Saturday, November 30, 7 PM
St. Edwards Reunion Show, feat. Fun Size (Photo by Joey Wharton), Broken Chains Of Segregation, Uphill Down, Knuckle Hed, 500$Fine, Phelics @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $10 (order tickets HERE)
We’re used to believing that in the age of the internet, everything lives forever. Of course, if you had a Geocities site 20 years ago or a MySpace account 10 years ago, you know that isn’t true, but still. What about stuff from before the internet, though? How much history that still exists within living memory is totally unknown to everyone that wasn’t there at the time? To be more specific: how many of my readers under the age of 35 have any idea that the basement cafeteria of a Catholic school in Chesterfield County was once one of the more consistent music venues in the Richmond area?
I know, it sounds crazy! And yet, for a time in the late 90s, St. Edwards Epiphany School on Huguenot Road acted as a gateway for an entire generation of suburban high schoolers to get into the music scene. It seemed like a safe place to drop your curious 12 year old — because it very much was — and everyone from teenage pop-punk bands to downtown stalwarts played there on at least a semi-regular basis.
Of course, for the most part, you can’t hear any of the bands that were St. Edwards regulars anymore — at least, not the way they were heard at the time. Their primitive 4-track demo cassettes may have been digitized at some point, but the recording technology 18 year olds had access to at the time wasn’t the greatest, and almost none of these bands left behind recordings that captured the immediacy and joy of seeing them live. Therefore, we can all be grateful that, this Saturday night, half a dozen of the most memorable veterans of St. Edwards’ basement stage will be back together once again, doing a set for old times’ sake down at Capital Ale House.
Fun Size is still around today, so you may have caught their catchy, emotional pop-punk sound at one point or another. But 500$Fine’s bassist, Patrick Daly, tragically died at the age of 16, so this performance, with Bradley Lile of fellow St. Edwards stalwarts Cloud 13 filling Patrick’s spot on bass, will be their first in over two decades. Their fiery, political take on reggae-influenced melodic punk made them Chesterfield’s own high-school Clash for a couple of years. If you’ve never seen them before, you need to fix that. Descendents-style melodic punks Uphill Down will also be returning to action for the first time in a very long time, and a lot of us are itching for our chance to sing along with “Time Bomb” once again.
I’m way over on word count for this section, but I just can’t stop until I mention the Rage Against The Machine-meets-Quicksand midtempo political hardcore stylings of Broken Chains Of Segregation — the only band on this bill I never got to see the first time around (though I did see post-BCS act Conscience, so I’m not a total poser). We also can’t forget Knuckle Hed’s classic snotty pop-punk sound — show up to find out if frontman Brooks Cullum is still as wild onstage as he used to be — and Amelia County’s own Phelics, the emo boys from the country with the catchy tunes about life in the sticks. I know most of you weren’t there the first time, and have no reason to care about all these bands you’ve never heard of, but nonetheless, this is a one-time look back at an important chapter in Richmond music history, and you’d be a fool to pass up an opportunity to see so many of the bands that did the work to get us here today.
Wednesday, November 27, 10 PM
The Shack Band‘s Ninth Annual Gravy Ball @ Tobacco Company Club – $10
Thanksgiving is a great time of year to be a fan of jam bands. I don’t know what it is about this holiday — maybe it’s association with good times, good food, and good friends — but it brings out the best in all our local jam-rockers, and The Shack Band is no exception. For almost a decade now, they’ve been bringing out their sax-driven melodic jams for a super-fun pre-Thanksgiving throwdown known as the Gravy Ball. For year nine of the Gravy Ball, they’ve taken over the basement of the Tobacco Company to bring you two full sets of catchy tunes with plenty of sauce. So spice things up on the last night before the big family meal — you’ll be glad you did.
Thursday, November 28, 10 PM
Funky Monks @ Cary Street Cafe – Free!
Thanksgiving Day is like Christmas Day, in that it’s hard to find live music in which to partake. Most people are visiting family or gathering with a big crew of friends. But if all your peeps are out of town and you’ve got nowhere to go and no one to chill with, Cary Street Cafe has got you covered this year, because the Funky Monks will be doing one of their classic tributes to the Red Hot Chili Peppers — the pre-2006 stuff, when they were still good. This group takes things back to the good ol’ days by reuniting two of the three Santamaria Brothers, Andres and Gabe, who will delight you with live performances of all those Blood Sugar Sex Magik classics. Don’t spend Thanksgiving alone — bring your tube sock down to Cary Street Cafe and get funky with the monks.
