RVA Shows You Must See This Week: October 25 – October 31
Saturday, October 28, 7 PM
The Country Creep Show, feat. Rebecca Porter, Sarah White, Sally Rose, Josh Small, Erika Blatnik @ Gallery 5 – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s the spooky season, y’all — that time of year when the music fan’s fancy turns toward thoughts of goth, metal, and other typically gloomy genres. Luckily, this year Gallery 5 are thinking somewhat outside the box, and we are all the beneficiaries. This Saturday night, right in the middle of the last weekend before Halloween, they are presenting “The Country Creep Show,” a show featuring five excellent country-associated acts from around the commonwealth, all of whom are promising “tunes from the underbelly of America.”
Now, what exact form that will take remains to be seen; I wouldn’t be surprised if all five of these acts have a completely different interpretation. What I do know from the deep dives I’ve taken into country, folk, blues, and other old-time American genres from the pre-World War II era is that, despite what you might expect, there’s a lot of spookiness inherent to this whole genre. I’m not just talking about Robert Johnson singing about the devil, either (though that stuff is really great) — a lot of the people who built this music came from places and times when running water and electricity weren’t something you could take for granted, and during the times of year when it got dark early, you just might encounter a wildcat on your walk home from work. Nature was a lot closer, the world was a lot spookier, and everything felt more tenuous. If you don’t think that kind of thing crept into the music, you’re crazy.
So OK, now that I’ve sold you on the idea of The Country Creep Show, let’s talk about the artists from around Virginia who’ll be playing this show. At the top of the bill, we’ve got Rebecca Porter, who comes from up Harrisonburg way. She recently released an EP called Queen Of The Local, featuring classic country tunes about lost love and ill-advised trysts that start at the dive bar. The sound is at times closer to the rocked-up end of alt-country, but at others dives deep into the bluegrass side of things. How that will translate at Gallery 5 remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure — this lady’s got talent.
Four other artists are on this bill as well, and the first two we’re gonna talk about are most closely connected with Charlottesville. Sarah White is a singer-songwriter from up that way who started making music back in the 90s but got back to full-time musical activity with the release of her 2018 LP, High Flyer. She’s got a loose, energetic sound that straddles the line between country and rock n’ roll, much like Lucinda Williams — a singer who’s a very clear influence. Then there’s Sally Rose, and while by now she should need very little introduction, I will say that the Shagwuf bass player’s forays into solo work has led those of us who are paying attention to expect a high quality of country swag from this Appalachian punk femme. This bill also features always-underrated Richmond steel-guitar journeyman Josh Small, who thankfully got back to releasing new music earlier this year with an excellent EP called Reinventing Michael McDonald. He’ll definitely make us all smile with his set. It’s safe to say that Erika Blatnik will too; the Rikki Rakki frontwoman’s definitely proven herself with her band’s assured full-length debut, Breaking Skin. It’ll be interesting to see how she approaches a solo set — definitely worth showing up early for. So hey, do that. And stick around all night.
Wednesday, October 25, 7 PM
Sorcerer, Hellion Child, Cyprian, Dreams Of Atrocity @ Another Round Bar And Grill – $10
Reader, if you’ve ever wondered whether the fine folks at the Auricular attempt to exert editorial control over my choices in this column, here’s a great way of proving to you that they do not: because Doug was really stoked about the Rine show happening at Capital Ale House tonight. He talked to me about it a bunch. But I had to go my own way on this Wednesday night pick once I heard Florida’s Sorcerer, the band who will be coming through Another Round tonight in support of their brand new album, Mirages Of Crystallized Horror. As soon as I heard that album, I knew this was a band for me. Ripping, high-energy blackened thrash metal, complete with blast beats? Sign me up, y’all.
