“This isn’t some cactus bar where you can just roll up your taco and go.”
— A text message from a table at 82 Queen to some impatient friends

Crazy Fingers

Tommy Emmanuel gets other-worldly on the acoustic guitar

When Eric Clapton and Les Paul both call you “the best guitarist on the planet,” there’s got to be something truly special about the way you handle a six-string. At the Music Farm last Friday, Tommy Emmanuel did just that. With his unique percussive style — he’s worn the finish off of his guitar over the years — he delivered a version of “Classical Gas” that sounded like it wasn’t just one guy playing guitar, but several. A medley of Beatles tunes, from “Here Comes the Sun” to “Day Tripper,” had the seated, mostly older audience singing along and doling out enthusiastic applause. It was a different kind of night at the Farm — you could have heard a mouse fart during the slow songs, and anyone talking was stared down. But it was the kind of performance that kept folks transfixed. At one point, Emmanuel managed to bend the neck of his guitar to replicate the haunting sound of a didgeridoo. Not even ole Slow Hand does that. —Stratton Lawrence

Save the Last Waltz

A historic concert is reborn

One of the most appealing aspects of the concert known as The Last Waltz — and, in fact, The Band itself — was the versatility of each musician on stage. Last weekend at The Pour House, the Last Waltz Ensemble took the stage, and thanks to the varied talents of all those assembled, they did not disappoint. The crowd Friday night was the standard Pour House blend of 20-somethings in jeans, fleeces, and flip-flops, mixed with older couples out for a night. But there was one big difference between the Last Waltz Ensemble and, let’s say, a Tim Reynolds show, which I attended there a few weeks ago: I actually knew the songs. Upon entering, we were greeted by the sounds of “Cripple Creek,” and the crowded bar was already rocking. When they moved into Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” the Ensemble had everybody (including me) singing along. Unfortunately, just after a very passable rendition of “Further on Up the Road” when the excitement felt like it was building to a peak, there was an excruciatingly long set break. The energy drop left me feeling like a guy who’s drunk in the morning then hungover by noon. But when the Ensemble finally retook the stage and hit us with “Ophelia,” the buzz returned. —Josh Eboch

On the Road

Biofueled bus pulls into Wando

It was high school all over again — that is if you were one of the unlucky students who didn’t have your own car. The smell of exhaust, the air-conditionless ride, the hit-your-head-on-the-roof bouncing, the wasted minutes spent waiting on the side of the road in the rain. I’m talking about riding the bus. On Friday, the traveling entourage living aboard the Bio-Bus teamed up with Lowcountry Earth Force to bring a slice of sustainability to schools all over Charleston. Way out at Wando High, the bright blue bus rolled into the lot, bringing with it a real-life science experiment — a bus that runs on vegetable oil and solar power. And the Bio-Bus folks invited the students to tour the bus, providing a glimpse of how these green wanderers live. Inside, there were drums to bang, beds to sleep on, books to read, and a painted ceiling to stare at. It all sounded like a pretty sweet life. And then reality set in. Where is the shower? —Svetlana Minx


Pipers huff and puff at The Citadel

On Saturday, The Citadel hosted the 6th Annual Citadel Indoor Games Bagpipe Competition, and the haggis was on. The prize? A week’s tuition at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. So, after an afternoon of competition — or from my vantage point, an intense cardiovascular workout — Bobby Durning was selected by the two-man judging crew as the contest’s best. And while Durning walked away with a trip to Scotland, the judges didn’t let the other pipers go home empty handed. Nope. They were given the game Jenga. —Svetlana Minx

Fine Funk at Art’s

House band Baby Fat get it on

Things are usually pretty casual at Art’s Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant. Live cover bands and acoustic solo acts set up in the front corner by the main window overlooking their big new deck throughout the week. Some are more professional and tight than others, but most of Art’s regulars barely notice. On Friday nights, the stage belongs to house band Baby Fat. Led by singer/guitarist Jack Sprott, his brother, singer/drummer Morgan Sprott, and bassist Marcus Leonardz — the band consistently delivers a solid set of funky, danceable bar rock, featuring everything from disco and Motown to the arena rock schlock of the ’70s and ’80s to more recent alternative hits. Last Friday, things were a little bit different. For starters, Jeff Bateman sat in for usual axeman Joey Kanner. Bateman makes the fiery Eddie Van Halen/Eric Johnson stuff look like child’s play. But his licks weren’t the only highlights of the night. Baby Fat welcomed local vocalist/songwriter Annie Boxell to the mic stand several times for some impromptu singin’. Boxell not only sang along with Morgan on a rendition of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” but she boogied down through a lengthy medley of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” the Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground),” and Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance.” The stage was busier than a Burger King bathroom. Later on, things simmered down a bit and folks started slow-dancing (and ass-grabbin’ by the handfuls) during a late-set number — a version of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” —T. Ballard Lesemann

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