Live Music: Runaway Gin, Richard Thompson, Late Night Radio, Black Jacket Symphony

Great live music to check out this week

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FOLK ROCK | Richard Thompson
w/ Sam Amidon
Sun. Oct. 16
8 p.m.
$39.50-$44.50
Charleston Music Hall

On his own and with his wife, Linda, singer/guitarist Richard Thompson has made over 40 albums. Two of them, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Shoot Out the Lights (both by Richard and Linda), were judged by Rolling Stone to be among the finest albums ever made, and all of them contain his keen storytelling sense, his biting, thickly accented vocals, and his dazzling guitar-playing. So how the hell do you come up with a setlist when your entire career is studded with gems like "Don't Renege on Our Love" and "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"? "I think it's a balance," Thompson says. "I'll try to have some idea of what the audience might like — perhaps I might look at what I played last time I was in a particular town. And then there are things I'm excited by, more recent songs or things I haven't played for a while. I don't think I ever get it absolutely right; it's an inexact science." Thompson will definitely perform some of the songs from his newest album, Still, which was produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. "I thought Jeff was an interesting choice, because he makes interesting records," Thompson says. "And it worked really well. His ideas in the studio were great, he had just the right amount of influence on the music, he had a real sense of overview — it was a great experience." —Vincent Harris

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EDM | Late Night Radio
Tues. Oct. 18
9:30 p.m.
$11/adv., $15/door
Pour House

For Alex Medellin, the songwriter, programmer, DJ, producer, and keyboard player for Late Night Radio, electronic music isn't just about the beats. Rather, it's about feelings, at least when Medellin begins to construct a track. "It really all starts with conveying an emotion," Medellin says. "It all depends on how I'm feeling at the time. Then I'll dig around until I find a sample that conveys the message I'm looking for and build from there." It's a philosophy he's tried to stay true to in order to fight what he sees as an overly technical genre. "I think that electronic music in general is extremely lacking in emotion," he says. "That's always been one of my mantras: Emotion over energy. And I feel like that's always shown in my music and been a big part of what I do. I've tried to make it one of the focal points of my music." —Vincent Harris

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CLASSICAL TRIBUTE | Black Jacket Symphony presents The Beatles' Abbey Road
Sat. Oct. 15
8 p.m.
$25-$30
Charleston Music Hall

There are those who say the age of the album is over. Thanks to the ease of downloads and shrinking attention spans, the EP and the single are the preferred mediums — which is one of the reasons why J. Willoughby formed the Black Jacket Symphony in 2009. The ensemble, an amorphous group that brings in different musicians depending on the project, was created to play classic albums live in their entirety, being as faithful to the studio versions of the songs as possible. "When I started this out, I had a wish list of what albums I thought would be worthy or things we should try to tackle," Willoughby says. "It takes getting the right people — the right guitar player or the right singer. So it just might take a little while to get it sorted out." The Beatles' Abbey Road is the Symphony's current project, and it's a daunting one. The Beatles made the album after they'd ceased touring, so they could layer and overdub and otherwise embellish songs like "Something," "Come Together," and "Here Comes the Sun" at will. "It's a big-time challenge," Willoughby says, "but that's what we do. And we try to do everything as organically as possible. If there are strings on the song, we use strings. We have eight or nine people onstage to pull off what four guys did in the studio." —Vincent Harris

JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek

JAM | Runaway Gin
Sat. Oct. 15
8 p.m.
$25-$30
Charleston Music Hall

Since Phish will open their latest tour with two shows at the North Charleston Coliseum this weekend, Runaway Gin, Charleston's own Phish cover band, will play the "Ophishal" post-show party at the Pour House. So naturally, the guys won't be playing anything by Phish that night. "Since we're playing after the show, we're actually not going to be playing any Phish songs," says Runaway Gin's singer/guitarist Andy Greenberg. "Normally we play their original songs, but for this show we don't want to have to play Phish after Phish. So we're playing a combination of stuff we've played before and stuff we think would be good for the event." Despite that dearth of Anastasiatic material, Greenberg says the whole band is still very much devoted to the cause. "Oh yeah, we see them every chance we get," he says. "We will be going to both shows. I just love the humor and the absurdity and obscurity and unusual nature of what they do. It's so unusual compared to other music." The Pour House is also offering a $30 shuttle to and from the Coliseum, which you can book at charlestonpourhouse.com. —Vincent Harris


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