Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Soundchecks: Halloween Cover Show, Blood On The Harp, Sinners & Saints, Doom Flamingo

Even the band names are spooky

Posted by Kelly Rae Smith and Vincent Harris on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Brett Nash - JONATHAN BONCEK FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathan Boncek file photo
  • Brett Nash

POST-SPOOKY | Halloween Cover Show
Sun. Oct. 28
5 p.m.
$10
Tin Roof

Move over, whatever plans you had for Sunday night, because that's precisely when Brett Nash and friends' annual Halloween Cover Show returns to the Tin Roof. Now in its 11th year, the event, nay, institution will feature locals who've signed up to dress and perform as a favorite act, be it a well-known hitmaker or an obscure underground artist. This year's lineup includes odes to Cursive, Devo, Fleetwood Mac, Limp Bizkit, April March, Joni Mitchell, Joy Division, the Modern Lovers, Morphine, Gary Numan, Sifl & Olly, the Smiths, and the Weakerthans. Each set will run only 15-minutes long, so you'll get an earful of sweet snippets all evening. Dress as you wish, but costumes are encouraged. —Kelly Rae Smith SUNDAY

click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided

APPALACHIAN GOTH | Blood On The Harp

w/ Bonemeal Baker
Tues. Oct. 30
9 p.m.
$5
The Sparrow

Let's take a metaphorical leap for a moment. Let's imagine that, rather than originating in Melbourne, Australia, the goth-music duo Dead Can Dance got together in the hills of North Carolina. And let's imagine further that, instead of working ancient religions and world-music into their dark, macabre musical brew, DCD brought in high-lonesome harmonies and burbling banjos of bluegrass. Welcome to the world of Blood On The Harp, a band that cheerfully refers to their music simply as "Songs About Death." And they ain't kidding about that, as song titles like "Build Mama A Coffin" and "To The Bottom Of Lake Buford" indicate. The thing is, none of it would be effective at all if the music weren't so haunting. Anchored by the keening, chill-inducing vocal harmonies of Miguel Olascuaga and Keena Graham, this is gloomy music, to be sure, but there's something compelling about it. It doesn't seem affected or kitschy; just genuinely sad and spooky. —Vincent Harris TUESDAY

click to enlarge PROVIDED
  • Provided

ALT-COUNTRY | Sinners & Saints

w/ Brian Robert and Barnwell
Fri. Oct. 26
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

Nowadays, the Charlotte duo Sinners & Saints are most commonly identified as "alt-country." But take away a few decades and this music could stand alongside acoustic country pioneers like Hank Williams, Sr. or the Carter Family. Perry Fowler and Mark Baran grab acoustic guitars, banjos, upright basses, harmonicas and whatever else they can find and kick up a hillbilly honky-tonk cloud of dust that serves as an antidote to radio stations full of pop-country hybrids. And that's exactly what they want to do. "What's considered country nowadays isn't really country," Fowler says. "You can get into the semantics of it or talk about people being purists, and I don't think a genre is meant to stay one thing forever. But at the same time, new country sucks." The group's traditionalist-style sound is one that both men sacrifice a lot to keep doing; they both have full-time jobs in North Carolina, and keeping up the band isn't always easy. "At the end of the day, it's fun," Fowler says. "Sometimes we might feel a little burnt-out, but you could get burnt-out doing anything. So why not do something you love to do?" —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

click to enlarge SCARLET BUCKET
  • Scarlet Bucket

SYNTHWAVE | Doom Flamingo

w/ RoBoTrio
Fri. Oct. 26
8:30 p.m.
$22 adv., $25 door
Pour House

Synthwave is a relatively new genre of music that takes the icy keyboards of 1980s pop and brings them into a shimmering retro-futurist context. Think those great '80s synth-pop acts like Depeche Mode or Human League and give the music a little more depth. The genre combines an appealing sense of nostalgia with an underlying musical strength, and it's a style that Charleston keyboardist Ross Bogan likes. A lot. "I really became sort of obsessed with it," Bogan says. "It was all I was listening to; it sort of still is." In fact, Bogan was listening to synthwave while driving home from a trip to the Grand Canyon a few months back when he got a call from sax player Mike Quinn. Quinn was starting a new band with Umphreys McGee bassist Ryan Stasik and wanted to know if Bogan was interested in joining. He was, and had the genre for the band all picked out. "I got the call, and I was like, 'This is it,'" he says. "Let's do this." But the resulting group, Doom Flamingo, takes a slightly different approach than typical synthwave musicians; namely full-band playing and improvisation, as opposed to programmed beats and strict song structures. "This is music with a set of rules, but we're doing something new with it, in that we're a full band trying to match that aesthetic," he says. "We're all largely improvisational musicians trying to adhere to a sort of strict musical dialect. It's been a difficult task, but we're enjoying it a lot." —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

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