STONER METAL | Witches & Children
w/ Abacus and Florida Man
Wed. March 15
Usually, bands in the stoner metal genre have the guitars heavy and caked in sludge, the riffs slow and low, and the tempo just short of a dead-stop. But the North Charleston trio Witches & Children breaks the mold a bit by throwing some serious grooves into their instrumental molten metal jams. “You have to have groove in any kind of music,” drummer Chris Rea says. “We pick a riff and we groove on it and build on it.” The band formed about a year ago when Rea and guitarist Jimi Potter brought in bassist Michael McClure. No further members were required, especially not a vocalist. “We’ve been with the program of not having a singer since the beginning,” McClure says. “We like writing music that’s strictly instrumental; we really like not having that extra factor to deal with, honestly. Not having a vocalist, the musicians have to step it up more and create the atmosphere and the feel without words.”—Vincent Harris
This weekend’s Witches & Children show is part of PBR’s second-annual Dirty Southeast Festival, which also entails: Secret Guest w/ Drag Sounds Thurs. March 16 at Tin Roof; See Water on Fri. March 17 at Purple Buffalo; a Dirty Southeast Block Party on Sat. March 18 at the Sparrow with Black Power Mixtape w/ Hubris and Madam Adam; a Dirty Southeast Lowcountry boil at the Mill, 7 p.m., on Sat. March 18 with Don Merckle & the Blacksmiths; Dumb Doctors w/ Lipschitz and Townhouse at Local 616 on Mon. March 20; and The Voodoo Skulls w/ The 33’s, the Madd Hatters, and Hearts on Fire at the Pour House on Tues. March 21. Phew! That’s a lot of PBR.
SOUL-POP | Frances Cone
w/ Beach Tiger and Michael Flynn
Thurs. Mar. 9
Longtime readers of our humble little music corner will remember Frances Cone, the pop songsters with a knack for layering and mixing genres. Last time we checked in on them, the group had gone from a solo project to a full-fledged band. Since then, things have been going well for lead singer Christina (not Frances) Cone, bassist-turned-guitarist Andrew Doherty, drummer Alex Baron and, the newest addition, guitarist Adam Melchor. Their latest release was last year’s “Arizona,” a song outfitted with a hard-to-resist guitar melody and an even harder-to-resist vocal melody. “‘Arizona’ hit the internet in a really nice way,” says Cone. “The business side of music was into us for the first time.” The success of that track allowed the band to build up hype for their new untitled album, expected to be out later this year. Fans eager for new music won’t have to learn that patience is a virtue, because the group is also releasing a new single on March 10 titled “Leave Without You.” It’s a soulful synth-pop song that has a country flavor to it, meaning it’s classic Frances Cone. The band frequently performs “Leave Without You” and other songs from the new album in concert. Expect that tradition to continue at the Pour House and the Savannah Stopover music festival, where they are slotted to play later on single-release day. —Heath Ellison
BENEFIT | Garage Cuban Band
w/ LASO Fiddlers and more
Sun. March 12
This weekend, the Garage Cuban Band — Jonathan Gray, Bill Carson, Jack Burg, Ron Wiltrout — will perform for a purpose as part of a fundraiser for the American Music System fiddlers. The AMS is run by Pam Wiley, a fiddle instructor herself who gives lessons to Gray’s daughter Isabel — you may remember her as the 11 year-old who, last year, was the youngest person to be invited by polar explorer Robert Swan to participate in his Antarctic expeditions. This year, she has her sights set on Cuba. AMS works closely with LASO, the Lowcountry American String Orchestra, who together have organized a musical and cultural exchange trip for the fiddlers in Cuba later this year. That’s where the fundraiser with the Garage Cuban Band comes in. “We also want to build community awareness of the importance of music, and all the arts, for all of our educations,” Gray says. “It also gives the children a chance to play with a real live local band.” Last year’s benefit featured the Butterbeans (with Shovels & Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent), while this year’s unique performance includes the young fiddlers who have learned traditional Cuban tunes that they’ll perform along with Garage Cuban Band. Tickets include admission to Magnolia Plantation, and food trucks will be on hand to help make the outdoor offerings complete. You can bring blankets, chairs, and your own picnic, but dogs are not allowed. To purchase tickets, go to citypapertickets.com. —Kelly Rae Smith
ALT-COUNTRY | Ryan Adams & Band
Thurs. March 9
North Charleston Performing Arts Center
In a sense, we’ve spent much of the last two decades benefitting from Ryan Adams’ musical ADD. In his acclaimed band Whiskeytown, he was initially identified as an alt-country musician, but truth be told, he’s spent much of his solo career dabbling in everything from multi-layered singer-songwriter angst (Heartbreaker) to straight-ahead, loud ‘n’ sloppy rock ‘n’ roll (2003’s Rock N Roll) to his much-discussed song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Along the way, he’s flirted with the mainstream every once in a while (The Corrs crashed the pop Top 20 with their cover of his “When the Stars Go Blue,” and his 2002 rocker “Nuclear” came this close to breaking mainstream radio), but Adams is mostly content to follow his new musical obsessions wherever they take him, regardless of commerciality. His new album, Prisoner, might be his best effort yet to combine his various interests, leaning on tightly arranged, impossibly well-crafted songs with one foot in a honky tonk and one planted in a rock ‘n’ roll dive bar. —Vincent Harris
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