Friday, November 29, 8 PM
Keller Williams’ Thanksforgrassgiving, feat. Keller Williams & The Keels, Lindsay Lou @ The National – $23 (order tickets HERE)
So bluegrass isn’t jam-band music, but in this day and age it’s about the closest you can get, at least culturally, so it’s no surprise that another big Thanksgiving throwdown taking place in Richmond this week is bluegrass-centered. Keller Williams has been making music with bluegrass as a foundation for over 25 years now, and he’ll be celebrating his mix of that classic Kentucky folk music and farther-reaching influences like reggae, jazz, and psychedelia with his Thanksforgrassgiving show on Friday night at The National.
For this show, Williams will be playing with Keller & The Keels, his trio with Larry and Jenny Keel, spotlighting their brand-new third album, Speed. This one’s a fun one, as it features bluegrass-style interpretations of popular tunes by such diverse artists as Weezer, Fiona Apple, and The Presidents Of The United States Of America. It should be a blast to see Williams and the Keels up there doing pedal-to-the-metal bluegrass versions of “Hash Pipe” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” and if your family Thanksgiving is as tough on your nerves as mine often can be, a little unmitigated fun will be a huge relief.
Saturday, November 30, 8 PM
J. Roddy Walston & The Business @ The National – $20.50 in advance/$23 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This was a tough choice, y’all. For a holiday week, there’s a ton going on this Saturday — Sammi Lanzetta and Tyler Meacham both have record release parties, Cattle Decapitation and Atheist are at the Canal Club, and there’s a big emo-friendsgiving thing happening at the Broadberry. But I felt like I would be doing you a disservice if I sent you anywhere but back to the National this Saturday night to see J. Roddy Walston & the Business one last time.
Yeah, that’s right — I said “one last time.” The group has been open on social media about the fact that this performance will be their last for the foreseeable future. They might play together again at some point in the future, but right now there are no plans for such a thing. So if you loved the piano-driven heartland rock of 2013’s Essential Tremors, featuring classic banger “Heavy Bells,” or their excellent 2017 follow-up, Destroyers Of The Soft Life — or if you’re just one of the fortunate ones who knows that this group puts on an absolutely hellacious live show — you’re going to want to make it out to The National on Saturday. Because if you don’t catch them now, odds are that you’ll never have another chance.
Sunday, December 1, 9 PM
Lobby Boy, Bureau, Thin Pigeon @ Bandito’s – Free!
No matter what time of year it is, the free Sunday night shows at Bandito’s are always a treat. This weekend in particular, we’ll all probably be sick of turkey by Sunday night, so a plate of delicious nachos or tacos will be just what the doctor ordered. And of course, you’ll get some great sounds from up-and-coming Virginia bands in the side room that secretly has the best live sound of any small venue in this city. I’m serious.
What will you be listening to this fine Sunday night? Well, for starters, you get a set from Harrisonburg indie group Lobby Boy, who just released a lovely new EP called Lore! (yes, with the exclamation point) earlier this month. It mixes upbeat guitar melodies and postpunk-style synth textures with some excellent melodic vocals and catchy choruses that’ll get your feet moving. Locals Bureau have a bit of a twee pop vibe about them, which should have the Citrus City-loving indie kids in this town smiling. RVA’s own Thin Pigeon will add a dose of driving postpunk goth energy to the bill, just to bring the lights down a bit. This one will be a fine end to a fine holiday weekend.
Monday, December 2, 8 PM
Pat Keefe & Friends @ The Camel – Free!
It always takes a while to get back into the swing of things after a long holiday weekend, which is probably why your best bet on this Cyber Monday is a relatively low-key affair. Head on down to The Camel after your dreary first day back at work to chill with Dalton Dash leader Pat Keefe, who’ll join together with some friends — including members of Dalton Dash and other rad local combos — to bust out some Dash-style upbeat acoustic tunes and get a smile spreading across your face. It’s not gonna be a super-big deal, but it’ll be a lovely way to spend an evening — and it’s hard to have a problem with that, right?
