Sound Bites: J-E-T, TajMo, The San Francisco Gay Man’s Chorus and many more

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Daddy's Beemer | Photo provided

Pablopalooza, featuring Daddy’s Beemer, Apricot Blush, Tom Angst, Beach Bug, J.S. Terry, Prozac Dreams, and Wallpaper
Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Highway, Greenville
Friday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
$10 (over 21)/$12 (under 21)
(Price includes access code for multi-band sampler collection)

For the record, there is no person named Pablo whom the Pablopalooza music festival was created to benefit. Pablo is the name that the festival’s co-creator, Wes Heaton, gave to his home, a house show venue. But over time, those shows grew into a collective of musicians from the Upstate that became known as The Pablo Generation. “It’s based in Clemson, but it involves some Greenville artists as well,” Heaton says. “Having everyone together helps us better schedule the shows so our audiences aren’t split up. It’s also helpful because there are certain people within the collective who have skills to help everyone out. I do some management and planning. Other people are better at graphic design, so they can create the bands’ art, and other people are better at handling social media, so they can post about people’s shows. Everyone has their own role.” The seven-band Pablopalooza bill, which ranges from the psychedelic folk of Wallpaper to the punk-rock of Prozac Dreams, was created to help fund The Pablo Generation’s efforts. “It’s to help us help every band out at once,” Heaton says. “It would fund things like a single website or tape and CD duplication to distribute all our artists.”


 

TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band
Peace Center, 300 S. Main St., Greenville
Thursday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.
$35–$55

It’s one of those things that people didn’t realize they needed until it happened, like seat warmers in a car. Over their respective multi-decade careers, how is it possible that no one ever suggested to bluesmen Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal that they make an album together? Because when you hear the result, the recently released “TajMo,” it’s difficult to fathom how it didn’t happen until 2017. When Mahal’s matter-of-fact growl intertwines with Keb’ Mo’s deeply soulful shout, it’s bliss for any music fan, whether you’re familiar with their individual work or not. But what’s perhaps most fascinating about the album is its sense of adventure. Instead of sticking strictly to the blues, the duo moves through modern soul, horn-spiked pop, gospel, and more. And the bouncing, Cajun-flavored version of The Who’s “Squeeze Box” is somehow filthier and more joyful than Townshend and Co. could ever have imagined. As far as the live show, one can only imagine what TajMo might play, given that the two men have around 40 albums of forward-thinking blues between them.


 

J-E-T
Tipsy Music Pub, 1237 Pendleton St., Greenville
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 9 p.m.
Free

When guitarist Eric Weiler, bassist/vocalist Joe Jones, and drummer Tez Sherard – aka J-E-T – got together earlier this year, it took a while for them to schedule their first gig. The reason: as members of their own bands and projects, they couldn’t find the time. “It’s been extremely difficult with everybody being so busy,” Sherard says. “But it was something that we all gravitated towards so strongly that we didn’t want the idea to die. It was just a matter of figuring out a way to schedule some shows so we could start this fire.” The idea for the band started after Weiler and Sherard played a show together at Revel a few months back. “We started talking while we were packing up about getting a project together,” Weiler says. “Tez said that sounded good, but that we needed a bass player who could sing to be able to do it. And the next day I thought of Joe Jones.” As for the group’s sound, Weiler says it’s a grab bag, thanks to the players’ skill with different genres. “It’s a gumbo,” he says. “We’re mixing in blues, funk, and rock into our own special blend.”

 


 

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir
First Baptist Church, 847 Cleveland St., Greenville
Friday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.
Free (donations encouraged)

The first-ever performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus took place in 1978, in the shadow of a terrible tragedy; they sang on the steps of City Hall after the murder of the first openly gay elected official in California, Harvey Milk. So they’re familiar with the idea of using music as not just a balm but also a tool of social activism.

That’s why, within 24 hours of last November’s presidential election, the SFGMC’s executive director, Chris Verdugo, met with other executive members of the chorus to plan a tour designed to support various LGBT causes around South, both financially and morally.

“We decided to forgo international touring and focus our energies on the South, because we already knew that the South was going through a difficult time even with the gains of the LGBT community over the last 10 years,” Verdugo says. “There were religious freedom bills being passed into law. Mississippi had a gay adoption ban, and we knew that under the new administration things would be more difficult.”

The Lavender Pen tour, as it came to be called, was initially planned for Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee, with no shows in South Carolina until Verdugo says the chorus got a very unexpected message.

“We heard from the First Baptist Church of Greenville, asking why we weren’t coming there,” he says. “That first message opened up a whole conversation where they said they’d love to host us. It was an invitation we couldn’t turn down. There was something really powerful about being able to say one of our performances was at the First Baptist Church in Greenville. It was very impactful on all of us to receive the invitation.”

The 300-strong SFGMC will be performing with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and their material ranges from spiritual standards like “Amazing Grace” and “Nearer My God To Thee” to equality-themed material written specifically for the chorus.

The event is free, but donations are encouraged, with all proceeds going to AID Upstate, the First Baptist Church Tragedy Relief Fund, PFLAG Oak Ridge, and United Ministries.

“This is a moment that takes all of us pulling together to send a message that we’re here, we’re ready to fight for what it just and right and what is ours through the Constitution,” Verdugo says. “And we want to bring that message in song.”

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