SOUND CHECKS 

Notable Shows in the Next Week

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REGGAE/FUNK | Spiritual Rez
Wed. March 28
Cumberland's
$6

Influenced by the cream of Jamaican Two Tone and Studio One flavas, the members of Boston-based troupe Spiritual Rez are on their way to becoming dancefloor demigods themselves. The seven-piece ensemble, complete with a crystal-clear horn section, melds powerful reggae, funk, and ska but doesn't simply rehash the classic, much-imitated models that came before. Comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Toft Willingham (pictured), guitarist/vocalist Van Gordon Martin, bassist Jesse Shaternick, drummer Ian "Meat" Miller, percussionist Brian Nelson, trumpet player Robert Vesnaver, and trombonist Brian Evans, the band was formed by students and alumni at Beantown's Berklee College of Music. Rising In the East is the title of Spiritual Rez's second release -- a handclapping, horn-blaring EP of original funky reggae/ska anthems dotted by Willingham and Martin's almost Southern rock-sounding guitar licks and a gorilla-sized rhythm section that drives originals like "Peaceful Warrior," "Climbing the Mountain" and the slow, soulful title track. See www.spiritualrez.com for more. --Michael Andrews WEDNESDAY

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ROCK | The Colour
w/ The Changes, Gringo Star
Thurs. March 29
Village Tavern
$6

"We feed off of honest rock 'n' roll, whether it be shamelessly pompous or brutally honest, it's what eventually will be the only thing standing," says drummer Nathan Warkentin, of L.A. pop/rock combo The Colour. The up-and-coming quartet visits Charleston during a stop on an East Coast tour in support of their newly-released debut LP, Between Earth & Sky (Rethink). Warkentin, vocalist Wyatt Hull, guitarist Davey Quon, and bassist Derek VanHeule came together in the fall of 2003 and are currently the "flagship act for EMI's new Rethink label." They've already hit some of the late-night talk shows and have toured across the U.S. and UK since their inception, sharing the stage with the likes of Interpol, The Futureheads, Jet, and Kasabian. Produced by engineer Jacquire King, (Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Tom Waits), the riffy, emotive rock on Between Earth & Sky resembles a jam session between the Stones, The Cure, and The Gun Club. "We wanted to create something that was a part of each of us, something that genuinely described the tension between our relationships and the struggles of our lives," says Quon. "I think we achieved that." Check www.thecolour.tv for more. --T. Ballard Lesemann THURSDAY

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ROCK | Distorted Penguins
w/ Steve Hit Mike
Thurs. March 29
Cumberland's
$6

Powered by mean rhythm and brass sections, Baltimore-based pop/punk band Distorted Penguins have been touring the Southeast for years with a guitar-driven, ska/alt-rock/nü-punk hybrid sound and an upbeat vibe. Guitarist Andy Sams, bassist Nick Taylor, and singer Derek Shank formed the band in 1996. Their current lineup features drummer Logan Korn, trumpeter Derek Coughlin, and trombonist Court Manley. This six-piece toured heavily over the last year behind 2005's Billiam Rockwell. Charleston's own classic-punk revivalists Steve Hit Mike -- lead singer and guitarist Jeff Riddle, drummer Brian Cochran, guitarist Chris Love, and bassist Jamie Simpson -- open the show with some blasting four-chord rockstuff from their recent EP Twelve Feet Under (look for a new album, recorded at Fusion Five, soon). Check out more at www.distortedpenguins.com and www.myspace.com/stevehitmike. --TBL THURSDAY

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DJ/HIP-HOP | Kid Koala
Sun. April 1 / Mon. April 2
Monster Music & Movies / Village Tavern
Free / $12

Critically-acclaimed hip-hop turntablist Eric San -- a.k.a. "Kid Koala" -- shows off his turntable skills at a special in-store gig and at the Village Tavern this week. Touring in support of his latest LP, Your Mom's Favourite DJ (Ninja Tune), Kid Koala performs a brief set in the Monster Music store at 5:30 p.m. on Sun. April 1 and for a full set at the Tavern on Mon. April 2. Kid Koala was the first North American artist to sign with UK label Ninja Tune. In 1998, he was invited to join Money Mark's band, then went on the road to open for the Beastie Boys on their Hello Nasty world tour. Of his new LP, MOJO writer Angus Batey puts it like this: "Kid Koala has scratch tricks every bit as dazzling as any DMC champion, but by tasteful sourcing and judicious use of spoken word records among the sound effects and funky breakbeats, he creates surreal storylines for his bizarre compositions." Wow. See www.kidkoala.com for more. --TBL SUNDAY/MONDAY


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