"Last Shot of Whiskey" from the Fusion 5 demos
Charleston rock quartet Gaslight Street's spiritual home seems to be the Deep South by way of London circa 1967. With a dense, guitar 'n' organ sound and groove-heavy style, the newly established act have already met favor with jam band fans and classic songwriter fans alike. They work from a healthy and flexible blend of styles — from roots/blues and vintage U.K./U.S. guitar-rock and '60s soul to more contemporary rock styles.
"Those are my main influences and the band's foundation," says singer/guitarist Campbell Brown (also of local band Live Oak). "That is music we were all raised on. However, I think while so many bands try to be different from song to song and album to album, we actually try to keep it consistent to our blues/rock sound. Our strength is everyone's individual musicianship and being able to come together and channel our energy into making this sound whose core is that blues/rock/soul thing. Our focus is to stay true to that.
"This is a new band, so everything we bring to the table is fresh," he adds. "We have only been working together for a year, as opposed to over almost a decade with Live Oak. It's just like any relationship; everything is so new and ideas kind of run free and easy within the band room. As far as the rock style, I think this band is more focused on the Southern blues/rock genre, as opposed to Live Oak, which also has those influences, but is a bit more eclectic and influenced by a wider range of styles. Live Oak is a five-piece band. Gaslight is a little more stripped down and straightforward."
Drummer Brooks DuBose, a native of Camden, moved to Charleston from San Francisco (where he played regularly with Ten Mile Tide and Yardsale) about a year ago. He quickly hooked up with a few mutual friends with a band project in mind. Bassist Frank Nelson played in various bands in Nashville and the Carolinas over the years. Keyboardist Jason Stokes previously worked and played music in Florence and Myrtle Beach. Brown was jamming with Live Oak.
"I was really itching to play with some people — with a reliable bunch of people who have experience," remembers DuBose. "We'd all hung out at one point. We all get along really well, and we're all very seasoned musicians. It formed out of that. Before we knew it, everyone was bringing original material to the table. It blended into this dirty Southern rock with some soul to it thing. We're not really a jam band at all; we're more of a rock band. The songs are nailed down and structured."
The band agreed on a name (borrowing it from the lyrics of the Stones' tune, "Can You Hear Me Knockin'") and played their first show at Johnson's Pub last winter. Over the spring, they toured around Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.
"From the feedback we've gotten from the audience, we evoke some of the bands from the late '60s and early '70s — Clapton, Traffic, etc... it's hard to say those names without feeling pompous," Brown says with a laugh.
They currently boast a solid four-song demo disc, recorded at Fusion 5 Studios. It's available at the shows for cheap. While forthcoming studio plans are in the works, it appears their main priority is to continue sharpening their live sound and reaching out to wider audiences around the region.
"We all have day jobs, but this is a high priority," says DuBose. "Our goal is to get our name out, build a fan base, stay independent as much as possible, become regionally successful, and go from there. We're trying to be selective about the local gigs and venues. We're trying to play really solid gigs and play some great music."