Soundchecks: Harrison Ray, Il, Against Me!, Big Something



Freak Folk | Harrison Ray
Fri. Nov. 9
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Harrison Ray has packed up his bags and moved out to the country, but there's no need to expect the freak folkster to start writing honky tonkers and murder ballads. "I'm true country. I love to sip coffee and listen to leaves crackle under a sycamore tree," Ray says. "Rest easy, though. I will never release a country record. I never want to dig in that well-worn denim ditch." The former head ghost whisperer for Harrison Ray's Magic Ghost has nothing but good things to say about his time in the Holy City. "It's been real good to me in hindsight. I will always come back to play and talk philosophy with those who care," Ray adds. "However, some force seems to draw me into those cornfields. This little city gave me the message I needed, and now I'm hanging up the phone." A master of penning otherworldly folk, Ray is currently working on a new collection of spacey, spectral tunes titled For Good Luck and Bad Weather. "The new songs were written over the course of this past year, which gave me a few bumps on the head, almost spiritual, not in the religious sense nor in the 'I shop at the health food store' sense, though it is divine in its own unique way," Ray says. "I feel somewhat out of touch with the world around me. A great deal of people are wearing masks and don't know it. The songs are a diffused reflection of this experience." —Chris Haire FRIDAY

Hard Rock | I1
Fri. Nov. 9
10 p.m.
The Sparrow

Brandon Burke, the lead guitarist for up-and-coming Holy City hard rockers I1, looks to Mike Patton for inspiration, and rightfully so. The former frontman for Mr. Bungle and singer for the newly reunited Faith No More, Patton is not only one of the most prolific artists in the biz, he is arguably the most diverse around, tackling everything from metal to hip-hop to orchestral music to Italian love ballads to cartoon pop to an entire album of growls, grunts, and gargles. "Patton can take it in many different directions," Burke, a.k.a. Mr. Herke says. A similar love of diversity can be found on the tracks that I1 have just laid down. There's the slinky jammer "Explaining Myself" and the sinister swing of "Kerrified" and the Bungle-meets-the Doors circus rocker "March of the Clowns," for example. The boys in I1 — Adam Daniel (vocals), Mike Jones (bass), Eric Robertson (drums), and Burke — have only been together six months but they currently have at least 13 songs under their belt. Most are similar to more traditional hard rockers — the guys' chief inspiration is the early '90s Seattle scene — but, Burke says, quite a few tap into a particular Patton-esque carnival craziness. Who knows exactly what direction I1 will take, but they could be on the verge of establishing themselves as one of the Holy City's most eclectic bands.—Chris Haire FRIDAY

Punk | Against Me!
w/ Fake Problems
Sat. Nov. 10
7 p.m.
$15/advance, $18/door
Music Farm

Against Me! is going through a period of transition, but in a way the band always has been. In its earliest days, founder Tom Gabel played solo acoustic shows in houses and small, DIY venues, while now the four-piece goes electric on big-time tours with big-name acts like the Cult. The earliest Against Me! records were earnest and frustrated pieces of work released on small labels like Plan-It-X and No Idea, while the major label albums on Sire — New Wave and White Crosses — showcase the glossier side of punk. And this year, the band transitioned in a way that has nothing to do with its music. Gabel came out as transgender in a blaze of Rolling Stone glory back in May and is now living as Laura Jane Grace. Up next for Against Me! is the concept album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which Grace started recording months before her announcement. The band may look a little different, but the Music Farm show (with Naples, Fla., band Fake Problems opening) will surely remind some of you of your teenage anarcho punk days. See you in the pit. —Susan Cohen SATURDAY

Future Funk | Big Something
w/ Jimkata
Wed. Nov. 14
9 p.m.
$7/advance, $8/door
Pour House

Some weeks can be shittier than others, and all you need is to get lost in something bigger than yourself. That might come in the form of a healthy dose of musical escapism. The guys in North Carolina-based electro jammers Big Something can completely relate to that sentiment judging by their album Songs from the Middle of Nowhere. On "A Simple Vision," singer Nick MacDaniels croons, "Take me away / To outer space / To a simple place / That no one knows," while on "Big City Song," he sings, "Well, I'm not trying to put down the big city / All of them lights and cars, there's so damn many/ And it's overwhelming / the soul that I'm selling / The time is always wearing thin / Tomorrow's never gonna be the same again." Throw in Big Something's solid drum lines, funky synth, and groovy guitars, and you'll be transported to a better place in a hot second. Joining Big Something will be the six-piece ensemble Jimkata, who share MacDaniels and company's cosmic wisdom and catchy grooves. The Ithaca, N.Y.-based Jimkata is touring behind their latest release Die Digital, the follow-up to the well-received EP Ghosts and Killers. —Katie Kimsey WEDNESDAY

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