ELECTRONIC GOTH FUNK POP | Wolfgang Zimmerman & Invisible Low End Power
w/ Persona La Ave
Fri. May 24
9 p.m.
The Royal American

Knoxville’s Persona La Ave trio refers to what they do as “experimental funk,” and that’s an apt enough term, we suppose. But to make it more precise, this group takes ’80s-style synths, programmed beats, electronic jazz fusion, and a serious goth sensibility and throws it all in a blender. Led by singer/songwriter Dylan Dawkins’ ominously intoned vocals, the band somehow finds a link between shiny, happy vintage synth pop and Bauhaus, which now that we think of it, is something that New Order kind of did. But New Order eventually moved into full-on dance pop; Persona La Ave plant themselves firmly in this dark, grimy corner and digs into it for all they’re worth. It’s eerie how well this band has synthesized (get it?) the old-school goth and electronic pop stuff and brought that sound forward without losing any of the darkness or cheesiness of either genre. There’s even a Spandau Ballet-style sax thrown in occasionally for good measure. —Vincent Harris FRIDAY


HIP-HOP | Memorial Day Weekend Rap Festival
w/ DJ Dbl.crwn, Christian Harris, J-What, Neintu, Hippy Cocaine, West Haze, TroyPreme, Scene Jesus, Kev-O, Matty Butz, Mattress843, Tommy Tsunami, ggleak, Blvme Bleg, Sheneedmycompany, Zamaria, Ziggy Baby, DJ DollaMenu, Lil Tomic, Abstract That Rapper
Sat. May 25
9 p.m.
Purple Buffalo

With Cultura and Love 4 Hip-Hop bringing attention to the Charleston rap scene in unprecedented ways, more rap festivals are just a fitting way to celebrate. And the Memorial Day Weekend Rap Festival is going to throw down the gauntlet with a mammoth list of underground and big name local hip-hop artists. Grungy trap artist Neintu and his collaborator Hippy Cocaine will perform alongside Tommy Tsunami, Scene Jesus, and Mattress843. Jubilant rap class clown DJ DollaMenu is set to get weird on stage with artists like Zamaria and Ziggy Baby. Then 2018’s rap artist of the year Abstract That Rapper will “Mumble Rap” his way into the spotlight. If you’re looking to see how varied the local rap scene can get, and discover some new talent along the way, then you’ve found your home for the night. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY


NOTHIN’ BUT FUNK | Dumpstaphunk
w/ April B. & the Cool
Thurs. May 23
9:30 p.m.
$20, $25
Pour House

If it’s true, as George Clinton once said, that the funk is its own reward, then the pairing of Dumpstaphunk and April B. & the Cool is like winning the lottery. But what’s most interesting about these two bands playing together is how differently they approach their funk-based music. Dumpstaphunk is an ensemble groove thang all the way, with a thick, soulful brew of guitars and keyboards and a bottomless bottom end. April B. & the Cool, led by singer/songwriter/guitarist April Bennett, take a more spacious approach, opening up their grooves so that Bennett and guitarist John Paul “JP” Miller can trade licks back and forth and the rhythm section of John Durham and Joshua Forte can stretch out. “I like leaving space,” Bennett says. “When you leave space, it allows the audience to kind of fill in the blanks and open up the music to other interpretations. And the arrangements allow the lyrics to be heard, so that you can connect with the words. Those words mean a lot to me, so I want them to have space to be understood.” Or, as Miller more succinctly puts it, “Funk is not what you play; it’s what you don’t play.” —Vincent Harris THURSDAY


DJs | Danny’s DJ Dance Party Part II
w/ Lazer Cat, Mummbles, Auntie Ayi
Sun. May 26
9 p.m.
The Royal American

I’m not recommending Danny Martin of 2 Slices’ 2nd Annual Birthday Dance Party simply because he and I share a birthday. This is also a free show and a chance to put your Sunday dancin’ shoes on and get to moving with a pretty saucy selection of local magicians of the ones-and-twos. You know 2 Slices’ Lazer Cat won’t let the party stop before Mummbles takes over. Also known as Mel Wilis, Mumbbles has been known to keep the dancefloor sounds pretty fly with his own brand of neat beats, which you may have witnessed over at Faculty Lounge’s monthly Backroom Bounce. And Auntie Ayi, another BRB veteran, will close out the night with her boss blend of rare songs and samples that will keep you both guessing and grooving nonstop. —Kelly Rae Smith SUNDAY


SOUTHERN SOUL | Logan & the Kidders
w/ VHS, Nathan & Eva
Thurs. May 23
9 p.m.
The Royal American

Who says rootsy music can’t be smooth? You’ll find living proof of this combination in Charleston band, Logan & the Kidders. Though relatively new on the scene, frontman Logan Aggeles cut his teeth playing in a few other local bands prior to his new outfit. The group’s latest single off upcoming EP, Fine By Me, was made possible after winning a contest held by Charleston Sound recording studio. In the final product, “Fine By Me” definitely pulls on the heartstrings lyrically while also revealing the band’s flair for crunchy rhythm guitar, hi-hat finesse, and vocal harmonies. This simple, yet polished sound goes a long way on stage, leaving lots of room for improvisation and groove. —Henry Clark THURSDAY