And now that I’ve signed up, I’ll be like those annoying people you encounter in front of Walgreens who try to sell you some dodgy cell phone service while you’re just trying to get some Chex Mix and a Coke on a Tuesday afternoon — I’m gonna try to sign you up. Really, though, this is music that sells itself. Not only do you get the dark, intense rage of Sorcerer, you get a set from furious Richmond metal maniacs Hellion Child, whose slightly more melodic take on blackened thrash nonetheless acts as the perfect complement to Sorcerer’s set. North Carolinians Cyprian are just getting started — the first post on their Instagram account is less than three months old — but they’re coming out of the gate with some intense metallic rage of their own, which should be a total delight. And this bill is rounded out by Dreams Of Atrocity, a Richmond band who are coming from a melodic death metal approach — they even have the occasional clean vocal — but should nonetheless fit quite well on this ripping Wednesday night showcase of pure metal fury.
Thursday, October 26, 7 PM
Sun V Set, Jonathan Brown, Rumput, Shera Shi @ Gallery 5 – $12 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Sun V Set is a name I’ve been seeing around Richmond for a little while now, but I haven’t really delved into what they were about before now. When I saw that they were about to release an LP, I figured it was time for a more detailed examination of what this band had to offer. What I found has led me to recommend to you all that you make time for your own detailed examination of Sun V Set’s music, preferably this Thursday night, as they celebrate the release of their debut album over at Gallery 5. Curious Wave is an eight-song exploration of an intriguing and unusual sound, which mixes acoustic folk and the high, ethereal vocals of guitarist Linnea Morgan with a progressive approach that should definitely connect with both Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd fans and those who dig the work of prog-metal adjacent bands like Porcupine Tree or Opeth.
As a longtime follower of Richmond music, a lot of what Sun V Set is doing fell into place in my mind once I realized that, in addition to aforementioned frontwoman Linnea Morgan, the band also features bassist Ethan Kuhn and drummer Ethan Johnstone, who previously constituted two-thirds of the mellowed-out math-rock trio Houdan The Mystic. You may also know Ethan Johnstone from his work with Night Idea, Opin, and a variety of other groups around town. So yeah, there’s an impressive pedigree at work here — but truly, it means nothing if the music doesn’t deliver. Sun V Set delivers. Come out to Gallery 5 Thursday night and find out for yourself. You can thank me later.
Friday, October 27, 7 PM
Devil’s Night Bash, feat. Imaginary Boys, Hate 1990, Volcano Girls, Knifing Around, Elabor @ Bandito’s – $10
It’s the last weekend before Halloween, and we all know that no Halloween would be complete without at least one show featuring local musicians getting together in new configurations to pay tribute to their faves from previous eras. There are several of these happening around town this week, but I tried to limit myself to just one, and if I was gonna do that, I had to pick the best one. For my money, that’s this Friday night early Devil’s Night bash happening at Bandito’s. Not only is the lineup rock-solid in terms of the bands, sounds, and eras being saluted, it’s got a ton of talented local players coming together to create these tribute sounds. If you’re only gonna do one of this variety of shows this year, this has gotta be the one.
Imaginary Boys are the biggest reason why. Along with Rocket Queen and Geek RVA, they’re one of very few tribute bands around Richmond that have actually created a legacy of high-quality entertainment across the past couple of decades. Their terrain is the extensive catalog of The Cure, and they give you a chance to hear classics like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Just Like Heaven” being played live — and played well — without having to stand in the 118th row at some massive arena. As for Hate 1990, this relative newcomer on the tribute act scene finds members of Prisoner, the Catalyst, and other talented local metal and hardcore musicians paying tribute to the early, heavy days of Nine Inch Nails. These guys are well on their way to becoming leading lights of the tribute act scene around town — find out why this Halloween. We’ll also get a set from Volcano Girls, a band featuring most of local postpunk combo Warm Girls doing some of their 90s alt-rock faves. The bill is rounded out by dance-punkers Knifing Around, who may or may not be doing any covers but will be a welcome addition either way, and moody ambient synth artist Elabor, who will do a great job of setting the mood. At Bandito’s this Friday night, you’re gonna get what you deserve — and it’s gonna be awesome.
