Soundchecks: Third Stone Trio, Gatsby Orchestra, Drivin' N' Cryin', Futurebirds, The Mezz

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JONATHAN BONCEK FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathan Boncek file photo

JIMI HENDRIX COVERS | Third Stone Trio
Wed. Nov. 27
10 p.m.
$10
Pour House

Jimi Hendrix is arguably the most influential and groundbreaking guitarist in the history of music. In his wake, a long line of guitar players have been inspired by his sound and have used it as they please, sometimes filtering it through their own lenses. Charleston resident and guitarist extraordinaire Wallace Mullinax carries a deep love and reverence for Hendrix. With his group Third Stone Trio, he's taking the musical high road and a more literal approach to the Hendrix repertoire on Jimi's birthday, Nov. 27. "This band and this performance is a great opportunity to focus on the whole catalog, parts of it that are typically overlooked. It's about conveying emotion through sound and we want to connect back to that source," says Mullinax. The band is comprised of drummer Jonathan Peace and bassist Oliver Goldstein, with the intention of truly recreating the energy and spiritual direction of Jimi's trio. "As musicians, we have developed so much context for everything and when we strip that away, it becomes so pure. What is the point of this chord from a philosophical standpoint?" Wallace asks. The guitarist is a seasoned, virtuosic player in a multitude of musical acts but this music in particular brings out something different. "It makes you remember why you wanted to do it in the first place," he says. "A rejuvenation of your musical soul. You start asking different questions, you know? Not how, but why?" —Jeffrey Wilson WEDNESDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

JAZZ | Gatsby Orchestra
Fri. Nov. 29
7 p.m.
$25-$35
Forte Jazz Lounge

The Gatsby Orchestra was started by members of the Joe Clarke Big Band, Bill McSweeney, and Jack Pettit as an ode to the beloved sounds of 1920s music. "There is a great deal of difference in the sound of this band versus what they played in the 1920s," says Joe Clarke, co-owner of Forte Jazz Lounge. "But it has a charm all its own." We hear the sounds from this era even when we aren't aware of it. They are often in the background of movies and radio channels, but sometimes they go virtually unnoticed. Joe Clarke, alongside his wife and Forte co-owner Rosie, is making certain that the sounds of the 1920s never fade. "The Gatsby Orchestra at Forte will be like nothing anybody has heard in decades," says Clarke. "It is absolutely America's first popular music." And Bill McSweeney agrees. "This is the music that kept the crowd up 'til dawn," says McSweeney. "The real beauty of this endeavor is that for the first time in generations this music will be heard without the filter of 1920s recording and playback technology." Jazz was, and is, a highly celebrated genre of music, and now it is coming back to the forefront of Charleston entertainment thanks to Forte Jazz Lounge. "This is our niche," says McSweeney. "This is faithful representation from the original charts of the original sound of the Jazz Age — we hope you don't miss it." —Abrie Richison FRIDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

ROCK | Drivin' N' Cryin'
w/ Human Resources
Fri. Nov. 29
8 p.m.
$22/adv, $25/dos
Charleston Music Hall

Being an outlier has gone from a curse to a blessing for the veteran Athens band Drivin' N' Cryin'. When they first emerged in the mid-1980s, the group was a little too heavy for college radio, not heavy enough for the metal market, and a little too rootsy for the ultra-hip alternative rock scene. All they had was a killer sound that was flexible enough to take in folk, hard-rock, and country, plus one of the best songwriters of the era in singer/guitarist Kevn Kinney. At the time, the fact that you couldn't easily classify the band meant that their commercial success was limited, despite the unassailable excellence of albums like Mystery Road and Fly My Courageous. Hell, they couldn't even sell out when they tried straight-ahead Southern rock on 1993's Smoke. Instead, the band, led by Kinney and bassist Tim Nielsen, simply persevered through trends and time, playing shows and releasing albums independently, keeping their devoted fanbase, and garnering new fans along the way. Nowadays, Drivin' N' Cryin' is doing better than ever; they've essentially created their own cottage industry with a series of independently released EPs, albums, and a 2017 expanded reissue of Mystery Road. Plus, their live show remains a reliably unpredictable roller coaster. Depending on the band's mood, you might hear an all-favorites set, a string of new material, some killer covers, or a combination of the three. But the show will always include their greatest song, the perennial misfit anthem "Straight To Hell," which will probably be stuck in your head after reading this. —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

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PSYCHEDELIC COUNTRY | Futurebirds
w/ Leon III
Sat. Nov. 30
9 p.m.
$13/adv, $15/dos
Pour House

What's the best way to describe Futurebirds? Cosmic country, psychedelic jukebox music, or maybe a gallon of THC poured into a pickup truck's gas tank? It really doesn't matter; if the listener gets hung up on the description, they'll miss the music. Albums like Baba Yaga and Portico II have a simple pleasure to them based on a little Pink Floyd, a little Dolly Parton, and a lot of heart. Futurebirds' latest single, "My Broken Arm," suggests a more down-home flair than some of their earlier material, which veered toward the spacy side of cosmic country. The track, recorded at Rialto Row in Charleston, has some local vibes peeking through the cracks — specifically in the folksy riffs played hard and fast by an electric guitar. Singer/guitarist Carter Kings' raspy refrain, "But, the money's no good," is sung with a weariness reserved for travelling band vets. According to Futurebirds, more music is on the way and expected sometime in 2020. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY

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PROGRESSIVE FUNK | The Mezz
w/ Bad Weather States
Sat. Nov. 30
8:30 p.m.
Tin Roof

Eccentric Upstate-native jam band the Mezz has established a prominent usage of funk, psychedelics, and improvisational rhythm in their music and live performances. In 2017, they came out with their first album, The Mezz, which blended rock, singer-songwriter, and trippy guitars. At the time, the band consisted of Ryan Doolittle, Dylan Rogers, Zach Todd, and Austin Woodard, who all came from widely different musical backgrounds and influences. As of August 2018, they began to perform as a three piece, without Rogers. When first starting out, they quickly gained recognition for their lively performances, which consisted of improvisational jams, challenging covers of eclectic songs, and vivid light shows. Their top song, "Some Kind of Chemistry," is a light-hearted surf-rocker accompanied by a rich vocal performance. Other songs, such as "Let's Get Funky," became a mainstay on the "Funky Friday" radio show on Sunny 103.5. The Mezz thrives on guitar solos and riffs to an extent that they become a rather dreamy band that extemporizes everything within a rock melody. —Matt Keady SATURDAY

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