1/31 magnolia show review – Sam Roberts

February 9th, 2020 · No Comments · By

1/31 Secret Band/Wild Rose/Sweeties/Ben FM + Mossman at Magnolia

Well right off the bat, the “secret band” was Order aka Order of the Dying Orchid et al. The occasion for their reunion was a big benefit show in Richmond the next night, which I attended and it was great. You can learn about the cause and donate if you’d like here: teambrowen.org .

Order played many of the early and formative shows I attended as a teenager (and I definitely became aware of at least one of those shows via an earlier iteration of this site). So the potential for gross nostalgia/sentimentality in reviewing an Order show on this site in 2020 is absolutely not lost on me. I will do my best to spare you from toooo much of that. But there’s a few pieces I need to get out of the way first, to try and put this show and that band in context:

Order played the first ever show at magnolia house, before it carried that name, as an unofficial after party for the legendary and insane Fucked Up show at outback lodge Jan 2009 (I was 17 at the time so I was not at the aftershow but I did catch the outback show). Thomas Dean, mastermind and only constant member of Order, has continued to be a force and staple of Charlottesville’s music scene and the VA rock underground as a recent member of New Boss, Good Dog Nigel, Orange Folder. I can also honestly say the Order output is some of the only local vinyl from the 00s I give a shit about and have in my collection (along with the Ostinato LP, for whom I was also thrilled to book a local reunion at magnolia last year. Corsair deserve a mention as well). Ok, so with that all out of the way, here’s my honest attemp at a review of this show:

Ben FM & Moss Man: I had never seen Richmond rapper Ben FM, but I’d heard good things from my rock/punk friends and my local hip hop buds alike. I’m all about the mixed bill so I was stoked to have him, joined by guitarist Moss Man. Apparently this was the debut of that duo. It was equal parts freestyle rapping, improvised beat boxing, blues guitar and drum pad improv song building, and absurd comedy shittalking session. I found it to be a great way to warm up the audience which seemed to vary pretty widely, in both age and general reference point of underground music.

http://benfm777.bandcamp.com/album/true-taxi

Sweeties: I used up all my nostalgic bias in the preface but uh this band contains some of my best and oldest friends/bandmates/former magnolia residents… that aside, they rule and are as good as you can get for all dude straight rockin punk in this day and age. Imagine if (central VA legends alongside Order in their own right) The Ladies (and the entire Black Lung Records roster is a good reference point here)… stopped being semi-ironic misogynistic drunks, smoked wayyy too much weed, and got deep into the Stooges and Leftist ideology. Yeah, that sounds incredible, and Sweeties are incredible. Trashy rocknroll punk, either you like that kind of thing or you don’t. Good and relatively fast and rippin set (although tbh I like it when they’re slower and sloppier). I think a lot of people were seeing them for the first time and were justifiably impressed.

http://sweetiesrva.bandcamp.com/album/tramp

Wild Rose: my band so what can I really say? We played some brand new songs and some songs from our 7”. Good set, loose in a good way I thought.

http://wildroseva.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-miasma

Order: Charlottesville has very very few legendary bands (at least for my taste, and for underground stuff) whose recordings and reputation stand a significant test of time, but imo Order are one of them. So this was a sort of dream band to have get back together for me as far as locals go. I saw the 2008-10 Order several times and it was great but several people older than me (including multiple Order members), have assured me I hadn’t witnessed the real deal live. So, I was excited to see og Order (hopefully) done in an authentic fashion with vocalist Tim (who sang on the records) and other early 00s members. This performance and set list brought together effectively the combination of elements that made Order such a great band through their many incarnations: classic DC style post hardcore, Thomas Dean’s ongoing and totally unique vision of punk/rocknroll/pop (which I think helped Order have a distinct sound, memorable songs, and not just another local indie rock/post hc band from the 00s), and, last but not least, very out of tune guitars and unrehearsed gaffs (which were minimal but charmingly present). As in my memories and on record, they were not ever one of these things buta shifting combination of them with a vibe and set of influences that isn’t easy to pin down exactly or describe. I also loved the juxtaposition of Neil on guitar jumping into the crowd and playfully antagonizing them, vs. Tim the singer standing in the back of the room, behind the band, reciting the lyrics with an emphatic yet reserved performance. They also, in classic Order fashion, somehow managed to get 2 new members involved for this set.

http://order1.bandcamp.com/album/wild-order

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