Thursday, January 10, 9:30 PM
Petrichor, Bad Magic, Doubtfire @ Don’t Look Back/Triple (3306 W. Broad St.) – Free!
The Richmond music scene has been showing its resilience for decades now, and the reaction it’s had to the latest trying time we’ve found ourselves in — prompted by the loss of Strange Matter, the steadiest venue for local shows anytime in the past decade — is just the latest example. You can see it in this show column; after last week’s unfortunately light post-holiday listing, the scene has rebounded with brilliance and ingenuity, finding new venues to fill the gaps and replace what we’ve lost.
One of these is the newly reincarnated Triple, a long-running Scott’s Addition pool hall that had been sitting empty for years, at least until Don’t Look Back brought it back last year. A decade or so ago, when it was still a pool hall, it hosted the occasional show, and now with the loss of Strange Matter, it has been pressed into service once again. This Thursday night, Petrichor will be holding the release celebration for their three-years-in-the-making new album, Petrichor II, and rock n’ roll will live in the Triple space once more. Viva RVA!
Petrichor has been an intriguing if somewhat low-profile institution on the Richmond scene for years now. Pairing the powerful voice of singer-songwriter Tess Fisher with a dark, heavy backing band that tends towards witchy early-70s-style doom, this group is a unique phenomenon both within and outside the borders of Richmond. That can be seen from their new album, which features acoustic moments as well as a sludged-up Misfits cover you probably won’t even recognize at first. The presentation of this incredible music is sure to be heightened to an impressive extent in the live environment, and what’s more, the show is free, so you’ll get to spend all the cash you bring on tacos and Petrichor albums. Which is as it should be.
Wednesday, January 9, 7 PM
Patrick Bates, Kenneka Cook, Keilan Creech @ Sound Of Music Studios – Free!
Traditionally, we don’t get too much out of Richmond singer-songwriter Patrick Bates. Though he does play solo shows occasionally, it’s been about four years since he last released a new record. That’s all set to change in the new year, though, as he’s currently ramping things up for a brand new collection of tunes. And it’s about time! On previous releases, such as 2015’s Feathers and Pearls, his delicate melodies had a fragile, aching beauty suffused with emotion. And while he’s certainly been known to recruit excellent local players to back him up, it’s his excellent voice and strong guitar playing that made his music so memorable.
What’s he got coming for us in 2019? This show will be our first opportunity to find out, and it’s taking place at Sound Of Music, a recording studio and occasional venue that also appears to be taking on an increased amount of live gigs in the wake of Strange Matter’s departure. Every little bit helps! And the fact that they’re hosting this impressive lineup of local singer-songwriters — not just Bates by RVA electro-soul phenomenon Kenneka Cook and folk-rocker Keilan Creech — makes this the perfect time to check this place out. You know what to do.
Thursday, January 10, 10 PM
Calvin Presents, Brain Drain, Dave Watkins @ Bandito’s – Free!
Damn… even Bandito’s is getting in on the act. This local home for outstanding nachos and what is secretly one of the best-sounding rooms for live music this city has to offer traditionally only hosts shows on Sundays. However, this trio of local performers are taking the stage at Bandito’s on a Thursday, and as far as we can tell, it isn’t even a particularly special occasion — they just needed somewhere to play. You need to go to Bandito’s to see them, too — and I’m not just saying that because it’s got incredible food.
If you keep your ear to the ground in this town, you’re sure to have heard the name Calvin Presents in recent months. This talented singer and pianist has been catching a lot of ears with his unique take on the place where soul, jazz, R&B, and hip hop all meet. His music is powerful and memorable, and it’s sure to sound outstanding in the Bandito’s back room. This show certainly offers variety as well; local punk-rock noisemakers Brain Drain are also on the bill. What’s more, the talented and eclectic Dave Watkins, who is capable of everything from old-time Americana to post-rock guitar ambience, is opening this show up — so you’ll be getting killer sounds from start to finish. Grab some tacos and get ready to rock.
