Thursday, November 5, 2015

Live Music: Sufjan Stevens; Boring Portals; Livy Conner; Oh Hellos

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Isaac Weeks, Kaleb Eisele and Kelly Rae Smith on Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided

ECLECTIC FOLK | The Oh Hellos
w/ Cereus Bright & Family & Friends
Thurs. Nov. 5
9 p.m.
$15
The Pour House

Rock music history is littered with tales of sibling rivalry. It seems that any band anchored by brothers has a metaphorical fuse just waiting to be lit. When sibling duo Maggie and Tyler Heath first began recording together inside a cramped bedroom in 2011, it never occurred to them to them that the self-titled EP — the product of those recording sessions — would become so successful that fans would wonder when the infighting would begin. “I don’t know if we’ve ever really had a rivalry,” says Tyler. “I don’t know if it’s because we’re a brother-and-sister duo, instead of two brothers, but we’ve always had a very supportive partnership.” Still, the two do have to face one obstacle that affects almost all families: How open do you really want to be with your loved ones? For many performers, baring your soul to a mass of strangers while on stage is intimidating enough, but the songwriting pair soon realized that their fans were drawn to the songs that bring to mind a Sufjan Stevens-esque introspective quality. Maggie says, “I think because we are siblings there is a bit of ‘But I don’t want to talk to you about my feelings!’ But honestly I feel like the process of songwriting has forced both of us to be more quick to talk about feelings, probably just in general.” Tyler chimes in, “Especially with each other. One of the things that we have gotten from writing music and performing it together is just being able to be more open and honest with one another. It makes that process more authentic. We have been forced to become more honest in our music.”

—Isaac Weeks THURSDAY
click to enlarge JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek

DREAMY FOLK | Livy Conner
w/ Grace Joyner and Becca Leigh
Sat. Nov. 7
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

While other musicians often prepare their tracks several months before recording their EPs, Livy Conner and her three-person team decided to take a more organic route with Sleepy EP. Conner set out with upright bassist and producer Bandi Tomaschek and multi-instrumentalist Will McKay to start and finish the EP over a long weekend locked up in Tomaschek’s home studio. “We didn’t have any plans of what would be on the EP, so we embraced it as an opportunity to go into a creative endeavor together with wide-open minds,” Conner says. “Having the time restraint of three days pushed us to make a lot of decisions without hesitation and to just run with ideas that came rather than wonder if there were better ideas out there. This process certainly led us into new territory that wouldn’t have been discovered had I come to the table with five songs that were already fully formed.” It’s easy to see why the team decided to name the album Sleepy EP — its calm, reflective tone is certainly fitting for the quieter moments of life. When asked if Conner thought Charleston’s relaxed vibe had left its imprint on her music, she says, “I’ve lived here most of my life and have certainly always appreciated the sense of calm in the waters. So who knows, maybe that seeps in.” Sleepy EP will be officially released and celebrated this Saturday, and you can download the record’s languid folk songs now at livyconner.bandcamp.com. —Kaleb Eisele SATURDAY

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GARAGE ROCK | The Boring Portals
w/ Terror Pigeon and Fisher King
Sun. Nov. 8
8 p.m.
Free
Local 616

With a show like this, only one thing is certain: It’s going to get weird. In fact, the Boring Portals may just perform their song “Getting Weird.” If you like that sort of thing, you’ll want to make sure to show up for this performance, because this local garage-rock band, comprising Brett Nash, Joel T. Hamilton, Scott Dence, and Emily Connor, takes a very long time in-between shows. “We’ll do our classic rock ‘n’ roll act that happens once every 15 months,” says Nash, “Our last show was July 2014. Our next show will be January 2017, so you’ll want to have that rare opportunity [to see us].” Adding to the eccentricity are oddball rockers Terror Pigeon and hip-hop improvisor Fisher King, who Nash says “will deliver the most genius lines ever from the mouth of an adorable young man with a crown.” And if you’re the shirt-wearing type, Nash says the band will also be giving away their final six “Coors saved my life” T-shirts. —Kaleb Eisele SUNDAY

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BAROQUE POP | Sufjan Stevens
w/ Gallant
Mon. Nov. 9
7:30 p.m.
$39
North Charleston Performing Arts Center

Ever since his promotional prank of vowing to write an album for every U.S. state, Sufjan Stevens and his enthralling brand of orchestral pop have been treasured by the kinds of listeners who also hold dear Beirut, the Shins, and Arcade Fire. Stevens did complete two of those state albums, though — 2003’s Michigan, an homage to his home state, and Illinois, the 2005 release for which he is best known. The multi-instrumentalist is also loved for his lo-fi folk leanings (Seven Swans, 2004) and Christmas-themed offerings, like 2006’s five-EP box set Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 from 2012 (tally ’em up and you have a total of 100 quirky holiday songs that’ll make any indie diehard freakishly excited about Christmas, too). This year, Stevens dropped Carrie & Lowell, a delicate collection of songs that stay true to the artist’s whimsical style without being explosively cheerful. That can be attributed to the fact that this record is named after his stepfather, who co-founded Asthmatic Kitty Records with the musician in 1999, and Stevens’ mother, who left his family when he was very young, dealt with depression, and died of cancer in 2012. The grief and retrospective longing on the record are understandably palpable. This time, Stevens’ quivering vocals are close to a whisper, and the electro-pop fervor is no more, replaced with a soundscape that is still lush and expansive yet achingly poignant — a banjo or ukulele plucking gently throughout each tender melody. Much like the ones that came before, this album is repeat-rotation worthy and certainly creates an argument to drop everything you’re doing on Monday to experience the music for yourself live. This tour comes complete with a dramatic stained-glass window-like light show to place you perfectly in Stevens’ enchanting sanctuary of song. —Kelly Rae Smith MONDAY

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