Southern-Fried Garage Punk | Motormouth Mabel
w/ Charlie McCalister, Dr. Fuzz
Sat. Dec. 22
9 p.m.
The Royal American

Motormouth Mabel is one of those classic Charleston punk bands that only plays one or two shows a year anymore, but they sure do make ’em count. Like the time they all stripped down to their tighty whiteys, or the time they played a set in far-too-small superhero pajamas. Drawing their name from a character in John Waters’ Hairspray, this is a band that is as much about its debauched theatrics as it is about its songs. Lead vocalist C.J. Ulm says the band is scattered across the country these days, but “When we get together, we just wild out.” Ulm, a former pro skater, first encountered punk rock in a downtown Charleston skate shop at age 18, when Tobias Denney — now the band’s lead guitarist — introduced him to the sounds of the Misfits, the Fall, and modern-day punk saint Jay Reatard. These days, he finds inspiration for the band’s scuzzed-out lo-fi mayhem in mid-century soul singer Ruth Brown, who played Motormouth Maybelle in the original Hairspray (he’s not as big a fan of Queen Latifah’s interpretation in the revamp). “She sang about things like how women need respect, and she was punk rock for her time,” Ulm says. “She’s kind of like the soul of the whole movie. She brought together blacks and whites to dance together.” —Paul Bowers SATURDAY

Pop Punk | Harlem Downtrotters
w/ Hot Charlie
Fri. Dec. 21
9 p.m.
The Mill

Like many fast-and-loud bands before them — from the Dead Kennedys to Metallica — Kyle Cooley and his cohorts in Columbia pop-punkers Harlem Downtrotters take a CNN approach to songwriting. “We’re inspired by a lot of things from newspaper articles, messed up stuff you see on the news, life experiences, or lack of life experiences, and people,” Cooley says. Case in point, “Beatty Downs,” a pogo-stick pounder about battered women on the Harlem Downtrotters’ forthcoming EP 8 Bit Spaceship. Cooley, who sings and plays guitar for the band, says that on the surface the track “sounds like a bunch of dudes jokingly making fun of some poor girl, but the song is really about women who are in abusive relationships. They get treated horribly, sometimes even beaten repeatedly and continue to go back to the dude.” He adds, “I read an article that said the average women will go back to her abuser seven to eight times before finally getting out.” Aside from their tendency to write news-inspired tunes, the four-piece band is notable for another reason: three of the band members sing. “I love the fact that we have three singers up front,” Cooley says. “All of our choruses now are gang-vocal style. It also gives us the ability to harmonize with each other. Most of the time we aren’t singing the same notes.” Spoken like a true punker. —Chris Haire FRIDAY

Apocalypse Rock | End of the World show
w/ Just Darwin, Projekt Zero, Antidrive, Badmotor Uzi, DJ George, Rule NO. 9, Primo Noctis, and more
Fri. Dec. 21
6 p.m.
$10/advance, $20/door
Sand Shack

You know that scene in Independence Day where all the new agers gather for a rooftop party to welcome the aliens to Earth, only to discover that the E.T.s’ plan is to zap them with a giant death ray? Haven’t you always wanted to be a part of something like that? Well, now’s your chance. Assuming the world hasn’t ended by nightfall on Fri. Dec. 21, Heart Beats Entertainment will throw an End of the World rager at the Sand Shack in North Charleston. There’s no rooftop access, but beginning at 7 p.m., there will be music on two stages (indoor and outdoor) featuring at least a dozen acts ranging from heavy metal to pop-punk to hip-hop to DJs. Just Darwin will play ragged rock with a reggae beat, Projekt Zero will portend the end of days with glitchy nerdcore hip-hop, and Summerville’s Rule No. 9 will supply the apocalyptic hardcore breakdowns. Event organizer George Courville says to expect a big surprise finale at 2 a.m. on Dec. 22, as long as the planet hasn’t been reduced to a wisp of ash by then. “We’re hoping we can actually make it to the end of the show,” Courville says. Check it out. Because when the bloodthirsty aliens come to reap their bloody harvest, we can’t all be Will Smith. Visit for more info. —Paul Bowers FRIDAY

FOLK | Steph Stewart and the Boyfriends
Wed. Dec. 19
6 p.m.
Awendaw Green

Steph Stewart’s plaintive vocals conjure up country greats like Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris, but with a subtler, more modern touch. Stewart and bandmates — Omar Ruiz-Lopez on mandolin and fiddle, Mario Arnez on guitar, and Jonah Freedman on bass — create twangy, Appalachian-influenced folk that varies from dark, narrative-heavy tunes like “Coal” to the wispy, James Taylor-esque “Wake Me Carolina.” Stewart’s been writing songs since she was in fifth grade, and grew up in a home filled with music, though not the kind you might expect. “We grew up singing karaoke,” she says. “I used to try to sound like Cher and Olivia Newton John.” That phase passed, and as a teenager she became interested in folk and country. Since all the guitarists she knew were playing tunes from Pearl Jam or Nirvana, she decided to start playing herself. “I was tired of depending on other people to play the music I wanted to sing,” she says. About three years ago, she added the Boyfriends to her lineup, and they’ve been making pretty mountain music across the Southeast ever since. For more, visit —Elizabeth Pandolfi WEDNESDAY

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