RVA Shows You Must See This Week: May 1 – May 7

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Wednesday, May 1, 7 PM
Woman Crush Wednesday, feat. Megan Dunn, Meg McDermott, Megan Parochka, Anterra @ The Camel – $7 (order tickets HERE)
The most important show happening in a given week isn’t always the biggest. Indeed, it’s usually not; while every single week features at least one artist from far away capitalizing on their multi-decade career by selling out one of Richmond’s biggest venues, the shows happening on those weeks that are most important to the actual Richmond scene are generally a lot smaller. That being said, though, they’re far more worth your time and attention if you care about the culture of Richmond music; those little shows are the ones that incubate the important local artists of today — and tomorrow.

In particular, Bri Bevan’s been working for several years now — originally at Hardywood, now at The Camel — to showcase exactly those sorts of artists, particularly of the feminine and non-binary persuasion, with her monthly Woman Crush Wednesday showcases. They happen right in the middle of the week and focus on artists who haven’t grabbed much local spotlight — obscure newcomers, veterans with low profiles, and the occasional DIY touring musician making it to Richmond for the first time. So yeah, they’re not the biggest shows happening in town on any given week. If anything, though, the Woman Crush Wednesday shows are all the more important for their small size. Paying attention to them will definitely bring artists to your attention well before the wider world of Richmond has caught on. Artists like Rikki Rakki, Tyler Meacham, and Ms. Jaylin Brown played Woman Crush Wednesday well before they’d reached their current heights. And if you’re watching in the coming months, you’ll probably see other local future stars when they’re just starting to make their name.

This month promises to be particularly fun, as it’s a big of a theme night: all Megans (plus one late-breaking special guest), or as the flyer puts it “Meg & Meg & Megan” (say it out loud). The first of the Megans on the list is Megan Dunn, aka Meggalooch, a singer with the voice of an angel and an eclectic range, messing with everything from jazz to pop to hip-hop at various points in her young career. What will she bring to the stage when she steps up on her own? Based on the tunes she’s released in recent years with a variety of other performers, all we can say for sure is that it will be amazing. Meg McDermott is also on this bill, and she’s an acoustic singer-songwriter who hasn’t been in Richmond for all that long, but has been documenting her attempts to write a song (almost) every day on social media recently. The results are charming and full of biting lyrical wit — exactly the sort of thing we’re all looking for on a Wednesday night to shake us out of the mid-week doldrums. Our third and final Megan is a WCW alumna extraordinaire by the name of Megan Parochka, who has been making country-tinged indie tunes in this town for over a decade now. If you’re not familiar with this homegrown musical genius, you need to fix that ASAP. Oh, and I mentioned a special guest — it’s Anterra, a classically trained violinist who turned to solo folk music in recent years and will be releasing her debut album this summer. Get a jump on what she has to offer, and see some of the not-yet-famous but surely talented musicians who make Richmond their home, by showing up for Woman Crush Wednesday at The Camel tonight. By the time you leave, you’re sure to have some crushes of your own.

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 PM
Raven, Vicious Rumors, Lutharo, Wicked @ Cobra Cabana – $15 in advance, $20 at the door (order tickets HERE)
This one’s for all the aging shredders like myself who still go crazy when the legendary thrash bands of our youth roll through town once again, reminding us all of our first musical love and how it never, ever dies. And it’s also for all the young headbangers who love modern bands like Power Trip, Creeping Death, and local legends Enforced, but don’t necessarily know the roots of all that metallic awesomeness. You can learn plenty just by showing up at Cobra Cabana tonight, where co-headliners Raven and Vicious Rumors will roll into town to knock you flat. Raven’s history goes all the way back to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement at the dawn of the 1980s. Their 1982 album, Wiped Out, was considered a foundational document in the nascent thrash metal genre, and it got them signed to Megaforce Records, who released their classic 1983 LP All For One and sent them out on tour with a brand new band called Metallica opening up for them.

Four decades later, Raven are still banging their heads with relentless abandon, showing us on their latest LP, All Hell’s Breaking Loose, that their crucial blend of Maiden-style power metal and Venom/Celtic Frost speed is still as brilliant and amazing as ever. The same can certainly be said of Vicious Rumors as well, the Bay Area melodic thrash band who grabbed a lot of attention with their two early 90s albums for Atlantic Records, 1990’s Vicious Rumors and 1991’s Welcome To The Ball. On those albums, they demonstrated a hard-hitting yet complex and melodic take on thrash that made them stand out in a crowded field. They didn’t quite get their due at the time, but since their return to action in the mid-2010’s, they’ve demonstrated with two post-reunion albums that they’re as great as ever — if not even better. So all you metalheads out there will definitely want to come bang your heads for this one, especially since you’ll get bonus sets from raging Canadian melodic-thrash combo Lutharo and hard-rockin’ 80s glam revivalists Wicked (if you, like me, followed the glam-to-thrash metalhead evolution in the late 80s, these guys are sure to bring a smile to your face). This one’s for the headbangers — of all ages.

