Live Music: Lobo Marino; Brad Heller and The Fustics; The Machine; Ballyhoo!

Great live music to check out this week



w/ Josh Harty and Rosedale
Wed. Jan. 8
6 p.m.
Awendaw Green

w/ John Roland
Thurs. Jan. 9
10 p.m.
Tin Roof

Six years ago Laney Sullivan and her boyfriend Jameson Price sold all their possessions, canceled the lease on their apartment, and took off to work on organic farms in South America. When it started to get cold, they worked in youth hostels. Sullivan had brought an accordion, and with Price on guitar, they began playing. And that was the beginning of the band Lobo Marino. Since then, the couple has been producing halcyon, experimental folk music fueled by their travels. Their fourth album, Fields, was produced entirely with a handheld recording device. Half the songs were derived from sound samples they picked up on the road, and the other half came from spontaneous improvisations inspired by their surroundings. “We go to other countries and then sort of channel what we’re experiencing musically and culturally into our own music,” she says. “I got a harmonium, and we started to play more tribal folk music that was more meditative and trying to have a transcendent experience with the music and trying to have intention in our lyrics that we’re trying to bring up some level of consciousness.” The result: Fields is a free-spirited, tranquil soundscape that defies definition. —Corey Hutchins WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY


ROOTS ROCK | Brad Heller and The Fustics
w/ Steel Petals
Fri. Jan. 10
9 p.m.
The Sparrow

Roots rockers and self-styled “poets of the underclass,” Brad Heller and the Fustics have built a following in the Southeast thanks to their reputation for delivering high-energy shows and touring hard. For a band whose name is derived from the phrase “fuse acoustic music,” the sound of Heller and company is hard to pin down. A natural storyteller, Heller likens his songwriting to that of Kentucky’s Chris Knight, and the Fustics frontman comes armed with a vagabond’s collection of adventures. In the early ’90s, Heller hopped on moving trains and hitchhiked around the American West, and his songs recall the small towns and back roads he’s visited. “I’ve been running roads that seem to never end,” he sings on the title track of the band’s fourth full-length album American Burden, a song about the sins of the U.S., complete with mellow acoustic rhythms and cutting electric riffs. “I’m caught in the crossfires of a nation I don’t know.” Maybe you can relate. —Corey Hutchins FRIDAY


TRIBUTE | The Machine
Mon. Jan. 13
7:30 p.m.
Pour House

Right now, some college freshman has scored a bag of reefer and convinced his buddies to skip class, get high, and watch the 1982 film Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Pity him. He’s about to embark on an hour-and-a-half of uncomfortable numbness, punctuated only by momentary bits of animated WTF. If there was ever a 4:20 buzzkill, it’s that horribly boring movie. And the album ain’t much better. It’s the sonic equivalent of an Ambien and Oxycontin cocktail, a.k.a. the Heath Ledger. If you truly want to experience the greatness of Pink Floyd, stay away from Roger Waters’ bloated magnum dopus. Instead, give a listen to either The Dark Side of the Moon or Meddle, two stellar discs that were made back when the Floyd was still a band and not a team of enslaved studio musicians led by Waters. The genre-jumping Meddle in particular is one of rock’s great unheralded albums — it’s got folk and dream pop and all kinds of in-studio derring-do. Speaking of Waters and company, this week the Pink Floyd tribute act the Machine strolls into town for a show at the Pour House. While you can surely expect to hear the hits — even the godawful “Comfortably Numb” and the ever-so-silly “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” — the Machine is sure to play some deep cuts. Fingers crossed that they give “Echoes” a shot. The 20-minute epic is without a doubt the best song Floyd ever recorded. —Chris Haire MONDAY


SKA-POP | Ballyhoo!
w/ Passafire
Wed. Jan. 15
8 p.m.
$10/adv., $12/door
Pour House

Energetic Maryland-based ska-poppers Ballyhoo! formed when its band members were teenagers almost two decades ago, but the group didn’t get serious until its second album, 2006’s Do It for the Money! That’s when the guys in the band began touring with gusto and releasing albums at a steady clip – 2009’s Cheers!, 2011’s Daydreams, and last year’s Pineapple Grenade. Over time, they’ve sharpened their craft with each release, and with Pineapple Grenade, the Ballyhoo! boys have achieved their finest blend of infectious reggae rhythms and pop melodies to date. The best track on the disc, “Beautiful Day,” would nicely bookend Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” — it’s cut from the same uplifting adult-pop cloth. Other standouts include the lazy beachy jam “She Wants to Destroy Me,” the Specials-esque “Battle Cry,” and “No Good,” which sounds like an R&B version of Sublime. A strong theme of self-acceptance and peaceful coexistence (“A Lesson in Gravity,” “Take It Easy”) runs through the 14-track disc. —Chris Parker NEXT WEDNESDAY

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