It’s that time of year again when wayward Charlestonians return home to reunite with family, but also fans and bandmates. From Jump, Little Children’s Christmasy return to their loyal following and the Blue Dogs’ annual reunion to Nora Roy and Heyrocco’s back-to-back homecoming (from New York and California, respectively) gigs at the Royal American, here are four once-local acts you should make time for over the holidays.
BENEFIT SHOW | Blue Dogs 6th Annual Homecoming & 30th Anniversary Celebration
w/ Peter Holsapple, Ann Caldwell, Rik Cribb, Charlton Singleton, Will Blackburn & Louis Duffie, Wyatt Durrette, Phillip Lammonds, Warrick McZeke, and Poppa Futch
Sat. Dec 29
Charleston Music Hall
As individuals, the Blue Dogs aren’t REALLY from Charleston. But as a band, there’s no question where the beloved roots-rock band is from. “Charleston has really been the homebase of the band, even if it hasn’t always been the home of everybody in the band,” says Blue Dogs singer/guitarist Bobby Houck. “We were always based in Charleston, so when we say this is a ‘Homecoming’ show, it really is. We all get to come back to Charleston. So it’s pretty cool.” In addition to being the Blue Dogs’ 6th annual “Homecoming” show at the Music Hall, it’s the band’s 30th anniversary, which Houck proudly notes is continuous — no hiatuses for these guys. “We’ve never stopped playing,” he says. “We’ve been active as a band for 30 years; actually it’s longer than that. (Bassist) Hank Futch likes to say, ‘We’ve been playing professionally for 30 and unprofessionally for a lot longer.’ But we’re still enjoying playing.” This year’s show will once again raise money for pediatric cancer research, specifically for MUSC Associate Professor of Pediatrics Jacqueline Kraveka and her division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. And The Press On Fund out of Augusta, Ga., will match every dollar raised. “It’s still a great party and a great opportunity for us to play music with our friends,” Houck says, “but it’s great when you can do something for other people.” —Vincent Harris SATURDAY
GARAGE-POP-ROCK | Heyrocco
w/ Dumbest Kids In School, Dead Swells, Baby Yaga
Wed. Dec 26
The Royal American
One would think that coming home for the holidays and playing a show in town would be a good feeling for a band, but Nate Merli of the Charleston garage-pop-rockers Heyrocco has some mixed feelings about it. “Of course it’s a lot of fun to see my friends,” Merli says, “but there’s this part of me that’s still terrified to get up in front of those people and sing. When you play in front of a group of people in a new town, you don’t know anybody, and you kind of feel like you can restart. But it’s cool. We’re going to see our families, kick it with the ‘rents for a week — it’s gonna be nice.” The band — Merli, bassist Chris Cool, and drummer Tanner Cooper — are back down to a three-piece after a brief stint as a quartet (“I kind of tried to force someone into the band who wasn’t crazy about it,” Merli says somewhat cryptically of the experiment), and they’re hoping to have some new material out in January to follow up their 2016 EP Waiting On Cool. “The music’s a little bit more mature,” Merli says, “and the subject matter is a little more mature. People may not want to hear that because it sounds really serious, but why not make the music about life? As far as the sound, we’re calling it ‘chainsaw meditations.’ It’s coming at you pretty heavy, but it’s soothing in a way.” —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY
ACOUSTIC CHAMBER-POP | An Evening with Jump, Little Children and the New Oblivion Orchestra
Fri. Dec 28
Charleston Music Hall
The idea for Jump, Little Children’s Music Hall show, an elegant acoustic evening accompanied by a chamber orchestra, actually has its history in their early years in Charleston. It all started with their annual stripped-down holiday shows at the Dock Street Theatre. Like, REALLY stripped down. “From the first iteration of Jump, we started doing a concert completely acoustically, with no PA or anything,” says cellist and guitarist Ward Williams. “Gradually, every time we’d add a little more, and have some guest stars, but we’d generally keep it acoustic. Eventually we played with a string quartet and we really enjoyed the more listening-room style setting.” The band will be playing newly arranged songs from their reunion album Sparrow, which recently tied for Album of the Year (with Ranky Tanky) in the City Paper Music Awards. That fan reception was encouraging for the band, who was a bit nervous about making their first album in more than a decade. “It’s easy when you’re in the process of creating something to be biased FOR it,” Williams says. “We were worried that we were just in this bubble where we thought it was amazing, but it actually sucks, and our fans are going to hate it. I’m extremely proud of it, but it is nice that the fans kind of agree with us, especially since it was FUNDED by our fans (through PledgeMusic). It would be a real drag if they funded it and thought it was a piece of crap record!” —Vincent Harris FRIDAY
GRUNGY ROCK| Nora Roy
w/ Lindsay Holler & Grace Joyner
Thurs. Dec 27
The Royal American
Nora Roy spends the first three songs on her new EP Misery Game chopping away at her guitar and wailing into a sea of Sun-Records-style echoes over a driving beat, creating some catchy, melodic as hell garage rock. And it works really well; on the title track, she achieves a sort of gritty, shimmering beauty before diving into the dark, menacing stomp of “Tear You Apart” and the relatively skeletal, poppy mid-tempo tune “She.” But on the final track, “A.D.” she goes largely acoustic, creating a blurred, exhausted-sounding stunner that packs the most emotional punch of any other song on the EP. “I originally played ‘A.D.’ more as a rocky-grunge kind of song,” Roy says, “but I kept hearing it as an acoustic vibe, so we switched it up in the end and I’m really happy with it. It may be one of my favorite songs, actually.” Roy’s show at the Royal American is another of the many homecoming shows we’ve got coming up around town, and while she’s looking forward to being back home, she’s also glad she left to work full-time on her music in New York. “I miss all of my friends in the music community, but I think I’m more confident now,” she says. “When I lived in Charleston, I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I wanted to pursue music and dig in, and I finally said, ‘I’m not getting any younger, this is what I want to do.’ And I think New York has made me stronger and more willing to put myself out there.” —Vincent Harris THURSDAY
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