Saturday, October 28, 7 PM
Cobranniversary, feat. ASG, Freedom Hawk, Kill The Hippies @ Cobra Cabana – $5 (Order tickets HERE)
“Five years in the shit,” says the flyer for this Cobra Cabana anniversary party, but I think we all know that this Richmond establishment has been the opposite of shitty over the past half-decade. Indeed, even though it was founded by veteran underground metal musician Valient Himself, Cobra Cabana’s biggest additions to Richmond’s cultural scene haven’t even been in the realm of music — they’ve been the excellent food and beverage options they’ve brought to this city and served in a down-to-earth, welcoming space. Regardless, I’m sure I’m far from the only Richmonder who is primarily glad for Cobra Cabana’s existence in the musical realm; from metal ragers and hardcore mosh festivals to booming hip hop dance parties, they’ve added a lot to the sound of this town over the past five years.
They’ll be getting back to their roots in the world of stoner metal with the soundtrack for this fifth anniversary celebration, though, and that feels totally appropriate. At the top of the bill are Valient Himself’s fellow North Carolinians, ASG, who recently followed up their killer Relapse Records full-length, Survive Sunrise, with a single called “Pyramid Wheels.” That single proved that this band’s knack for heavy as fuck yet catchy and memorable stoner-rock grooves remains undiminished even after 20-plus years. These guys will rock us hard on Saturday night, so be prepared. They’ll be joined by Virginia Beach metal veterans Freedom Hawk, who have a similar approach to that of ASG, delving into fuzzy biker metal riffs to infinity on last year’s Take All You Can LP. I know Black Sabbath is the catch-all influence everyone throws around when talking about stoner-rock, but Freedom Hawk really do capture the spirit of Volume Four-era Sabbath, and throw in some Fu Manchu/Monster Magnet vibes while they’re at it. Awesome. Ohio punks Kill The Hippies, who round this one out, might be the most long-running band on the bill — I feel like I heard about them on the fringes of the Ohio hardcore scene back in the mid-90s. Somehow, Kill The Hippies are still at it today, and they haven’t lost an ounce of their snotty old-school punk fury, so expect this set to be by far the fastest and most furious of the evening. This whole show is gonna rule, though, and you can even get a Snake Plissken Burger while you’re there! What more could you ask for? I know the answer — five more years of Cobra Cabana! It starts this Saturday night.
Sunday, October 29, 8 PM
Child Abuse, Bleeders, Gold Dime, Oozing Meat, Headscratcher @ Bandito’s – $10
If you’re going for confrontation, you can’t really give your band a much better name than Child Abuse. Talk about a subject that’s gonna make everybody take a step back. And once you hear Brooklyn trio Child Abuse, you’ll probably start by taking another couple of steps back, especially if your first time hearing them is at Bandito’s this Sunday. That said, I encourage you to face the confrontation head on and weather the musical storm, because this band has a unique and powerful sound to offer, and missing out on it would be a big loss. In operation since the mid-00s, Child Abuse has been refining their keyboard-bass-drums noise-rock attack ever since, and their latest release, 2019’s Imaginary Enemy, finds them engaging in a harsh, spastic form of postpunk attack that is heavy and jazzy all at the same time. I can only compare them to groups like Arab On Radar and Brainiac, in that you didn’t quite know what you were getting, but you knew it would be both bizarre and brilliant.
This bill features several other unusual acts, all of whom are also confrontational yet brilliant in their own particular ways. Bleeders, who come from the Philadelphia area, are a no-frills punk rock combo with a harsh, choppy style and a confrontational feminist political approach, exemplified on releases like 2017’s We Hate Men and 2018’s God Is A Cunt. The acts on this bill definitely share a gift for confrontational names. That’s less true of Gold Dime, the New York-based project of musician Andrya Ambro. On their latest release, No More Blue Skies, they definitely have a more straightforward noir-jazz take on postpunk than the bands they’re playing with on this fine evening. Nonetheless, Gold Dime has a similarly exploratory and fearless approach that should connect well with all comers. Local artists on this bill include noise/drum blurrcore group Oozing Meat, who feature members of Suppression and Fake Object, and primitive noise-punk band Headscratcher, featuring folks from Fracking and Dysphonia. This one will be intense, in the best possible way.
