Live Music: Youth Model; Emerald Empire Band; Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars; Muscle Shoals doc

Great live music to see this week


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INDIE ROCK | Youth Model
w/ Beach Tiger, MYFEVER & The Business People
Sat. April 16
9 p.m.
The Royal American

Columbia DJ and drummer Randy Borawski had seen plenty of bands come and go as the host of the popular WXRY Unsigned radio show, but in 2013, a friend played him a song that caught his attention. “Kenny McWilliams, a producer at Archer Ave. Studio in Columbia, told me about this record he’d done with Matt Holmes under the name My Beating Heart,” Borawski says. “He played me the song ‘Where We Went Wrong,’ and it was refreshing to me. I’m a sucker for a hook; I’m not into stuff that’s melancholy and folk-oriented. I’m a rock guy, and it’s a rockin’ song. When I heard that I immediately thought it was good enough to be heard on the radio.” Holmes, a Charleston native, made two appearances on Unsigned, one as a singer/drummer with a band and one solo acoustic. Borawski offered his services on the drums after that solo show, and Youth Model was born. Their new EP, Open Season, is a catchy mixture of rock muscle and pop hooks, and Borawski says that as an arranger, Holmes is adept at adjusting his songs to the players. “Just by nature of who I was, it became more of a rock thing,” he says. “Matt has a very chameleon-like ability; he’s not one of those people who lords over the material and says, ‘Play the drums this way.’ He was very open to change, so it was kind of a natural progression. He was fitting his music into what we were playing and what we were about.” —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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FUNK & SOUL | Emerald Empire Band
Mon. April 18
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Psst ... have you heard about the Emerald Empire showcase? Probably not, but we’re here to tell you that this short-but-sweet throwdown of an evening is one of Charleston’s best-kept secrets. We stumbled upon the Emerald Empire Band at the Tin Roof on a recent Monday night. Two drinks and less than two hours later, we left a sweaty, smiling mess — all because of a wedding band showcase, which is basically a show during which brides-to-be, their family, and friends get to preview potential musicians for their upcoming wedding. OK, so you’d be forgiven if you just shrugged off the notion of a wedding band showcase — sounds sorta lame, right? Well, this is Charleston, so think again. We’re not talkin’ your average, run-of-the-mill cover acts. We’re talkin’ about some of the Holy City’s top artists — like Zandrina Dunning, Manny Houston, Mike Quinn, Aisha Kenyetta, Stuart White, and Corey Stephens, to name just a few — covering the kind of songs you really do wanna get down to at 8 o’clock on a Monday. Think “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown, Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” and Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” And their rendition of TLC’s “Waterfalls,” complete with the Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes rap, is absolutely unmissable. Sure, you may be in the company of ladies with giant rocks on their fingers, moms filming entire songs, and not-your-average dive bar attendees in general, but you’ll definitely dig dancing to the best part of the wedding of your dreams. We promise. —Kelly Rae Smith MONDAY

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ROCKUMENTARY | Muscle Shoals
Tues. April 19
7:30 p.m.
$10 ($8 student)
Charleston Music Hall

Without the city of Muscle Shoals, Ala., and specifically Rick Hall’s FAME Studios, whole chunks of modern music wouldn’t exist. Somehow, Hall managed to gather together one of the most versatile and skilled groups of musicians and engineers in the country during the late ’60s and early ’70s, and together they created soul classics like Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1,000 Dances,” The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There,” Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” Hall ran the studio, and a band of backing musicians called the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, alternately known as the Swampers, provided the backbeat. And while that would’ve been enough for any producer or musician’s lifetime, the Muscle Shoals crew also helped birth the Stones’ “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses,” fueled an array of country hits throughout the ’80s, and saw a new generation of rockers like Jason Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers record albums there in the 2000s. It’s a studio with a history worthy of recounting, and director Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s 2013 film Muscle Shoals fits the bill nicely. In addition to interviews with many of the principles like Hall, members of the Swampers, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards, and a whole host of others, Camalier’s extensively researched film provides some stunning archival footage of timeless music being created by artists that are now legends. There are the typical talking-head documentary segments, but mostly the filmmaker serves the viewer by just letting the incredible music play. —Vincent Harris TUESDAY

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AFRO BEAT | Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Tues. April 19
8:30 p.m.
$15 adv., $18 door
Pour House

Ruben and Grace Koroma, Idrissa Bangura, and Frances John Langba know what it means to lose it all. Their home, belongings, loved ones, and way of life were lost to them when they fled the violence of the civil war in Sierra Leone in the late ’90s. The four of them reunited in a refugee camp in Kalia and began to make music to entertain the other refugees. Thanks to a few donated guitars, mics, and small sound system, the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars was able to start taking shape. The group toured through different refugee camps to uplift and entertain the people there until the war ended and the musicians moved back to Freetown. Once there, the group continued to grow, cycling through a rotation of other musicians and refugees that brought their own story and sound to the group. Their story caught the attention of American filmmakers Zach Niles and Banker White, whose resulting documentary The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars brought this music into the limelight and launched the band’s journey and massive popularity. What drives their success and great reception is the heart and story behind the music, which speaks of the heartbreak of war and violence and the struggle of being displaced. But the music is always hopeful as the band sings of its hope for the future of their country and the world. Now the group’s message resounds with their album Libation, in which the musicians take a more acoustic approach to the maringa, reggae, and soukous styles of music that is indigenous to Sierra Leone. The album is also a nod to the band members that have moved on, the success of the last 10 years, and the hope they have for the future. —Madi Kois SATURDAY

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