Family and friends rolling into town for Thanksgiving? Are you eagerly anticipating the mind-numbing boredom of awkward silences with barely tolerable inlaws over the turkey table this Wednesday night?
Do not pass Go! Do not collect 200 dollars! Head directly downtown to the NorVa for a blowout local showcase featuring hometown heavyweights Major and the Monbacks with support from Ladada and J.Flax & The Heart Attacks!
Seriously, though. Do you want to stare all through mealtime at people you’re contractually obligated to love but can barely stand? Or are you ready to rock the fuck out with the best of Norfolk’s brilliant indie rock scene?
Expect Norfolk/Virginia Beach’s Ladada to be coming in hot as the opener for Wednesday’s shindig. The band’s had a whirlwind year, kicked off by the release of their latest EP titled “Hi Five” (Gold Robot Records), followed by a busy spring and summer playing high-profile local sets at Lava Music Festival and Logstradamus, as well as Northside Festival in Brooklyn, NY.
They’ve since acquired a second guitarist in Jonathan Reynolds, expanding their sonic footprint beyond previous iterations and further diversifying the psych-surf-shoegaze amalgamation that’s been the core of their sound since their onset. Josiah Schlater, who steers the ship in Ladada, has told me they’ve just recently honed in on the perfect set, with no fluff or filler. They appear ready to land opening blows on this Norva audience with a wallop of rock. Don’t be surprised when you see them take their show on the road to distant lands in the very near future.
J.Flax & The Heart Attacks
Following Ladada will be J.Flax & The Heart Attacks, a band helmed by Norfolk resident Jeremy Flax, with two of its other members residing in Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. Interestingly enough, the distance between bandmates seems to have served them well this past year, as they’ve played a number of shows in each of their home cities as well as cities in between.
A few appearances at local venue Charlie’s American Cafe have left audiences intrigued and enthused by their unique blend of rock ‘n roll touchstones. Flax’s bratty but lovable punky vocal stylings infused with surf rock riffs on guitar effortlessly bounce off an airtight rhythm section from bassist Guy Carmeli and drummer Mat Von Thies, with complementary keys provided by Josh Seaburg that swarm and sting the listener into submission.
This evening will no doubt be many people’s first chance to see the band perform live and, as luck would have it, the converted masses will be able to take some J.Flax home with them in the form of a brand new 7-inch vinyl release for singles “Two-Faced Valentine” and “Virginia Gentleman”, as well as a collection of B-sides, live recordings, and cover tunes freshly pressed by Norfolk’s own cassette label, Leather Daddy Bubble Bath.
Major and the Monbacks
Having just recently returned from a nonstop string of tour dates around the country that took them as far as Chicago, IL, Major and the Monbacks are poised to rock their fans into a fervor when the Norfolk-native headliners take the stage.
Playing their fourth Night-Before-Thanksgiving show in consecutive years, the band finds its stride in mainlining its brand of infectiously soulful indie rock to anyone with open ears and a pulse. As bassist Cole Friedman explained, “the [date] has become a tradition for us…we love being able to play for a hometown crowd when a lot of friends, family, and fans that have been following the band since the early days are all home and able to celebrate with us.”
And there’s plenty to celebrate for the six members this year, having spent the beginning of it completing their second full-length album. Recorded at Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, VA with internationally acclaimed recording engineer and musician Matthew E. White, I’m told many of the new tracks will be aired out this Wednesday and the album should see a release in early 2017.
Upon wrapping up recording in April, the full-time musicians hit the road and continued playing all over the east coast and midwest, with a notable appearance at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE along with headlining the wildly successful and super fun Monback Block Party held at Bold Mariner Brewery located in their very own Larchmont neighborhood this past July.
Finding solid footing in a big band style of rock ‘n roll that harkens back to bands like Chicago, while maintaining an updated sound that mixes psychedelic twang, three-part harmonies, and a powerful two-part percussion section across shared duties from three singer-songwriters, there’s really no better way to describe M&M’s music than FEEL GOOD. And with the kind of year we’ve had (RIP Bowie, Prince, Phife, Vega, Cohen), us music fans deserve a chance to take a few deep breaths, laugh off some sorrows, hug an old friend, and bob ‘n sway ‘n rock the night away to something that makes us feel like “we are doin’ fine”. And if my opinion is worth anything,
I’d just like to add that with a lineup like we’ve got on this night at Norfolk’s premier music venue, I think this scene is doin’ just fine as well. Can’t wait to see ya out there!