Live Music: Mechanical River; Dumb Doctors; Warsong

Great live music to check out this week

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ERIKA WOLF
  • Erika Wolf

EXPERIMENTAL | Mechanical River
w/ Stefanie Santana
Fri. Jan. 9
9 p.m.
$7
Redux Contemporary Art Center

Mechanical River frontman Joel Hamilton’s live stage presence is formidable and freaky. He’s liable to wear a baseball helmet with a built-in microphone, stomp out his own drum beats, and bust out a saxophone solo. But for all his musical quirks, none are featured more frequently than the cigar-box guitar. Its tinny sound helped shape the band’s 2012 album Astral Castle, and as Hamilton prepares to perform some new material as part of the Revival Music Series at Redux, he says he’s still making liberal use of the instrument. “It’s got a mind and a will of its own, as most things do,” Hamilton writes in an email. “It’s very portable and has proven durable. I love the sounds that are possible. I think it protects me.” Still, there’s no telling what to expect musically from the new material. One of the new tunes, “Financial Gain,” features heavy synthesizers, trunk-rattling bass, and some unusually political lyrics for Hamilton: “I watch my brothers and sisters/ Been living off minimum wage/ What if the politicians/ Were living off the same?” So, what’s been going on in Hamilton’s musical world? As usual, he keeps a lot under his hat. “I’ve been banging on things, pressing buttons, plucking strings all to make sounds a lot lately. Recording them. Writing some songs,” he says. —Paul Bowers FRIDAY

JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek

GARAGE ROCK | Dumb Doctors
w/ Elim Bolt and Ellipser
Sun. Jan. 11
9 p.m.
Free
Local 616

Local garage-fuzz-punk band Dumb Doctors are going through some ch-ch-changes lately with the lineup, though Jim Faust is still on bass while founder and frontman Scott Dence continues to mastermind the whole shebang. Our favorite of the rotating lineups came when Dence and Elim Bolt’s Johnnie Matthews and Brett Nash performed at a recent The Royal American gig together under the moniker Baes, and the rockers’ usual attire of T-shirts and jeans was noticeably absent. With Matthews sporting braided pigtails, Dence in a flapper hat, and Nash in a blonde mullet wig and sequins, the vintage dress-adorned gents performed Dumb Docs songs to an all-smiles audience. When or where Baes will return is anybody’s guess, but staying home for any Dumb Doctors show from here on out puts everyone at risk of missing out on the best punk-goes-drag show in Charleston. No word on who or what the Local 616 gig will entail other than the band’s reliably raucous sounds, plus they’ll be joined by fellow rock ‘n’ rollers Elim Bolt and Asheville post-punk band Ellipser. —Kelly Rae Smith SUNDAY

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ROCK | WARSONG
w/ Grace Joyner and Gold Light
Sat. Jan. 10
9 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

Not to be mistaken for the Spanish band of the same name, WARSONG describes themselves as “super leviathonic,” and we could only imagine that’s because of the monstrous wall of sound the Charlotte five-piece are capable of creating. This past April, WARSONG released The White Elephant EP. The record’s tracks boast the pounding, anthemic drums of Caleb Rodgers, while John Littlefield’s angular guitar riffs will remain ringing in your head well past the initial listen. Noah Smith’s bass is neatly in the pocket, keeping the low end tight. The instruments’ flood of sound washes beneath frontman Micah Rodgers’ smooth vocals. WARSONG’s composition style reminds us of Muse’s early records right before they hit the big time. The powerhouse group will be joined this weekend by Charleston’s indie-pop songstress Grace Joyner and vintage rock ‘n’ roller Gold Light. It’s the kind of misfit lineup we’d like to see more of. —J. Chapa SATURDAY


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