now, their brand of complex, slowly evolving riff epics could certainly have resulted in them painting themselves into a corner, especially on their seventh album. Thankfully, new LP Blood Year shows that this Chicago trio is far from running out of ideas.
They’re also smart enough not to let the ideas they do have run away with them, avoiding long metallic symphonies in favor of concisely expressed musical ideas that generally conclude well short of the ten-minute mark. If anything, there’s more Breadwinner and early Don Caballero in the mix on Blood Year than reliable post-metal touchstones like Isis and Pelican. Which is a wonderful thing. Tonight at the Broadberry, Russian Circles will be joined by Windhand, a band that has learned to make epic lengths work for them in the related but decidedly separate field of apocalyptic doom metal. It all adds up to filling three hours of your Wednesday night with several days’ worth of riffs, and what could be a better bargain than that?
Thursday, October 31, 7 PM
Citrus City Halloween Bash, feat. Hovvdy, Kevin Krauter, Caroline Says, Addy @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
In the world of music, Halloween is often closely identified with punk rockers and spooky metal bands, but who says the indie kids don’t like to have fun too? Citrus City Records is proving that Richmond’s indie scene can embrace the Allhallows fun times as well as anyone with this shindig over at The Camel. Granted, things will be a bit more low-key over by the post office — as far as we know, no costume contests are planned (though we’re sure no one will mind if you show up in your trick-or-treating outfit). However, you will get an evening full of great indie sounds from local and touring artists, and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that.
Hovvdy are at the top of this bill, and while I know this Austin, Texas duo wants me to look at that name and think “howdy,” I’m no good with these double-V-instead-of-single-W names, so I just think of them as “hov-dee.” However you feel like pronouncing their name, these guys exemplify their self-identified genre tag of “pillowcore” on just-released third LP Heavy Lifter, a collection that pairs bedroom indie sounds with hints of Americana and is the perfect soundtrack for a relaxing, low-key Halloween. Some other out-of-town indie pals are also on the bill — mellow indie-folk project Caroline Says also hails from Austin, while lo-fi singer-songwriter Kevin Krauter comes from Indiana. Local indie crew Addy will kick the evening off, and bring you a fine way to spend Halloween if you’re not feeling the whole stress of getting a costume together. (Believe me, I’ve been there.)
Friday, November 1, 6 PM
Wolves At The Gate, My Epic, Comrades, Empty, Eaves @ The Canal Club – $14 in advance/$16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I have no idea what was in the water 20 or so years ago around certain religious institutions in the American midwest, but somehow or another, a certain subgenre evolved that seemed inextricable from Christianity. It was a mixture of hardcore, metal, and emo, and while it could go in more chaotic (The Chariot) or more melodramatic (mewithoutYou) directions, the general result was both heavy and driving while also being dramatic and emotional. And even for nonbelievers like myself, it was all but impossible to deny that a lot of it was really, really good.
Ohio’s Wolves At The Gate are solidly in that tradition, having evolved over their past decade of existence from the melodic metalcore of their early EPs to the epic, emotional metallic post-hardcore of their recently released fourth LP, Eclipse. Bringing in a decidedly epic atmosphere over the course of more recent work, they’ve attained a bit of a prog edge without losing their heaviness or the power of their dramatic musical crescendos. They’re sure to pair well with nomadic former Richmonders Comrades, who will join them on this Canal Club bill. Fredericksburg-based My Epic, who add a bit of grunge to their melodic alt-rock — entirely for the better — will also be part of this one, as well South Carolina’s Empty and Richmond’s own Eaves. Regardless of which faith you do or do not claim, rocking out at this one is a great way to spend your Friday night.
Saturday, November 2, 9 PM
All Your Sisters, Echo Beds, True Body @ Wonderland – $10
If you’re a longtime music nerd like I am, there’s a pretty clear picture that forms in your mind when someone starts talking about gothic industrial — and let’s be real, it’s a picture of Andrew Eldritch from Sisters Of Mercy on the cover of Floodland. That late-80s Sisters Of Mercy sound has made a fundamental imprint of 30 years of goth-industrial groups since that LP’s release in 1987 — that’s a fact. But it is still possible for bands to bring a new and more interesting approach to the genre without just walking in the Sisters’ footsteps, and Los Angeles project All Your Sisters is proving it.
