RVA Shows You Must See This Week: May 8 – May 14

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Friday, May 10, 6 PM
Loungefest, feat. Deathcat, Natalie Blue, Dogwood, The Overdogs, Closet Space, Random Temperament, Chambyrlinn, Heaven For Heathens @ Imperial Lounge – $8 in advance, $10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
There’s been quite a bit happening down at Imperial Lounge lately. Don’t worry, if you missed it, I’m here to give you the update. The story starts with two different house-show booking operations: Clay House and Bad House. I’m not really sure where either of them started out, but I do know that (as these things go) things got too hot for both of them where booking shows in living rooms and basements was concerned. They were in need of a space to host shows that wouldn’t put them at risk of the cops showing up and shutting things down with two bands still yet to play. Meanwhile, Imperial Lounge was looking to fill its stage with more live music. And then one day these two bookers met this club, and that’s how they became the Brady Bunch. Or something like that.

But the plot thickens. Because Bad House and Clay House both book shows independently, there is the risk of days getting crossed up and both of them booking a show at Imperial Lounge on the same night. I had been wondering what would happen if that came to pass for a couple of months now, and this Friday night, we’re getting our answer: the first-ever Loungefest. A combination of the Deathcat show Clay House booked for this night, the Random Temperament show Bad House booked for this night, and a few other intriguing young bands, thrown in just to spice things up. It’s our two original headliners that deserve the most attention out of this double-stacked lineup. Deathcat have been impressing me for a while with their 21st century riot-grrrl punk sounds, and Random Temperament have certainly generated a buzz around town with the kids who love the funky rock n’ roll sounds. That said, neither band has any recorded material available as of right now, so you’re gonna have to go old-school and actually go to the show to see what they sound like. It’ll be worth it — they’re both really good.

There are a whole bunch of other awesome locals on this bill too, starting with local indie rockers Natalie Blue, who apparently have nothing to do with the California alt-country singer of the same name, and who have a really catchy debut single called “Half My Mind.” If you listen to that before you head to the show, you’ll be twice as stoked for these guys. Closet Space have quietly become one of the better local alt-rock ensembles, so you’ll definitely want to catch them if you haven’t already. There are still four more bands on this bill too, and while I won’t pretend to have heard them all at this point, they’ve definitely got me intrigued. I love seeing the young scene here in Richmond in full flower once again — makes me feel like maybe rock isn’t quite dead yet. And that’s always good news.

Wednesday, May 8, 7 PM
The Chisel, Home Front, Conservative Military Image, Arrogants, Ivy Creep @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $22 (order tickets HERE)
I’m a big-time punk rocker from way back, but I’ve never been too stoked on the whole oi thing — it’s too basic for me. So when people started talking about hot new UK punk band The Chisel, the fact that they got compared to classic oi bands a lot made me really nervous. I held off on listening to them for about a year… and then I found out they were coming to Richmond, and I listened to their new album, What A Fucking Nightmare, just to see if they were my cup of tea. Whoa boy, they sure are! If you ask me, the only oi band you could accurately compare these guys to would be Cocksparrer, because like Cocksparrer, they’ve found a way to keep melody alive in their angry ranting, and created some downright memorable punk anthems in the process. If anything, though, The Chisel are even more anthemic than Cocksparrer — their songs make me want to sing along in jubilation like early Dillinger Four, even as they get me punching my fist into the air with the hardcore fury of Negative Approach.

So yeah, if you like punk rock at all, of any kind, there’s something for you in The Chisel’s music. You’d be well advised to avoid the mistake I made; hear The Chisel now. And there’s no better way to do that than by heading over to Richmond Music Hall on this fine evening to see them perform. They’ll be joined by a stacked lineup that starts with the Devo-damaged, angry yet catchy punk of Home Front, who will appeal to anyone wishing The Chisel would integrate the occasional synth loop or programmed drum hit. As for Conservative Military Image, this ferocious hardcore band’s name takes a good bit of getting used to, but their music hits hard as hell right out of the gate. The lineup is rounded out by two local hardcore rippers, the raw old-school fury of Arrogants and the noisy, primitive rage of Ivy Creep. Regardless of how you feel about oi, if you love good old-fashioned hardcore punk, this show’s got everything you need.

