Soundchecks: Della Mae, Low Tide Boyz, The Destinators, John Bias & the Simplicity

Live music to catch this week

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DAVID MCCLISTER
  • David McClister

BLUEGRASS | Della Mae
w/ Rachel Baiman
Sat. March 14
9 p.m.
$15/adv, $20/dos
Pour House

Perhaps the most encouraging news out of the Della Mae camp in a while is simply that the Grammy-nominated group still exists, although in a slightly different form. The Nashville bluegrass artists have had their ups and downs over the past couple of years, with singer/bassist Shelby Means leaving to form the roots-country duo Sally & George with Sol Driven Train's Joel Timmons and mandolin player Jenni Lyn Gardner launching her solo career. But the band is still going, and Gardner has returned to the fold, with upright bassist Zoe Guigueno stepping in for Means. The basic sound of Della Mae is both different and the same on their just-released album, Headlight. The pristine, airy vocal harmonies are still very much in place; just check the spine-tingling choir of voices on the album's second track, "Change," featuring the McCrary Sisters. But the music has moved from relatively straight-ahead bluegrass into something more difficult to define. The acoustic instrumentation is still there, but this time out, the traditional instruments are occasionally bolstered by keyboards, electric guitars, and that most divisive of instruments in the bluegrass world, drums. But there were elements of this transition on the band's 2015 self-titled album, so you can't say the membership changes or time off are what precipitated the change in sound. It seems more likely that Della Mae has simply evolved to the point where bluegrass is merely a part of their sound, rather than being the main focus. And regardless, it's still a pleasure to listen to. —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

BADJON
  • Badjon

DANCE GROUP | Low Tide Boyz
Sat. March 14
Parade canceled, see update. St. Paddy's Day Parade starts at 12 p.m. in Park Circle

According to founding member Art "Hips" Perry, the Low Tide Boyz, Charleston's only all-male charity dance team, are the result of a serendipitous moment he had on Thanksgiving Day last year. "That morning," Perry says, "my wife Erin Tyler [owner of Tin Roof in West Ashley] and I were cooking breakfast and watching the Macy's parade when a group of men from New Orleans called the 610 Stompers, who just dance for fun, came on and they were amazing. About 10 seconds into their performance, my wife said, 'You have to start this in Charleston.' I agreed and made a goofy post on Facebook, telling everyone I was going to start an all-male charity and the way we would raise money was by dancing." At present there are 20 dancers and at least another 20 auxiliary members of the LTB, and for now the Lowcountry Food Bank is the troupe's non-profit beneficiary. Among their numbers, Perry points out, are software engineers, a medical doctor, some food-and-bev guys, a few salesmen, and even a crabber. And the one constant is that they always like to keep their audiences guessing. "Our music is as diverse as our group itself. We dance to all types of genres, the only requirement is that it's clean enough to play in front of anyone, no matter what age," Perry said. This weekend, you can catch the guys in action as part of the Park Circle St. Paddy's Day Block Party and Parade. The one thing Perry can promise about the event: "It's gonna make you smile, you can't even help it." —Kevin Wilson SATURDAY

UPDATE:
While the St. Paddy's Day Parade is canceled, the coronavirus can't stop the Low Tide Boyz


ADAM CHANDLER
  • Adam Chandler

REGGAE | The Destinators
Sat. March 14
9 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

The universe works in mysterious ways, and sometimes it works as a force for good in the local music industry. The Destinators are a one-year-young conglomerate of local Charleston music powerhouses that were brought together in a happenstantial way. Now hitting their stride, this reggae/soul/roots band has been putting their talented heads together and working hard to bring us a new dynamic of groovy sound that "feels grounded in their current lineup." In terms of how the past year as a band has been, guitarist and vocalist Liam Farrel says, "It's been all-out fun. We like hanging out with each other as much as we like playing music together, so the family and friendship side of things really makes it all that much better." Just like the reggae sounds they produce, this band came naturally. After just one year of being together, Farrell notes they already have enough material for a full length album, with new material to be released in 2020. Clearly, all it takes for some magic to happen is talented musicians to create friendships, a bit of hard work, and a vision of a new reggae/roots project. As Farrell puts it, "Sails are down, wind is cranking, this ship is moving, and so is the music." —Eliana Katz SATURDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

ROCK | John Bias & the Simplicity
w/ Super City, Orange Doors
Fri. March 13
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

John Bias & the Simplicity — the name says it all. The band roars out of the speaker with a basic set-up: one guitar, drums, bass, and endless enthusiasm for a fun garage rock sound. "The whole idea behind the band was — I had been writing music in a way where I was trying to add as much to everything as possible and this is kind of the reverse version of that," says Bias. "We're just trying to make everything be able to stand on its own two feet, not adding things that aren't necessary." The band's first single, "I'm on Edge," charges out of the gate with more power than chords. Bias' visceral yelps and bluesy guitar style are only made better by bassist Tommy Merritt and drummer Drew Lewis' groove around the main riff. The emphasis on less-is-more songwriting, according to Bias, is a welcome change. "It definitely makes me feel like I have less to hide behind. It's definitely making sure you're putting your best work in front of you." John Bias & the Simplicity are working on their debut album right now, aiming for a release over the summer. —Heath Ellison FRIDAY

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