Friday, January 11, 8 PM
Basilica, Home Astronomy, One Less Life, Referendum @ McCormack’s Irish Pub – $5
I have always found it important to keep a high level of metal in my diet — and I’m not talking about iron supplements either (though, as an aging lady, I should probably be looking into such things). Right now I’m talking about Basilica, a death metal band from North Carolina who will be bringing their remarkably catchy bangers to McCormack’s in Shockoe Bottom this Friday night. Last year’s Orbit Has Ceased EP shows that this band is ready, willing, and able to get your feet moving not only because they’re heavy as fuck, but also because they have some incredible riffs on offer.
If you’re not prepared for a full night of metal awesomeness, though, you’re in luck, because this show offers a variety of tuneage for the discriminating music connoisseur. Fellow Boone, NC residents Home Astronomy will arrive in company with Basilica, and their sound has not an ounce of metal to it, instead dabbling in the introspective moods of modern emo. And as you know if you’ve been reading this column for a while, that’s another genre I try to keep at high levels in my musical diet. With the addition of Tidewater deathcore mavens One Less Life and Lynchburg mosh machines Referendum, this bill has everything your body craves. Drink up.
Saturday, January 12, 6 PM
Tallies, Tula Vera, Nightcreature, Thin Pigeon @ Hardywood – Free!
The sounds are gonna get downright gorgeous over at Hardywood early on Saturday night. A pair of excellent groups will be bringing their excellent music to town from points Northeast of here, and we should all make sure to head to Hardywood and enjoy them going down. Tallies are a Toronto band with a brand new LP coming out only a day before they arrive in RVA, and from the advance singles that have hit the internet thus far, it appears this group has a downright brilliant dream-pop sound that should make fans of Baltimore’s Wildhoney or UK duo Honeyblood very happy (even though Tallies don’t have “honey” in their name).
As for Tula Vera, who come to us from New Jersey, they’re a bit more of a bouncy indie rock group, but they’ve got melodic sensibility to spare and brought a ton of it to the world on their excellent self-titled debut from a year or so ago. Both of these groups are sure to get your hips shaking, and they come to us in company of excellent local up-and-comers Nightcreature and Thin Pigeon. Plus, word has it there’ll be a curry truck at Hardywood for all your dining needs, and I guess they sell some drinks there too. “Not a bad way to spend your Saturday evening” is certainly a massive understatement, but you probably already knew that.
Sunday, January 13, 7 PM
Jon Spencer & the HITmakers, The Ar-Kaics @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
The man, the myth, the legend… Jon Spencer is coming to town, he of the mighty Blues Explosion, as well as Pussy Galore, Boss Hog, and a few other excellent projects. He’s been blowing the minds of rock n’ rollers around the world with his unique brand of down n’ dirty, booty-shaking rock n’ roll noise fuckery for going on 40 years now, and his currently on tour with a group he’s calling the HITmakers. They’re here to revel in the fact that, after four decades of trash-rock excellence, Spencer has finally released an album as a solo artist, cleverly entitled Spencer Sings The Hits!
Now, as with Pussy Galore’s 1990 swan song, Historia de la Musica Rock, this ironically-titled collection isn’t actually a “hits” record at all, instead presenting us with a new slab of fine Spencer tunes with all the gas-tank-clanging gutter-blues excellence we’ve come to know and love from his previous work. His touring group features veteran Michigan outsider-rocker M. Sord on drums and Sam Coomes, formerly of Quasi and Heatmiser, on keys. Spencer hollers and whales away at the guitar, and as usual, there’s no bass — though Coomes’ keyboard will fill in plenty of low-end on its own. Chances are you’ll hear not only rad new rockers but some Spencer classics from throughout his career… and you’ll definitely get an opening set from VA’s own retro-garage heroes The Ar-Kaics. So really, what’s not to like?
Monday, January 14, 6:30 PM
Tyler Carter, R I L E Y, Matty Wavez, Calebfolks @ The Canal Club – $15 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Tyler Carter is probably most familiar these days as the angel-voiced clean singer for bizarre yet incredible emo-R&B-metalcore group Issues, who have proven over a couple of excellent albums that they can spin gold out of a musical hybrid that seems like it shouldn’t work for even five seconds. However, Carter, who also previously spent time in metalcore group Woe Is Me, has been dabbling in solo work for a while, first releasing a solo track back in 2010. As of 2019, he’s finally worked his way up to completing a full-length solo effort, Moonshine, and it’s that project that he’s on tour in support of right now.