Thursday, May 9, 6 PM
The Chats, Dirty Fences, Paint Fumes @ The Canal Club – $25 in advance, $30 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Two awesome punk bands from overseas hitting Richmond in two days’ time. How lucky are we? Especially lucky, because the second of the two is Australia’s own The Chats, whose speedy punk n’ roll went viral over here a few years ago with the rant-centric Australian cultural overdose of “Smoko.” That song’s both hilarious and great, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg where The Chats are concerned, and if you’ve missed out on the rest of their formidable catalog because you assumed they were just a novelty, you’ve really gotta correct that mistake as soon as possible. Personally, I’ve spent a good deal of time with The Chats’ 2022 LP, Get Fucked, which features legendarily Australian-as-fuck punk classics like “Boggo Breakout” and “I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane,” and I can tell you right now it will be fucking awesome to see these boys bust out these tunes on the Canal Club stage.

The Chats probably seemed to come out of nowhere when “Smoko” hit, but they actually come from a noble tradition of fast, wild Aussie punk dating back to the legendary Saints but taking full form with classic groups like Cosmic Psychos and The Hard-Ons. Bands like those, as well as Eddy Current Suppression Ring and even AC/DC, have clearly had a strong influence on The Chats, and the resulting sound we get from this trio is pure punk hellfire. It’s absolutely worth the ticket price for this one, so don’t skimp on this one. Especially since you’ll also get a set from New York punk n’ roll wildmen Dirty Fences, who are sure to get the crowd hyped as hell for The Chats with their own take on classic Dead Boys-style American punk. The whole thing opens up with a set from Paint Fumes, who are technically from down in North Carolina but have a ton of Richmond connections. Considering that they’ve used photos involving band members puking as promo photos, you might expect some really disreputable shit from this group, but 2023’s Real Romancer finds them stepping a little bit away from the dirty snotty garage-punk vibe of their earlier stuff to focus on catchy tunes and singalong choruses. You’ll definitely want to show up on time and rock out with these guys — then stick around for the whole dang show. I assure you it will be worth it.

Friday, May 10, 7 PM
Cigarettes For Breakfast, Dysphonia, Hoya Bella @ Cobra Cabana – $10
I feel like shoegaze as a genre is having a major renaissance. It’s weird, because as a genre it came about in the early 90s, and all of the really groundbreaking classics of the genre date from that era. And yet, for whatever reason, the sound didn’t really translate into the DIY scene very quickly at all. Was it because effects pedals cost too damn much before 10 or so years ago? I’m really not sure, but I can definitely appreciate the fact that shoegaze has become a thriving underground subgenre, even if it took over a quarter-century to get there. For starters, all the bands messing around with this style are incredible. Despite their rather disturbing name, that’s very much true of Cigarettes For Breakfast. The mix of hazy guitar fuzz, indistinct yet beautiful vocal melodies, and occasional detours into drum-machine effects all add up to fuzz brilliance on their latest album, Join The Circus. Add to that the fact that they’re sure to be playing at top volume and you can expect their performance at Cobra Cabana to be one for the books.

What’s more, Richmond’s own Dysphonia are playing as well. One of several local shoegaze bands very much worth your time and attention, Dysphonia just recently released their debut EP, Carrion Flower. The EP in question betrays a strong influence from punk — no surprise for a band featuring members of noise-punk maniacs Headscratcher — which gives it a depth and texture that not too many other local shoegaze bands have. It makes their songs more memorable, and makes clear that this band would still sound great even if you took their fuzz pedals away. Don’t do that, though — fuzz pedals are awesome. I don’t know too much about openers Hoya Bella, who seem way more jangly and indie folk than the rest of the bands on the bill, but they jumped in to cover for You’re Jovian, who pulled out of this show a couple of weeks ago. So Hoya Bella are a standup bunch of people, and they write catchy songs to boot! So what if they stand out a little on this very gazey bill. The songs are still catchy and fun, and that’s all that counts.

