- Friday, Nov. 30
- Megan Jean & The KFB, w/ Wolfgang Wallace and Chapman Suther
- Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Hwy., Greenville
- 8 p.m.
Five years ago when they released The Devil Herself, Megan Jean & The KFB (aka Megan Jean on percussion and vocals and her husband, multi-instrumentalist Byrne Klay) fit firmly into the acoustic Americana category, playing rootsy, skeletal rock that often took on a gothic turn with Jean’s horror-movie-inspired lyrics. On their new album, Tarantistas, the band’s sound has completely changed, putting Jean’s stunningly powerful voice at the center of multi-layered instrumentation and arrangements that sound more like vintage soul. Add to that a more mature, socially aware lyrical perspective and you’re hearing some ferocious and focused new music. It was a risky move to make this kind of music, because the band’s previous guise had attracted some music-industry attention. But Jean says that KFB’s brief flirtation with the mainstream left them unimpressed. “We learned that everything in life is a gamble, and it doesn’t always pay off to trust people with your career,” she says. “We’ve seen industry involvement work out really well for some, but with us it was just dispassionate people trying to shove us into the Americana scene. I’ve learned to trust my gut and forget about being famous, because real art doesn’t live there. We don’t need producers or the music industry at all to have a fulfilling life and career as artists.”
- Friday, Nov. 30
- J-E-T (Eric Weiler, Joe Jones and Tez Sherard)
- Smiley’s Acoustic Café, 111 Augusta St., Greenville
- 10 p.m.
Eric Weiler leads his own namesake group, a quintet that backs up his fiery, blues-based guitar pyrotechnics with another guitarist, keyboards, bass and drums. But J-E-T, the Upstate supergroup he’s formed with bassist Joe Jones and drummer Tez Sherard, turns the tables, making Weiler a part of a power-trio and giving him a challenge. “If you look at the Eric Weiler Group, I’m the leader of that band,” he says, “and it’s really comfortable for me. Stepping in and playing with Tez and Joe, it’s challenging, because it’s just guitar, bass and drums. The Eric Weiler Group is really guitar heavy, but I have backup on guitar in that band. With J-E-T, it’s just me, so I step back and focus on being a guitar player on a lot of the songs. Plus, they’re such good musicians that you never know what’s going to happen next.” J-E-T has been playing shows for about year, and Weiler says that the band has become closer as friends as that year has passed. “It’s not just the musicianship, it’s the friendship,” he says. “I don’t think this band would work with any other setup.”
- Saturday, Dec. 1
- Mike Gowan & Holly Gray, w/ Shearling and Fabric
- Cabin Floor Records, 504 Rutherford St., Greenville
- 8 p.m.
Mike Gowan has been creating ambient electronic soundscapes for years on his own. It’s a style of music that he’s come to love on many levels, particularly when he plays live, an experience that allows him to improvise and add new elements to his pieces. “I love carving sounds out of synthesizers in real time,” he says, and recording them as asynchronous loops as I perform them. As they play back, the sounds take on a life of their own. It’s challenging, relaxing, and pretty rewarding.” His new collaboration with
Holly Gray on keyboards and vocals has allowed him to make his music more experimental than anything he’s attempted before. “After I met Holly, I discovered that she had an ear for weird sounds,” he says. “Where I was doing these liquid-y and somewhat melodic sets, Holly came in with rhythmic ideas, bass lines, and abstract vocals. She’s introduced new dynamics, which I love.”