Saturday, June 8, 7 PM
New Turks (Photo by Sarmistha Talukdar), Gumming, Deli Kings, Ghost Piss, F.R.E.E., ing @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$10 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The arrival of Raw Mom Presents on the Richmond live music scene has made me really happy, mainly because it allows my old pal Rivanna Youngpool to put her personal stamp on some of the shows she puts on at Gallery 5. Years ago, when we were roommates, Rivanna worked hard to make the shows she booked in our living room safe, welcoming, and fun, and to keep the emphasis on community and friendship. Now that she’s booking at a real venue, it’s nice to see her keeping the vibe alive with an awesome all-local show to celebrate her birthday.
As befitting any birthday party, this one is full of friends, and the headliners in particular are two long-lost friends you’ll all want to see. Heavy bass-drum duo New Turks rocked the hell out of Richmond during their four years of existence, but Ethan and Lou stopped making music together back in 2015, and other than one reunion gig a year later, they haven’t done a thing since. But just for old times’ sake, they will be returning for one night only this Saturday night to headline this show, and that’s a birthday gift not just for Rivanna but for the whole city. You won’t want to miss this one, because who knows if — not when, IF — they’ll ever do it again.
The fun doesn’t stop there, as this gig features a highly varied lineup sure to keep your attention throughout the night. Deli Kings have got that Southern-style garage rock on lock, and Ing keep things eclectic and melodic with some charming lo-fi pop. Former Richmonder and eternal friend River Allen will be back in town for the evening with her haunting electro-ambient project, Ghost Piss, and I can’t seem to figure anything out about F.R.E.E. except that they are neither a reformed version of Have Heart nor that British band who sang “All Right Now.” But with the rest of the bill looking so great, this one is worth taking a chance on. Plus, advance tickets are literally 50% cheaper than the price at the door, so mark your calendar, make your plans, and hit that ticket link now!
Wednesday, June 5, 9 PM
Founding Fathers, Big Gorgeous, Asylum 213 @ Cary Street Cafe – $10
I’ve heard a lot of synth-based bands over the years, and one thing I can say for sure is that the studio recordings by the majority of them give you no idea what the band could possibly sound like live. That’s why it’s always refreshing to run across a band that is both synth-heavy and manages to sound on its records like an actual band playing their songs as a unit. Ohio band Founding Fathers, who place the emphasis on synthesizers and programmed beats but also incorporate guitars and live drums into their sound, totally pull this off on their 2018 LP, Mating Rites, and that’s a big part of why I think you should go see them tonight at Cary Street Cafe.
The music reminds me somewhat of Future Islands, another synth-based band that works particularly well as a live act, and there are also hints of upbeat early-00s bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand in there. It all adds up to a rocking band that’ll keep you dancing throughout the evening — and the world could definitely use more of those, so come out tonight and get familiar with the Founding Fathers. While you’re at it, check out the ridiculously fun synth-metal antics of California’s Big Gorgeous, who’ll give you even more reason to dance around with a big grin on your face. This one’s gonna rule.
Thursday, June 6, 9 PM
Raging Nathans, Smoke Break, Talk Me Off @ Bandito’s – Free!
Raging Nathans are a band out of time. This band from Dayton Ohio, who are probably tired of hearing about Guided By Voices, have a sound that is in its own way just as anachronistic as that of GBV themselves — only instead of harking back to some alternate-universe lo-fi garage-psych past, Raging Nathans will make any of you old-timers who were there the first time around think of pop-punk’s mid-90s heyday. Post-y2k pop-punk tends to follow in the gruffer footsteps of bands like Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four, but on last year’s Cheap Fame LP, Raging Nathans bypass all that for some good old Lookout!/Fat Wreck sounds that, while I wasn’t looking, seemingly became part of a bygone era.
This Bandito’s show is the perfect opportunity for all of us to bring that era back, at least in our own hearts. The fact that the Raging Nathans have released splits with both The Parasites and Jon Cougar Concentration Camp in the past year should let you know that they’re on board. And they’ll have you pogoing up a storm when they hit the stage on Thursday night. They’ll be joined by one of Richmond’s great slacker melodic-punk bands, Smoke Break, who may not play another show for six months, so you better get there. And of course, Talk Me Off opens up with a snottier brand of punk, mostly without the pop, to remind us all of our angry teenage days. It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun.
Friday, June 7, 6 PM
The War And Treaty, The Teskey Brothers @ Friday Cheers at Brown’s Island – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Usually you can expect the bands who play Friday Cheers to be pretty familiar, so I was surprised to see a name I didn’t know on the schedule this week: The War And Treaty. I’m glad I dug in, though, because this musical group is one of the most interesting that’s come to my attention recently. Specifically, The War And Treaty is a husband-and-wife duo, Michael and Tanya Trotter, who sing together while Michael plays piano and a variety of other musicians add color and depth to their exuberant, soulful songs.