Monday, October 30, 7 PM
Carly Cosgrove, Dead Format, Combat @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $16 (order tickets HERE)
Let me start this one with a warning for my fellow X-ennials and others not of the appropriate generation: this show is not headlined by a female singer-songwriter. No, Carly Cosgrove is actually a reference to the star of iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove, and her onscreen character. Having never seen a second of the show (in my day, Nickelodeon was the channel that showed You Can’t Do That On Television), I don’t think I get all the references to both it and Drake & Josh throughout this band’s music (though I do appreciate that their bio on Bandcamp reads “Fuck Dan Schneider.” That guy, who created and produced both Drake & Josh and iCarly, really is terrible). But I do know that I love their sound, as displayed on their debut album, 2022’s See You In Chemistry. The mood is moody, the sound is emotional, the vibe is pure emo, and I fucking love it. You will too, I assure you — songs like “Munck” and “The Great Doheny” are incredibly catchy and fun to bop around and feel feels to, and that’s true whether you’ve ever seen a Dan Schneider show or not (no, Head Of the Class doesn’t count).
This show will also feature a set from Richmonders Dead Format, who’ve been playing around a lot lately, getting us all familiar with their catchy brand of poppy punk awesomeness. That said, they still haven’t released anything since 2019’s Write Your Own Story EP. I thought I had heard rumors they had something new coming, but attempts to fact-check myself on that one totally failed, so at this point all I can tell you is that you’ll hear some new tunes if you go see them Monday night, and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Right on. Baltimore’s Combat start this one out, and between the two albums they released in 2022, Text Me When You Get Back and the holiday-themed Gold Lang Syne, they’ve certainly proved themselves as prolific creators of catchy sounds in the melodic (but by no means sedate) punk realm. Get stoked, because they’ll kick this one off in fine fashion.
Tuesday, October 31, 6 PM
Harm’s Way, Fleshwater, Ingrown, Jivebomb @ The Canal Club – $22 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Halloween is here, and while there are a variety of fun things you could do around town to celebrate the night, I’m going to break with tradition and recommend a show that has nothing to do with the holiday. You’re still welcome to wear a costume to this one, but I recommend something you’ll be able to easily mosh in, because when Harm’s Way comes to The Canal Club, it’s gonna go hard as hell. This incredibly heavy hardcore band has been dropping massive slabs of pummeling brutality on us all for well over a decade now, and their latest release, the just-dropped Common Suffering, hits every bit as hard as everything else this band has brought to us in the past. Metallic and brutal but decidedly hardcore in approach and mentality, this band will appeal every bit as much to the headbanging diehards amongst us as it will to the true-til-death hardcore heads.
What makes this awesome show even awesomer (yes, I know it’s not actually a word, let me exercise some #poeticlicense here) is the fact that Harm’s Way have brought a few excellent groups from different sides of the modern hardcore scene along with them, in order to give everyone a well-rounded picture of where the scene stands as of 2023, as well as a varied listening experience that will ensure you aren’t sick of the sound by the time the headliners hit the stage. Northeastern band Fleshwater feature members of Vein.fm, but follow in the “heavy-shoegaze” tradition of bands like Nothing and Whirr, also mixing in elements of that Hum/Failure epic post-hardcore sound and even a few hard-hitting breakdowns — though they always hit different with those crooning vocals overtop. Then there’s Idaho’s Ingrown, a ferocious and speedy thrashcore band who keep it heavy as fuck and make sure you walk away knowing that Boise is on top (even though I wouldn’t go to Idaho right now if you paid me). The whole thing starts off with a set from Baltimore’s stomping old-school rippers, Jivebomb, who will start this evening by reminding Richmonders why it’s always best to show up to the show on time. Get with 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): firstname.lastname@example.org
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