Soundchecks: Aretha Franklin Tribute, Hickman Family Fundraiser, Beck to the Future, Liquor Made Me Do It, Lulu & The Black Sheep

Live music to catch this week

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Tribute | Queen of Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin
Featuring Black Diamond
Fri., March 22, 8 p.m.
$15-$22
Charleston Music Hall

Zandrina Dunning is best known as a Charleston-area super-vocalist, but she's done plenty of work on the event-production side as well. The upcoming Queen of Soul tribute show is just the first time she's had her name up top as a producer. "It's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun," Dunning says, "and the good news is that I get to work with all of the people I've worked with on my other tributes [like the Janet Jackson tribute show at the Pour House]. I know how everybody works, and it's kind of seamless. We just work really well together, and that makes a big difference." Dunning won't be on the mic for Queen of Soul, but she couldn't have chosen a better vocalist for the challenge of paying tribute to Aretha Franklin: Christian "Black Diamond" Smalls. Smalls will be fronting a 10-piece R&B revue and belting classics like "Rock Steady" and "Respect" up to the rafters. "When Aretha took ill last year, I decided I should do a tribute to her," Dunning says, "and Christian is perfect for it. I wanted to highlight her because I didn't think anyone could execute this like she could. I want the audience to have a party and I want them to feel God in the building. I want them to feel the essence of Aretha." —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

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Benefit show | Hickman Family Fundraiser
w/ DUMB Doctors, Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess
Sun. March 24
7 p.m.
$10 suggested donation
Pour House

Dennis Hickman spent four and a half years working for Jason and Jessica Eisenberg at their Holy City Tattooing parlor, and in that time, they became more like family than co-workers. In fact, Hickman, who died in a car accident in late January at age 36, only left the Holy City to work at a parlor that was closer to home so he could spend more time with his kids. Jessica Eisenberg says that's just the kind of person he was. "Everything he did was to try to help his family and better his kids' lives," she says. "He was a very quiet person, but he gave off such a loving, warming vibe." The Eisenbergs started a GoFundMe to help Hickman's family, but they wanted to do more, so they've organized a benefit show at the Pour House with the DUMB Doctors and Michael Martin & the Beautiful Mess. The Sunday show is merely the cap-off event for a full weekend of fundraising. "We're opening our doors at Holy City at 11 a.m. on Friday, and we'll have a handful of tattoo artists that are coming from out of state that worked with Dennis," Eisenberg says. "They're all producing their own traditional flash (tattoo designs) that will cost $100, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards Dennis' family." That's in addition to a raffle and a silent auction that's already in progress online. "Dennis always watched over other people and made sure they were OK," Eisenberg says. "And I feel like that reflects how Charleston is. You can say whatever you want to about this town and how it's changing, but at its core, whenever someone is in need, people step up." —Vincent Harris SUNDAY

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Tribute | Beck to the Future: A Tribute to Beck
Sat. March 23
9:30 p.m.
$10/adv.,
$12/door
Pour House

Let's just pause for a moment and think about how fucking cool the name Beck to the Future is for a Beck tribute band. That is some damned fine naming. Let's also consider that the wild, weird, and wonderful catalog of Beck Hansen is so wide-ranging and unpredictable that said tribute band has six people in it, and Beck himself is just, y'know, one guy. But there probably isn't a better lineup in town to move from folk to funk to rock to general weirdness than this one. We're talkin' members of the multi-platinum mischief-makers Sexbruise? (Caleb Bodtorf, Stratton Moore, and John Pope), the Outervention (Jeff Kozelski, also of the Kozelski Band, duh), Runaway Gin (Andy Greenberg and John Pope, again), Gaslight Street (Stratton Moore, again), and Little Bird (Ben Mossman). That's a stout group of musicians, and it should take a group that accomplished to pay tribute to the work of a slacker genius like Beck. —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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Rap Variety | Liquor Made Me Do It
w/ Anfernee, Bass Ghost, Ivory Keys, Slim Soul, Thaddeus Fathead, Current Blue
Sat. Mar. 23
9 p.m.
$7
Purple Buffalo

In preparation for the Music Farm's Independent Tone Awards on March 24, Ernie Glover of RYP Productions Unlimited is throwing a warm-up shindig called Liquor Made Me Do It. "I know it has a unique name," laughs Glover, before explaining that it has a point. "We usually do liquor-filled snacks and all that, like gummies." If getting drunk on food isn't your thing, there will be plenty of music to keep you entertained while you're sober. Southern trap promoter Thaddeus Fathead, smooth R&B crooner Anfernee, Wayne Hampleton's project Bass Ghost, S.O.U.L. Power Productions' own Slim Soul, and underground rappers Ivory Keys and Current Blue will have some time in the spotlight before the Tone Awards. "One time a year, we do something where we try to really celebrate the indie artist in a professional manner and make them feel like A-list artists," says Glover. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY

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Americana | Lulu & the Black Sheep
Fri. Mar. 22
9 p.m.
Free
The Sparrow

Keeping faithful to their traditional influences, Lulu & the Black Sheep put a modern flair on a largely true-to-form roots sound. "We usually just call it Americana," says drummer Allen Wayne Nichols. "It's got a lot of old blues influence. Like really old, like Memphis Minnie." As Nichols notes, there's a bluegrass flavor to the tunes, found in the bassline spring of "World of Lies." Sticking with acoustics and classic folk instruments like mandolin and banjos, Lulu & the Black Sheep often find their subversion in their lyrics, which tell existential stories or discuss conspiracies. "We don't really try to steer it into any direction; it's just the way it comes out," says Nichols. Lulu & the Black Sheep just wrapped up their first EP and are preparing to record their first LP. —Heath Ellison FRIDAY

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