Thursday, May 2, 7 PM
Dizasterpiece, Alchemy, Shini Gang, Defying Death @ Another Round Bar & Grill – $10
It’s become clear in recent years that nu-metal is ready for a revival. The metal kids who were old enough to hate this hip-hop infused take on the genre the second it hit the scene are all middle-aged grumps today, and they’ve cleared room for all the kids who loved Korn, Slipknot, and Linkin Park when they were young. I thought that was what was up with Dizasterpiece, too — the most recent singles by this NJ-based artist struck me as the work of a band who loved all that mid-90s emo rap-metal stuff. Imagine my surprise, then, when I checked out Dizasterpiece’s earlier work and discovered straight-up hip hop. This isn’t a Korn/Linkin Park revival — this is a revival of Vanilla Ice circa Hard To Swallow, when he got sick of being hated on by hip hop kids, hired a band, and made a rap-metal album.

I know, I know — in 2024, no one’s gonna see a Vanilla Ice comparison in a positive light. Here’s the thing, though: his rap-metal album was the best thing he ever did. And Dizasterpiece’s metal-flavored recent singles, “Zzonebound” and “Nosferatu,” are way better and heavier than that. It’s probably more fair to compare them to Candiria, if anything. What’s more, his earlier, more straight-up hip hop work was great as well. I never thought I’d find myself being really into a rap-metal artist in the year 2024, but Dizasterpiece has proven me totally wrong. This is great stuff, and you’re going to want to hear it. DMV-area group Alchemy fit in well with what Dizasterpiece is bringing, but have a much stronger element of emo at work in their hip-hop/heavy-heavy mix — as well as a dash of sludge to thicken up the mix. Then there’s Defying Death, a Virginia Beach-based straight edge band who liven things up with some deathcore brutality. Shini Gang, who round out the bill, are the closest thing to straightforward hip hop you’ll find at Another Round Thursday night, but even they have the sort of horrorcore approach that’s sure to please some of the headbangers in the audience who remember slam-dancing to Onyx back in the day. Wear your baggiest pants to this one, y’all.

Friday, May 3, 6 PM
Bella White, Colby T. Helms & The Virginia Creepers @ Brown’s Island – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Am I losing track of the musical mainstream, y’all? It’s a weird question, especially since I made sure to listen to the longest version of that new Taylor Swift album as soon as it came out (spoiler: it might have bumped 1989 to become my favorite T-Swift joint yet, but I’ll need another few weeks to be sure). I can’t help but wonder, though, because I generally expect to know any artist who is headlining Brown’s Island, but I had missed Bella White completely. Credit to Friday Cheers for making me realize just how much I was missing. This Canadian country singer is probably best known for having a song on a Hunger Games sequel soundtrack (that explains it — I’ve never seen any of those movies) but her relatively unadorned old-time acoustic sound is the real reason to show up for this one.

Despite being from all the way up in British Columbia, Bella White’s got a strong musical connection to Appalachian sounds, and she shouts out Richmond and a bunch of other mid-Atlantic cities and states on her latest LP, Among Other Things. She’s got a song on there called “Marilyn,” too (the lyrics are really sad, though, so I’m glad it’s not actually about me). All of it adds up to a very pleasant listening experience that should make for a Brown’s Island meadow full of swaying after-work couples with red Solo cups in their hands. I’m not a red-Solo-cup girl myself (if you’re giving me one, it better have Coke Zero in it), but I am up for that kind of charming end to a long downtown work week, and I imagine you will be too. So go see Bella White at Friday Cheers on Brown’s Island, and show up on time so you can catch a set from young Colby T. Helms and his Virginia Creepers. This Southwest-Virginia combo have a bluesy take on bluegrass that should connect in a big way for all the Old Dominion natives in the audience — and everybody else.

Saturday, May 4, 7:30 PM
La Perla, Knifing Around, Crown Vic @ Get Tight Lounge – $24.25 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s one to take us all outside our typical live music diet. Colombian trio La Perla are a vocal-and-percussion celebration of classic Caribbean Colombian sounds, but given a new twist via the modern feminist approach and political punk mindset they bring to a genre traditionally played by all-male groups. When La Perla won the amateur category at 2015’s Festival Nacional de Gaitas, they were only the second female group to win such a recognition at the festival. It’s only been further onward and upward from there, though, as they’ve taken their music, which is based in traditional Colombian sounds like gaita, merengue, cumbia, and bullerenge, into different places all over the world, steadily growing their audience as they went.

They’ll be doing that right here in Richmond on Saturday night when they come to Get Tight Lounge, regaling us all with their entrancing percussive polyrhythms and unfiltered lyrics discussing the hardships of working class Colombians and the struggles of the global South as a whole. They sing in their native Spanish, but if you can’t follow along, that’s all right — the grooves they generate on their excellent 2022 album, Callejera, cross all multi-lingual borders to connect with anyone able to hear them. Not that you’ll stop at listening — five minutes being in the same room with this trio’s powerful beat and I guarantee you’ll be dancing. This night is sure to be a party, and the addition of synth-heavy postpunks Knifing Around and Electric Cowbell label boss DJ Crown Vic starting things off spinning the tunes will add to the festivities in delightful ways. Limber up for this one — you’ll be dancing.

