Thank goodness the room was packed with bodies to muffle some of the power emanating from the corner of Surf Bar when Flannel Church plugged in last Thursday night. The slide-heavy Southern soul band pounded their rhythms into the wooden floor, transforming the typically bluegrass/acoustic venue into a raucous rock club for the night.
The staff didn't seem to mind. There were more armfuls of shots and sloppy front-row dancers racking up bar tabs than usual, even on Folly Beach. Making conversation was difficult over amps turned to 11, but by the time David Keller (the videographer who captured the frame grab picture you see here) offered me a set of ear plugs, it was too late to bother. I'd succumbed, sacrificing a portion of my hearing years later for a fleeting night of bliss right now.
Despite being overshadowed by names like Duane Trucks (on drums) and Shane Pruitt (on guitar), the rock of Flannel Church is bassist Kevin Scott. With a style that falls fittingly in line with both Oteil Burbridge and the late Allen Woody (of Gov't Mule), Scott's recent stints with Trucks and Col. Bruce Hampton may ultimately be his grooming for a bigger Allman family stage down the road.
Scott was a beast on the bass, and he dominated at Surf Bar. Lead singer/guitarist Gregory "Wolf" Hodges kicked it up for the screaming crowd as well, sliding on into oblivion with every solo up the neck.
Flannel Church sounded far more like a real band this time than on their first visit to Surf Bar a few months ago. They've maintained the jam energy while finding a focused cohesion, managing to break a sweat even on a chilly January nights.