The result, born from Michael’s difficult experiences growing up impoverished and joining the military just in time for the Iraq war, is a sound that taps into blues, R&B, folk, gospel, country, and a ton of other American sounds. On their debut album, Healing Tide, Michael and Tanya sing together to chase away the darkness and create a musical force more powerful than any trauma. They pull it off flawlessly, and they’re sure to uplift all of Brown’s Island this Friday night when they take that Friday Cheers stage and make this whole city their own. Be there ready to sing along — this kind of healing is exactly what we all need.
Saturday, June 8, 3 PM
POST RVA Fest, feat. Comrades, Invalids, Gull, Shy Low, Colin Phils, Dumb Waiter, evolv, Spooky Cool, Cuzco, Post Sixty Five, Eaves, Cardinal, Way Shape Or Form, Dave Watkins, Colder Planets @ The Broadberry – $12 – $18 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s an impressive effort that’s starting out the right way. Spearheaded by Richmond-via-Korea band Colin Phils, the first ever POST RVA Fest will take over the Broadberry for a full nine hours of music this Saturday. Rather than going too big and biting off more than they can chew (something I know all about), the organizers of POST RVA Fest have mostly stuck with local groups in pulling together this 15-band showcase sure to appeal to anyone who digs epic instrumental post-rock, jazzy technical math-rock, melodic progressive metal, complex guitar-driven indie, and everything in-between — which covers a good deal more ground than you might expect.
Just look at this bill, which is topped by peripatetic former locals Comrades, a heavy trio who combine metalcore, post-rock, emo, indie, and a whole bunch of other genres into their unique, driving sound. New Jersey’s Invalids, by contrast, dish out hyperspeed math-rock with emphasis on guitar and drum pyrotechnics that’ll have the gear nerds in the audience watching very closely. There are a ton of other amazing bands, mostly from the Richmond area, on the bill, from Gull’s indescribable one-man sonic creations and Cardinal’s gorgeously complex indie-math-rock to Dumb Waiter’s freaky instrumental jazz-metal and Shy Low’s Mogwai-style moving instrumental epics. There’s so much here, for such a cheap ticket price, and if it all comes together perfectly, it may just be able to draw a loose, disparate group of musically similar local musicians into an actual scene. What could be a greater goal for a show than that? Get your ticket and be a part of it. You won’t be sorry.
Sunday, June 9, 7:30 PM
Mingus Awareness Project, feat. MAP Quintet, Larrabee/Millner Duo, Saint Mingus @ Firehouse Theatre – $15 in advance/$20 day of show/$10 for students (order tickets HERE)
This Sunday, if you want to both support a great cause and hear some amazing music you won’t hear anywhere else, then the only place you need to go is Firehouse Theatre. There, you’ll find local jazz-rock drum legend Brian Jones putting on the 12th edition of his yearly Mingus Awareness Project concerts, which exist to bring attention and support to the cause of curing ALS, the deadly incurable disease that took the life of bass legend Charles Mingus back in 1979. And as part of this charitable goal, Jones will be joining together with a variety of confederates from around the Richmond jazz scene to pay unique tribute to the phenomenal masterpieces of the one and only Mingus.
This time around, those tributes will take three forms, beginning with the MAP Quintet, which matches Jones up with his longtime collaborator, saxophonist JC Kuhl, as well as Virginia jazz powerhouses John D’earth on trumpet, Mike Hawkins on bass, and Calvin Brown (aka Calvin Presents) on piano. Then we’ll get a performance from the electric-guitar duo of Adam Larrabee and Jamal Millner, as well as a quintet known as Saint Mingus, which will match Jones with Richmond jazz ambassador Reggie Pace as well as Suzi Fischer (The Big Payback), Giustino Riccio (Bio Ritmo), and Stefan Demetriadis (No BS! Brass). Such an incredibly talented conglomeration of musicians is sure to do justice to Charles Mingus’s incredible compositions, and you’re going to want to be there to see them do it. Donating to a good cause is just the icing on the cake.
Monday, June 10, 7 PM
Angel Dust, Gouge Away, Glitterer, Truth Cult @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
One thing I’ve learned from my years in the hardcore scene is that, as long as you put a few years into playing hardcore music, the kids will follow you to whatever new thing you do, regardless of how it sounds. Angel Dust is a perfect case in point: while this band features members of Trapped Under Ice, Turnstile, and Mindset, you’d be totally incorrect to expect anything hard or heavy from their brand-new album, Pretty Buff. Instead, this album finds the quintet of tough boys showing their sensitive side and, indeed, getting downright upbeat. And that’s not to mention the predominantly-acoustic guitar sound.
