Live music in May: Moon Taxi, Bleachers

This month is crazy with shows, including Friday Cheers kicking off, Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, a few Fall Line Fest returnees, and everything going on at the National.

Friday Cheers

Brown’s Island • Every Friday in May!

Why you should go: Richmond’s biggest summer outdoor concert series, Friday Cheers, starts this month, and it’s going to be a great summer of music by the river. Enjoy the sounds of Shakey Graves and Yarn on May 1st. Jason Isbell will serenade the night with Horsehead on May 8th. May 15th and 16th will be Dominion Riverrock with Blues Traveler and Greensky Bluegrass. The next week, on May 22nd, celebrate RVA Music Night with Bio Ritmo, The Milkstains, and HonkyTonk Heroes. And end the month on a high note with local superstars Sleepwalkers playing with the amazing Moon Taxi on May 29th. Ross Catrow gives us nice little previews every week, and we give away one pair of tickets every time! Here’s this week’s but stay tuned for more. ($5 – $10 depending on show)

The National

Why you should go: If anybody is having a good month for shows, it’s the National. This venue is the place to be in May. Some of the early shows this month include Ben Folds (May 2nd), shock rocker Marilyn Manson (May 6th), Interpol (May 7th), and indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs (May 10th). Country star Brett Eldredge will be there on May 16th, while the amazing Ani Difranco performs on May 18th. At the end of the month, teen viral sensation Shawn Mendes will be playing on May 27th. And finally, Bleachers returns for another incredible show on May 31st. Is your wallet hurting yet? (Prices vary. Check the National’s website for details.)

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Sam Reed Album Release Show

The Camel • May 5th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: You know Sam Reed from her work singing for Photosynthesizers. Well now, she’s back with a brand new solo album, This Is Love. This night will be a Jellowstone Records extravaganza as local favorites Butcher Brown and KINGS will also be playing songs of soul. ($7)

Sufjan Stevens

Altria Theater • May 6th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: A Sufjan Stevens show will be the most entertaining yet mellow show you’ve ever been to. His most recent release entitled Carrie & Lowell came out in March and is quickly becoming a favorite of fans and music critics alike. ($32-40)

Speedy Ortiz

Strange Matter • May 7th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: These guys were absolutely amazing to see live when they played Fall Line Fest. Their new album Foil Deer is currently on heavy rotation. ($12 in advance; $14 at the door)

Mac McCaughan (from Superchunk)

Strange Matter • May 8th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: For 25 years, the Superchunk frontman has made some of the loudest indie rock in history. Mac McCaughan’s new album, Non-Believers, comes out this month and this show at Strange Matter has been eagerly anticipated since it was announced months ago. Hoax Hunters and Flesh Wounds will be opening. ($12)

A Good Day in RVA II

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery • May 9th, 2:00-10:00 PM

Why you should go: Local film collective Good Day RVA creates amazing music videos for a variety of Richmond bands, and now they’re celebrating the great music of the city with their second all-day festival with 14 bands on two stages, along with various local arts and nonprofit groups to spread awareness of all the great things RVA has to offer. Music will be provided by the Nervous Ticks, Sports Bar, Nelly Kate, Benjamin Shepherd, Murphy’s Kids, Toxic Moxie, Lobo Marino, Christi, Manatree, Half Bascule, Way Shape or Form, Basmati, Antiphons, and a surprise special guest. (Free!)

Jukebox the Ghost

The Broadberry • May 10th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: Do you like to dance to upbeat, fun rock music? Then you should go. Just do it. These guys are amazing. And they have a fairly new self-titled album out so you should get that too. ($14 in advance; $16 at the door)


Strange Matter • May 13th, 9:00 PM

Why you should go: If you’re in the mood for a show that will leave you saying, “I have no clue what’s going on but this is awesome,” then Peelander-Z is the band to see, and they’ll be tearing down Strange Matter once again. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Japan-by-way-of-planet-Peelander action comic band has been kicking their anime-infused party punk for everyone to enjoy. Their latest album, Metalander-Z, takes the 80s metal scene and infuses it into its already insanely crazy show that features props and Japanese-animation style costumes (the band refers to them as their alien skin) along with fun, upbeat music.

Hop Along

The Camel • May 14th, 8:00 PM

Why you should go: This indie folk band was another discovery (for me) from Fall Line Fest. Amazing live. Well worth going to. And they’re working on some new songs, so there’s even more to get excited about.

For more live shows, check out the RVANews events calendar of RVA Playlist.

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Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

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