RVA Shows You Must See This Week: July 3 – July 9

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Saturday, July 6, 6 PM
Bardown Breakfest III, feat. Flight Club, Keep Flying, Sleave, Kings Of The Wild Things, Outatime!, Seneca Burns, Followship, MooseCreek Park @ The Camel – $15 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Here’s how you know you’re more together than I am: if you looked at the name of this 8 band extravaganza at The Camel and did NOT immediately think it had something to do with bacon and eggs. If you’re more on my wavelength than you might want to admit, then let me clarify this for you — this event is called the Bardown Breakfest, NOT “Bardown Breakfast,” and it’s a good thing because 6 pm is a pretty odd time to have breakfast. This is actually a fest being put on by a podcast called Bardown Breakdown, which celebrates hockey and melodic punk rock (not necessarily in that order). This touring mini-festival actually hit three different cities this summer, starting in Orlando and moving to Charlotte before coming to Richmond for its final event. Some of the bands, like Charlotte’s Seneca Burns and Orlando’s Outatime!, have played all three; others are only appearing on the Richmond edition of the bill. And y’all, I might be a bit biased, but if you ask me, the bill at the Richmond edition of this fest is the best of the three. Aren’t we just so lucky?

At the top of the bill are local boys Flight Club, who’ve veered back and forth throughout their career between extremes of energetic pop-punk and 80s-retro pop-rock; these days, it seems they’re somewhere around the exact halfway point between those two extremes — a great place for them to land, if their latest EP, Dog Days, is any indication. The three songs on that EP mix Beatlesque pop melodies with bouncy, energetic choruses, and the band isn’t afraid to crank up the distortion on the guitars when the time is right. It’s a killer sound that I hope they stick with longterm. Regardless, though, we’ll all get a great earful of it when they hit the Camel’s stage this Saturday night — and that’s awesome no matter what.

New Yorkers Keep Flying are also on the bill, and this catchy guitar-driven emo band is relatively unusual in that they have two horn players in the band. This might lead you to expect occasional incongruous ska parts from a band that’s mostly moved beyond that genre, but actually, the horns are smoothly integrated into the band’s sound, beefing up the melodic leads and avoiding even a hint of Special Beat while they’re at it. Bardown Breakfest tour stalwarts Seneca Burns go for a more straightforward melodic punk sound, with emo undercurrents and a bit of a sharp edge to their guitars. It’s pretty awesome overall, as is the sound of obvious Back To The Future fans Outatime!, whose super-catchy/bouncy melodic hardcore sound is sure to appeal to the New Found Glory/early Fall Out Boy fans among you (rest assured, I am one).

The moodier Long Island combo MooseCreek Park, who definitely hit that same sweet spot more recent work by Pianos Become The Teeth hits, are the last remaining out-of-towners on the bill, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re the last worthwhile group on this bill — there are three more Richmond bands on this bill, and all of them are awesome. Sleave add a note of heaviness to the proceedings while maintaining a strong melodic, emotional feel with plenty of intensity. As for Kings Of The Wild Things, I get strong Modern Baseball/Real Friends vibes from these folks, with some of the dramatic feel of Against Me! at their best. They also have a wicked sense for good titles; their 2023 LP was called Call Us Blockbuster, Cause It’s The End Of An Era. Followship come closest to the super-intricate prog-emo pyrotechnics of groups like Chiodos or early Thrice out of any band on this bill, and that’s certainly a great change-up pitch for this whole lineup. The whole night’s gonna be jam-packed with killer sounds, and you really won’t want to miss a second of it — even if the Camel does stop serving breakfast hours before the show starts.

Wednesday, July 3, 7 PM
Flora & The Fauna, 14 £bs, Dead Billionaires @ Cobra Cabana – $10
There’s no getting around it, so let me just put it out there: Flora & The Fauna are one of my favorite new bands to come out of Richmond in the post-pandemic era. I tend to be really enamored of pop music that has a harsher, punk-type edge to it, so it might seem surprising to realize that I’ve been thoroughly won over by this band’s sweet anthems of pure lovelorn pop. There are several good reasons for that, though, and Flora Dapena’s flawless sense of melody and song structure is just one of them. I also really appreciate the unashamedly queer cast of their lyrics, which make me feel welcome in a world that too often has no room for people like me. And of course, I love seeing them play; their upbeat, energetic stage presence makes it impossible to keep from smiling when they’re performing. Keyboardist Valerie Jemison definitely deserves a significant share of the credit for that; she’s so much fun to watch.