Saturday, May 11, 7 PM
Charm Offensive, George, Roughshod @ Gallery 5 – $10 in advance, $15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Oh heck yes. Let me tell ya, I am stoked for this one. I’ve been digging what up-and-coming Richmond indie group Charm Offensive have been doing ever since they first appeared on the scene, and I’ve been waiting for them to put together a record for quite a while now. Fortunately for me, my wait is finally over! This Saturday night marks the highly anticipated release of their debut EP, Misery. Two songs are out on streaming services now, but as someone who has heard the whole thing (working at The Auricular definitely has its privileges, folks), I can tell you that all of it is awesome. It’s a mixture of the same shoegaze vibes I was talking about with the last show, but also with a lot of sunshine indie pop laced in, plus some incredible vocals. There are even subtle atmospheric touches and synth flourishes that probably speak to the fact that Richmond studio whiz kid Mitch Clem was involved in the production of this EP. He sure has done a lot of great stuff lately, hasn’t he?

I know I spent the entire first paragraph talking about the record, but never fear — Charm Offensive have never had any trouble delivering the goods in the live environment. So as great as Misery sounds, you can fully expect their set at Gallery 5 Saturday night to sound even better. Get stoked for that, folks. And get stoked for the other two bands on the bill as well. Roughshod has been proving their mettle around Richmond for the past few years now, and if you haven’t yet fallen in love with their charming rock n’ roll sound, now’s the perfect time to do so. As for George, which is a three-piece band and not just some guy with an old-man name, I’m a bit newer to what they’re doing, but they recently followed up their first EP with a full-length called Leave It, and upon first listen it’s pretty great — jangly, lo-fi, and full of powerful riffs and catchy singalongs. As total surprises from the local scene go, this is one of the better ones I’ve encountered lately. Here’s a prediction about which I feel all but certain: this show will rule. Act accordingly.

Sunday, May 12, 7:30 PM
The Ar-Kaics, Big No, Dorthia Cottrell @ Get Tight Lounge – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s another record release celebration to further pep up your weekend. That being said, I should start with a confession: I wasn’t sure at first whether I should pick this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Ar-Kaics. This group’s no-frills take on classic garage-punk is always excellent, and I have enjoyed it live on many occasions. But nonetheless, I found myself thinking, “I really hope they’ve taken their sound to some new places. If this is another Ar-Kaics album in the same style as the last few, I’m not sure I can get excited enough about it.” Friends, my prayers were answered: with their brand-new LP, See The World On Fire, the Ar-Kaics have taken their sound to a whole new level. Mixing their classic garage sound with the dark moods of Aftermath-era Rolling Stones, and adding in a psychedelic atmosphere that brings songs like “Land Of The Blind” into a musical world this band has never really explored before, makes the new Ar-Kaics LP quite possibly the best thing they’ve done yet.

And that’s why I’m telling you to go to their record release celebration on Sunday night at Get Tight Lounge. I should never have doubted these guys for a second. Their new LP shows that they continue to push forward and take their sound ever higher, and that’s a journey you’ll definitely want to take alongside them. Jump on the bandwagon at Get Tight Lounge this Sunday night — I promise you won’t regret it. The evening will feature some killer openers as well, starting with the hazy desert-psych of Big No, featuring Tim Abbondelo’s long-ago bandmate in Crestfallen, Nathan Grice. They’ve both come a long way since their teenage metalcore days, that’s for sure. Opening the evening up is an artist whose performance you absolutely will not want to miss: the Richmond legend known as Dorthia Cottrell. Her gloomy gothic folk sound has recently undergone even further refinement, as heard on her appropriately named new LP, Death Folk Country. She’ll certainly set the proper tone for this evening of dark psychedelia. Show up on time for this one, and stick around til the very last note. You won’t be sorry.

