POP/ROCK | Ann Wilson of Heart
Wed. March 22
8 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall

Heart reached national audiences in the ’70s with memorable songs like “Barracuda,” yet many are familiar with the band’s less rock ‘n’ roll and more polished arena rock of the 1980s. But that new sound wasn’t at all their preference. “That’s what MTV wanted to play, so if you wanted to have a career on that level you had to meet those specifications,” says vocalist Ann Wilson. “And that’s really how it was, and in fact it was considered weird if you talked about art, or if you said, ‘Well, yeah my artistic integrity is being threatened,’ people just scoffed at you. Because the main thing in the ’80s was making money.” Wilson also preferred the way the music industry treated women artists in the 1970s — there weren’t any rules yet, she says. “In the ’80s, there was this whole expectation because of MTV — [women] had to be gorgeous,” she says. “It was a very cheesecake era and hyper sexualized. And if that wasn’t your comfort zone, then you were out. So the ’80s were harder than the ’70s. And I didn’t have much interest in dressing up like a hooker and going out there and shakin’ it.” But Wilson regrets nothing and has been making music on her own terms for decades (“In the ’90s, things took a turn,” she remembers), including collaborations with such names as Elton John on 2007’s Hope and Glory and two EP releases in 2015 and 2016 from her solo project entitled the Ann Wilson Thing! For this tour, Wilson plans to perform Heart songs, covers, and brand new solo tracks. —Kelly Rae Smith WEDNESDAY


OLD-TIME FOLK | Leyla McCalla
w/ Becca Leigh
Sun. March 26
10 p.m.
The Royal American

Americana musicians are often praised for their ability to synthesize various strains of roots music into something strikingly new, but few manage what ex-Carolina Chocolate Drop cellist Leyla McCalla accomplishes. A New Orleans-based Haitan-American with classical training, she also picks up a guitar or banjo when it’s called for. McCalla’s first album was dedicated to Langston Hughes and featured adaptations of his poems, Haitan folk songs sung in Haitan Creole, and original compositions. The resulting tapestry spoke to the plurality of the black experience in America and the often untold nooks and crannies of our folk traditions. McCalla’s latest effort A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey builds on those threads, picking and pulling at the elements of that first album with a grander sound and canny range that often feels like a more expansive chamber version of a New Orleans jug band. There’s also a way in which her sharp historical awareness breeds a contemporary relevancy, with the traditional tunes echoing early social justice themes into our current moment just as much as McCalla’s originals speak to today. Much of the folk music of today can feel a little too deeply devoted to the past, but music like this is a reminder of how urgently relevant our folk traditions continue to be. —Kyle Petersen SUNDAY


PUNKABILLY | The Reverend Horton Heat
w/ Unknown Hinson, The Goddamn Gallows, and Birdcloud
Sun. March 26
8 p.m.
$22/adv., $25/door
Pour House

It’s so easy to get caught up in the buzzsaw-guitar and punk-rockabilly thump of the Reverend Horton Heat that the man’s genuine musical chops can get lost in the shuffle. The good Reverend Heat (a.k.a. Jim Heath) is actually a versatile, intuitive player who can handle almost anything. His solo guitar version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” is a marvel of stripped-down fireworks, and his album with the funk-jazz trio Reverend Organdrum is a testament to his versatility. But back to the day job: This trio, Heath, upright bassist Jimbo Wallace, and drummer Scott Churilla, is a blast furnace of energy, hitting the stage in a blur of rhinestones, pomade (presumably Dapper Dan), and sheer volume. With over 11 studio albums and countless shows, Horton Heat has fused rockabilly’s propulsion, punk-rock’s attitude, and a thrash band’s noise into an explosively addictive sound, and somehow the trio seems to get better and deadlier with age. —Vincent Harris SUNDAY


w/ LucioPro, Lily Slay, Deadwin,
Mr. Bonetangles & the Keepers, and D&D Sluggers
Wed. March 29
9 p.m.
Tin Roof

There’s not a name for the night that’s happening at Tin Roof on Wed. March 29, so let’s just call it “Mixed Bag of Awesome.” Seeing a bill stacked to the brim with hip-hop, electronic, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and puppets made us do a double-take in a “oh, hells yeah” kind of way. Here’s what’s happening: Headliner Coolzey is a hip-hop act from Los Angeles, who describes his music as “hip-hop raised and alt-rock influenced songwriting ranging from pop comedy to brooding horror,” while Arkansas’ LucioPro fancies himself a “nerdy hip-hop” artist who raps about video games. LucioPro is a great segue for D&D Sluggers, a duo out of Wilmington, N.C. that creates catchy pop tunes you can dance to using a guitar, synthesizer, a Nintendo D.S., and a Nintendo Game Boy. That’s all paired with Charleston’s own: bluesy, soulful rock ‘n’ roll goddess Lily Slay, hypnotic folk ‘n’ roll duo, Deadwin, and puppetry by Mr. Bonetangles. It’s not often that Charleston takes a chance on blending so many genres in a single lineup, but looks like that’s all changing. Here’s to having more where that came from. —Kelly Rae Smith WEDNESDAY

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