Who: The Practice Pad presents The Gig At The Grove, w/ The Matt Fassas Trip, Tailspin, Stone Ground and Bad Radio
Where: Golden Grove Farm & Brew, 115 Krim Rd., Piedmont
When: Friday, May 17th at 6 p.m.
Tickets: Donations encouraged
Singer, guitarist and bandleader Matt Fassas has owned The Practice Pad for about five years. It’s a spot for musicians to learn and rehearse in sound-proof rehearsal spaces that are pre-loaded with gear, so essentially all people have to do is walk in the door to rehearse or take lessons. But as downtown Greenville has become a hotter spot, the rent on the Pad’s Vardry St. location has grown quite a bit, and Fassas has decided it’s time to look elsewhere. “It’s hard for us to keep up with rent now vs. a few years ago,” he says. “We realized in order to keep our heads above water we’re going to have to move, so we’re hopefully going to get ourselves into a new building sometime this year, and we’ll hopefully be buying a building we can actually put money into and make it something that was built especially for this purpose.” To raise funds for that goal, Fassas and friends have put together The Gig At The Grove, a multi-band show and gear auction. And in addition to his own jam-rock group, The Matt Fassas Trip, the other bands on the bill, Stone Ground, Tailspin and Bad Radio, aren’t on the bill just because they’re entertaining. “These bands all have roots at The Practice Pad,” Fassas says. “We do a ‘Rock Band Boot Camp’ thing a few times a year where we have players come in, and we set them up with bands, coach them through rehearsals and give them a show. These bands are all groups that started at Rock Band Boot Camp and stayed together.”
Who: Kenny Roby & 6 String Drag w/ The Wobblers
Where: Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Dr., Greenville
When: Saturday, May 18th at 8 p.m.
Singer/guitarist Kenny Roby has been fronting 6 String Drag for 25 years or so, banging out the band’s mix of roots-rock and alt-country to a loyal cult following and making the occasional solo album. And though the band itself has had ups and downs in terms of national popularity, they’ve always had a strong following in the Upstate. Roby says that part of the reason for that following is that he and bassist Rob Keller formed the band in Clemson and played a lot of shows around these parts. “We had connections with other bands in the Upstate and played places like The Handlebar,” he says, “and Gene (Berger) at Horizon Records has always been a big supporter of ours.” 6 String Drag is in an interesting phase right now, with Keller and Roby remaining the nucleus of the group and Roby working on solo material as well. In fact, their next album might be an attempt to merge the two. “I’m working on writing the next record,” Roby says, “and it’s going to be sort of a combination of a 6 String Drag and a solo record. It just makes more sense.”
Who: Paris Mountain Folk Fest, featuring Doug Jones, Layton Mecham, Jill Sprague, Rush Morgan, Goin’ West, Vilai Harrington and Mourning Dove
Where: Paris Mountain Amphitheater, Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville
When: Saturday, May 18th at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $3-$5 (park admission)
The Paris Mountain Folk Fest doesn’t just offer up a chance to see some of the Upstate’s most talented musicians in a mostly-acoustic format, though you’d be hard pressed to find a better collection of local artists who are skilled at going unplugged in one place. The bonus is that you can catch Mourning Dove, Rush Morgan, Vilai Harrington, Cravin’ Melon’s Doug Jones and Goin’ West (featuring Wes Treadway of LOZ) in one of the most beautiful places in town, Paris Mountain’s outdoor amphitheater. The sets by each act will be relatively brief, giving one a chance to take in a lot of music in a short span of time, and if you combine talent, surroundings and presentation, this should be one of the most pleasant performances of the weekend. This is the first edition of the Folk Fest, and hopefully this debut will do well enough to encourage future versions.