RVA Shows You Must See This Week: May 15 – May 21

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Friday, May 17, 8:30 PM
Ghost Piss (Photo by Daniel Caplan), Destructo Disk, Double Blind, Earfthgirl @ The Camel – $15 in advance, $18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s a truly amazing feeling to watch friends come into their own as artists. I’ve been involved in independent music for a damn long time now, and I’ve seen it happen many times, but it never stops being amazing. Just to know that this person who you used to sit in your kitchen at 3 in the morning making dumb jokes and gossiping about bad dates with has made one of the best records you’ve heard in quite a while… well, honestly, for me it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to knowing what it’s like to be a proud mom. That’s definitely how I feel hearing the new Ghost Piss album, Dream Girl.

River Allen, who records and performs as Ghost Piss, was part of the Sour Haus crew back in the day (IYKYK), and I remember when they were first starting to make music with sequencers, synths, and drum machines. Over the past 10 years, while I’ve been writing this column and settling into middle-aged married life, they’ve been moving all around the country, having all sorts of adventures and surviving all sorts of setbacks. Throughout that time, I’ve kept up with what Ghost Piss was doing, and I’ve watched as they’ve steadily gotten more confident in their talent, writing more memorable songs with every passing year. Dream Girl, their long-awaited debut full-length, is the payoff for all that. It brings together River’s witty, confrontational lyrical style with catchy tracks that veer from minimalist ambient-house beats to the guitar-driven indie-pop of first single “Rude Dudes.” That title introduces a lyrical theme that sticks around for most of the album — River’s sadly got a lot of experience with the aforementioned rude dudes, and this album constitutes an extended takedown of the many terrible men they’ve encountered over the years. These songs are gonna leave a few of those dudes’ ears burning, even as they quickly reach icon status with all the girls, gays, and theys who are sick of typical male bullshit.

This show on Friday night at The Camel celebrates the release of Dream Girl, which comes to us all via Sockhead Records. This record label is owned by the folks from Destructo Disk, who in addition to their own excellent music have been bringing us releases from quite a few excellent Richmond-based projects over the last couple of years, including the latest releases from Strawberry Moon and Bonemachine. The new Ghost Piss album is the latest in a long line of awesomeness from Sockhead, and therefore this show is just as much a celebration of Destructo Disk’s incredible taste. Not to mention their awesome music; they recently followed last year’s killer slice of heavy yet melodic punk, Kelly Green Hardcore, with a cover of The Cure’s classic tune “Boys Don’t Cry,” which is incredibly fun in its own right. Their set is at the Camel is sure to be a ton of fun as always. Double Blind is a newer group with a moody alt-rock sound that’ll add some intriguing textures to this bill, and Earfthgirl will open up with some moody, ambient ballads to get us all in the right mood for the evening. This one’s history in the making — be there for it.

Wednesday, May 15, 8 PM
Malevich, Aseethe, Armagideon Time @ Cobra Cabana – $10
It’s always cool to see bands you haven’t heard about in a while pop back up, still going strong. I remember Malevich coming through Richmond back in 2016 or so, playing a show at the infamous 25 Watt with a couple of local screamo bands (including one of my own projects). They were touring in support of their debut album, Only The Flies, back then, and made a strong impression on me with their harsh, apocalyptic take on blackened metallic screamo. I haven’t heard too much about the Atlanta-based group in the years since, but I had to check in on them when I saw that they were coming to Cobra Cabana this week. Believe me, they’re back on my radar in a big way. Their latest release, the four-song EP Trembling And Dowsed, shows that their sound has only gotten harsher and scarier since their early material. There are definite elements of mid-period Neurosis at work in their sound these days, and maybe a little bit of Wolves In The Throne Room as well. All of that being said, Malevich are definitely a band all their own, and definitely deserve your attention on that merit.

