Live Music: Packway Handle Band; Mariachi El Bronx; Rubblebucket; Roaring 20s Jazz

Great live music to check out this week

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MARIACHI PUNK | Mariachi El Bronx
Sat. May 16
9 p.m.
$12/door, $15/adv.
Music Farm

Matt Caughthran was in the middle of printing a show poster — a Picasso inspired bull — for Cinco de Mayo when we caught up with the vocalist from Mariachi El Bronx. The mariachi-punk songwriter began his musical journey in 2002 with The Bronx, a group that thrived in the Black Flag-influenced punk scene. The members were heavily influenced by the Hispanic neighborhoods they grew up in, so a new direction began to take shape. And since the father of the band’s guitarrón player, Vincent Hidalgo, was once a member of Los Lobos, the band was naturally inspired to learn how to play traditional mariachi instruments, and The Bronx soon began to perform as Mariachi El Bronx. “Everyone took lessons on YouTube,” Caughthran says. “With punk music, there are no rules. You just make noise, really. With mariachi, there are strict rhythm patterns, instrumentation, and certain things you can’t really fuck with too much. We had to be conscious of that.” The band released its third record last year with Mariachi El Bronx III. Caughthran says his muse for the album was rather dark. “You know when you’ve thought of something to death and can’t stop thinking of it?” asks Caughthran. “There were strange ghosts on the last record, but I think I’ve finally gotten over them and am open to some new shit in my life.” The disc, which was recorded on a farm in Charlottesville, Va., incorporates structural sonic layering and includes some new instrumentation, like xylophone and harp. The Bronx continue to coexist with the mariachi project as well as another side gig for Caughthran, The Drips. “Life changes, and you aren’t the same as you were three years ago. People don’t want to embrace that part of it, but that’s the secret ingredient to making each record different.” —Kalyn Oyer SATURDAY

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AFRO-BEAT POP | Rubblebucket
w/ Vacationer
Fri. May 15
9 p.m.
$13/adv., $15/door
The Pour House

Rubblebucket has been known to incorporate absurd antics into its live shows, even attempting mummification mid-performance. “Our lighting guy wrapped me with toilet paper on stage. We decided it wasn’t very eco-friendly,” says trumpet player and songwriter Alex Toth. The seven-piece horn-fronted band uses afro-beat roots and fast-paced rhythms to blend a psychedelic-art-pop sound. Rubblebucket has played on Jimmy Kimmel, had their single “Carousel Ride” featured in Drinking Buddies, and garnered attention from the NPR Tiny Desk series. “Every little victory helps you decide, ‘I’ll still do this crazy thing I don’t get paid much for,’” says Toth. One victory for Toth has been getting sober, which influenced the songwriting process for the band’s latest disc, Survival Sounds. Toth poured himself into a deluge of stream-of-consciousness poetry that he then filtered into conventional song forms, a process that produced over 50 tracks in the course of only five months. Vocalist and songwriter Kalmia Traver also garnered inspiration by overcoming her on-the-road battle with ovarian cancer, which is why, Toth says, Survival Sounds deals heavily with perseverance and mortality. —Kalyn Oyer FRIDAY

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SWING | Roaring 20s Hot Jazz Club
w/ The V-Tones
Wed. May 13
7 p.m.
Free
Prohibition

Often on Wednesdays, you can find the Roaring 20s Hot Jazz Club cutting a rug, teaching folks the Lindy Hop, and more at Prohibition, all to the tune of various local and traveling old-time jazz, retro-swing bands (next week you can catch NOLA-style Perseverance Jazz Band). But this week is a little different as the venue holds its first solo dance contest. Get inspired by the energetic ragtime sounds of the Holy City’s own The V-Tones, and duke it out to win the honor of the best Charleston-er in Charleston. Any style goes, and the judges will be on the lookout for “rhythm, flow, energy, musicality, creativity, personality, and crowd-pleasing moves.” The winner takes home a trophy and the satisfaction of knowing he or she has the best moves in town. —Kelly Rae Smith WEDNESDAY

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String band | Packway Handle Band
Fri. May 15
10 p.m.
$5
Home Team BBQ
Sullivan’s Island

Formed in 2006, Athens-based Packway Handle Band is a down-home string band consisting of Tom Baker (banjo), Josh Erwin (guitar), Andrew Heaton (fiddle), Zach McCoy (bass), and Michael Paynter (mandolin). Baker, Erwin, Heaton, and Paynter not only excel together instrumentally, but their four-part vocal harmonies define the band’s unique sound, sounding like a barber shop quartet version of the Avett Brothers performing in New Orleans. Steeped in the traditions of old-time bluegrass, the troupe fashions its own niche by occasionally switching out the upright bass for an electric one and writing moving songs you’ll also want to laugh along to. For example, “Jim 3:16” off the band’s recent release, Take it Like a Man, is worth a chuckle and a cheer, with lyrics like “At the end of the day, it ain’t no sin bein’ here, because a bar is just a church where they serve beer.” The Packway Handle’s sound is glorious enough to have earned them an invite to perform at the Americana Music Association Awards this fall, while as recently as April, the band appeared on NPR’s World Cafe. And for your musical mismatch of the day, the string band is set to tour as support for none other than Kid Rock and Foreigner in July. —Kelly Rae Smith FRIDAY


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