Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Live Music: Alabama Shakes, The Unawares, Mystic Vibrations, The Bent Strings

Great Live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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GARAGE PUNK | The Unawares
Metronome Anniversary Party
w/ Elim Bolt, Boring Portals, the Fairy God Muthas, Lindsay Holler, and Jordan Igoe
Fri. Sept. 20
6 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

Though they hail from Columbia, the Unawares sound more like an act that would come out of the indie rock mecca of Chapel Hill, N.C. There’s a late ’90s feel to the guitars which vacillate between prickly post-punk and crunchy slatherings of distortion. The hard-charging rhythms possess a herky-jerky wobble that evokes the Minutemen at times. But make no mistake, the Unawares have crafted a bruising, muscular sound. Like the Minutemen, there’s very little filler. Only rarely do songs extend more than a few seconds beyond the three-minute mark. The power trio debuted with 2006’s Hey Zeus, and continued to hone their brand of garage-punk with 2009’s Pinkie Greene and 2011’s When the Trees Are Empty. Trees offers their most keenly crafted and eclectic batch of songs, finding a way to work with more moderate tempos and volumes while sharpening the hooks. It’s a more straightforward album than their knottier, psych-tinged follow-up, Absinthe Acres, which explores the band’s dreamier, pastoral side on tracks like “Half the Day” and the Meat Puppets-ish “Be a Farmer.” Other tracks bring out a slinky power pop vibe (“Barfighting Nothings”) and punchy art-punk that sounds like early Mission of Burma (“Extract Lover”). The Unawares are truly one of South Carolina’s most unsung talents. —Chris Parker

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REGGAE | Mystic Vibrations
Fall Reggae Jam
w/ The Dubplates and International Morality
Fri. Sept. 20
9 p.m.
$15-$20
Music Farm

If you’re looking for someplace to get your inner rasta on, then head out Friday to the Music Farm and listen to some of the deffest tunes in town at the Fall Reggae Jam. The jam features three bands, International Morality, Mystic Vibrations, and the Dubplates, and proceeds from the show will go to the Montego Bay Animal Haven, a nonprofit organization raising awareness about the plight of animals in Jamaica. Montego Bay has rescued cats, dogs, goats, and horses. “There’s a lot of issues that need more attention,” sys Ric Williams, the lead guitarist and vocalist for Mystic Vibrations. “We’re not in it for the money. We try to lead by example. I know there’s people hanging around with extra dollars in their pocket, and we could all do a little more to help.” We don’t think there’s any faster way to build up your karma than to lend a helping hand. So if you’re seeking redemption, want to help out some Jamaican animals, or just want to hear some rockin’ reggae tunes, head out to the Music Farm to get your fix. —Stephen Pappas

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SOUTHERN SOUL | Alabama Shakes
Thurs. Sept. 19
8 p.m.
$35
North Charleston Coliseum

Brittany “Diamond” Howard of Alabama Shakes has gone from being a full-time mail carrier to full-time musician. Before the success of their Boys and Girls album, the members of Alabama Shakes were doing what most small-time bands do to get by — they were working jobs, scrounging pennies for recording time, and trying to play live as much as possible. “I think if you’ve seen what has happened, it’s been pretty incredible. We have played all over the United States and the rest of the world. It’s pretty surreal when I think back on it,” Howard says. The Athens, Ala.-based group skyrocketed to stardom with their hit song “Hold On,” which mixes ghostly grit and laid-back instrumentation for a track that sounds like the Stones combined with Mumford and a splash of Amy Winehouse. Meanwhile, the seductive “Goin’ to the Party” uses simple guitar chords to highlight Howard’s sultry vocals, while the keyboard-driven “Be Mine” draws you in with its rough roots and an intoxicating combo of gripping guitar and sexy-slow bass. When asked to describe her band’s sound, Howard keeps it simple: “We describe it as rock ‘n’ roll music.”—Kalyn Oyer

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BLUEGRASS | The Bent Strings
Awendaw Green’s Rhythm and Brewfest w/ Merri Creek Pickers, Simple Syrup, the Train Wrecks, and Flatt City
Sat. Sept. 21
3 p.m.
$40/adv., $45/door
Awendaw Green

Imagine drinking the finest beers from your city in a scenic Awendaw barn and listening to great music with a hundred of your closest friends. It sounds like a down-home dream, right? On Sept. 21 Awendaw Green will host the Rhythm and Brewfest with beer supplied by Palmetto, Westbrook, Holy City, and COAST breweries. Not only is this a place for beer lovers to shine, but there will be an impressive sampling of some of the best bluegrass and roots acts from the region. The lineup includes Merri Creek Pickers, the Bent Strings, Simple Syrup with Doug Jones and Charles Hedgepath, the Train Wrecks, and Flatt City. The Bent String vocalist and banjo player William Rose says, “We can’t wait to play for this audience. They’re a unique crowd and are really accepting of all different genres.” The first 250 people at the door will get a T-shirt and an 8-oz. mug with eight beer tickets. All ages are welcome, and plenty of family-friendly activities will be going on, including a bonfire and disc golf. There will also be wood-fired pizza and a full grill. —Tamara Younkins


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