Soundchecks: Sesh, Three Dog Night, Tazz Majesty, Ian Ferguson

Live music to catch this week

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INDIE SPACE-ROCK | SESH
w/ Clint 4, GASP
Fri. Jan. 24
8 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

Whether by accident or design, singer/guitarist Justin Sardinha of the Greenville band SESH has thematically divided up the material on the group's first three EPs, all of which have been released in the space of a year. The first, Anomie, was recorded by Sardinha alone, and so almost by definition, it's stripped-down and largely acoustic. The second EP, somewhat confusingly called I, is the first full-band release, bringing in drummer Brandon Gallagher and bassist/keyboardist Andre Van Parys. It mixes heavy, distorted riffs with atmospheric production (courtesy of Van Parys) and Gallagher's balls-to-the-wall drumming. Their new EP, II, takes the tight song structures of their previous release and adds a little space-rock to the mix. "This one is a little more psychedelic," Sardinha says. "It gets pretty spacey. That's the kind of music that was always what I've listened to." Sardinha is quick to point out, however, that there's a difference between space-rock and jam-rock. "We're not super jammy," he says, "but we like to get a little out there." What's interesting about the evolution of Sardinha's songs is that they were all written around the same time, and Gallagher's drum tracks were recorded at the same time. The only difference is in what the trio added on afterwards. "Brandon and I have worked together a lot," Sardinha says, "and we give each other feedback and go back and forth, so he helps me tweak things a good bit, and Andre adds some polish to it all. He typically adds something and I'm like, 'Oh, shit, that's perfect.' " —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

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CLASSIC ROCK | Three Dog Night
w/ Charlie Farren
Wed. Jan. 22
8 p.m.
$55 - $79.50
Charleston Music Hall

Founding Three Dog Night vocalist and songwriter Danny Hutton always had a knack for finding great material from other not yet widely known writers like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, and Hoyt Axton. He credits this to "good instincts" about the business. For example, he told the City Paper that he became a Fab Four aficionado early on in their career. "Kim Fowley actually brought Jack Nietzsche — Phil Spector's arranger — and Jackie DeShannon up to my house to learn about the Beatles," Hutton recalls. That sort of savvy paid off in a big way when Three Dog Night launched a few years later. During its heyday in the late '60s and early '70s, the group enjoyed a long string of Top 40 hits including "Joy to the World," "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)," and "One." Incredibly, after 50-plus years of hitting the road, each night of performing is still special to Hutton. "That's what it's all about," he says, adding that, "we want to serve the audience and give them an amazing experience every time." In Hutton's view, the band sounds better than ever playing the fan favorites, of which there are many. "We did just finish a brand new album, so after that's released we may put in a new song or two if it seems right," but for this week's Charleston show, you can count on hearing all the classics. —Kevin Wilson WEDNESDAY

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HIP-HOP | Tazz Majesty
w/ Abstract that Rapper, Walter Brown
Thurs. Jan. 23
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

As the venue has done many times before, the Royal American is bringing a new artist to one of Charleston's most popular musical stages. Columbia native and College of Charleston graduate Tazz Majesty was recently signed to Real South Records and kicked off 2020 by dropping one of the Holy City's most energized rap songs in recent memory. The show at the Royal American is technically a single release show for "Movin' Too Fast," but after a couple of weeks the single already needs no introduction. It's a club-ready, confident track that leaves a lot of room for excitement for what Majesty will do in her career. After listening, it's hard to believe that this is her debut. If the hype from "Movin' Too Fast" wasn't enough to convince hip-hop fans to flock to Royal, Majesty is bringing Walter Brown and Abstract that Rapper with her. That veteran support is sure to be exciting and fun as always, but the night is going to be all about the most exciting new face in Charleston hip-hop. —Alex Peeples THURSDAY

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PSYCHEDELIC ROCK | Ian Ferguson
w/ Marco Benevento
Fri. Jan. 24
9 p.m.
$15/adv, $17/dos
Pour House

Ian Ferguson is doing music his own way, although it took him many roads to get here. Growing up in a small town west of Nashville, he and his friends succeeded with their band the Kingston Springs, named after their hometown. But, after being offered and then turning down a major record label, the band members decided to go their own ways — and Ferguson's way led him to a unique solo career. Last year was a big one for the psychedelic, melodic rock musician. He debuted his first solo album, State of Gold, whose release marked the beginning of a highly anticipated solo journey. The album has beautiful lyrics, relatable emotion, and distinct melodies with each individual song. There is a certain grittiness to the album, which could be a product of the way Ferguson put it together. Rather than relying on a recording studio and a producer, he found inspiration in solitude — and in a basement. Ferguson did all the recording, mixing, and instrumentation himself, producing an album solely from his own personality and skill. His story mimics many garage bands, while sounding more inspired by the Beatles or Bob Dylan. Sometimes the best creations come out when you let yourself do things your own way and in your own time. —Abrie Richison FRIDAY

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