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Dangermüffin
Fri. Oct. 13 / Sat. Oct. 14
9 p.m. / 8 p.m.
Free
Taco Boy / Roof Top Bar & Restaurant
15 Center St. / 23 Vendue Range
588-9761 / 414-2341
www.myspace.com/dangermuffin

“This whole thing began in the summer,” singer/guitarist Dan Lotti says of his newly-established local rock trio. “‘Dangermüffin’ stands for a number of things to us. It’s a pet name for a dangerous lover and an actual comic-like angrily-personified pastry that is on a mission to bring good music into the world. Mostly, the name just reminds us to have fun with it all [laughs].”

Lotti, guitarist Mike Sivilli, and drummer Jim Donnelly began gigging as a trio earlier this year with weekly shows at the Roof Top Bar off the Market and various venues around town. Their unusual mix of groove-based guitar-pop and melodic Americana (from Jack Johnson to Ryan Adams), white boy funk/fusion, reggae/soul reworkings, and Southern-fried improv started taking shape by summer. This season, the trio seem to have achieved a genuine “band sound.”

As many local bargoers know, Lotti has been a fixture on the local scene as a solo performer for several years. He’s played various sets and weekly residencies in snazzy taverns and lounges from Sullivan’s Island to downtown to Folly Beach. Lotti considers his solo material “folk-driven, pop conscious, and rock-edged …with an innate sense of melody and rhythm.”

Sivilli first stepped into the local band scene when he and guitarist/drummer Travis McCann relocated to town from Raleigh. (He also found himself a spot in the production department of the City Paper as a graphic designer in 2005). Sivilli and McCann played as a guitar duo under the name “Round Two” at local clubs and bars through much of 2005.

Initially a two-piece, Dangermüffin grew out of recent local circuit work. It was a determined decision to form an actual band, stemming from what the Lotti Duo was already doing.

“It was a natural progression,” says Lotti. “I was playing in N.Y.C. twice a week with Jim, who moved from Charleston to the area and became a bandmate by default. We played as a duo. When Jim returned to the Lowcountry, it was natural to combine him with the soloist we never had, but always wanted — Sivilli. Naturally, Mike and Jim quickly developed rapport.”

As Dangermüffin, the three attempt to establish a more “original/songwriting” side of things — which can prove to be a difficult feat for any working bar band in the finicky Charleston scene.

“All three of us have rock roots, so it starts there,” says Lotti. “We try to maintain a controlled tonality that is borderline jazzy, an openness to free-form and ‘jams,’ a regional awareness in such that bluegrass is true American music, and an ultimate respect for the art of the folk song.

“When bars want you to play for three hours, it is a necessary evil to play covers along with your originals,” he adds. “We fit in like this: we cover songs from who we feel are great songwriters. We take them and celebrate them by doing our own version. Some of the songs are recognizable, like Bob Dylan and Sublime, and some are not, like Martin Sexton or The Avett Brothers. We are starting to make a push for more original settings… and shorter sets!”