Who: From Ashes To New, w/ Ice Nine Kills, Palisades and Afterlife
Where: The Firmament, 5 Market Point Dr., Greenville
When: Friday, April 12th at 7 p.m.
Matt Brandyberry, singer, songwriter and keyboard player for the Lancaster, PA rap-metal band From Ashes To New, attacks his group’s music with the passion of a zealot. Onstage and on album, he navigates the band’s turns through heavy riffs and hip-hop beats expertly, because this is the music that changed his life. “I grew up in a predominately Christian household where I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything other than Christian music,” he says, “and I gravitated towards Christian hip-hop; I guess it had more of an edge to me. And as I got older, I got more into the secular side of hip-hop. And then the nu-metal wave hit, and that blew my mind. I thought, ‘You can mix this stuff together?’ I wasn’t a fan of rock or metal before that, but when I heard them together it was a really cool concept. It inspired me to start getting into metal and rock music, and that’s when it took off.” From Ashes To New’s most recent album, last year’s The Future, uses that hip-hop/metal blueprint to go in all sorts of new stylistic directions, something Brandyberry credits to increased collaboration within the band. “For the first record, I wrote almost everything by myself,” he says. “The Future was a big collaborative effort by all the band members. We each put a piece of ourselves into it, so I think it’s more us.”
Who: Big Love: A Tribute To Scotty Hawkins, w/ The Piedmont Boys, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O Blues, The Marvin King Band, Corey Stevenson, Ruddy Blue Shoes, The Eric Weiler Band, Elliott Satterfield, Larry McNair, Adam Carter, Shane Pruitt and special guests
Where: The Spinning Jenny, 107 Cannon St., Greer
When: Sunday, April 14th at 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free (donations encouraged)
Before he collapsed onstage and passed away on March 22nd, Scotty Hawkins spent years behind the drum-kit playing on hits by a dazzling array of country stars, from Reba McEntire to Brooks & Dunn to Big & Rich and beyond. But he may have made his biggest impact right here in the Upstate, with musicians and music fans alike. He was a man who loved to play whenever and wherever he could, whether that was in the studio or on a concert stage or in church. And he especially loved playing with the Upstate’s own blues legend Mac Arnold and his band, Plate Full O’Blues. So when it came time to pay tribute to Hawkins and raise money for his family, it was a member of Plate Full O’Blues, harmonica player and guitarist Max Hightower, who organized the show, recruiting Arnold, The Piedmont Boys, Marvin King, Eric Weiler, Shane Pruitt and many more for a night of music and memories. “He was one of the top guys in Nashville, and he who played on countless hits, but you’d never know it if you talked to him,” Hightower says. “When he started with us, he didn’t need to rehearse or anything. It was like he’d been playing with us for ten years.” Hightower. “I don’t think anyone ever said anything bad about him. Musicians looked up to him, and if you played with him, he made you a better musician. And this show is a tribute to him. It’s a celebration.”
Who: A Tribute to Jaco Pastorius, featuring Shannon Hoover and the GJC Quintet
Where: Coffee Underground, 1 E. Coffee St., Greenville
When: Tuesday April 16th at 7:30 p.m.
We’re used to seeing Shannon Hoover of the Greenville Jazz Collective playing upright bass, but one of the players he loved the most was an electric bassist, Jaco Pastorius. Pastorius was a dazzling musician who made incredible, boundary-breaking jazz-fusion music with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and on his own, burning brightly before his premature death in 1987. “I was a junior in high school when I started getting into Jaco,” Hoover says. “It was really mind-blowing. He had such a unique style and played all of these melodies that you don’t normally hear on the bass. The idea that the bass could do something like that was amazing.” Hoover’s set paying tribute to Pastorius at Coffee Underground will feature the GJC quintet (guitarist Matt Dingledine, keyboardist Keith David, saxophonist Peter Dimery and drummer Justin Watt) and will include Weather Report songs like “Birdland” and selections like “Portrait Of Tracy” from his solo career. “We’re playing a lot of the hits,” Hoover says. “And we’re trying to bring all of that to life through our quintet.” And even after a lifetime of being a fan, Hoover says preparing Pastorius’ material for this event has taught him some new tricks. “I’ve been studying him my whole life, but I’ve discovered some melodic ideas and licks that I’m going to be using in tunes and solos,” Hoover says. “I’ve never really performed a lot of this stuff, so It’ll be good to tighten up my takes on his compositions.”