The same must definitely also be said for Aseethe, who come from Iowa City and have a sound that’s closer to the doom-sludge end of the spectrum. I don’t want to give you the idea that these guys sound like slowed-down Black Sabbath or anything, though — they’re much closer to bands like Dystopia, Grief, and The Body. Their sheer unsettling harshness is captured very well on new single “Last Time I Do Anything For A Fucking Friend Ever,” which pummels and punishes listeners for seven full minutes of scathing heavyosity. Slow motion headbangs are definitely the order of the day when these guys are around. Richmond’s own Armagideon Time, who are offering local support for this touring duo, will definitely be the fastest group on this bill, dishing out the raging political d-beat hardcore sound we’ve all come to know and love from them. But the whole evening’s going to be heavy as fuck, in the best possible way. Make sure you catch every second of it.

Thursday, May 16, 7 PM
Cheekface, Yungatita @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $18 (order tickets HERE)
I’ve been writing this column for a long time, and these days when a band comes through who I’ve liked for quite a while, I make it a point to check and see if I’ve written about them before, so I don’t accidentally write the same exact things I said last time. I’ve been into the snarky, catchy indie sounds of Cheekface ever since their first singles from 2021’s Emphatically No started coming out back in the heart of the pandemic, so I figured I had to have written about them by now. And yet, searches of my archives have come back empty. Does that mean this is the first time I’ve told you guys to go see Cheekface? It certainly seems that way. Which means I have lost time to make up for now.

That’s especially true due to the prolific nature of Cheekface — they’ve released four albums in the past five years, the latest being the brand new It’s Sorted, which is every bit as awesome as what came before. The signature Cheekface sound is created through the uneasy combination of bouncy, catchy, guitar-driven postpunk indie tunes and the dry, snarky lyrics of bandleader Greg Katz, whose vocal tones and tendency toward dark humor make me think of They Might Be Giants in the days before they became a cliche. Meanwhile, on a strictly musical level, this band is sure to appeal to folks who love vintage Talking Heads LPs and the early Parquet Courts releases. Wry references to things like influencer podcasts and your personal info floating around on the dark web are perfect for our dystopian times. Gotta laugh (and dance) to keep from crying, am I right? Cheekface will give you the perfect soundtrack for laughing and dancing about our troubled times. Go see them.

Friday, May 17, 7 PM
Convictions, Confessions Of A Traitor, Gone Cold, Barabbas, No Treaty @ Another Round Bar & Grill – $15 in advance, $20 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Let’s get this right out front: I’m not a Christian. My personal position toward the sort of overtly Christian metalcore the bands on this bill are putting out there is similar to my position on religion as a whole: I am agnostic. I judge the Christian bands I encounter by the evidence they place in front of me. And that’s why I’m sending you to this show: because, regardless of any message, the recent singles released by Convictions are excellent. They haven’t officially announced a follow-up to 2021’s I Won’t Survive, but since the year began, they’ve released three excellent new tracks, so it seems like they’re building toward a big new release. That makes this the perfect time to get onboard with Convictions, a musically aggressive powerhouse who integrate a lot of strong melodies into their pounding riffs without ever diminishing their fundamental heaviness.

Convictions are calling their current tour “The Aggressive Worship Tour,” and they’re coming through town with another band whose sound and philosophy lands them in a similar place. Indeed, Confessions Of A Traitor’s latest single, “Hail Mary,” is a collaboration with Convictions. Having said that, it fits in with the other material they’ve released recently — harsh metalcore with brutal vocals and a vaguely industrial feel that recalls Fear Factory at their heaviest, even as they also verge on deathcore at their heaviest points. Basically, if you want some seriously heavy mosh, these bands both deliver it in abundance, regardless of lyrical message. Fredericksburg band Gone Cold fit in well on this bill, having a similar heavy sound interspersed with bits of melody. The emphasis is definitely on heaviness for these guys, though. The bill is rounded out by Tidewater-area death metallers Barabbas and local newcomers No Treaty, who are playing one of their first shows on this bill. Regardless of where you stand on the whole religion question, this night is sure to be full of heavy sounds par excellence.

