Sound Bites: Ice Pop Fest; Foreigner; and Black Fast

Foreigner. Photo provided

Saturday, July 7
Ice Pop Fest, featuring Hugger Mugger; Fratmouth; Dinnertime; Dan Francisco; Don Babylon; Revelator; and Orange Doors
105 Grace St., Clemson
7 p.m.

Depending on which album you’re listening to, the Easley-based band Revelator has either been an experimental group creating concept albums, post-punk boundary-pushers or, in their most recent incarnation, a quartet that mixes indie-folk and acoustic-electric rock. Their most recent album “#Muricana,” is considerably more straightforward than anything they’ve done before, and that’s because it was the first one designed to be played live.

“Revelator started out as an online project in 2011,” says singer Jon Rasmussen. “I basically sent out an email to three of my friends and asked if they wanted to make music together. We were all in different locations, so using Dropbox or Google Drive we would email around one part at a time.”

Guitarist Heath Lane adds, “Most of it couldn’t be reproduced live.”

Eventually, Rasmussen and Lane wanted to turn Revelator into a live band, so they created music that could be played live and recruited a rhythm section. And one of the reasons they’re happy to be playing a festival at a house-show venue like Clemson’s Pablo is that it gives bands making original music a much-needed place to play.

“One of the downsides of this area is that there isn’t a huge amount of venues that care about the local scene,” Lane says. “If you’re not playing cover music, it’s a stumbling block. That’s the reason house venues like Pablo and Grandma’s House are so important to us. They offer you a place to put your stuff out there.” –Vincent Harris

Sunday, July 8
Foreigner w/ Whitesnake & Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening
Heritage Park Amphitheatre
861 S.E. Main St., Simpsonville
7 p.m.

If you look at the picture of Foreigner that accompanies this 2018 Jukebox Heroes tour stop and the faces you see look a little, well, foreign, you probably aren’t the only one. The only remaining original member of the classic-rock juggernaut that brought us hits like “Feels Like The First Time,” “Hot Blooded,” “Waiting For A Girl,” and “I Want To Know What Love Is” in the 1970s and ’80s is guitarist Mick Jones. Singer Lou Gramm is long gone, and a new cast of characters, including singer Kelly Hansen, now surround Jones onstage. But this isn’t some fading nostalgia act; Jones is largely responsible for just about every note Foreigner ever played, and the notorious perfectionist has built a band that can handle the classic hits, and an occasional new tune, as well as or better than the classic lineup. Hansen, in particular, is a frontman to be reckoned with, sporting a solid-gold set of pipes and charming onstage charisma. –Vincent Harris

Saturday, July 7
Black Fast
Ground Zero
3052 Howard St., Spartanburg
7 p.m.

If you’ve never heard a band from the “technical metal” genre, it’s a dizzying, stunning experience. Technical metal bands, like the St. Louis quartet Black Fast, execute jarring shifts in time signatures and tone that make the thrash-metal of bands like Metallica and Megadeth seem like amateurs, creating breathtakingly complex song structures that twist, turn, and fold back in on themselves and take off down unexpected paths.

It sounds somewhat intimidating when it’s described in black-and-white, but on Black Fast’s new album, “Spectre Of Ruin,” it’s more of a primal rush than an overcomplicated intellectual exercise. On tracks like the relentless “Cloak Of Lies” and the more epic “Silhouette Observer,” Black Fast creates the adrenaline-fueled release that metal fans crave while keeping their playing chops, and songwriting skills, sharp enough to satisfy their own artistic curiosity. It might not be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the sheer aggression of great metal, Black Fast is an excellent way to check out a potentially unfamiliar subgenre. –Vincent Harris


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