When I saw Flora & The Fauna at Plan 9 a couple of months ago, they were performing in their “unplugged” configuration, with drummer Alex Almand switching to rhythm guitar in order to keep things down to a dull roar. Their performance at Cobra Cabana will find Alex back behind the kit as the band cranks it up to full volume and gets everyone smiling and dancing along. It’ll be a great time — I can assure you of that. They’ll be joined in this musical endeavor by 14£bs, who I am pretty sure are from Staunton, and have a semi-modern rock n’ roll sound that is a lot of rollicking good fun. Much the same could be said of Richmond’s own Dead Billionaires, though you’ve got to expect a stronger political consciousness to come through in these guys’ set. Which is a very good thing, in case you weren’t sure. Give yourself a mid-week pickup with this rockin’ good time. You won’t be sorry.

Thursday, July 4, 7 PM
LJ Sleeze, Destructo Disk, Wrong Worshippers, Molt @ Cobra Cabana – $10
Welp, it’s the Fourth Of July, but considering the Supreme Court has decided we’re gonna be the kind of country where it’s fine for presidents to assassinate their political rivals and assume the powers of dictatorship, I’m not much in the mood for celebrating our “independence.” If you’re on the same page as I am, or even if you just wanna rock out and not have to think about the woeful state of our country right now, I recommend you head over to Cobra Cabana this Fourth Of July and let the wild rock n’ roll weirdness of LJ Sleeze wash over you like a warm sexy ice cream sundae. (Don’t worry, I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore either.) The Sleeze just dropped a new LP, Dead Or Alive, and it’s chock full of the punk-as-fuck, transgressive-as-hell garage-rock noise that has been LJ (and the) Sleeze’s stock in trade for the past several years now.

With the new tunes fueling the always-wild LJ Sleeze live performance vibes, you can rest assured that things are going to get at least a little bit off the rails at Cobra Cabana this Thursday night. Which is more than anyone can say for the typical fireworks show you’ll find at other public venues this evening. Besides, we all know you took the Friday after the fourth off so you could have a four-day weekend — why not start it off with a bang? Openers Destructo Disk and Wrong Worshippers have done plenty over the past few years to take them to headliner status here in the RVA, so the fact that they’re both opening up for LJ Sleeze at this event should tell you all you need to know about how awesome the Sleeze is gonna be on this wild night. Plus, you’ll get to see Destructo Disk bash out a set of their Pixies-influenced punk jammers, which is always a great time. Then you’ll get Wrong Worshippers raging set of bass-drum noise-punk duo madness, which will blow your mind and your eardrums; bring earplugs. The night will begin with a set from ripping hardcore moshers Molt, who manage to stand out due to an excess of energy and some incredibly catchy tunes. This one will be the kind of blast that doesn’t involve fireworks, and I for one am glad. Fuck America.

Friday, July 5, 9 PM
Los Malcriados, Marilyn, Melanin Monroe @ The Camel – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
As hard as it is to wrap our heads around, we really have made it halfway through another year. That means we’re halfway through Los Malcriados’ monthly First Friday residence at The Camel, and if you’re not one of the fortunate music fans in this city who’ve headed over there to check out what this sprawling funk ensemble has to offer, time is slowly but surely running out for you to do so. Why not make your first time experiencing the genius of Los Malcriados this Friday night? Believe me, there’s nothing else you could do with your post-July 4th Friday night that will show you as good a time as you’ll find at this Los Malcriados performance. If you’re not familiar with these guys yet, they mix a cracking funk rhythm section with some killer horn-section action that will remind you of the prime days of Southern soul, along with some Latin-American musical flavors and really killer soul-diva vocalisms. Basically, when Los Malcriados are onstage, you are powerless to resist the compulsion to get funky. And when the whole club is under the same compulsion, it’s a recipe for a total blast.

Not only that, there are some excellent opening acts on this particular edition of the Los Malcriados First Friday residency. For starters, there’s Marilyn Pham, whose music I thoroughly enjoy — and not just because she’s the only other Marilyn with a prominent profile in the local music scene (shoutout, fellow Marilyn). She’s also got a flawless pop sensibility that remains intact whether she’s laying her vocals overtop of electro-pop grooves, Olivia Rodrigo-style power-pop riffs, or the kind of irresistible funk-rock groove she conjures up on excellent new single “IDK Why.” If she does the whole set with the trio who backs her up on the new single, well, I don’t know if Richmond is gonna be able to handle it. Get ready, y’all. This triple bill will be rounded out with a performance from local drag sensation Melanin Monroe, who may or may not bust out some of the hip hop tunes she sometimes records under the name Moneybag Monroe, but is sure to be a powerful queer sensation regardless. This one will be a total blast, folks, so don’t you dare miss out on it.

