Soundchecks: Alice Cooper, Cole Collins, Adam & Elsewhere, Independent Music Guide, Ghostemane

Live music to catch this week

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CLASSIC ROCK | Alice Cooper
Thurs. Nov. 14
7:30 p.m.
$48.50-$261
North Charleston Performing Arts Center

An Alice Cooper live show is going to be a theatrical extravaganza pretty much by definition. Alice is not the kind of guy who walks onto the stage in a T-shirt and jeans and casually counts off the first song; he's a showman. And Cooper's current "Ol' Black Eyes is Back" tour is no exception; the stage is set up like a funhouse carnival ride with all sorts of jump-scares and sinister surprises, most notably a blood-soaked ghost bride who appears during "Roses on White Lace." The set list is a mix of classic hits like "School's Out," "I'm Eighteen," and "Poison," and more-obscure deep cuts, but Cooper says they all have one thing in common. "It's all totally hard rock," he says, "and that's why this band I'm playing with is so important. It's probably the best hard rock band that I've had. Lead guitarist Nita Strauss is a shredder, Glen Sobel is one of the best drummers in rock 'n' roll, Ryan Roxie [guitar] and Chuck Garric [bass] and Tommy Henriksen [guitar] are all stone-cold professionals. So I surround myself with great players so I can go to each album and it will sound like that album." Cooper says he also lets the band play a role in the creative process when he's planning out a show. "I'll tell them the idea for the show," he says, "and then during rehearsal someone will say, 'If we connected this with that, it would sound better, key-wise, and then we could do this, so let's try it. And if it works, it works. It's not just me standing there saying, 'This is the way it's going to be.' It's not written in stone; everybody's allowed to be creative." —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

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ALT ROCK | Cole Collins
w/ Andrew Avent, Abigail Harmon
Fri. Nov. 15
9 p.m.
$10
The Royal American

Cole Collins' 2018 EP, Jargon, is filled with dreamy piano melodies, atmospheric guitar ballads, and heavenly expression. Provoking ardent emotion is relatively easy for him thanks to his use of atmospheric language placed throughout his music. The title track to the 2018 EP is filled with deep and cunning emotions that are portrayed with a simple piano. Collins' uses a heartened and minimalistic movement to project his feelings to the world around him. The track "The Story & The Dream" is a wonderful and dreamy track, but the messages that fall along with it are even more blissful than the track itself. In an an interview on The Fringe podcast, Collins discussed the song's relationship to dreams: "Everyone has a dream, a place in your mind that would be better than where you currently exist." Collins' overall rhythm and lyricism gives the portrayal of dreams a new magnitude. "Being lulled to sleep, old man and the sea, suspended between the story and the dream," sings Collins on "The Story & The Dream." Thus, the creation is a tangible dream that can only be accessed through the world of music. —Matt Keady FRIDAY

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JAM ROCK | Adam & Elsewhere
Sat. Nov. 16
10 p.m.
Free
The Mill

There's an interesting dichotomy at work in the music of the Charleston band Adam & Elsewhere. The tag that is most often used to describe them is "jam band." But if you take a listen to their new self-titled EP, you'll find six relatively concise songs, with only one, the dreamy, melodic rocker "Cool Leaves," stretching past the five-minute mark. But the fact is that songs don't have to be lengthy explorations to be jam band-style performances. You can hear Adam & Elsewhere stretching out pretty much everywhere on the EP. The wall of guitars that opens up "Jump Through Time" gives way to a catchy, bouncy verse; "Into The Fire" goes from a floating, ambient soundscape to a laid-back ballad with burbling organ and blissful vocal harmonies; "Stars At Noon" feels like a straightforward rock tune until the cascading chorus kicks in with an unpredictable time signature that changes the feel of the song. And then the EP winds down with a spacy, neo-psychedelic ballad called "Eternal Beginnings" that aims for the stratosphere and gets there in less than five minutes. So songs don't really need to be 10-minute epics to count as jams when you fill them with as many different ideas as Adam & Elsewhere does. And it helps that the band (singer/guitarist Adam Barley, bassist Sandip Roy, and drummer Jonathan Alcon) are skilled enough players to work a world of experimentation into a concise composition. —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

STEVE AYCOCK PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Steve Aycock Photography

ROCK | Independent Music Guide
w/ Saul Seibert, Brandy and the Butcher, Jump Castle Riot, Johnathan Robinson Band
Sat. Nov. 16
8 p.m.
$10
Tin Roof

The world is an intimidating place for an independent artist. Booking gigs, mastering personal marketing, and building relationships in the industry can be tough, especially for artists trying to make it on their own. Independent Music Guide, an offshoot of South Carolina Music Guide, recognized artists' struggles and created a system to lend a helping hand. "We provide services to artists such as management, publicity, and PR, as well as covering important updates from album releases, shows, and tours around the world," says Stephanie Smith, director of Independent Music Guide. If this doesn't sound cool enough, they've also decided to throw a party. The premier global music community is hosting an anniversary event to celebrate their year of success, and they've used their musical expertise to create the perfect lineup. "Saul Seibert from Boo Hag is doing a solo set from his new venture, Ballads from the Bordello," says Smith. "Brandy and the Butcher, a punk band from Columbia, will be blowing the lid off the Tin Roof with Jonathon Robinson's band following." To top it all off, Charleston's own Jump Castle Riot, whose name appeared multiple times in our City Paper Music Awards nominations, will be holding down the fort. A night filled with a little rock, a little blues, a little punk, and a whole lot of fun is what's on the agenda. "We will have giveaways and four great bands," says Smith. —Abrie Richison SATURDAY

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GOTH RAP | Ghostemane
Sun. Nov. 17
7 p.m.
$27.50
Music Farm

Ghostemane is the pseudonym of Eric Whitney, a prolific musician/producer/singer from Florida who delivers a style of rap that is, more often than not, divorced from its usual context within the celebratory world of hip-hop. His rapid-fire flow is draped in a darkness and depression that Ghostemane cultivated while playing in hardcore punk and doom metal bands in his younger years. Like many among the SoundCloud rap scene, you won't have to listen long before he'll have you asking the question, "Where have all the good times gone?" That's not to say that Ghostemane's work is uninteresting or that there aren't nods throughout his catalog to the likes of more traditional rap outfits like OutKast and Three 6 Mafia. It's just that his creative output is more akin overall to that of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails than to anything that really qualifies as straight up rap. As an artist, Ghostemane has been stretching out even more, of late, while assembling a variety of uniquely themed EPs. A dozen of these have come out over the last five years, including the enigmatic 2019 release Opium. That particular record is a three song acoustic outing that is quietly sung, for the most part, in a way that evokes early Alice in Chains. So, what can we expect from this week's performance at Music Farm? By most accounts, Ghostemane's current live sets are populated by shadowy silhouettes and video screens that help him host an eclectic evening of heavy aggression, regardless of what you want to call the genre. —Kevin Wilson SUNDAY

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