If Carter’s group work leads you to expect heaviness from his solo music, you might be thrown a little bit for a loop by the smooth, emotionally-driven pop/R&B sounds he’s created for Moonshine. That said, anyone who’s heard more than 30 seconds of Issues’ music has to know that he’s always had this in him. And while we haven’t heard the album in its entirety yet (it’s supposed to be coming sometime soon…), the songs that have made their way to the internet show that Carter has every bit the facility with soulful pop crooning that he’s shown in the metalcore world. So get stoked for this one, regardless of what genres you usually gravitate toward… it’ll be a satisfying performance no matter what.
Tuesday, January 15, 7 PM
Tancred, Haybaby, Sammi Lanzetta @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Jess Abbott’s been demonstrating her talent in the field of songcraft for a while now. With each of her first three solo albums under the name Tancred, she showed further growth, as well as increasing comfort with what she’s doing and just what kind of music she wants to make. Her fourth album, Nightstand, which came out last summer, took things to a new level; largely gone is the introspective-acoustic format that was her standard MO back when Tancred started. These days, the songs are catchy and musically upbeat, featuring full-band backing and an alt-rock/indie-pop sound that’s sure to make your smile.
However, Abbott’s lyrics have remained dark and moody, expressive of an inner struggle that is by no means over. In that sense, she’s kind of followed the Waxahatchee path — steadily moving towards accessible melodies while continuing to focus on dark topics that most of us are sure to relate to, no matter how post-adolescent we are (like 25 years post-adolescent, in my case). And Tancred has quite a bit in common both musically and lyrically with Haybaby and Sammi Lanzetta, the two excellent local artists sharing this bill — even if they aren’t completely on the same page genre-wise (Haybaby’s a bit darker, Lanzetta a bit more straight-up rock). If any of this sounds appealing to you, rest assured it all will — and if you’re still not tuned in to what Tancred is up to, you really can’t afford to miss this one.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Friday, January 11, 8 PM
School Drugs, Nervous System, BATO, Street Weapon, Kept In Line @ Charlie’s American Cafe – $7
Almost every time I ever did drugs was when I was at school, which might seem slightly less insane if I tell you that I’ve been straight edge since 11th grade. But my point is that the name School Drugs makes pretty instinctive sense to me — didn’t we all do drugs in school at some point? Chances are, the answer for most of you is “LOL WTF no!” but maybe the members of this band will get where I’m coming from. I sure get where they’re coming from, at least on a musical level.
This New Jersey band mixes antisocial punk rage with old-school hardcore velocity and a few metallic touches. It’s definitely right up my alley, and it’ll be up yours too (heh heh) if you love cutting the shit and starting the pit. Just don’t take any of those dumb orange pills that weirdo metalhead from your study hall gave you — they don’t do anything. This show will feature a bunch of other killer punk bands from the Tidewater area, some of which are faster than others but all of which are sure to grab your attention. Don’t forget your steel-toed boots.
Tuesday, January 15, 8 PM
Beggar’s Row, Pummel, Compulse, Street Weapon @ Pourhouse of Norfolk – $5
We’re staying in the hardcore-punk world this week for our second Hampton Roads show, but this one is definitely for the kids who identify much more with the HC end of the spectrum. This show finds powerful, heavy Virginia Beach hardcore crew Beggar’s Row presiding over a murderer’s row of hardcore talent from around the state and beyond. Pummel hail from New Jersey and bring a solid dose of uptempo if not speedy hardcore to the Pourhouse — expect to see a lot of two-stepping (the hardcore kind, not the square-dancing kind) in the pit for these guys.
From within the boundaries of the Commonwealth — but almost as long a drive away — comes Roanoke, VA hardcore quartet Compulse, who definitely keep it rough and tough on their EP from last summer, Forged By Struggle. Not to be outdone, the show will kick off with a set from VB rabble-rousers Street Weapon, who’ve got that whole Negative Approach-core thing down cold, complete with slight tinges of Blitz-style oi and early-Warzone fury. This one’s gonna be a rager from top to bottom, and on a Tuesday night in January, you really can’t ask for more.
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] [and yeah, there’s plenty more of my writing to read over at GayRVA — come say hey.]
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond