OLD-TIMEY ROCK | Royal Tinfoil
Royal American’s Second Anniversary Bash
w/ Company, Pierce Edens, and Elim Bolt
Sat. Dec. 28
8 p.m.
Royal American

The jazzy, gypsy-swinging Royal Tinfoil initially formed as a duo led by Lily Slay and her big brassy alto and the guitar-playing Mackie Boles and his gruff, road-worn baritone. Since then, the Charleston group has evolved into an increasingly electric five-piece. The band’s debut, 2012’s Well Water Communion, is packed with tales of gutter-dwellers, miscreants, and other social pariahs who’ve squandered their luck serving their worst demons and falling headlong into misfortune. Slay, Boles, and their Royal Tinfoil comrades perform the tunes with such spirited vigor they could be arena-rock anthems if they weren’t so damn dark and dyspeptic. The band’s kinship with the dispossessed can be heard on “The Wretched Curse of Fools,” a song which emanates with the warm, reassuring tone of a folktale. Oh and on the song, Slay sings one helluva show-stopping mea culpa. Although the Royal Tinfoil gang may be nothing more than a bustling “Rat on a Wheel” enjoying a “Little Lotta Whiskey,” Slay has more ample words of wisdom for would-be wallflowers: “If you want to dance, you have to learn to take your chance, subtlety’s lost on me … you don’t have to trick me, just slide on over and kiss me.” Such straight-forward immediacy’s their stock and trade. —Chris Parker SATURDAY


CLASSIC ALT ROCK | Drivin’ N’ Cryin’
w/ Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project
Sat. Dec. 28
8:30 p.m.
Pour House

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ has never quite fit in. The band’s ability to tackle a wide variety of genres — college rock, jangle pop, garage-psych, punk, metal, country, and Southern rock— presaged the iPod generation and allowed DNC — which now includes Charleston’s own Sadler Vaden — to build a broad following. The Atlanta-based outfit took a break around the millennium while frontman Kevn Kinney pursued a solo career, but the break must’ve done Kinney and company some good because their biting 2009 comeback The Great American Bubble Factory was perhaps their best, offering a savage indictment of our predatory economic culture on two tracks, “Preapproved, Predenied” and “(Whatever Happened to the) Great American Bubble Factory.” While Kinney remains busy as a solo artist — releasing A Good Country Mile in 2012 — DNC’s stayed active as well, releasing three of four planned EPs over the last 18 months. Each disc focuses on a particular aspect of the band’s sound, from roots rock (Songs from the Laundromat), punk (Songs about Cars, Space, and the Ramones), and psyche-rock (Songs from the Psychedelic Time Clock). The fourth EP, Songs for the Turntable, is due early next year, with an as-yet unrevealed musical theme. —Chris Parker SATURDAY


DEVIL MUSIC | Satan’s Corvette
New Year’s Eve Apocalypse Prom
Tues. Dec. 31
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Want to celebrate New Year’s Eve like it’s the end of the world — minus that R.E.M. song? That’s what the Tin Roof’s New Year’s Apocalypse Prom is for. Now in its sixth year, and usually headlined by Dante’s Camaro, this time it comes with a twist. Singer Ben Dante is spending New Year’s Eve with his wife — good for him! — so Emily Richards is filling in for the rest of the band, which they’re calling Satan’s Corvette. And since the event is also a prom, party-goers will crown a king and queen. It’s based on applause, so bring your friends. Originally conceived as a zombie party, organizers ultimately figured that genre has been done to death. That’s where the apocalypse part comes in — it’s wide open. Says the Tin Roof’s Erin Tyler, “It can mean zombies. It can mean you’re a pretty, pretty princess. It can mean robots, monsters, Mad Max — or you can just come dressed up because you want to be dressed up and the zombies might eat you.” —Corey Hutchins TUESDAY


BLUES JAM | JJ Grey & Mofro
w/ Oli Brown
Fri. Dec. 27
8 p.m.
Music Farm

For the last dozen years, the Jacksonville blues-funk septet JJ Grey & Mofro has endured numerous lineup changes and released six albums of originals before Grey and company finally hit their stride with This River. The grooves are deep, unhurried, and damp with summer swelter. They range from the greasy swamp-funk of “Your Lady, She’s Shady,” to the nightclubby jazz-blues of “Florabama,” and the Black Crowes-ish country-soul “99 Shades of Crazy.” Though Grey and his Mofro mates have had their own horn section for a few albums now (members of the Daptones played on 2007’s Country Ghetto), This River marked the first time they’ve all gotten together in the studio. The end result is a homier, lived-in feeling. Akin to Spoon River Anthology, the album find’s Grey offering his own raw-boned down-home sketches. In his easy-blues crackle, the Mofro frontman sings about the simple humanity that defines even his wildest characters. “A writer friend once told me, ‘Everyone’s a character if they have enough room to be one,'” Grey says. “I always thought that meant your surroundings, but I came to realize you give yourself enough room to be a character.” —Chris Parker FRIDAY


Piano Boogie | Screaming J’s
w/ Cavalier in Clay, the Dunder Chiefs, and the Makeshift
Wed. Jan. 1
6 p.m.
Awendaw Green
Sat. Jan. 4
The Mill

Jake Hollifield is modest about the piano boogie he plays with his Asheville-based band, the Screaming J’s. “It’s not really like I’m the greatest musician, but I feel like I’ve listened to some of the greatest music,” he says. At 41-years-old, he’s mostly playing songs that were written before he was born: old-time New Orleans R&B, bluegrass tunes, and gospel music from the ’30s through the ’50s, all set to toe-tapping, boogie-woogie rhythms and played with ragged abandon. A typical Screaming J’s set features some more “recent” cover songs, including ones by Chuck Berry, Professor Longhair, and Earl Scruggs. Hollifield likes to tweak the lyrics, though, so Scruggs’ “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” becomes “Foggy Minded Breakdown,” while John Hartford’s classic cannabis-inspired tune “Granny Won’t You Smoke Some” picks up the lines, “I don’t know what I’ve been told / She turned that garden into gold.” Hollifield has been taking his upright piano on the road for years, lugging it in and out of venues, and the band lineup shifted a few times before arriving at the current backing band of Mike Gray (drums) and JP Hess (upright bass). “I’ve worn out a lot of band members,” he says, “so I’m lucky to have the two that I have with me now.” —Paul Bowers NEXT WEDNESDAY