Monday, May 13, 7:30 PM
OOYH: Second Mondays, feat. Jones + Kuhl (Photo by Lucas Fritz), Fyt – Duo @ Artspace – $10 suggested donation
Of course I’m always excited when there’s an Out Of Your Head Records Second Monday showcase coming up at Artspace. For one thing, Monday’s always a difficult day for live music fans — too often, there are only one or two shows even happening on a Monday. And if you’re not all that excited about either one, where does that leave you? Once a month, Scott and Adam at Out Of Your Head solve that problem for us, and god love em for it. This time around, though, it’s even more exciting, for reasons both musical and personal. Everyone who knows anything about Richmond jazz will understand that it’s a big deal to have the duo of saxophonist JC Kuhl and drummer Brian Jones headlining this show. Having played together in everything from Agents Of Good Roots to Jandek’s backing band, these two have done it all, both separately and together, and it will be delightful to see what they come up with when they come together once again. Having made two previous albums as a duo, Blue Book and Snakeform, they do have some history as a duo they can draw from. Somehow, though, knowing the fearless, exploratory nature of these two musicians, I have a feeling they’ll come up with something completely new to delight us all. I for one can’t wait.

That said, I’m just as excited about the opening duo on this bill, Fyt – Duo. The project of Christian Brady and Greg Darden, this group brings together two fixtures of Richmond’s music scene for multiple decades now to explore brilliant new worlds of sound. On their recent EP, Circle Meditations, which follows up 2022 debut LP Green Tape, Fyt create miles-deep soundscapes of humming atmosphere, which are beautiful and entrancing in the best possible way. While I wouldn’t presume to even guess what has influenced these two to come up with the amazing sounds they’re laying out in their latest project, I certainly think fans of everything from Gastr Del Sol to Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon to Klaus Schulze will find something to enjoy in these musical explorations. These folks are always up to something brilliant, so tune in and check out their latest awesomeness at Artspace Monday night. You’ll be glad you did.

Tuesday, May 14, 7 PM
Left to Suffer, Downswing, Love Gun, Beyond The Grave, Disposed @ The Camel – $15 in advance, $20 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve been into death metal for over 30 years, so I have heard from many, many people over the past three decades that it all sounds the same, is just a wall of roaring low-end noise, etc etc. And let me tell you, I wish I could gather all of those people into one room right now and play them the first two songs from the new Left To Suffer album. Only the first two songs from Leap Of Death (which actually doesn’t come out until August) are available on streaming services as of now, but both show such an immense creative range that it’s impossible for them to just blend into the typical death metal sound. Indeed, Left To Suffer have always been an incredibly creative group, one that pushes the limits of what death metal can be, and keeps the interest of even the most jaded headbangers. Their new LP shows them taking this to a whole new level, and if the first two songs are any indication, things are only gonna get wilder from here.

All of that is to say that you will definitely want to see Left To Suffer when they decimate The Camel on a Tuesday night. Their unpredictable sound is a huge point in their favor in a live enviroment — you literally never know where they’re gonna go next. And finding out is always incredibly entertaining. What’s more, they’re coming with a veritable plethora of amazing support acts. Metalcore act Downswing has a penchant for melody and a driving energy that keeps things moving along at a brisk clip. Virginia’s own Love Gun have a tendency toward classic metal shredding but keep things heavy on their Kiss The Sky EP — which has been out long enough by now that I’d expect to hear a good bit of new material at this show as well. Get stoked. Beyond The Grave is not the long-running black metal band but a new band from the Tidewater area with some super-heavy deathcore vibes on their self-titled debut EP. These guys shred. The evening kicks off with yet another Virginia band, brutal metal goofballs Disposed, who recently followed up their debut EP, This Isn’t Music, It’s Absolute Garbage! with a single called “I was standing in line to buy a corndog when I saw a penny heads up on the ground, but when I bent to pick it up, it was face down.” That should give you a good idea of what these guys are about. Musically, they cross deathcore brutality with the loose-cannon energy of Slipknot at their absolute heaviest. It’s every bit as awesome as the rest of this show is sure to be. Can’t fucking wait.

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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