Saturday, May 18, 3 PM
Reproductive Freedom Fest, feat. Godseyes, A Paramount A Love Supreme, Euclid C Finder, Prisoner, Doll Baby, Black Matter Device, Terror Cell, Blazing Tomb, Glossing, Humanitarian Deficit, 1103, Circle Breaker, Floodwall @ The Camel – $20 minimum donation for entry (order tickets HERE)
There are some pretty awesome independent labels at work in Richmond these days, y’all. I already talked about Sockhead Records in this column, but what about Fisher King? This label has released some of my favorite albums to come out of this city over the past couple of years, from heavy hitters like Terror Cell, Flesh Machine, Glossing, and Doll Baby. And aside from all that, they’ve also been doing a Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project benefit for the past couple of years, helping to fund a service that has only become that much more important in the wake of the execrable Dobbs decision and the many abortion bans that have hit all of the states south of the Commonwealth. This Saturday sees the third annual installment of Fisher King’s Reproductive Freedom Fest take over The Camel for most of a day, working to fight back against the forces of repression with the power of music.

That’s cool enough in and of itself, but the lineup this year is more powerful and essential than ever before — they truly have topped themselves with this one. Headliners include the heavy chaos of Long Island’s Godseyes, the raw screamo intensity of Delaware-based ensemble A Paramount A Love Supreme, and the math-grind mania of Baltimore band Euclid C Finder (who I would guess are obsessed with Fallout based on their name). Then there are all the Richmond leading lights that have found their way onto this bill! Prisoner’s industrial-infused blackened hardcore crust is in the process of conquering the world with their new album, Putrid | Obsolete. Doll Baby have taken their forlorn indie-rock anthems to the next level with brand new album Heirloom. Glossing have been gaining a strong buzz around town with their intense take on shoegaze. And of course, bands like Black Matter Device, Terror Cell, and Blazing Tomb already have a sterling reputation for chaos, heaviness, and general brutality. There are even a few more bands tagged onto this bill on top of all those! This show is loaded. All that and your admission dollar goes toward a good cause? Who could ask for more?

Sunday, May 19, 7:30 PM
Golden Shoals, The Hot Seats, Crooked Creek Misfits @ Get Tight Lounge – $12 (order tickets HERE)
The end of a weekend is a good time to switch things up from the volume and intensity that characterizes most of the best shows in any given week, and instead enjoy bands that keep things more mellow and conversational. When a change of pace like that is what you need, a band like Golden Shoals is sure to do right by ya. This guitar-violin duo plays around in the worlds of bluegrass and old-time music, but aren’t afraid to integrate electric instruments if it best fits the song. They do exactly that on their most recent single, “Jimmy Beam Ain’t My Friend,” a song that shows the endurance of classic old-time lyrical topics, even as the music gets a low-key 21st century update. If you’re someone who doesn’t believe there are new things to say through the genres of old-time, bluegrass, and folk music, you should definitely come to this show and let Golden Shoals gently but firmly bring you around to their way of thinking.

They’ll have help in this endeavor from a couple of local artists as well. The Hot Seats certainly have a sterling reputation in local string-band circles, having been around in some form or another for over two decades now. Their loose approach to the sounds they enjoy, their lack of concern over finer points of genre, and their overall laid-back attitude make them a fun time on any given night. They’ll certainly enrich this particular bill with their presence. As for Crooked Creek Misfits, they’re a newer Richmond band that brings together members of several other Richmond folk/acoustic/Americana bands, including The Great Beforetimes, Devil’s Coattails, and Dharma Bombs. With that kind of pedigree, you can expect a lot, and I assure you, these folks won’t let you down. So come down to Get Tight this Sunday night and have a lovely time watching a show that doesn’t require earplugs. You won’t regret it.