Sunday, May 5, 7 PM
The Last Laugh Tour, feat. Lydia Lunch & JT Habersaat, hosted by Mike Engle @ Cobra Cabana – $20 in advance, $25 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Lydia Lunch is an absolute phenomenon with a career that’s spanned four and a half decades at this point, and she just keeps doing amazing new things. She’s best known for her music — with groups like Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, 8 Eyed Spy, and Big Sexy Noise, as well as a variety of solo albums and collaborations — but she’s also made films with avant-garde legends like Nick Zedd and Richard Kern, written books (So Real It Hurts, Will Work For Drugs), and she’s done a whole lot of spoken word performance. She started doing that sort of thing back in the 80s, doing gigs with folks like Henry Rollins and Exene Cervenka back when the whole idea of spoken word, as distinct from stand-up comedy or poetry slams, was still very new. She’s kept at it ever since, and while some folks who were part of the same early wave as she was (notably Rollins) have gone in a more comedic direction since those days, Lydia’s remained the same harsh, caustic truth-teller she was from the very beginning.

Now, though, she’s on tour with JT Habersaat, an actual comedian — one with a strong punk-rock background, but a joke-teller nonetheless. He’s been referred to as the “godfather of punk rock comedy” and maybe that’s true. He’s certainly toured with punk bands like Off With Their Heads and Riverboat Gamblers before. And, like Lydia Lunch, he’s shared stages with Henry Rollins. So while JT Habersaat may be much more of a straight-up comic than Lydia Lunch ever thought about being, there’s a certain kinship between the two, despite their different approaches. In the end, they’ll probably go together quite well, and with local punk comedian Mike Engle in the role of host, you’ve got a full evening of spoken awesomeness awaiting you. Head on out for this one, and be prepared for some spoken words that are punk as fuck.

Monday, May 6, 6 PM
Deluzion, Torment, Crucial Rip, Wormosis, Deathmask, Companion Of Fools @ Workshop – $10
It’s time for another heavy, heavy lineup to take over the stage at the brand new Scott’s Addition venue known as the Workshop. Unlike the three-band bill I wrote about last time, this one is jam-packed, and you won’t want to miss a minute of it. So hey, show up on time and ready to mosh. Our headliners for the evening will be New Jersey metallic hardcore band Deluzion, who’ve got a strong taste for brutal breakdowns and just as much love for horror-film vibes — summoned up via scary samples and reverb-heavy vocal roars and growls. The three EPs they’ve released thus far are full of sludgy thrash rage of the sort that will connect just as hard for death metal types as it will for the dyed-in-the-wool hardcore mosh addicts.

That makes local up-and-coming queer mosh maniacs Torment the perfect pairing for Deluzion as they come through town. Having released their first EP back in 2019, Torment got slowed down by COVID for a while there, but they came back strong with the raw, dirty hardcore attack of last year’s Misery Bleeds. They’ve also grabbed some attention locally for playing some wild sets in recent months, sometimes including smashing flourescent lightbulbs and other extreme wrestling-type antics. Be prepared for anything when this furious quartet hits the stage — you just might get it. The rest of this bill is crammed with other awesome metal/hardcore talents, including Richmond deathgore mainstays Crucial Rip, North Carolina-based raw grinding powerhouse Wormosis, Richmond industrial-tinged death-thrashers Deathmask, and the late-breaking addition of Harrisonburg straight-edge hardcore up-and-comers Companion of Fools. Expect this one to rip and blaze throughout the night, and make sure you wear close-toed shoes. Safety first, kids.

Tuesday, May 7, 7 PM
Bad Nerves, The Mitras, Toward Space @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $18 (order tickets HERE)
Back when I was a young hardcore kid, all my friends used to vaguely sneer at punk rock bands, as if it was all way too wimpy and weak now that they’d discoved Black Flag or Discharge or whatever. I could never really get down with that, though. Old-school punk rock, the fast, catchy shit that’s played rapidly and without frills but still has plenty of anthemic energy? That stuff rules. Granted, bands who take their cues from the Ramones, the Damned, and the Saints don’t have the parent-terrifying power of, I dunno, Crossspitter, especially in the year 2024 — but if you ask me, they’re still way better than stuff like Blink 182 (yup, I said it).

All of which brings us to Bad Nerves, an energetic young quintet from London who’ve got so much melody and swagger to their sound that you could probably make the case for them just being a really intense power-pop band, like the Real Kids or something. But nah, I’m here to tell ya, these guys are punk rock through and through. If you can appreciate bands as diverse as the aforementioned Ramones/Damned/Saints axis mentioned above, as well as Sheer Mag, the Bronx, or Dirty Pretty Things, you’ll get a big kick out of Bad Nerves, and you should definitely liven up your Tuesday night by going to see them at Richmond Music Hall. The two local openers on this gig illustrate the two sides of Bad Nerves quite aptly, with The Mitras landing more on the alternative power-pop side of the equation while Toward Space are all snotty garage punk n’ roll bravado. It all adds up to a blast of an evening that you should definitely be a part of. No matter how hardcore you are.

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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