Live Music: Erin Johns; Dumb Doctors; Tone Rex; Legendary Shack Shakers

Great live music to check out this week

by

3 comments
JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek

Singer-Songwriter | Erin Johns
w/ Lily Slay and Kain Taylor
Sat. Feb. 6
9:30 p.m.
$5
The Sparrow

After performing for 23 years, local singer-songwriter Erin Johns feels her best right now with debut release, Great Blue Erin Johns. The album is titled after a nickname of hers that has stuck around for a long time. "I was standing by a creek once with a friend and suddenly, and gracefully, a great blue heron spread its wings and took off into the air, and we could hear it plain as day, even though it was oddly quiet and close and its shoulders and wings were so majestic. And my friend said, 'Erin, you're the great blue Erin,'" she says. The record, which will drop this week, features City Paper Bassist of the Year Justin Harper, Lily Slay on backup vocals, drummer Michael Davidson, bassist Ricky Feagin, and harmonica player David Grunstra. Great Blue was recorded at the Isle of Palms' Boom-Boom Room studio with producer Jig Wiggler, whose opinion wasn't always the same as Johns'. "I got into a heated argument about the bass line of one of the songs and came to a mutual understanding," she remembers. "And it was important for the rest of the album, because after that, we totally knew how to communicate our passion for music. It's a language, you know." This weekend's release show will include openers Kain Taylor and Slay, while Johns' band will feature Davidson on drums, Wiggler on keys, Chuck Hamilton on bass, backup vocals by Sarah Green, Grunstra on harmonica, and Johns on guitar and vocals. —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

Oddball Rock | Tone Rex
w/ The Sandinistas
Sat. Feb. 6
9 p.m
$5
Tin Roof

Dave LeClair's band Tone Rex will perform their first gig this weekend, but this ain't LeClair's first rodeo. Before moving to Charleston five years ago, the 63-year-old musician played original rock for decades in New England, having even opened up for the Ramones exactly 37 years ago this month with his band De Lex at the Rusty Nail in Sunderland, Mass. It's been more than 10 years now since LeClair's been onstage with a band, but he's pumped to be back in the saddle with lead guitarist Chadd Hamilton, bassist Brian Holstein, and drummer Jose Gutierrez Jr., who LeClair met at a Pixies show last year at the PAC. Tone Rex plans to record new material this year, though you can check out plenty of the band's quirky rock — like "Uncle Jane," a track fans of early R.E.M and the B-52s would probably dig — now on their Bandcamp page. But before the band can record more tunes, there's the matter of LeClair's heart. "I need open-heart surgery to fix a wonky valve and some other stuff that's askew in my ticker," he says. "The worst part for me was that they were scheduling the surgery for Feb. 2, and we would have to cancel our first gig. I was heartbroken — I know, kinda cheesy word-usage relative to the surgery, but the feeling was indeed that." But then, lucky (?) for LeClair, the surgeon had to reschedule for four days after the Tin Roof gig. "So I have to keep a lower profile on stage than usual so I don't get my heart too excited," he says. "Wish me luck with that." —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

Garage Punk | Dumb Doctors
w/ Natural Causes
Thurs. Feb. 4
10 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

DUMB Doctors' Scott Dence doesn't remember exactly where the title Pseudoscience came from for his band's new album. But once that word stuck in his mind, it got things rolling. "That was something I must have heard a while ago and thought sounded cool," says Dence, who wrote, recorded and played all the instruments on the album. "I wrote the word 'pseudoscience' in my notes at some point, just as an idea for a song title. The song itself is actually about the process of a doctor prescribing a lobotomy. All the songs on this album deal with some sort of cult religion or myth or things that otherwise can't be proven by sight, so I thought it made sense to call it Pseudoscience." The music itself is a vicious, murky brand of sludge-metal that calls to mind the Melvins, which might be unexpected for a band most commonly associated with punk. But Dence has a broader definition of punk than some. "I just don't know if anyone really knows what that genre is," he says. "Like for example, the band Suicide is punk, but so is Green Day, much less something like Millions of Dead Cops or this band called Ho99o9, who could be considered punk-rap, so I don't even know what it means to be a punk band in 2016." Of course, the different sound could also be due to the fact that it didn't start out as a DUMB Doctors album. "I like to quit the band once a year and start over," he says. "So I think these songs were like I was getting to shift our style and move in a different direction." —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

Rockabilly Blues | Legendary Shack Shakers
w/ The Wild Tones
Tues. Feb. 9
9:30 p.m.
$15
Pour House

There are few bands that play with the onstage intensity of Paducah, Ky.'s Legendary Shack Shakers. Led by the insanely charismatic singer and harmonica player J.D. Wilkes, the band's scorched-earth live show is the best way to experience their mixture of rockabilly gallop, razor-sharp punk riffing, and country heartache, mostly because Wilkes is one of the most full-throttle, wild-eyed frontmen in the biz. "It's a weird balance between the Id and the 'professional' me," he says of his frenzied onstage demeanor. "I try to tap into how the song is making me feel at the moment, and there will be moments when I'm just genuinely out of my mind, but there's a little part in the back of my head going, 'You've got to end this song here.' I have to remember the cues and the licks, and I gotta stick the landing." The Shakers cut their teeth playing four-hour sets in Nashville honky-tonks, and that musical boot camp forged a band that lives to play live. "All the energy of the day goes into that show," Wilkes says. "The long drives, the load-in, the waiting around. I haven't spent all my energy for that day until the show. My day's work goes into that one hour. That's why I wonder about these bands that travel in buses — they've got a real cush drive to the gig, they get everything handed to them, and then they get onstage and just stand and stare? How are you not going nuts? This is rock 'n' roll, isn't it?" —Vincent Harris TUESDAY


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment
 

Add a comment