Thursday, May 1, 2014

Live Music: The Specs; Wake Owl; Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas; Graveyard

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 3:20 PM


INDIE POP | The Specs
w/ Mechanical River
Fri. May 2
9 p.m.
Tin Roof

Local ethereal electric-guitar balladeers The Specs channel a blend of psychedelic rock influences into their sound. Think Floyd meets Leonard Cohen in Strawberry Fields. The quartet consists of Eric Galloway on vocals and keys, Steve Tirozzi on vocals and guitar, Brett Nash on bass, and Shawn Krauss on drums. The members of The Specs have been playing together since the mid-’90s, and they’re currently working on a follow-up to their ’09 self-titled disc. Although they’ve been on a hiatus since the last record, the band has been in and out of the studio for the past two years. They’ve even begun practicing every Sunday night. “There’s a feeling when a new song comes in and everyone loves it. I think it’s the new drug that Huey Lewis was looking for,” says Tirozzi. The Specs have grown in every way over their decade-and-a-half together. “We used to argue and fight the way brothers do. When people are passionate about something, they are gonna argue for it … especially when they are young, starry-eyed, and drunk. Now, we have learned to get around all that nonsense,” says Tirozzi. Though the new record hasn’t dropped yet, the Tin Roof show will involve some new tunes. —Kalyn Oyer


Tues. May 6
8:30 p.m.
$10/adv, $12 door
Pour House

When Colyn Cameron released his first EP, Wild Country, under the Wake Owl moniker at the start of 2013, the simple, stripped-down folk and Americana release was a sign that an intriguing new singer-songwriter was edging his way into the music scene’s consciousness. Fast forward a year and Cameron’s full-length album The Private World of Paradise wastes little time deciding to go in a very different direction. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective, of course, but Cameron gets kudos for exploring different sounds. A number of the tracks have a warm ’70s-era rock feel to them (“Candy”), feature lots of reverb, and are led by Cameron’s sometimes droning vocals that sound like they were recorded at the end of a long hallway (“Letters”). But it is the ’80s-sounding “Desert Flowers” — with synths and a beat machine leading the way — that lets you know just how far Cameron is willing to let his creative impulses wander. It might not be for everyone, and fans of Wild Country might be let down, but there is something to be said for an artist who is willing to throw caution to the wind. —Brian Palmer


ROCK AND SOUL | Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Sun. May 4
9:30 p.m.
$8/adv, $10/door
Pour House

John Mellencamp once sang, “It hurts so good/C’mon baby make it hurt so good.” Jessica Hernandez must have been taking notes because listening to her band is like having Hernandez kick you in the groin one second and then shove her tongue down your throat right afterward. With a killer voice reminiscent of the fire of Joan Jett, the soul of ZZ Ward, and the sexiness of Grace Potter, Hernandez delivers the goods on her latest EP, Demons. Just try to ignore the hip-shaking rock of “Caught Up” or deny the seductive rock ‘n’ roll swagger of the title track; resistance is futile. And even when she tones things down on the soulful “Shadow Boy” — Hernandez’s most show-stopping performance, by the way — or goes a bit brass band on us with a cover of “The Death of You and Me” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Hernandez does it with a defiant sort of passion and devil-may-care attitude that is quintessential rock singer territory. Hernandez is an absolute siren, and her music is as hot as it gets. Get ready to feel the burn — you’re going to love it. —Brian Palmer


w/ Bombus
Wed. May 7
9 p.m.
$14/adv., $16/door
Music Farm

Hisingen Blues, the sophomore record from Sweden’s Graveyard, is a thick, meaty slab of stoner rock. From top to its big, fat bottom end, it’s a gloomy, doomy chunk of Grade-A underworld groove. The band’s follow-up, 2013’s Lights Out, is a much lighter and looser record. You might even go as far as to call it sloppy, but as The Who’s Keith Moon showed us, that can be a really good thing. Which is to say that for Graveyard, it all works, particularly on the LP’s raw rug-burners “Endless Night” and “The Suits, the Law, and the Uniforms.” However, as much as Graveyard might appear to American audiences to be a classic example of a stoner rock band, the band’s guitarist, Joakim Nilsson, doesn’t see it that way. In fact, he says he’s “never really listened to the ‘stoner’ genre.” Nilsson says, “For me that is just something that came after Kyuss, bands that wanted to sound like them but never came close. That is kind of the complete opposite of what we are trying to do.” Although they aren’t trying, they have most undoubtedly succeeded at crafting a sound that’s sure to appeal to all those red-eyed souls who still have Kyuss’ Welcome to Sky Valley in regular 4:20 rotation. —Chris Haire

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