All told, Angel Dust’s upbeat sound has led to comparisons with groups like the Lemonheads or early Green Day. But despite all that, it’s done nothing to chase the hardcore faithful away — and one listen to Pretty Buff is enough to see why. These guys are every bit as good at lovelorn melodies as they are at hard n’ heavy mosh-pit anthems. So why not celebrate all of it equally? Join all the HC kids Monday night in doing exactly that at The Camel. And while you’re at it, enjoy what’s sure to be an incredible set from raging hardcore-punk quartet Gouge Away, who will deliver every bit of vitriol you might have expected from Angel Dust and then some. The bill will also feature Title Fight frontman Ned Russin’s electronic side project, Glitterer, and the killer up-and-coming sounds of Baltimore’s Truth Cult, a decidedly Swiz-ish group featuring members of Give, Red Death, and more. Every second of this is sure to be outstanding.
Tuesday, June 11, 6 PM
Nita Strauss, Kore Rozzik, THE BBC, Roc Kandi, Retrosphere @ The Canal Club – $17 in advance/$20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Maybe it’s only because I came up in the late 80s era of hair metal’s world domination (OK, yeah, that’s probably it), but I just love some really ridiculous over the top metal shredding. And as much as I enjoy this kind of thing from veteran masters of the field — Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, you know the ones — it makes me way happier to see someone younger carrying on the tradition. And a woman, at that! Nita Strauss first grabbed attention with her string-bending star turn in all-female Iron Maiden tribute act The Iron Maidens, but she’s since graduated to all sorts of original work, from joining Alice Cooper’s touring band to scoring video games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
Now she’s gone out on her own, releasing her debut solo album, Controlled Chaos, last year and hitting the road on a headlining tour to support it. Keeping with the tradition of shredders past such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, Strauss forgoes vocals for this album’s anthems, instead using her multilayered melodic leads as color and giving the album’s many headbanging riffs more than sufficient texture to keep you smiling and thrashing along. You can do that exact thing at the Canal Club Tuesday night when Strauss’s headlining set caps off a night full of shred-tastic adventures. Notorious NYC metal maniacs Kore Rozzik will provide plenty of those, along with several killer locals. Get ready for some serious thrash, y’all — because it’s happening.
Elsewhere around the state:
Friday, June 7, 7 PM
Gel, Honor Code, Nervous System, Street Weapon, Unity Fight @ Charlie’s American Cafe – $5
For all you diehards who might be feeling a little deprived by Angel Dust’s relentlessly upbeat post-hardcore melodies, rest assured we’ve still got plenty of straight-ahead no-frills hardcore for ya, and — unsurprisingly enough — it’s happening this Friday night in Norfolk. Gel, a recently formed New Jersey band who have only a demo to their name, are coming to town to tear it up. The demo’s five songs blow by incredibly fast, and are full of sloppy, out-of-control hardcore riffage with a decidedly maniacal edge. This band seems like a prime candidate for an absolutely explosive live performance, and you’re gonna want to be there to see it go down.
Down in the Hampton Roads area, Honor Code are sure to draw just as much attention as the New Jersey headliners — after all, this is their first show in nearly two years. Does that mean this 82-style old school VBHC combo has returned to full time action? Maybe, maybe not, but it does mean you’ll have one more chance to circle pit to their legendarily primitive hardcore tuneage — and that’s sure to be a blast. The show will also feature local NFKHC up-and-comers Nervous System, as well as brand-new VB bands Street Weapon and Unity Fight, both of whom have names that sound suspiciously randomly generated. However, we can guarantee that both are entirely made up of real flesh-and-blood humans. Pure organic hardcore, coming right up.
Saturday, June 8, 5 PM
LAVA Presents GRILLED OUT, feat. Ladada, Berries, Piranha Rama, Broken Beaches, Doll Baby, Raise Hell Over The Summer @ Toast – $10 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Memorial Day has come and gone, and at least in Virginia, that means summer has arrived, y’all. And what better way to spend a sunny summer evening than grillin’ out and chillin’ out with some great tunes? This weekend, LAVA Presents has you covered on both of those scores, as their Saturday evening GRILLED OUT fest will find the Tidewater-area promotional crew hanging out in the Toast parking lot, joined by Handsome Biscuit burgers, Smartmouth Beer, and a whole conglomeration of excellent Virginia musicians.
Ladada are at the top of the bill, and this Norfolk indie group has just the tunes you need for a summer afternoon cookout — they even put a guy floating down a river with a red solo cup in hand on the cover of their recent LP, Heaven On The Rocks, so you know they’ve got the right idea. The day will also feature delicious indie-pop sounds from VB group Berries, excellently named New York indie-rockers Raise Hell Over The Summer, and some rad RVA sounds from local faves Piranha Rama and Doll Baby. You Richmonders might want to get a crew and roll down with a carful — especially since the tickets are cheaper if you buy them at the group rate! Grab some burgers, rock out to some tunes, and enjoy the summer — it’ll be gone before you know it.
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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