Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soundchecks: Nicki Bluhm, Curren$y, Ben Sollee, T-Bird and the Breaks

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers
w/ Sean Rowe
Sat. Sept. 29
$10/advance, $12/door
Pour House

Maybe Hall and Oates can’t go for that, but Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers can. Their performance of the 1981 classic “I Can’t Go For That” in their passenger van went viral thanks in part to a John Oates tweet. The video — the 17th such passenger van recording by the band — received 1.5 million views and props from both Bette Midler and Cameron Crowe. The video acclaim buoyed their second album, last year’s Driftwood, whose release was accompanied by a decision to go all-in on touring. The quintet is led by Nicki Bluhm’s sweet smooth vocals, which recall the rootsy strut of Linda Ronstadt. A former teacher, she received encouragement on her songwriting from her future husband Tim Bluhm of Bay Area indie-folk cult fave Mother Hips. So she quit her job and he produced her 2008 debut, Toby’s Song. The pair later married and Tim joined the band, which mixes ragtime country-soul, rockabilly stomp, and 1970s Cali country-rock. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers hope to release a follow-up album early next year. —Chris Parker SATURDAY

Curren$y
Thurs. Sept. 27
$35/advance, $50/VIP
Music Farm

This Thursday, the Music Farm will be packed like a pipe with many an eager concert-goer looking to get their hippity-hop on, thanks to Curren$y, who’s out on the road in support of his new album, The Stoned Immaculate, and its single, “Jet Life,” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Big K.R.I.T. While it’s not uncommon for Curren$y to get lumped into a group alongside his compadres Khalifa and Smoke DZA, it should be noted that he is more than just an artist that spits bars about cheeba. As a veteran in New Orleans’ rap scene, he witnessed the waning popularity of the Master P’s No Limit empire and the rise of Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money label — both of which signed yet ultimately dropped Curren$y. While The Stoned Immaculate is being touted as Curren$y’s first album, die-hards know better thanks to his multiple mixtapes, particularly his much-heralded Pilot Talk series. If you have a love for witty, dirty wordplay, head to the Farm on Thursday. —Kevin Young THURSDAY

Ben Sollee

w/ Luke Reynolds
Wed. Sept. 26
$12/advance, $15/door
Pour House

Last time Ben Sollee and his band came through town, he rode in on a bicycle with a cello strapped to his back. This time around, the classically trained indie-rocker and political activist is asking you to grab your wheels (or walking shoes). “That’s really where the big [environmental] impact of the show is, of course,” says Sollee. “It’s not how we get there, but how everyone else gets there.” And he’s putting his money where his mouth is: a $5 voucher for the merch table to anyone who bikes, walks, or takes the bus to Wednesday night’s show. It’s just another conscientious act from the soulful-voiced and highly literate songwriter (think of a folkier Andrew Bird), who drops his fourth album, Half-Made Man, later this month. Easily his catchiest to date, the album was recorded live in the studio in Sollee’s hometown of Louisville, Ky., and features Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket, among other guests. “We tried to capture more of a vibe than a pristine execution of the song,” says Sollee. “I just let the direction of the album go where the strengths of the musicians were. I think it came out with a little bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll, raw feel.” —Miles Britton wednesday

T-Bird and the Breaks
Mon. Oct. 1
$3
Pour House

Tim Crane grew up in a household where Bob Dylan and the Beatles were on regular rotation, but it was his parents’ blues records that really struck a cord with him. After getting bitten by the blues bug, Crane, the lead singer of Texas-based funk-soul hip-hoppers T-Bird and the Breaks, found himself falling in love with Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and MF Doom. Unfortunately, today’s hip-hop radio leaves something to be desired. “I don’t think much of that,” Crane says. “I don’t even consider that hip-hop. It’s pop.” You’re darn tootin’, T Bird. While hip-hop played a big part in Crane’s musical evolution and the Breaks’ sound, make no mistake, they’re a party-rocking funk band. “I don’t really write songs with a message in mind, but I hope that what I’m about, we’re about, comes through,” Crane says about T Bird and the Break’s live-and-let-live, shake-your-groove-thing philosophy. On Monday, Crane and company come to town in support of their LP Never Get Out of This Funk Alive and to help raise money for the Charleston Autism Academy. All proceeds from the show go to the organization. —Chris Haire MONDAY


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