Soundchecks: Jamie Lee Thurston, The Mobros, Death on Two Wheels, Looka Looka Looka

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Modern Country | Jamie Lee Thurston
Fri. Dec. 14
9 p.m.
Free
The Dive

Nashville's Jamie Lee Thurston's liquor of choice may be tequila, but he's recently become a big fan of wine thanks to the fine folks at the Holy City's very own Blossom, where he was educated on some of the grape's finer points. This week the country crooner is back in the Lowcountry for a gig at The Dive in North Charleston and to celebrate his birthday. Over the course of his career, Thurston has toured with the Dixie Chicks, Brad Paisley, and Jason Aldean. "I've been doing this for a long time and worked really hard to get better, and I've been surrounded by some really good people who have helped get me there," says Thurston, whose albums include Where's an Outlaw (When You Need One) and I Just Wanna Do My Thing. But despite his seasoned record, he admits he still gets "cold chills" while on stage. "But, you know, I'm not messing around, and I ain't afraid to turn it up. I love to rock, and it's something I can actually do." Through it all, Thurston says he has never forgotten who he is. "My first producer, image wise, told me to be more mysterious and I was never really comfortable with that," the singer says. "What you see is what you get. I'm just a real person." —Libby Conwell FRIDAY

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Hillbilly Soul | The Mobros
Wed. Dec. 12
8 p.m.
Free
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ (Sullivan's)

Thu. Dec. 13
9 p.m.
Free
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ (West Ashley)

Brothers Kelly and Patrick Morris, otherwise known as the Mobros, are a couple of Camden, S.C. youngsters who've managed to create a raw, complex sound that's way more mature than anything you'd expect from a 19- and 21-year-old. Blending rock, soul, blues, and the occasional calypso rhythm imbibed from their Trinidadian mother, the Mobros made their unofficial debut at a high school talent show a few years back. "We didn't have much to work with, but we'd always wanted to play together," says Kelly. "All the cheerleaders were screaming, and if the cheerleaders liked it, then we guessed we must be OK." Three years in, the duo has nailed a truly Southern sound that comes from combining gritty vocals with smooth melodies. You'd expect to hear songs like "Mississippi Woman" or "My Baby Walked Out" in some hidden gem of a backwoods juke joint. Musical success has meant a hiatus from college, but that's OK with Kelly. "I know I'm never going back to college. All I want to do is this," he says. "There's really nothing better out there than to just create your own music." The two are currently finishing up their first album, which should be out in the middle of January. For more info, visit reverbnation.com/themobros. —Elizabeth Pandolfi WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

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Rabid Rock | Death on Two Wheels
w/ Bully Pulpit, El Camino, and Gasoline Heart
Sat. Dec. 14
8 p.m.
The Sparrow

Death of Two Wheels' debut The Separation of Church and Fate was a fiery flashback to the glory days of cock rock — you know, back before the '90s when every other rocker was a self-loathing navel-gazer with a persecution complex. And the second album from this Atlanta hard rock outfit is offering more of the same. "It's more raucous, more rabid, an in-your-face rock 'n' roll album all the way through, top to bottom," says Trae Vedder, frontman and guitar player for Death on Two Wheels. Vedder, a man who counts Social Distortion's Mike Ness and master bluesmen R.L. Burnside and Kenny Brown as three of his faves, promises that the new self-titled disc is an attempt to capture the feel of the band's super-charged live show. Currently, Death on Two Wheels is partnering with Pledge Music to raise money for the Pablove Foundation, an organization that funds pediatric cancer research and treatment. All you have to do is pre-order Vedder and company's new album. "If you read the story of Pablo and the Castelaz family, which I encourage everyone to do, there's no way you won't be touched by their love and compassion," Vedder says. "It's important to keep things in perspective and to always give back." —Chris Haire SATURDAY

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Dumpster Swing | Looka Looka Looka
Fri. Dec. 14
8 p.m.
Free
The Mill

Some bands tour because they have to. For others, like the two-man Looka Looka Looka, touring is a way of life. Guitarist and singer Andrew Pino and bassist Steve Satch have only been together for about a month, but they've already hit eight states along the East Coast and into the Midwest. "We love it," Pino says. "Touring is really the whole point of being in the band." The duo's sound is a mix of folk, swing, and gypsy jazz, with the gypsy element easily winning out. There's lots of quick, thin twanginess that makes for an almost Eastern European sound. You can also hear Hispanic influences, especially in the parodic "El Borracho," which sounds like it's being sung by a gothic mariachi band. Looka's got a pretty complete sound on its own, but they welcome other musicians to sit in with them. Often, Pino says, they'll meet people before or after shows, when they're playing out on the street. "If they're good and we get along, sometimes we'll bring 'em along if they want to travel with us for a while." While it will most likely be just Pino and Satch on stage in Charleston, there's always the chance of a surprise musical guest. Listen to their songs and learn more at reverbnation.com/lookalookalooka. —Elizabeth Pandolfi FRIDAY

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