Soundchecks: Don Crescendo, Dave Koz and Friends, the Minks, Elvis Ain't Dead Fest 4, Labor Day Trap Fest

Live music to catch this week


  • Provided

Electropop | Don Crescendo
w/Persona La Ave and Community Pool
Thurs. Aug. 29
9 p.m.
Tin Roof

The dynamic Don Crescendo, who has called Chicago home for the past few years, returns to Charleston with his trademark house-indebted electropop production and lo-fi vocals. Crescendo's trio of mixtapes, released in a flurry between 2016 and 2017, came to represent his giddy, highly danceable approach to electropop, while making a comfortable virtue of some of the lo-fi limitations of his equipment. "It's funny because the way I began producing was using phones and tablets, since I wasn't able to afford the technology to begin making music with, so it started very DIY," he explains. "But I wanted to see how far I could get making the electronic sounds I wanted to hear with what little I had." As for its danceability, he notes that it comes from an earnest love of club and dance music. "I want people — especially in the more DIY and underground scene — to not only have fun with the music, but also not be afraid to like pop and electronic music," he says. Since his move to the Windy City, Crescendo says he's taken fresh inspiration in the birthplace of house music and embraced the vibrant club scene. "I also started DJing and started a radio show called Function Network with my main collaborator D. Hood, which has influenced how I craft my performances with blending songs into each other," he offers. "Another cool thing is that I released an experimental hip-hop beat tape called Displacement Dissonance for a pop-up art gallery made from field recordings as part of an artist residency that challenged how I experiment with sound." — Kyle Petersen THURSDAY

  • Provided

Smooth Jazz | Dave Koz and Friends
w/ Marion Meadows, Kirk Whalum, and Jonathan Butler
Sun. Sept. 1
7:30 p.m.
Gaillard Center

Dave Koz has been identified as a "smooth jazz" musician for most of his nearly 30-year career, and the tone he gets on saxophone, whether it's tenor, baritone, or alto, is light enough to fit comfortably into that genre. But he's put out two volumes of music under the name "Summer Horns" that rather emphatically move him out of smooth jazz territory. The first Summer Horns album from 2013 featured Koz alongside fellow sax players Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, and Richard Elliot, playing an ensemble of tunes by Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Chicago. "A lot of us really connected as musicians on the fact that we all loved the same bands growing up, the bands that made us want to pick up the saxophone," Koz says. "That's where the impetus came from to do something like Summer Horns." The sequel album, which came out last year, expanded the formula, adding trombone player Aubrey Logan, trumpeter Rick Braun, and vocalist Kenny Lattimore. "Rick was the one who said, 'What about adding some trumpets and trombones and doing it again,'" Koz remembers. "We toured to support it and that was such a success that we were asked to do it again this year." Koz says that his current tour with these players allows for everyone to have both group and individual moments. "There's a lot that we do together, and then we break off into duets and solo spots," he says. "At the very core of it, all of us are having such a good time that it's infectious." Dave Koz will appear as part of the Lowcountry Jazz Festival. —Vincent Harris SUNDAY

  • Price Harrison

Garage-Rock | The Minks
w/ She Returns From War
Sun. Sept. 1
9 p.m.
The Royal American

There's a certain snake-hipped groove in the music of Nashville trio The Minks. They have a lot of rock muscle, for sure. One can check out the merciless stomp of their single "J. Walker Blues" for proof of that part of the equation. The swaggering tune has a loud, flamboyant menace that emanates from Nikki Barber's sneering voice and needle-in-the-red guitar. But check the groove behind the noise and you'll find a rock-solid beat that doesn't feel tied down. There's nothing showy about what the band is doing here, and there aren't a lot of instruments in the mix; a distortion-coated harmonica, a filthy guitar line, some subterranean bass, and a drum sound that suggest the kit has about four pieces. But that's the cool thing about it — when you can take a primal sound and make it move like a dance tune, that's pretty impressive. Their most recent single, "I'm Okay," is another slice of groove-heavy garage rock, but it's more uptempo with some vintage sounding keyboards in the background. And check that middle section where the song stops its forward chugging momentum and rears up like an angry cobra, twisting itself underneath Barber's taut, fiery solo. It makes one look forward to the full-length album that these two singles serve as the calling card for. We're not expecting too many ballads on Barber's debut platter; she's got a little too much rocker in her to slow things down too much. Sounds like you'll be able to bounce to it, though.—Vincent Harris SUNDAY

  • Provided

Rockabilly | Elvis Ain't Dead Fest 4
Thurs. Aug. 29
9 PM
$12/adv, $15/door
Pour House

It was Todd Anderson, of Charlietown Prints, who first thought to invite Elvis Presley out of hiding in Argentina to headline an annual festival organized in his honor. "The King had ties to Charleston already," Anderson points out. "That famous black and white image of him and a female counterpart called, 'The Kiss,' was taken at the Francis Marion Hotel, and the young lady in question is actually still living in town today." So, it wasn't a stretch, in Anderson's view, for Presley to want to play here once a year, for the last four years, at the appropriately titled Elvis Ain't Dead Fest. Anderson is particularly excited about the King of Rock 'n' Roll sitting in with this year's musical lineup: Dante's Camaro, Mike Martin and the Beautiful Mess, '17 Comeback Special, Mel Washington, Marsh Grass Pretty Mamas, and Elvis Funkin' Presley. The latter, he says, will be playing to the crowd with some drawn-out "jammy versions" of Presley's later work. Anderson assures us that the ever-popular "dead on the toilet" photo area will be front and center as well, allowing anyone in the audience to have a seat on a hot pink and black commode to have their picture made with a slouched over Presley for posterity. Suspension of disbelief, for the sake of enjoyment, is encouraged. —Kevin Wilson THURSDAY

  • Provided

TRAP | Labor Day Trap Fest
w/ Poppa Band, Neno Kasanova, Joose, Young Boy Rell, YNH, Jax CME, Mixx Out
8 p.m.
Fri. Aug 30
Purple Buffalo

A one of a kind event, the Labor Day Trap Fest celebrates everything about being unique as an artist and promotes making connections in the community and beyond. A variety of rising talent from the South Carolina area is invited to meet and mix with social influencers and those with experience in their respective fields. Organizer Rhonda Blanco describes the affair as "a themed networking event [where] urban meets trap, a diverse culture to serve as a platform." Along with connecting, there will also be a karaoke segment to shake things up and serve as a tool for those to understand how wide the array of talent really is. Rhonda defines it best, "Talent doesn't have one look, and trap isn't defined by one sound, (T)ake (R)isk (A)nd (P)rosper." —Henry Clark FRIDAY

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