Their latest LP, Trust Ruins, provides a blueprint for a way forward that should be just as interesting to dirty punks and angry metalheads as it is for traditional rivethead types. On it, All Your Sisters pair pounding drum machine beats that are straight off a late-80s Nitzer Ebb single with noisy, blown-out guitars that call to mind first-LP Jesus And Mary Chain. Plus, of course, that gloomy goth croon that we all know and love, which is a bit more Trent Reznor than Andrew Eldritch in the way this crew wields it. The result is equally enjoyable, though, and will certainly make for a great soundtrack to the stomping of polished black 20-hole Docs, even as it gives the less goth among us a sound we haven’t heard a million times before. Also on the bill, Denver’s Echo Beds will take things in an even harsher direction, while Virginia’s own True Body will cast a spell of delicious postpunk gloom over the entire affair. Hit the black eyeliner aisle and head to Shockoe Bottom for this one.
Sunday, November 3, 8 PM
Alexa Rose, Trey Burnart Hall, Deau Eyes @ Fuzzy Cactus – $8
The Sunday night at the end of the weekend after Halloween is a definite mood, y’all. Between a jam-packed Halloweek and a post-Hallows weekend that some people will just roll into a second straight weekend of celebrations, it can be hard to find your peace at the end of it all and get emotionally (and physically) prepared to get back to work on Monday. If that’s an issue you can relate to, I urge you to finish your weekend with this chill-as-hell Sunday night show at Fuzzy Cactus.
Alexa Rose is coming to town, and while this folk/Americana troubadour is currently based in Asheville, she originally hails from Clifton Forge, right here in Virginia. If you arrived in Richmond after a childhood spent in the vast rural west of Virginia (and a lot of us did), you’ll probably relate to Rose’s songs. With their tales of down-to-earth living and the day-to-day struggles we’re all contending with, they’ll sneak up on your with their resonant beauty. So why not meet ’em head on and let them bring you an easy smile of recognition? The warm glow Alexa Rose will offer you at Fuzzy Cactus this Sunday night is exactly the thing you’ll need to get you through the beginning of another ordinary work week. Let it shine on you.
Monday, November 4, 9 PM
Crippled Fox, Buzzherd, Loud Night, 3:33 @ Cary Street Cafe – $10
This rager will start your week off right with some awesome thrash punk sounds coming all the way from Hungary. Crippled Fox have been tearing it up in Central Europe for a solid decade now, and their hyperspeed rage evokes both the classic mid-80s era of crossover thrash — DRI, Heresy, Larm, all that stuff — but also the turn-of-the-millennium bandana thrash revival of legends like What Happens Next?, Life’s Halt, and Crucial Unit.
Basically, if your favorite Municipal Waste era is the early DIY EPs before they got a good recording budget, Crippled Fox is the band for you. Recent EP 10 Years Of Thrashing jams 5 songs onto one side of a 7 inch EP, and other than one midtempo singalong banger, they all flash by in 30 to 60 seconds. What’s not to love? These guys are sure to get a circle pit full of bandanas and backwards baseball caps going as soon as they hit the Cary Street Cafe stage, and it’d be a shame if you weren’t part of it. Pennsylvania death-grinders Buzzherd are also going to be part of this ripping thrash evening, and Richmond metallic punkers Loud Night and 3:33 will kick this one off right. Don’t get caught napping.
Tuesday, November 5, 9 PM
Greet Death, Ceremony (East Coast), Smallhands @ Wonderland – $10
This is a treat — with their new album, New Hell, on the horizon (it’ll be out within days of this show), Michigan’s Greet Death are coming to Richmond to grace us all with a set of gorgeous grunge-damaged indie rock. Their name may come from an old Explosions In The Sky song, but this trio are much closer soundwise to sadly-departed Philadelphians Creepoid, or maybe even 80s heartland noise-rockers like Antietam or Eleventh Dream Day. Greet Death definitely mix pastoral psychedelia, hazy slowcore, and sunbaked desert doom into their sound as well, creating a complicated, original music that has a ton of reference points but is mainly just its own thing.
