Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Live Music: Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess; Infinitikiss; Salad Days doc; Ben Caplan

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Vincent Harris, Madison Kois, Kelly Rae Smith and Kalyn Oyer on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided

DOCUMENTARY | Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington D.C.
Wed. March 2
7:30 p.m
$10, $8/student
Charleston Music Hall

The 1980s in Washington D.C. were defined by big hair, the Reagan and Bush administrations, a city hollowed by the mass exodus of nearly one-sixth of its residents, a growing reputation as the "Murder Capitol," and the beginning of the crack epidemic. But underneath the ivory canopy of government and straight-edged polished masses grew a movement that would define hardcore punk and pave the way to the alternative music scene. There were no record labels or big-money bands — just small groups independently recording work and booking gigs. Scott Crawford's Salad Days chronicles the adolescence of hardcore punk with the rise of bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Scream, Void, Faith, Fugazi, Rites of Spring, and Marginal Man. Crawford was a first-hand witness — he grew up in the suburbs of D.C., where he started a fanzine called Metrozine to document the burgeoning music scene. And Salad Days — a term that Merriam-Webster defines as "the period of life when someone is young and does not have much experience" — features interviews with countless artists that were at the heart of the D.C. scene. Many of them describe the early punk scene as a boys' club united by the repression of a city that lacked any blue-collar community. The music became an emotional respite, a place for the anger and frustration of a generation to be brought to the surface. D.C. was a petri dish in which the conditions were just right, a disparity between great wealth and poverty, repressed youth, and a collective need to create, from which the soundtrack of an era was born. The film is a part of the Charleston Music Hall's spring film series and will be screened at the venue for one night only. —Madi Kois WEDNESDAY

click to enlarge JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek

EXPERIMENTAL | Infinitikiss
w/ Kaywhy and Band & the Beat
Wed. March 2
9 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

Nic Jenkins of electronic project Infinitikiss is a composer, artist, musician, sound designer, and all-around creative force in Charleston. His connections in the South Carolina scene run deep, from being on the staff at Columbia's Nickelodeon Theatre to collaborating with Run Dan Run, Grace Joyner, and others from the Hearts & Plugs crowd. "I respect and admire so many things about so many people, so one way that I can revel in that joy is to offer my perspectives in constructive, peaceful, enlightening, and uplifting ways by making performative and compositional art," Jenkins says. "The imagination is highly underrated." Jenkins is always out to expand his artistic reach. Thus, Infinitikiss appeared in April 2015, when Jenkins began relentlessly releasing new collections of music, the last of which dropped in November. Titled FRWRD, his most recent album creates an ambient, minimalistic sonic experience. Jenkins incorporated new software, hardware, and songwriting styles with FRWRD and continues to explore new techniques with current projects. Most recently, Jenkins has delved into set and costume design as well as album art design. He is also currently sound designing for Columbia organization, the Power Company Collaborative. The latest from Infinitikiss is a cassette tape split with the Lovely Few, and it's currently available at downtown Charleston's the Vinyl Countdown, Papa Jazz Records in Columbia, and at various upcoming shows. Jenkins says, "Overall, Infinitikiss is just a new level of me finding my artistic way but opening up my process by blending and collaging with other processes." —Kalyn Oyer WEDNESDAY

click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided

AMERICANA | Ben Caplan
w/ Lily Slay & Mackie Boles
Sun. March 6
9 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

Coming off like some sort of unholy mixture of heavy-bearded backwoods mountain man, demented preacher, and medicine-show pitchman, Halifax, Nova Scotia's own Ben Caplan is one of the more unusual and memorable frontmen you're likely to see. "Charismatic" might be one word to describe Caplan's mesmerizing onstage persona, but "unhinged" might be a bit more on the nose. He's also the ringmaster of an incredibly catchy and raucous musical circus. With his propulsive piano-playing leading the way and his sonorous, Tom Waits-meets-Nick Cave voice bellowing over the top, the music is an infectious blend of gypsy violins, hard-thrummed double-bass, and, occasionally, a little melodica for good measure. Leading his band the Casual Smokers through their feverish paces on their new album, Birds With Broken Wings, the group knocks out woozy, seasick chanties alongside lowdown barroom piano ballads right up against demented funhouse swagger, all with equal enthusiasm. And through it all, no matter the brand of music roiling beneath him, Caplan intones his shadowy tales of heartbreak, hard luck, hard-ons, and hard times with just the right mix of storytellers' relish and pervert's lust. On Birds with Broken Wings, the songs explode with sounds both ancient and modern, bringing in more than 30 musicians and even more instruments. The cover shows Caplan in a heroic stance, his mane of unkempt facial hair blowing in the breeze as he stares out over a roaring, rocky waterfall. It's difficult to imagine a more accurate depiction of the musical maelstrom contained within. —Vincent Harris SUNDAY

click to enlarge JON SANTIAGO
  • Jon Santiago

BLUEGRASS | Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess
w/ Deadwin, David Childers & the Serpents Of Reformation, and Ripley & the Ghost
Sat. March 5
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

Forming in Charleston 10 years ago, Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess — formerly the Michael Martin Band — and its brand of fiery folk-bluegrass have garnered a loyal local following via regular gigs at places like Chico Feo, Tommy Condons (Tuesdays), and Cumberland Smokehouse (Wednesdays). The band, now comprised of Martin, fiddler Caryn Egan, Ripley Owermohle (Ripley & the Ghost) on banjo and harmonica, drummer CJ Barrow, and bassist James Reynen, have had a lot of strange luck with one particular track called "Take Your Pills," which Martin wrote about his nephew. "When he was six he was prescribed Ritalin for ADD," he says. "The song was just a personal protest written for myself I think." Then one day a decade ago, Martin was busking on the streets of Charleston when a man told him he wanted to use the track for a movie. The two agreed on a trade — Martin sold the song for $2,500, the amount he needed to make his first record. "He gave me the money after flying us to D.C.," Martin says. "The movie was called Crystal Meth: Prison or Death. He explained to me this is going to become a very big problem, and this was his attempt to help. He was 65 and had made his fortune, and this was what he wanted to do." But before the movie was made, the filmmaker died of a heart attack. Now fast-forward 10 years. "I'm playing at Chico Feo and Marc Regan from Main Man Records [New Jersey} is there." Regan was in town to see his daughter graduate from CofC that weekend. "One of their songs, 'Take Your Pills,' was a perfect match for our recovery program CFC Loud & Clear," says Regan. "Our foundation CFC Loud and Clear, a 501c3, helps people recover from the horrors of heroin addiction. We invited them up to our Rock the Farm Festival to perform after hearing that song. After their performance, and the reaction of the crowd, we sat down with them and put together a two-disc record deal showcasing their songwriting." And that's exactly what Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess are celebrating this weekend — the release of Gharkey St. Motel. "It's 12 songs from my DIY albums that have been mastered for professional release," Martin says. In addition to the Royal American show, the band will also have a release party on Fri. March 4 at 6 p.m. at Chico Feo, the venue where Martin first met Barrow and Reynen. The band is also already at work on fresh material, and you can anticipate another album release sometime this spring. For further updates, stay tuned to michaelmartinband.com. —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY

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