Saturday, July 6, 7 PM
Wet Hot Chandler Summer, feat. Chandler, Lunch $pecial, TMA, Kaay Taurus, Music by DJ Tuffluck featuring Fellaair @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $10 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Y’all, I have a confession to make: I never really got into Wet Hot American Summer. It was total irony overload and saturated with pop-culture references and I just didn’t really find it funny. Which is a hugely controversial take if you speak it aloud around other 40-somethings, but whatever. The real reason I’m even bringing it up is because I want to let all of you know that I’m way more stoked for Wet Hot Chandler Summer at Richmond Music Hall this Saturday night than I ever was for the movie this event is parodying. God knows I’ve told y’all often enough that I think Chandler’s one of the best rappers doing the thing around this city in the current era, so you shouldn’t even be surprised by now that I’m really stoked on his latest round of singles — “Carmex,” “Addition,” “Nothin’ To It”… I swear, at this point Chandler’s got at least two solid LPs worth of loose bangers kicking around the internet, and I’m just over here making playlists out of ’em all.

But of course, no playlist could ever compete with seeing the man himself throw down in the live environment. Instagram reels will let you know that his shows are off the chain, and by now it’s long past time to be a part of the crowd that wilds out every time he plays this city. So look — just do it, OK? Don’t ask me how to do it, just do it — it’s not hard. And check out all the excellent sets from the amazing openers on this bill too, from Chandler’s co-star in the buddy comedy that is his rap career, the incredibly talented and always amusing Lunch $pecial, to the strong neo-soul vibes of Kaay Taurus, and the aggressive demeanor of hard-rapping MC TMA. Plus, Chandler’s frequent producer, Fellaair, will be on hand to lay down the killer beats in collaboration with DJ Tuffluck. All that and a cast of thousands, as they used to say in movie trailers 75 years ago. It’s guaranteed to be a blast, and you’ll love every minute of it. Even if you do end up getting really, really sweaty.

Monday, July 8, 7:30 PM
Friend, Wrong Worshippers, Midnite Taxi @ Imperial Lounge – $8 in advance, $10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
It’s Monday night and the Clayhouse crew is back at Imperial Lounge once again to get your week started with a great night of rock n’ roll fun. At the top of the bill is the intriguingly named Friend, who’ve got a postpunk-tinged garage power-pop sound that should really do wonders for everybody who felt like Jay Reatard was really onto something with the raw, noisy pop singles he was making in the last couple years of his life. Basically, Friend’s latest LP, Dog Eat Dog, sounds like the sequel to Matador Singles 08 I always wanted and never got. Friend’s set at Imperial Lounge this Monday night will be a blast of raw pop glory straight between your ears, and you’ll definitely want to soak it all in at top volume.

Also on the bill will be the second appearance this week of noisy teenage punks Wrong Worshippers, who definitely hit a note I’ve always appreciated with their bass-plus-drums power-duo attack. It’s not quite as wild as what the legendary GodheadSilo got up to in a similar configuration, but what Wrong Worshippers are bringing to the table will definitely excite all the folks who love Big Business and wish they could see them rock the fuck out in a tiny club. Richmond indie-rockers Midnite Taxi will get the evening going with the most overtly pop sound you’ll see on this night, though the quirky twist they add in will keep it from ever feeling predictable. This will be a great way to shake off that lingering case of the Mondays you brought home from the office.

Tuesday, July 9, 7 PM
Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Oceanator, 40 Reps @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $20 (order tickets HERE)
How can you not love a band that names themselves Bad Cop/Bad Cop? Not only are they saying what we’re all thinking, they’re doing it in their very name! I hope a few “thin blue line” losers see the flyers for this show and get a little bit bummed out. But let’s not focus on that too much — because believe me, this band has plenty to offer regardless of what you call them. Carrying some aspects of the 90s riot grrrl scene forward into the 21st century, Bad Cop/Bad Cop bring the sort of strong punk melodies and catchy choruses that Bikini Kill was excelling in circa Reject All-American, and update them with specifically political lyrics that feel like a soothing balm in such a hostile political era as the one we’re all stuck living through right now. The new Bad Cop/Bad Cop single, “Shattered” b/w “Safe And Legal,” pairs a catchy punk song about struggling through depression and finding reasons to live with a driving rock rager about the importance of reproductive freedom — told from a very personal point of view.

Basically, Bad Cop/Bad Cop are the perfect band for the current political moment, in which we all need to be reminded that this situation we’re all stuck in is not acceptable, and we all need to find inspiration to push for something more, something better. Let Bad Cop/Bad Cop be your inspiration this Tuesday night — they’re more than equal to the task. New York alternative rockers Oceanator will join Bad Cop/Bad Cop on this bill, coming through in support of their upcoming album, Everything Is Love And Death. The album in question doesn’t actually come out until the end of August, but the advance singles they’ve released thus far find Oceanator upping the volume and maximizing the energy on their killer alt-rock sound, in a manner that’s sure to please all comers. Local emo-punk combo 40 Reps will kick this one off with some heartfelt tuneage that’ll be an apt introduction to an evening of music that captures the fierce urgency of now. Be a part of 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): rvamustseeshows@gmail.com

Please consider supporting my Patreon, where I’m documenting my progress on two different novels and (sometimes) writing about music of all types. patreon.com/marilyndrewnecci

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