And listen — it’s a pretty great thing. Expect Greet Death to prove this to you in loud and proud fashion on Tuesday night down at Wonderland, and you can also expect yourself to have a thoroughly great time while they do so. They’ll be joined by Fredericksburg’s Ceremony, aka Ceremony East Coast, aka not the formerly-hardcore band from California but a noisy, drum-machine-backed duo who’ve been around for about 15 years and are currently enjoying somewhat of a career renaissance. They’ve just released their sixth album, Candy, and it continues their legacy of ear-damaging noise-guitar roar that’s sure to please fans of first LP Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine circa “You Made Me Realise.” If you haven’t picked up on this group yet, this is the perfect time to get on board. Fellow Fredericksburgians Smallhands are coming down as well, to lay out some guitar noise of their own. It’s gonna be grand.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Thursday, October 31, 6 PM
Flamin’ Groovies, New Boss, The Gladstones @ The Southern Cafe (Charlottesville) – $18 (order tickets HERE)
I know the name Flamin’ Groovies doesn’t quite ring out today the same way it did two or three decades ago, but if you young whippersnappers don’t yet know about this pioneering garage rock/power-pop combo from California, you need a crash course in their truly unequalled excellence — and you’ll get it at Charlottesville’s Southern Cafe on Halloween night. Cyril Jordan has been leading the band since 1965, and in that time, they’ve innovated in the fields of psychedelic garage, proto-punk, and power-pop. They’ve got an overstuffed catalog full of timeless classics, and they’ll be bringing them all to the Southern, so you’ll want to be there to rapturously receive them!
These days, Cyril Jordan is the only original member left in the group, but though longtime co-leader Chris Wilson retired last year, Jordan has a rock-solid backing group to this day, and the four-piece will bring us highlights of their classic garage rock and power-pop eras, emphasizing both the classic 1971 rock n’ roll LP Teenage Head and the more Beatles/Byrds-influenced sound of 1976’s immortal Shake Some Action. It’s gonna be a killer show full of amazing tunes, and if you don’t already have Halloween plans, skip the costume in favor of some Beatle boots and a Nehru jacket, and head over to The Southern for some truly classic rock n’ roll sounds from the Flamin’ Groovies. You won’t regret it.
Saturday, November 2, 9 PM
The Needles, The Girls, The Nerve Scheme, Fujiwara, Rad Taco @ Chicho’s Backstage (Norfolk) – Free!
This free Saturday night show down in Norfolk is gonna keep the rock n’ roll sounds flowing and get everyone dancing and having a great time. This bill is topped by a double-shot of raw and wild garage punk straight out of Wilmington NC. The Needles have been around for damn near 20 years now, and there sound is a throwback to a trashy era of punk rock that was really just rock n’ roll played with a rude, snotty, don’t-give-a-fuck appeal that just can’t be denied. If you loved The Candy Snatchers and The Dead Boys, these guys will bring them back to life in your heart and put a big smile on your face with their rollicking tunes.
Fellow Wilmingtonians The Girls might take the prize for most un-Google-able band name of all time, but once some helpful person directed me to their Bandcamp, I found that their high-energy jams were worth the search. As you might have guessed given band-naming trends over the past 15 years or so, they’re not actually girls at all, but these three rock n’ roll boys all have a somewhat androgynous appeal, and wore dresses on the cover of their latest single, “Our Generation,” so if they’re willing to be that committed to the bit, I ain’t mad at them. Dishing out punky rockin’ tunes that land somewhere between The Donnas and The Ramones, they bring some pretty great sounds to the table as well. Outer Banks punk rockers Fujiwara bring a third NC punk rock combo with a slightly more melodic approach to this bill, and Tidewater hometowners Nerve Scheme and Rad Taco make for a deliciously overstuffed bill of all the rockin’ punk awesomeness you can eat. Belly up to the bar.
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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