Tuesday, December 3, 7 PM
Agnostic Front, Slapshot, Mutually Assured Destruction @ The Canal Club – $18 (order tickets HERE)
You hardcore heads are going to need to be back in the swing of things by Tuesday, for sure, because an absolute stunner of a bill is heading your way and you’re going to want to be at peak energy for this one. The one and only Agnostic Front are coming to town, and they’re going to play their groundbreaking first album, Victim In Pain, from front to back. Agnostic Front are given credit for pioneering the crossover thrash sound later in the 80s, but Victim In Pain was their original statement of purpose. When it was released in 1984, it defined the classic NYHC sound, and remains a fundamental building block of hardcore to this very day. Tracks like “Blind Justice,” “Your Mistake,” “Last Warning,” and the immortal title track are unparalleled classics, and I guarantee that the entire Canal Club will be on their feet and moshing for all of them.
Amazingly enough considering the history of inter-city beef, Agnostic Front will be accompanied on this tour by near-equally groundbreaking Boston hardcore stalwarts Slapshot, whose 1986 debut Back On The Map defined the sound of that city’s hardcore scene as surely as Agnostic Front had done in New York two years earlier. Expect legendary tracks like “Chip On My Shoulder,” “Hang Up Your Boots,” and “No Friend Of Mine” to get the place going almost as crazy as Agnostic Front will an hour later. And considering that brand new Richmond band Mutually Assured Destruction, featuring former members of Breakaway, Down To Nothing, and Holy Land, is opening this one up, it’s gonna be a night of urgent sounds from beginning to end. Be prepared, y’all — this one’s gonna be off the chain.
Elsewhere Around The State:
Friday, November 29, 2 PM
Dark Arts Fest 2019, feat. Arms Bizarre, NFK Nightmares, Raise Hell Over The Summer @ Smartmouth Brewing (Norfolk) – Free!
We all expect that Black Friday will be a nightmare, right? There’s no way anyone hasn’t gotten to that point yet. But what if I told you that there is a place you can go this Friday where you can have a good time, get some shopping done away from the feeding frenzy of sale-hunting Walmart haunters, and hear some great music in the bargain? Is that something you might be interested in? Yeah, I thought it might be. Smartmouth Brewing is just a short drive down I-64 for all the Richmond denizens, and is right in the heart of Norfolk. It’ll be a great destination for all your Christmas shopping needs this Friday, as their 2019 Dark Arts Festival brings us the opportunity to patronize unique artisans and partake of some lovely art throughout the afternoon.
Then starting at 6 PM, it gives us some excellent musical delights as well! Three Norfolk combos will dispense aural treats for your ears from the stage, beginning with Arms Bizarre, whose heavy yet inviting sounds split the difference between psychedelic doom and fuzzy shoegaze. NFK Nightmares bring more of a catchy punk style to your Friday evening, to get you dancing and burning off those Thanksgiving calories. And Raise Hell Over The Summer will raise hell on Black Friday with some rockin’ tunes to kick off the evening. It’s gonna be a great time — and you can’t say that about anything else you might do on Black Friday, so plan your trip to Smartmouth Brewing now.
Saturday, November 30, 8 PM
Manchester Orchestra, Foxing, oso oso @ The NorVA (Norfolk) – $25 in advance/$29 at the door (order tickets HERE)
As melodramatic, emotional indie rock goes, Manchester Orchestra have certainly established themselves as leading lights of the genre. However, ten years ago, they were still hungry young kids looking to make their mark on the world. The mark they made came in the form of a classic album called Mean Everything To Nothing, which took their sound from their promising earlier records to another level entirely, and gave a generation of emo kids the kind of melodramatic rallying cry that every coming-of-age cohort of kids needs.
Now, ten years later, Manchester Orchestra are going on tour to celebrate a decade since that album’s release. Some things have changed in the interim, from details of sound to intricacies of lineup, but Andy Hull and co. still have that fire in their guts that made them so powerful at the time of Mean Everything To Nothing’s release — something they demonstrated most recently on 2017’s A Black Mile To The Surface — and you can expect both old and new tunes to be delivered with mind-blowing power and urgency on this 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 protected]
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