Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Live Music: Edwin McCain, Spirit Animal, Pan, The Honeycutters

Great tunes to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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EASY LISTENING | Edwin McCain

w/ Emily Hearn
Wed. July 3
9:30 p.m.
$20/adv.,
$25/door
Windjammer

Greenville’s Edwin McCain is a veteran in the music biz with 20 years under his belt and two big-time Top 40 hits, “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More.” The ever-affable McCain will be the first to admit that the two songs have found a second life on the wedding circuit. “I had two songs that ended up being big wedding songs, and I’m down with that,” McCain says. When it comes to his influences, he places Maurice White of Earth, Wind, and Fire and folk musician David Wilcox at the top. McCain adds that he realized he wanted a career in music when he first heard Wilcox’s “Rusty Old American Dream.” “Right then, I thought spending your life doing that wouldn’t be bad,” he says. —Tom Pernecker WEDNESDAY

WHITE BOY FUNK | Spirit Animal
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w/ Lockout/Tagout
Wed. July 3
9 p.m.
$5
Royal American

Since George Clinton descended from the Mothership to deliver booty-shaking, stoned-immaculate masterpieces to the masses, funk has made a cosmic home for itself in the middle ground between the goofy and the genuine, the heartfelt and the freaky deaky. This is a truth that the guys in the New York City-based band Spirit Animal understand. “The most influential funk acts were known for the way they partied, for their energy’s identity, but they all have at least one serious song that defines them to their fans just as much,” the band’s frontman Steve Cooper and guitarist Cal Stamp tell us. “Funkadelic has ‘Maggot Brain.’ James Brown has ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ — among others. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have ‘Under the Bridge.’ It’s possible to say something meaningful while having a good time, so lyrically that is paramount.” And that’s something that Cooper, Stamp, and their Spirit Animal cohorts do with ease on their 2012 EP This is a Test. From the Peppers and Bungle-style hip-hop punk-funk of “Crocodile Skins” to the true-blue R&B groove of “Love Crimes,” Spirit Animal knows how to craft a solid slab of intergalactic funk. “Our approach to everything we do is ‘action-comedy.’ We are the True Lies of rock bands,” the duo says. The band is currently working on a new EP, Kingdom Phylum, which Cooper and Stamp say “delivers on all the things you have come to expect from Spirit Animal and/or Arnold Schwarzenegger — massive explosions, funky riffs, lots of energy, and the occasional one-liner.” —Chris Haire WEDNESDAY
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TRANSCENDENTAL INSTRUMENTALS | Pan
w/ The Dirty Circus
Mon. July 8
9 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

Indie instrumental rockers Pan craft songs that escalate to a crescendo of speed strumming that leave you just enough time to contemplate your existence before you are swept into an echoing whirlwind of life-changing drumbeats, all of which fades into a sigh of sweet tranquility. If there’s one word to describe Pan’s sound, it’s joy, right there in its purist form. “Pan formed early in 2010 with a crew of Columbia-based talent under the idea to add to the dwindling instrumental scene while popularizing a method and sound that was novel to the area and genre,” says Pan’s violinist Kayla Breitwieser. The Tin Roof show is part of Pan’s 40 Days, 40 Nights summer tour. “We will also be in the studio this summer/early fall finishing up our new EP. You can hear one of the new songs, ‘Baton,’ on our website, youarethepan.com,” says Breitwieser.
—Kalyn Oyer MONDAY
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ASHEVILLE AMERICANA | The Honeycutters
w/ The Blue Dogs
Fri. July 5
9 p.m.
$12/adv.,
$15/door
Windjammer

One of the reactions to the Nashville hit machine, which has polished country music to a shiny radio-pop veneer, has been a movement among songwriters toward the genre’s simpler, quainter roots. Asheville’s the Honeycutters are in the latter category. “I have friends who are involved in the Nashville industry who get holed up in these songwriters camps in hotels in Nashville trying to write six songs in a day to pitch to Keith Urban,” says Amanda Platt, the group’s fiery singer and songwriter. “And that’s the furthest thing from what we do.” The Honeycutters’ music explores the middle ground between Gillian Welch’s dirt-road sentimentality and Tom Petty’s polished bar-rock, all while harkening back to the roots of country music — a little heartbreak here, a little pedal steel there. “It’s songwriting for the sake of the song, and songwriting because you have something to say — maybe not anything political, like a folk song, but something about love or loneliness or murder. It’s honest, and it’s accessible,” Platt says. “That’s what country music is and always will be.” —Patrick Wall FRIDAY

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