w/ Handgun Sonata
Tues. Dec. 27
10 p.m.
301 King St.

Although they’re not yet attempting to shape the sound of Lowcountry pop-punk, the four guys in Summerville-based rock band Parker are definitely determined to dig out a spot for themselves in the local indie rock “underground” with an aggressive, multi-faceted guitar-heavy sound and a spry delivery.

The band’s story begins in 2003, when Fort Dorchester High School classmates Ben Smith and Fields Parks picked up a guitar and a pair of sticks and formed the initial garage version of Parker. This year, Smith and Fields, both 20, rock alongside roadie-turned-bassist Tim Lewis, 21, and newly-acquired lead guitarist Clayton Stokes, 16.

“Clayton is definitely an awesome talent and we’re psyched that he’s tagging along,” says Smith, who grew up in Walterboro and Summerville. “It was kind of crappy there for a little while. Things weren’t working out or meshing with our previous guitarist, so we had to make a change, We’re really fortunate to have Clayton.”

Stokes made his live debut with Parker this year at an ill-conceived show booked in Lancaster, S.C., where the band unexpectedly cleared the room. “Sometimes the genres of music don’t mix for some crowds,” shrugs Smith of the experience. “Some kids only want to hear one type of music — like with the hardcore and punk scenes — and they get stuck in just one narrow genre, which is unfortunate.”

In May, Parker celebrated the release of a self-produced, limited-edition disc titled The Crash and Burn EP. The songs make explicit their debt to ’90s emo-core and the heavier side of alternative rock. On their page, Parker confirm a wide variety of influences, ranging from vintage punk and new-wave (The Clash, The Police, The Cure) to late-’90s alternative guitar-rock (Green Day, Blink 182, Nirvana) to recent emo-tinged rockers (Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, Dashboard Confessional).

“I write a lot and we collaborate on it all,” says Smith. “Clayton writes some songs, too. It’s all music from the heart, really, we try to have fun with it. We definitely like stirring up the crowd and communicating with the crowd. There’s always action and we’re always jumpin’ around … you know, you can be a bad band, but if your performance is awesome, a lot of people notice that [laughs]. I usually ask myself, is this a good melody, or is this a catchy riff? Is this something I would like to hear someone play on stage? I’m still a fan of many, many bands and I think I have an ear for what people want to hear, so it’s all a part of it. Right now, our sound is very hard to categorize.”

Parker recently went back into the studio and plan to finish a 10-song session at Strawberry Skies in West Columbia next month. “It’s where Hootie & The Blowfish made their first recordings, if you care anything about those guys,” says Smith.

The band currently enjoys radio airplay on 98X’s local show and on several college radio stations around the Southeast. They made a guest appearance last Sunday during 96 Wave’s local show, trying to get the word out about this holiday week’s downtown gig.

“I’m not sure about how exciting it is to play on Tuesday night right after Christmas, but we’ve been playing with Handgun Sonata –who are awesome — since we first started playing out, and they’re awesome, so we’re really looking forward to the show.”

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