Despite the blustery, rainy weather in the evening, a nice-sized crowd showed up at the Windjammer on Fri. Feb. 5 for the second annual Awareness Rocks event at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms. I got to pay drums with one band.
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Songwriter Ryan Bailey switched between his Fender Tele and an acoustic while backed by his band, Cumberland Belle. The band included guitarist Carl Wine, bassist Shawn Leiberknight, and sit-in drummer Kyle Polk (of Redfish). Bailey's melodic Americana-rock stylings and strong singing style provided a warm vibe as things kicked off around 6:15 p.m. He and the band nailed several new tunes (some of which they're currently working on at Charleston Sound), and they soared with a velvety rendition of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You."
Wombat hit the stage for two brief sets. The newly-established acoustic rock quartet — singer/guitarist Jared Mills, guitarist Ben Fontenot, electric bassist Steve Andreoli, and drummer Eric Angermeier — feature three fellas in residency at MUSC. Mills and Fontenot strummed through straightforward arrangements of pop-rock originals and a few crowd-pleasing alt-rock covers. Angermeier played with Stew Copeland cymbal set-up. Their style resembled the classic, Carolina-approved Hootie/Edwin twang and groove of the 1990s.
I was honored to participate on stage with three friends for a quick set of obscure and/or excruciatingly riffy classic rock tunes under the band name The Bad Signs. Bassist John Crain, guitarist J.R. Getches, and sax player/keyboardist Alan Brisendine (a research administrator at MUSC) play regularly in various local bands. We covered Madness, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Sam & Dave, and the Edgar Winter Group. Luckily, we managed to close with the instrumental "Frankenstein" with only a few minor clams.
Local quartet Steel Petals closed the event with a lengthy set of originals, propelled by a variety of grinding blues-rock grooves. Bespectacled frontman Blake Ohlson switched between electric guitar and lap steel, backed by no-messin'-around drummer Duck Reynolds (formerly of The Defilers), organist Whitt Algar, and new bass player Martin Whipkey. The Petals were at their most muscular wen the fuzz-wah of the distorted lap steel, the Hammond B3 setting on the keys, and the rhythm section linked up in unison.