Soundchecks: Vanwho, Bloodkin, Patrick Davis and his Midnight Choir, Parker Gispert

Live music to catch this week

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INDIE FOLK-POP | Vanwho
w/ Moon Hollow
Tues. Feb. 4
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

You don't necessarily need to speak the language of music to feel its enchanting effects. And in the case of Vanwho, a Canada-based indie band, you don't have to speak French either to appreciate their music. Vanessa Boivin-Drolet started as a solo artist, creating breathtaking music both in English and French. "It all started in 2009 when someone saw me play my classical guitar in a video store I used to work at," explains Boivin-Drolet. "He asked me to play a song and then told me to go and record it with him in his home studio." From there, her project Vanwho was born. Now accompanied by David Fortin Théberge on drums, Émile Tempère on bass, and Jay Leblanc on guitar, Vanwho's enticing sound and unique story has spread across borders. "We just bought a 1987 Winnebago Lesharo which will be our home for the next four months," says Boivin-Drolet. "We are calling it the Snowbirds Tour as we are headed south and staying in the warm as we make our way to the West Coast." Expanding popularity is just one example of how the band's hard work is paying off. While many of us have already given up on our new year resolutions only a month in, Vanwho has already released a new single and their first EP, Four, in English. But, words take the back burner in the creation of Vanwho's music. "Life is incredible, magical, and so beautiful and it is much easier to appreciate it when we take away the words and are able to just be present with it all," says Boivin-Drolet. Music is a luxury some will never get used to. It is powerful, emotional, and liberating all on its own — no words needed. —Abrie Richison TUESDAY

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SOUTHERN ALT-ROCK | Bloodkin
w/ Dyrty Byrds
Fri. Jan. 31
9 p.m.
$13/adv, $15/dos
Pour House

Interestingly, Southern rock stylist and Bloodkin co-founder Daniel Hutchens credits the Beatles for putting him firmly on a musical path at a young age. "When I was five, my older sisters got me a copy of Sgt. Pepper's," he says. "The lyrics were printed on the back cover, and I'd just learned to read, and that made a huge impression on me. Reading along with the lyrics while the record played ... I think that shaped my life." Hutchens' longtime friendship with the members of Widespread Panic also shaped his approach to music-making in a big way. "At first, Bloodkin was basically a punk band. Fast and loud and all about tightly structured songs. Panic was about chemistry and improv, and the songs stretched out. I think we rubbed off on each other: Panic started pursuing the songwriting and we started letting the songs breathe onstage and got into some trance, groove stuff. We were just friends with a mutual and sincere love of music, and that continues to this day." According to Hutchens, his band's current live show is better than ever, for a variety of reasons. "It's a bigger setlist than we've ever had featuring the new record and songs from all the old records, unreleased stuff, and a few covers that mean a lot to us." Hutchens admits that his personal appreciation for life, music, and art has only intensified following a harrowing stroke a few years back, making each show a special occasion to him. "I think I'm more appreciative than ever," he says. "I think I'm less distracted by nonsense and more focused on the essentials: my kids, my songs, my friends, the band, and our fans. That's what's real." —Kevin Wilson FRIDAY

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SOUTHERN SOUL | Patrick Davis and his Midnight Choir
Thurs. Jan. 30
8 p.m.
$25-$50
Woolfe Street Playhouse

Nashville-based and Camden-raised singer-songwriter Patrick Davis is back in Charleston, this time bringing his 11-piece Midnight Choir with him. Davis is perhaps best known for his writing credits on songs by artists like Lady Antebellum, Guy Clark, Darius Rucker, and Jimmy Buffett among numerous others. Outside of his time as a go-to writer in Nashville, Davis has built up a solid following in the southeast over the last few years with his own Southern soul and roots-rock inspired songs. Davis comes into this performance after the release of two new singles in 2019 titled "Six String Dreams" and "L-O-V-E," as well as an EP in August 2019 titled The Gamecock that pays tribute to his alma mater. The "Midnight Choir" that accompanies Davis is something of an intentional misnomer. It isn't actually a choir, but rather his backing band that provides a soulful wall of sound behind Davis' onstage showmanship. The name is derived from Leonard Cohen's song "Bird on a Wire." While it's a little misleading, it was just too good of a name and reference for Davis to pass up. Davis fancies himself a storyteller and showman and his performances always promise those elements in full. Not to mention, an older venue that maintains a balance of history and modernity, like Woolfe Street Playhouse, is about as fitting of a venue as you could have for a concert that promises to blend the past and present of Southern music. —Alex Peeples THURSDAY

ALEXA KING
  • Alexa King

ALTERNATIVE | Parker Gispert
w/ Blackfoot Gypsies
Thurs. Jan. 30
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

For about 18 years, singer/guitarist Parker Gispert didn't have to worry about coming up with stage patter. His band, the Whigs, played loud, but melodic, garage rock onstage and on album, and the music essentially spoke for itself. "It was a Ramones-style presentation where you just play the songs back to back to back," Gispert says. "So you didn't really have to say anything to the crowd." Now as a solo acoustic performer, Gispert has had to step up his between-songs chatter. "You've got to have a totally different level of engagement with the crowd," he says. "So I try to make it more of a conversation with them and keep it casual and just make it fun for everybody. It's a totally different skill, which was really exciting to me. It was a great challenge to sort of say, 'Hey, let's see what you can do when you don't have the band with you.' I've been doing the band almost 20 years, so any time you find a new challenge for yourself, it's just invigorating and exciting." It also helps that Gispert has a good mix of material to choose from, pulling from both the Whigs catalog and the gorgeous, elegant indie-folk of his debut solo album, 2018's Sunlight Tonight. "I think last time I toured, I kind of had to play unreleased songs, just because that was the situation that I found myself in," he says. "Now I'm throwing in a couple of new songs that haven't been released yet, but I'm trying to stick to Whigs songs and the Sunlight Tonight album so that I'm not playing a ton of material to people that people aren't familiar with." —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

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