Monday, May 20, 7 PM
Failure, Aisle 19, Trace Amount, Mercy Mission, Blown Out Ribcage @ Bandito’s – $10
Let’s say one thing right up front: this band is not the legendary California-based prog-metal group who released Fantastic Planet back in the 90s. That band’s great, and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I must also emphasize that the Italian band Failure, who are headlining this show, have a ton to offer in their own right. Calling themselves fastcore, these guys exemplify a sound I haven’t heard in a long damn time, and frankly have missed. On their new EP, Obstinate, which features 10 songs in about seven and a half minutes, they rip through a succession of high-speed hardcore anthems with all the rage, energy, and high-pitched screams of legendary 90s groups like No Comment or Despise You. Groups like that are more often associated with power violence these days, but Failure don’t do as much of the frequent moves from crushing slowness to incredible speed that one typically associates with the power violence genre. Instead, they generally put the pedal to the floor and leave it there. And I for one am here for it.

They’re joined on this bill by Baltimore duo Aisle 19, who have a raw, thrashing take on a similar sound. Aisle 19 definitely integrate enough sludgy breakdowns to qualify for the power violence term, but as long as you dig raw, fast hardcore of any kind, you’ll appreciate what these guys bring to the table. As for Richmonders Trace Amount, these guys are relatively new to the scene, having released their first EP, First Six, less than a year ago. They come the closest of any band on this bill thus far to straight-up old-school hardcore, but definitely approach things in a heavy, aggressive manner that’s sure to appeal to the fastcore/power violence types who need their hardcore to hit hard. Trace Amount definitely do that. There are two more bands on this bill, but I was unable to find any evidence online of what Mercy Mission and Blown Out Ribcage have to offer. Indeed, I’m pretty sure this is both bands’ first show. I guess we’ll all find out together, ideally over a plate of nachos. Given the strength of the rest of the bill, though, I don’t think we have a thing to worry about.

Tuesday, May 21, 8 PM
Esoteric, Chthe’ilist, Night Hag, Eradicant @ The Camel – $20 in advance, $22 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It feels a little ironic to be following a show full of extremely fast bands with this show, which is probably the slowest, sludgiest show to come to Richmond this month. But listen, if you can appreciate heavy music, you’ll like this show as much as you liked the last one. It’s just a very different type of heavy. Indeed, long-running UK doom standard-bearers Esoteric are known for their bleak, slow-motion dirges. They’re one of the most important bands in the formation of the funeral doom subgenre, a sound that combines heavy riffs and guttural vocal roars with an undeniably mournful mood. This band’s stretched-out epics — their last LP, A Pyrrhic Existence, featured six songs lasting an incredible 98 minutes — aren’t just for slow-motion headbangs. They’re also for discreetly weeping into a scented hanky.

So yeah, I guess what I’m saying is that Esoteric, even as they’re heavy as fuck, are also kinda goth. This show will therefore have crossover appeal for both the Cobra Cabana headbangers and the black-clad denizens of Fallout. The Camel is neutral territory, y’all. Chthe’ilist, which was challenging to learn how to spell and is completely beyond me in terms of pronunciation, is a Quebecois metal band with a strong undercurrent of horror that should connect well with Esoteric. If our headliners are the folks crying over a gravestone on a foggy, moonlit evening, Chthe’ilist are the Chthulhu-spawned horrors lurking in the shadows. Their growling vocals, grinding drums, and brutal metal riffs are sure to imprint themselves on your memory. Marylanders Night Hag will offer a doomed contribution of their own, mixing in a sludgy, spooky take on death metal dirge that was well exemplified by their 2022 LP, Phantasmal Scourge. Richmond death metal rippers Eradicant will start things off with some energetic thrash rage, and if you haven’t heard these folks before, you’ll definitely want to arrive on time — their sound definitely deserves more attention from the Richmond metal massive. Come to this one prepared for some melancholy brutality.

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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