STRANGE MATTER: FINALLY, A REASON TO GO TO VIRGINIA
I like going to bars in cities I visit. Especially metal bars. Then, I like to write about them. I have a new favorite bar, and it’s kind of a metal bar, and I like it and I just visited it, so I’m going to write about it and that’s that.
Strange Matter in Richmond, Virginia is the classic, kitschy, divey bar. But then you see the art on the walls (cat cross-stitch was my favorite) and check out the menu (French Toast available as well as vegan option), and you know they’re a little different. They have a small yet comfortable space for bands and fans, booths for those who want to sit as well as a long bar that goes all the way to the back (where it’s maybe two degrees cooler). But you know what’s the best part? Arcade games! All in the back! Everything from Altered Beast to Super Street Fighter III. A-S may not seem like the biggest range of games but trust me. Eighteen machines all seducing you and your quarters, open all day.
The night I attended, I went as an honorary member of the Turbojugend juggernaut. I am General Gao’s Dickin’. The Turbonegro cover band, Apocalypse Dudes, was performing, and I was actually impressed. I’ve seen many cover bands , and while I appreciate the enthusiasm, more often than not they are absolutely terrible. But these dudes were loud, happy, and dressed up as the distinguished members of said band perfectly. It was quite nice to see Hank again. Kind of. The crowd loved it despite the 105-degree rainforest-like weather and basically no cooling system. It was basically a Turbonegro show and that’s the sort pf dedication I expect from cover bands and their fans. I especially enjoyed Hank staying in character and grunting “NO!” when one audience member made a last request at the end of the show, then sweetly thanking me when I congratulated him before he disappeared. There isn’t much to say about the openers except fake Glenn Danzig dedicated their set to Randy Blythe (half-hearted clapping) and fake Iggy Pop went by the name Iggy Plop (and the Splooges).
Now we come to beverages portion of this experience. I hate my local cheap beer. It is PBR and Narraganset. Yes, yes I’m a traitor to New England but ‘Gansett tastes like smoked garbage to me. I’m also a horrible friend because my buddy is a certified ‘Gansett Girl. (Sorry, Ashleigh. Hey, she wants to be on their calendar, go vote for her here — she’s also in a GG Allin cover band and loves metal, so support her. See, I’m not that terrible a friend). Anyway, the cheap beers I partook in and quite enjoyed in Richmond were the illustrious Yuengling and Black Label. I could drink the former everyday and make do with the latter on nights out. Bonus: It was so goddamn hot in there that you sweat out everything you drank. I have the smallest bladder and didn’t have to use the bathroom once all night. Pretty gross but hey, whatever works.
Strange Matter hosts many bands a night from local indie to out-of-towner metal. I’m pretty disappointed I never got to hear two bands simply because they had the best names; Diarrhea Planet and Taco Cat. But they have a really up-to-date calendar on their site where you can check shows and take a look at the games and food they have. And if you’re in Richmond, VA and haven’t evaporated from the heat and humidity, check it out. Support your local music scene and bars!
Oh, and before I left, I had the high-score on Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja. See if you can beat me and rescue President Ronnie.