Soundchecks: Matthew Logan Vasquez, Young Mister & Kate Rhudy, Southern Culture on the Skids, Back 2 Back, Doc Rotten

Live music to see this week

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HEARTBROKEN FOLK-ROCK | Matthew Logan Vasquez
w/ Frances Cone and PR Newman
Mon. May 20
9 p.m.
$15
The Royal American

The name of Delta Spirit frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez's new album is Light'n Up. It is meant ironically. The nine shatteringly lonely songs he wrote for this album are about as forlorn and heartbroken as a collection of tunes can be. Even the full-throttle rockers, like "Trailer Park" and mid-tempo fuzz bombs like "Vacation" are unsettlingly isolated, with Vasquez constantly yearning to be somewhere, or someone, else. And that's because he was in a pretty lonely place while creating the album. Vasquez's wife and child left the family's home in Texas and moved to Oslo so that his wife could care for her Alzheimer's-afflicted father. Luckily, by the time the self-explanatory track "Oslo" rolls around on Light'n Up, he has found some sort of solace by joining his family, but the songs he wrote during his time alone are sheer heartbreaking, dark-night-of-the-soul stuff, even when the amps are cranked up high. —Vincent Harris MONDAY

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INDIE FOLK-ROCK | Young Mister & Kate Rhudy
w/ Matt Lohan
Thurs. May 16
9 p.m.
$10
The Royal American

Steven Fiore, a.k.a. Young Mister, has done a lot of shit, y'all. Over his weird and wild musical career, he's done time as a songwriter for the Universal Music Publishing Group, he's collaborated with Art Garfunkel, he's occasionally sat in with freakin' Jeff Goldblum's jazz band, and he's shared stages with Pete Yorn and Albert Lee, among others. But the music he's spent time writing in his own office/studio called The Study are the most representative of who he really is as an artist. These songs can range from wide-screen, anthemic indie rock, the kind he created on his self-titled 2016 album, to more considered, atmospheric acoustic folk, the kind he made on the aptly-titled 2017 EP Soft Rock. These are very different styles, but the common denominator is Fiore's incredible song-crafting skill. He writes these melodic gems that can be rendered in just about any format and delivers them with a heart-on-the-sleeve emotional intensity. —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

SOUTHERN-FRIED SURF ROCK | Southern Culture on the Skids
w/ Pierce Edens
Fri. May 17
9 p.m.
$17/adv., $20/door
Pour House

For a Southern rock music lover, there may be no better experience than hearing Rick Miller, singer and guitarist for Southern Culture on the Skids, tear into a surf rock-style solo over the propulsive rhythm section of bassist Mary Huff and drummer Dave Hartman. The costumes and kitsch they often traffic in (imagine if the B-52's dug more into the redneck side of their Georgia roots than the artsy side) are fun distractions, but what this trio really does is rock, and they've done that for over 30 years now. There's a host of songs that could be called essential in their catalog, including "House of Bamboo," "I Learned to Dance in Mississippi," "Mojo Box," and the immortal "Liquored Up & Lacquered Down," and if you've never seen these three weirdos bang these songs out onstage, you've deprived yourself of one of the most distinct, and distinctly Southern, experiences a music lover can have. Oh, and don't forget to dive for a piece of fried chicken they've been known to toss from the stage. —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

JONATHAN BONCEK FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathan Boncek file photo

HIP-HOP DJs | Back 2 Back
w/ Black Dave, DJ Scrib, Illadell, Cheddar Bob, Only Nick, DJ Dope D
Fri. May 17
9 p.m.
$10
The Purple Buffalo

Hip-hop has always had a fascination with duos: Eric B and Rakim, Phife and Tip, EPMD, Cannibal Ox — the list is an article by itself. Lifestyle brand Charleston Hype is getting back into organizing shows with a show featuring six DJs, two going on stage at the same time. "I don't want to just throw a rap show, because I think everyone is doing that now, so I'm trying to figure stuff out that's still fun and still engaging," says Charleston Hype founder Black Dave. Back 2 Back will feature Dave and DJ Dope D, DJ Scrib and Illadell, and Cheddar Bob and Only Nick pairing off, respectively. While hip-hop will be a predominant genre throughout the night, Dave says that there will be some electronic music thrown into some of the sets. "I'm really interested in DJing in a way that doesn't require me to keep a party going, but DJing in a way that's almost like a band playing," he explains. —Heath Ellison FRIDAY

BILLY SKELLY
  • Billy Skelly

PUNK | Doc Rotten
w/ Vansaders
Sat. May 18
9:30 p.m.
Free
The Sparrow

Who wants to get mad at the government and stick it to the man with melodic power-pop punk? If you said, "yes," then go see Doc Rotten. If you said, "no," Doc Rotten will show you the way. "We've been controlled and conditioned to follow a system," the band yelps on single "Mind Control." Doc Rotten's sound is joyous, hopeful, and loud, even with song titles like "Sick and Suffering." And they explain that reason perfectly on "Brass Tacks," the final song on 2018's Illusion to Choose. "An angry teenager/ Mad at the world/ It's too much to comprehend/ I got a problem with a lot of things/ That's why I'm in this band," they growl. Isn't that why most punks got into punk? —Heath Ellison SATURDAY

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