Soundchecks: Con Brio, Danny Feedback, The Struts, Hey Guy, Cry Baby

Live music to check out this week

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PROVIDED
  • Provided

ROCK 'N' SOUL | Con Brio
w/ Shamarr Allen & the Underdawgs
Sat. May 11
9 p.m.
$12-$15
Pour House

Hailing from San Francisco, Con Brio has all your favorite '60s soul icons on lock, channeling everyone from Sly to Sam Cooke and laying down some serious funk, pop, and R&B that blends decades of styles, arriving at one unique sound that will always get a party started. It all tends to be quite joyous, even though Con Brio's messages often explore serious subject matter. Breakthrough album Paradise contains songs dealing with inequality, speaking to the Black Lives Matter movement, while last summer's Explorer — written as a travelogue over a two-year period, including during the 2016 presidential election — confronts more issues relevant in America right now, from guns ("Royal Rage") to feeling unwelcome here ("United State of Mind"). Still, Con Brio's central message, as is heard in "Illuminate" — McCarter sings, "To bright lights leading the way/ To new heights, illuminate/ The bright lights/ No stop signs, it's go time/ All the way, all the way" — is that there's always a light in the dark. —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

FEEDBACK-ENCRUSTED ART-ROCK | Danny Feedback
w/ Psychic Pets and Infinitefreefall
Wed. May 8
8 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

We're not 100 percent sure that singer/guitarist Danny Feedback was actually conceived in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as his bio claims, and we don't know that his name is actually "Danny Feedback," because, y'know, it seems kind of unlikely, right? What we do know is that he makes some seriously fucked-up neo-psychedelic rock music. Seriously, it's like this guy decided that Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel and late-'60s space case Roky Erickson were kindred spirits and figured he might as well throw together the former's stinging, mind-bending guitar skills and the latter's horror show-goth dementia to show everyone else how obvious a combination it is. This is dark, twisted, feedback-encrusted art-rock with more of an emphasis on "rock" than "art," and it would be a compelling train wreck of weirdness even if Mr. Feedback wasn't a Frank Zappa-level brainiac on electric guitar. Anyone who likes to dive into the insane freakshow side of the guitar will enjoy what this guy is doing. —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

ANNA LEE
  • Anna Lee

THROWBACK GLAM ROCK | The Struts
Wed. May 15
8 p.m.
$25
Music Farm

The word 'throwback' gets overused, but English band the Struts have designed themselves to remind us of rock's glorious days gone by. This quartet looks back to a time when frontmen posed and pouted, when guitars were never turned down, when choruses were written to bounce off the back rows of giant stadiums. So, the 1970s in other words. But there's no shame in the shag haircuts, glam threads, and swagger that the aptly-named Struts use to reach for the big, glittering crown of rock royalty. And to be honest, there's something refreshing about that. When singer Luke Spiller reaches for those Robert-Plant-style shrieks on pounding anthems like "In Love with a Camera," there are zero fucks in sight; when Adam Slack unleashes his six-string bull-roar, he's aiming for riffs that air-guitarists everywhere can mime along to. This is music for the masses, and in a time when rock is more subdivided than ever, it's about time someone went big and bold again. —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

PATRICIA KOO
  • Patricia Koo

GRUNGY PUNK-POP | Hey Guy
w/ Anergy and Short Division
Thurs. May 9
7 p.m.
$8
The Sparrow

The knee-jerk reaction to the music of Gogol Bordello guitarist Boris Pelekh's side-band Hey Guy is to label it punk-pop. And while there are plenty of bouncy tempos and ping-ponging guitars ricocheting all over the place in the band's music, it's more complex than the typical loud-fast-catchy fare. First off, Pelekh likes to work some serious textures into Hey Guy's sound, shifting the tempos around and diving headlong into the grungy feel of modern rock, most notably on the stop-start chorus of their new single, "Stereo." The moment when the band digs in its heels and slows the song down by half before charging into the main vocal hook sounds exactly like something that would pop up on modern rock radio — and that's not an insult, just a description of how Hey Guy changes things up. So go for the bright, wide-eyed bounce of punk-pop and stay for the darker dives into the muck. —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

MIA NAOME
  • Mia Naome

THROWBACK R&B | Cry Baby

w/ Honna
Mon. May 13
9 p.m.
$7 (21+), $10 (Under 21)
Tin Roof

Charleston's Cry Baby burst onto the scene last year with a series of singles echoing finger-snappin' '90s R&B ("Can't Wait") and glitzy '80s pop a la Whitney Houston ("Boyfriend"). This year, the band is taking their time creating an LP (for a fall release) that could sound a little different than what audiences have heard thus far. "We released those singles as we were developing as a group and homing in on our production style," says bassist/producer Joey Haines. "Producing and recording everything out of our home studio, we've gotten to experiment a lot this past year, exploring different corners of genres we love." A brand new single should see a release here soon, in early summer, and will, Haines says, usher in the band's new era. So what should you expect to hear? Cry Baby will stay in the '90s while dancing into the 2000s, an era the band feels is overlooked in terms of quality musicianship. "With all of us growing up in an era of Max Martin-produced boy bands like *NSYNC or pop stars like Britney Spears, that is a sound we've been picking apart and exploring," Haines says. "On the other side of the coin, soulful R&B artists like Destiny's Child or Ray-J have a sound we really connect with collectively. This specific era in pop music hasn't really showed its face again, and we really want to be a group that puts our own spin on it. A lot of people brushed over how skillful and intense the production/instrumentation was on those turn-of-the-century pop songs, but there's a reason everyone is screaming them when they come on the radio." —Kelly Rae Smith MONDAY

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