Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Live Music: Yonder Mountain String Band; Yellowcard; The Whigs; Rae Fitzgerald

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 12:59 PM

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AMERICANA | Rae Fitzgerald
w/ Susto, Geri X
Wed. Feb. 5
9 p.m., $5
Royal American

Missouri-based roots revivalist Rae Fitzgerald is knee-deep in her three-week-long Deep South Tour in support of her 2013 record Quitting the Machine. Fitzgerald’s lyrics are raw and intimate, inspired by her own experiences, as well as political and social issues. “My songs are intense snapshots from my personal perspective, often illuminating a truth of the human condition that most everyone can relate to,” Fitzgerald says. “I am a fantastical historian.” One particular Quitting the Machine song, the lead-off track “Revival,” is a high-energy Depression-era-esque anthem about class warfare. The song is indicative of Fitzgerald’s fascination with the things that pits one person against another. “I use a lot of biblical imagery even though I’m not religious, because religion is something that deeply motivates and divides people,” she says. After the Deep South Tour ends, Fitzgerald plans to head back into the recording studio with her eyes on a new LP in the summer. —Kalyn Oyer WEDNESDAY

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INDIE ROCK | The Whigs
w/ Junior Astronomers
Fri. Feb. 7
9:30 p.m.
$10/adv., $13/door
Pour House

Purveyors of crunchy, hook-heavy rock, the Whigs formed a dozen years ago when its members were attending the University of Georgia. After graduation, they signed to ATO which re-released their 2005 debut, Give ’Em All a Big Fat Lip. Bassist Hank Sullivant left shortly thereafter to join MGMT’s backing band and work on his solo project Kuroma. Singer/guitarist Parker Gispert and drummer Julian Dorio recorded 2008’s Mission Control before replacing Sullivant with Timothy Deaux. Ben Allen (Animal Collective, MIA) produced 2010’s In the Dark, the Whig’s biggest, most polished effort to date. The disc was fueled by Allen’s warm, effusive psych-tinged sound that nicely gilded the Whigs’ no-frills garage pop. The band’s fourth album, Enjoy the Company, slowed down the tempos and sharpened the songcraft, but it wasn’t as good as earlier efforts. The Charleston show comes in advance of the Whig’s forthcoming April release, Modern Creation. The lead single, “Hit Me” showcases a psychedelic guitar line and a groovier than usual approach. —Chris Parker FRIDAY

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NEWGRASS | Yonder Mountain String Band
w/ The Travelin’ McCourys
Wed. Feb. 5
8 p.m.
$20/adv., $25/door
Music Farm

Newgrass had been simmering for years before O Brother turned it into a phenomenon. That’s around the time when Yonder Mountain String Band got started. The guys in Yonder found their signature sound by blending progressive bluegrass with groove rock and a willingness to buck tradition and explore their diverse musical interests. Even the quartet’s guitar-bass-banjo-mandolin instrumentation conspicuously lacks a fiddle (but this tour, mandolinist Jeff Austin is taking time off to be with family). The result’s an intriguing hybrid; their 2009 release The Show indulged in a hearty embrace of pop-rock, even employing Elvis Costello’s drummer Pete Thomas. Last year’s EP13 returned the band to its hooky jamgrass origins. As for the Travelin’ McCourys, there’s no questioning their devotion to bluegrass. Ronnie and Robbie McCoury’s dad Del played alongside Bill Monroe. Ronnie’s one of the country’s finest mandolin players and has released several solo albums. Though they’ve backed their father for years (and won a Grammy as their father’s band the other night), the Travelin’ McCourys have yet to make their proper debut. They got a step closer in 2012 when they teamed with Keller Williams on 2012’s Pick. —Chris Parker WEDNESDAY

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POP PUNK | Yellowcard
w/ What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Thurs. Feb. 6
8 p.m., $20
Music Farm

With a sound that’s built around a violin, Yellowcard is quirkier than nearly all of their emo peers. Though the members of Yellowcard write extremely catchy songs, there’s also a sophistication to their music that’s become more apparent over time (even though violinist Sean Mackin’s role hasn’t increased). The Jacksonville act got its start in 1997 with Midget Tossing before frontman Ben Dobson and guitarist Todd Clarry were replaced by singer/guitarist Ryan Key, who helped the band transition from a hardcore act to punk-pop one. Eventually, the fellows in Yellowcard moved to Los Angeles, recorded an album and an EP, and then signed to Capitol Records for their 2003 platinum-selling breakout, Ocean Avenue. Despite richly layered arrangements, the album possesses a briskness and warmth that’s approachable. Their 2006 follow-up, Lights and Sounds, is even more produced. The quintet’s tighter after two years of non-stop touring, but the disc lacks its predecessor’s crackle. By the time of 2007’s Paper Walls, sentimental self-indulgence had made the music soggy in spots. Perhaps sensing this, the quintet took a break before reuniting on an indie label for 2011’s When You’re Through Thinking Say Yes and 2012’s Southern Air. The band is currently celebrating Ocean Avenue’s 10th anniversary by playing it acoustically in its entirety. —Chris Parker THURSDAY

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