Bauhaus hosted a solid show October 2nd featuring RVA acts Hot Dolphin, Tom Blacklung and the Smokestacks and Tiny Fighting Trees alongside California’s Sic Waiting and former Richmond native Reid Magette (ex-Itchy Hearts), backed by locals The Nervous Ticks. The bands rocked and only one noise complaint was filed, so I think it’s safe to say it was a successful show.
When we saw Tiny Fighting Trees last, they performed to a spotty/lackluster crowd at Kingdom during River City Shreds. Even though the whole show was disappointing (at no fault to anyone in particular), Tiny Fighting Trees stepped up to Bauhaus with playful energy and goofy banter which they toyed with at River City Shreds but couldn’t fully execute due to the lack of crowd members to feed off of. At Bauhaus this was not the case, and they were fun as hell.
TFT’s instrumentation was pretty straightforward, and one of their songs might have been about the lead singer’s ballsack, but you couldn’t help but have a good time with their inviting, familiar melodies. Seeing these guys play a sweaty basement with punishing volume is truly the way to go. They execute on their vocals with precision, while stop-time breaks from front and back line instruments fill out the lyrical hooks just right.
At the end of their set, the bassist asks, “Do we have another show?”
“No,” the lead singer replies.
I hope they play again soon, because these guys were great.
“We’re from San Diego, California; we’ve been touring for about a month. This is the first house show we’ve played. I have to tell you though, the parking situation in your town is FUCKED. It took us like an hour.” – Sic Waiting
Second up was Sic Waiting, a melodic punk band from Oceanside, California. It’s obvious these guys were on tour — they’re far too polished and poised onstage to be randomly showing up. Their set featured tight stops and driving riffwork, picking up the energy and keeping everyone moving. The lead and backup singers’ harmonies worked really well together, as their songs were catchy and well-layered to match. And even though I couldn’t make out their lyrics, they managed to produce a really decent mix overall.
Next came Reid Magette, welcomed back to Richmond with open arms after recently moving to Ohio. The house got a lot sweatier during his set of gritty rock-n-roll and punk, featuring locals The Nervous Ticks backing him. The group sported overdriven acoustic guitar, bass, maracas, and a drummer standing at a stripped-down drumset that replaced the kick with slamming the bass tom.
Magette growled into his mic as the band provided a rootsy rock n roll theme to riff over. With his long, unkempt brown hair covering his eyes, his music and presence harkened back to earlier eras of rock-n-roll. The band was energetic and really got the crowd going throughout their set, and slowly the house became a sweaty mass of gyrating bodies. At this point, I’m dripping.
These guys reminded me that Richmond is a dirty city, and we shouldn’t apologize for it; we should celebrate it. Magette’s quips and calls between songs cast him as a punk Tom Waits, while he and his motley crew simply owned the house.
Tom Blacklung and the Smokestacks were a really cool three piece hardcore punk band from Brooklyn with great stage presence. The drums were really in tune with what the bass and guitar were doing rhythmically, allowing the percussion room to accentuate and work as a third lead line.
The vocalist’s timbre is iconic. It’s a shame the genre has been rehashed over and over again, because these guys do it really well. His control is equally impressive, all-the-while never breaking a constant, aggressive stare with the audience. Panting, he chats between songs — these guys go HARD. No wonder the genre’s called hardcore.
In one song, the drummer swaps meter with a snare roll perfectly — this band is TIGHT on their instruments. Definitely a lot of practice. Like with Sic Waiting, it’s obvious these guys are on tour — they’re way more polished than most groups casually arriving to shows. Buy their cassette, guys; it’s only $5 and definitely worth it.
Then cops came and left, and the show goes on.
Last up was RVA’s Hot Dolphin, and the mix was downright terrible. While these guys have great stage presence, nobody can hear the vocals at all. The singer rocks and preens, but the distance between her and the adequate volume were too great. They are so loud. Punk as hell.
I can’t even comment on any of the sound aesthetics, because I can’t really make anything out.
Perhaps that’s the point.
I think my eardrums are going to break. There is a lot of feedback. They were about to quit after two songs, then they started playing another but quit in the middle.
Very bizarre way to end a great evening of music, but sometimes that’s just how it works.
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