FESTIVAL ‌ Hellzapoppin' 

The Summer Southern Music Festival presents a new generation of pop-rock

The Summer Southern Musical Festival
w/ The April Invention, Lowercase Thieves, The Bullets, Schooner, Pleasant, Morning State, Peter Alvanos
Fri. Aug. 4
8 p.m.
$6 ($8 under 21)
Cumberland's
301 King St.
577-9469
www.cumberlands.net
www.myspace.com/southernmusicfestival

Bandleader and songwriter Harrison Ray, the mod-looking singer and guitarist of local trio April Invention, is a dedicated man, determined to nurture a healthy local band scene by putting the spotlight on some up-and-coming pop/rock acts with original songs and sounds.

This Friday evening at Cumberland's, Ray acts as ringleader during a hefty seven-band showcase called the "Southern Summer Music Festival." The show includes several participants and shares a similar sentiment from this spring's massive Holy City Pop Fest, organized by members of local group The Explorers Club.

Chapel Hill's Schooner and Pleasant make their way into town as do Athens, Ga.'s Morning State and singer/guitarist Peter Alvanos (a former Charleston musician, currently of Athens band Fabulous Bird). They plan to share the stage (and a gear) with three Charleston acts: indie-rock trio Lowercase Thieves, post-punk trio The Bullets, and The April Invention, comprised of Ray on guitar and vocals, Michael Gunter and Walter Reddington on tag-team drums, Harper Blake on bass and fiddle, Erin McKinley on piano and violin, and other occasional guests.

City Paper caught up with Ray to get the details:

CITY PAPER: So, what's the purpose of this festival?

Harrison Ray: I feel like the main purpose of the festival is to have a good time around like-minded musicians. I also believe it's essential to any city, regardless of size, to try and bring in new faces and sounds. I have heard from more than a few sources that the same "local greats" are wearing thin. So, I decided to try something different. You won't see the same three or four groups that always seem bunched together. I hope my efforts pay off.

CP: Tell us a bit about the bands, for those unfamiliar.

HR: Well, April Invention is my baby, so I'll just say that we're a bit of Pink Floyd, Gram Parsons, and The Verve. Schooner, from Chapel Hill, has a classic pop sound. They remind me of the Byrds. The Bullets are the most underrated band in town in my opinion. No one sounds like them ... Interpol meets Joy Division. Lowercase Thieves are sure to please the "old school" punk fan. I hear good Fugazi and Nirvana and they have great energy. Morning State are from Athens, Ga. I love their tracks, but they're hard to put a finger on. I love the drumming. Peter Alvanos [of Fabulous Bird] is another Athens performer. He played the Holy City Pop Festival and I was hooked. Peter is great and will be doing solo acoustic material. Pleasant are from Chapel Hill and sound how good indie rock should: not overproduced. I urge everyone to check out the MySpace page [www.myspace.com/southernmusicfestival] and take a listen.

Cp: Do you think it's beneficial to pull in bands from big music towns like Chapel Hill and Athens?

HR: Yes. If we all work together we can make a difference. Sometimes, I think Charleston is overlooked and that's a shame.

Cp: So, you think more events like this are necessary in Charleston?

HR: Absolutely. If this one goes well I would like to put together another event with an even more diverse lineup. I don't think hip-hop or death metal gets enough attention here. I'm not a huge fan of those styles, but it would be delightful if it were available.

Cp: Is this going to become a regular thing?I mean, could you see yourself working on it every year?

HR: I don't know. If this thing becomes the Hindenberg, then I won't ever consider it again! If it's good then I hope to make it happen every year.


Cp: What should people bring?

Ray: People should bring friends and a good attitude, money for drinks and cover charge.

Cp: Who all is going to be there?

Ray: I know that nice, fun-loving, rocker types will be there, and cute girls and guys. Clay from 52.5 Records will have a booth there. 96 Wave is doing what it can on my budget. I know what you won't find: none of the "rock star" B.S. There is enough of that going around in this small town to make anyone sick. So many performers are overlooked because of who knows who. There is something to be gained from every style of music. As performers and audience, we're all equals. I speak for the underclass. Revolution has never been fueled by the content, and the ones you look down upon could surely become your heroes.


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