Soundchecks: Skylar Gudasz, Becca Leigh, Let the Good Times Roll, Lowlight, Hip-hop in the Den

Live music to catch this week

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FOLK-ROCK | Skylar Gudasz
w/ The Last Bison
Wed. March 6
9:30 p.m.
$15
Pour House

Singer/songwriter Skylar Gudasz's 2016 debut album, Oleander, was in many respects a traditional-sounding folk album. Based around the nucleus of Gudasz's affecting, emotional voice (similar in tone to Sarah Harmer's) and her acoustic guitar, the additional instrumentation on the songs served to support her incisive lyrical approach but never got in the way. On her new single, "Play Nice," however, things are very different. The song is an atmospheric, pulsing rock song with reams of echoed electric guitar and a propulsive beat buoying Gudasz's more aggressive, but still richly melodic, vocals. She says this newfound sound was both intentional and an outgrowth of a few rough-and-tumble years. "I think there was a definite sonic statement it was making," she says. "I wanted to convey a strength. Having released the first album and learned about working in the music industry, especially being a woman, there was an undercurrent of emotion that I felt ready to jump into." —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

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ADVENTUROUS FOLK | Becca Leigh
w/ Infinitikiss, Blessingxx, Erel Pilo
Wed. March 6
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

It's been about four years since singer/songwriter Becca Leigh released her EP Doxologies, a five-song collection largely made up of delicate, atmospheric acoustic folk. And it's been over a year since Leigh released her single "Fields" a much more expansive, folk-rock song with vast-sounding production touches and an affecting mandolin-violin duet. Though the foundation in folk remains, these are two very different releases, and Leigh says she's been moving toward the larger sound of "Fields" for her next album. "I've been laying low and writing a lot for an album," she says, "so my focus has been on songwriting. Doxologies was pretty stripped down, and I enjoy that still for some songs, but I've been working on a fuller sound." With such a large gap in between releases, and such a pronounced artistic evolution occurring in her music, one might think that Leigh would be frustrated, but she says she sees live performance as a fulfilling outlet. "On the one hand, recording is the most efficient way to share your music with as many people as possible," she says, "but it's also nice to have a space to work on my sound and reassess where I want to head, and to let people know I'm still out there. So I'm playing out as much as possible. Sometimes live music has something special about it because it's a unique glimpse into an artist's work that you might not get to experience on a record. There are a lot of different ways that people can see your evolution without having an album out every year." —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

PROVIDED/FILE
  • Provided/File

NEW ORLEANS-STYLE PARTY | Let The Good Times Roll: Fat Tuesday at Voodoo
w/ New Orleans Parade Band and Mike Quinn's Super Funk
Tues. March 5
6 p.m.
Free
Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge

The purpose of Voodoo's Let The Good Times Roll event is to let people get a taste of what a Charleston Fat Tuesday can truly be like, with specials on hurricanes, grenades, and other dangerous-sounding drinks; gator bites making the rounds for your dining pleasure; and a Mardi Gras costume contest. We're also legally allowed to say that there will be beads and then leave it at that. But the best part of the evening will be the music. "We'll have the New Orleans Parade Band kicking things off, and we're going to get a second line going around the building," says Voodoo's event organizer, Megan Ladd, "and after that the Mike Quinn's Super Funk will play some really fun dance music." Ladd had an advantage when it came to lining up the bands: She spent years working at the Pour House. "I have a lot of great relationships with a lot of musicians," she says, "so I knew I could call Mike Quinn and he would be a great person to help me put this together. He's played with a lot of great musicians, so I trusted him to put together a great night." —Vincent Harris TUESDAY

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SYNTH-INFUSED ROCK | Barn Jam: Lowlight
w/ Proudfoot, McKenzie Butler Band, Mechanical River, Gregory Carlton Hayes
Wed. Feb. 27
6 p.m.
$5 donation
Awendaw Green

The Asbury, N.J. quintet called Lowlight plays songs that could very loosely be defined as synth-pop but judging by the songs on their 2018 EP Born to Run (yes, they're from New Jersey and they called their album Born to Run) no one should expect a set of electronic beats or pumped-up dance when they hit the stage. For Lowlight, "synth-pop" is a more literal classification than a descriptive one. The songs on the EP do feature cool washes of synthesizer, but the keyboards merely add an attractive shine to a set of heartfelt, catchy pop-rock songs. The real focus is on the band's steady, pulsing rhythms and singer, songwriter, and guitarist Renee Maskin's warmly sensual low-key vocals. There's nothing mechanical or pre-programmed about what Lowlight does; the electronics are decidedly old-school, and they simply add another layer to the songs. So yes, there are synths, and yes, the choruses could be called "pop," but there's a lot of "rock" going on as well. —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

RUTA SMITH FILE
  • Ruta Smith file

HIP-HOP | Hip-Hop in the Den
w/ Abstract That Rapper, Tazz Majesty, Nicari, Malik, Slim Finesse
Fri. March 1
7 p.m.
$5
Music Farm

CofC's 1770 Records is back for another round of its music series, Hip-Hop in the Den — a local rap showcase organized by the label's students and held in the front bar area of the Music Farm, making for an intimate listening experience. This one comes complete with several current and former CofC students — here's who's on tap: Abstract That Rapper, who played the first Hip-Hop in the Den and is on 1770 Records' Local Suspects vinyl; Tazz Majesty, a current CofC arts management student who's recorded in the past but is new to performing — she debuted at the last Hip-Hop in the Den; Malik, another CofC'er who also debuted at the last Den; Nicari — new to performing, Nicari gained popularity on campus after dropping an EP that earned him comparisons, by fellow students, to 21 Savage; and Slim Finesse, a CofC student who came recommended by the college's Hip-Hop for African-American Studies professor. Several of the performers will also appear on 1770's next mixtape, which will launch at the Farm this April. —Kelly Rae Smith Friday

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