Jimmy Herring Band
Thurs. April 30
The Pour House

The driver in front of me opened his truck door and eight empty beer cans spilled out into the Pour House parking lot. But once inside, the packed house — many of whom were Panic fans looking for a taste of that cool, cool, chilly water — found a performance that was far more “Peaches in Regalia” than “Ain’t Life Grand.”

Jimmy Herring, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Sipe don’t have to find a pocket; it comes to them. Over a continuous two-hour set of Zappa-esque space-jazz-funk, the quintet (rounded out by Scott Kinsey on keys and Greg Osby on sax) played all over the map. One highlight was their cover of Jeff Beck’s (penned by Stevie Wonder) “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” (thanks to local musician Jeff Caldwell for recognizing that gem). With the show starting promptly at 9:30 p.m. and over at 11:30 p.m., the half of the crowd that spent their time socializing on the deck were likely disappointed at the amount of music they witnessed.

But starting on time has long been a problem in the Charleston music scene. “Start on time, rock out, and get it over with,” says Allman Brothers family veteran and RadioFreeCharleston.com founder Bunky Odom, who added after the show, “I thought they were the best musicians that ever graced the stage at the Pour House.”

That’s a bold claim but one without an easy refute. The night’s only singing came from Oteil, duplicating his bass notes an octave higher with his voice. Jeff Sipe lives in his own rhythmic paradise, and Herring finds ways to squeeze unthinkable numbers of notes into a measure. The show began with the members taking turns at exploration, eventually morphing into free-for-alls that wandered in every direction, but perfectly in step. —Stratton Lawrence

(photo by Stratton Lawrence)