Live Music: Southern Femisphere and Sweatlands; The Toasters; Future Casting; Pop Life!

Great live music to check out this week

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SKA | The Toasters
Thurs. Sept. 29
9 p.m.
$12
The Sparrow

Robert "Bucket" Hingley, the singer/guitarist for the Toasters, is a serious old-school fan of ska. "I bought my first ska record in 1964," the England-born frontman says. "It was 'My Boy Lollipop' by Millie Small, which was a big hit in the UK. I guess I just got the bug early on, and it keeps biting. I connected with the music more than some of the other contemporary stuff." That connection has kept the ska-happy Toasters going since 1981, and has lasted through the genre's occasional flirtations with the mainstream. "I've never really seriously considered hanging up my hat," Hingley says. "We've played 6,000 shows and we're still going strong. Every 10 years or so, the mainstream shines its light on ska music and realizes how much it likes it and it's fashionable again for a moment because people like the rhythms. But just because you might not see it doesn't mean it's not around. There's really well-established underground ska music that keeps it alive and thriving." —Vincent Harris

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ROCK/PUNK | Southern Femisphere and Sweatlands (Split release)
w/ Coeds
Fri. Sept. 30
8:30 p.m.
Free
Local 616

If you've paid any attention at all to either Sweatlands or Southern Femisphere, it's no secret that these two local bands adore each other. "We've pretty much known each other through music for all our adult lives," says Southern Femisphere's Kim Larson. Sharing bills for a while now, the bands have long wanted to join forces for a 12-inch LP. But there were hurdles. "We all wanted to go on tour together, and we were originally just going to make a split to support our tour, but it become impossible to schedule that with eight people who are all involved in multiple projects, work a billion different jobs, and sometimes are in grad school," Larson says. But one night after some pizza and a game of charades, the bands solidified the dream and committed to the idea of a joint record. "Since our bands have very different sounds, Sweatlands being more upbeat, dance-y, and punk and So Fem being darker and harsher, we feel like we fit well together to make an evenly balanced record. Sometimes in Charleston if you're not playing garage rock, alt-country, or indie pop, it's hard to find a band that it makes sense to work with. Our bands both have a similar mix of pop and chaos in our sound that makes us feel like we belong together. That, and we really like each other — sometimes." —Kelly Rae Smith

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HIP-HOP | Future Casting: An interactive hip-hop experience
w/ M!key Dee, DJ Orphus Olfus, DJ Malcolm Excellent, Horace Mungin, Carter Smith, Mike Sanders, and more
Sat. Oct. 1
4 p.m.
Free
Fabulon

The idea of Future Casting — an event coming up this weekend that fuses hip-hop, dance, poetry, open mic, and art — came from the brains of Fabulon art gallery owner Susan Irish and one of the gallery's artists, Hampton R. Olfus, Jr., a mixed-media artist and activist with a design background who's designed album covers for the likes of Chaka Khan. "I wanted to do something to parallel with MOJA," Irish says, "and to include hip-hop, since it's an art form that is often missing from larger local festivals; we wanted to approach it on a grassroots level and bring it into the West Ashley community." Irish dubbed the event Future Casting in recognition of the racial unrest around the country. "How can you not admit unrest during a festival that celebrates African-American culture?" she asks. "So Future Casting is the idea that we know that there are issues and that racism is rampant — but saying so isn't doing anything. Let's project into the future what we want to happen. And let's write it down." To help bring that idea home, Irish will begin a collaborative mural at the gallery, where she wants folks to use words, color, patterns, and design elements to vocalize what they hope to see in the future. Olfus, who'll be facilitating Future Casting, called on his son, a Washington D.C.-based DJ who goes by Orphus Olfus, and D.C. hip-hop artist M!key Dee, to be part of the event. Irish points out that the music industry has a responsibility to use lyrics that, for example, respect rather than degrade women, harkening back to hip-hop's more constructive roots. "We want to bring the words back to having power to do good instead of harm," Irish says. M!key Dee plans to perform songs from his latest album, Math & Literature. "I present myself as an honest person," he says. "The guy you hear about who came from adversity, the ghetto child who'll always struggle — that's me, but I put it in poetry." Dee calls his music "flowetic," and says he's influenced by everything from Count Basie to Tribe Called Quest. Future Casting will also feature performances by poet and author Horace Mungin — who in 1970 founded Black Forum Magazine, now in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture as part of its Black Arts Movement exhibition — local poet Carter Smith, and R&B/spoken word artist Mike Sanders. In addition, the event will feature Food Box food truck, breakdancers, and poetry-writing tents. All are welcome to participate in the interactive event. Irish says, "The idea is to bring in poets in their 70s and poets in their 20s and a variety of singers in a structured way but in hopes that it will also take on a life of its own and get intergenerational artists to collaborate and work together." —Kelly Rae Smith

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TRIBUTE | Pop Life! Celebrating the Music of Prince
Charlton Singleton & Friends, Quiana Parler, Marcus Amaker
Sun. Oct. 2
8 p.m.
$20
Charleston Music Hall

Shortly after Prince Rogers Nelson's tragic death last April, Charlton Singleton, the conductor and artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, assembled a group of local musicians at the Charleston Music Hall to pay tribute to the late, great singer/songwriter/genius. The event, which featured a 13-piece ensemble playing songs both well-known and obscure, was such a success that a second helping seemed in order. "The first show went off really well," Singleton says. "It was a packed house. So much so that people said 'You have to do this again.' So we're going to go back and do it again." And luckily, Prince's catalog is so vast that with a couple of crowd-pleasing exceptions like "Purple Rain," there's no repetition from the first night. "About 95 percent of the show is new, because Prince had so many recordings you can't get to them all in one show," Singleton says. "You'd be there a month doing back-to-back-to-back nights." —Vincent Harris


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