Saturday, May 5
Real Work, w/ OCNS, The Lovely Few, and Badweather
110 Poinsett Highway
Columbia’s Real Work, a project that combines gritty, indie-rock style guitars with polished, shimmering vocal harmonies, is the first band that Kenny McWilliams has sung lead vocals for. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been making a musical contribution elsewhere. As a producer/engineer at Archer Avenue Studio, he’s created great-sounding albums for a plethora of artists, including Valley Maker and All Get Out. And that skill behind the boards is a definite advantage when it comes to his own work.
“It is an ace in the hole,” says Real Work bassist Chad Rochester, who partnered with McWilliams to record the band’s first EP at Archer Avenue. “For him to be able to channel all of his creative energy into this partnership, it was exciting for me to be part of it.”
Actually, Real Work as a whole is a band with some serious experience; it features members from indie-rock stalwarts Baumer and the popular pop-rockers NEEDTOBREATHE. And Rochester says that being more mature has made Real Work’s music all that much better. “We’re all dads now,” he says, “so making music has taken on a life it didn’t have before. For us, we want to make the best music we possibly can, because we’re taking time away from our families to do it.” –Vincent Harris
Friday, May 4
Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe
111 Augusta St.
When the Chattanooga quintet Masseuse formed five years ago at Middle Tennessee State University, they immediately hit on a danceable-but-experimental hybrid sound that combined funk, jam-rock, and progressive music, and that was before they added a cello to the mix. After that, Ben Van Winkle’s swooping, classically influenced playing made the band’s music more exotic, and haunting. Not that they were sure how the cello would fit in, at least at first. “It kind of crossed our minds, like, ‘Will this work?’” says bassist Kellen Shiles. “There were times in the beginning where we had to try to figure out where it fit into the sound, but we were always on the same page in terms of writing.”
That writing is surprisingly flexible, allowing the band to create funky grooves and layer more complex vocal and guitar lines over the top seamlessly, as they do on their new album, “Ambidextrous.” “We always knew we didn’t want to be a typical jam band,” Shiles says. “There was a more progressive part of it that had its place, as well. We always wanted to have a balance, where we didn’t just limit ourselves to what a typical jam band would do. We want to make sure we had a good song to start with and branch off from there.” –Vincent Harris
Friday, May 4
Fell Out of Bed: A Celebration of The Beatles, featuring Rush Morgan, Russ Moore, Doug Jones, Adam McFarlane, Dr. LuvBeatz, Neil Alexander, and John Durham
200 Eisenhower Drive
As part of the Upstate music collective Local Green (and a member of the reggae-tinged jam outfit The LOZ Band), guitarist John Durham has made a lot of musical connections, and he’s often used them to put on massive tribute shows, like the one he created for The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 double-album (aka “The White Album”) at The Handlebar a few years back. But when you’re talking about the Fab Four, it’s easy to overdo it, and the show ended up with a 50-song set list that Durham admits was overkill. That’s why he’s taking another shot at it with Fell Out of Bed: A Celebration of The Beatles.
“This one was my attempt to consolidate a little bit because The Beatles are an easy band to get lost in the weeds with,” he says. “About a third of it is from ‘The White Album,’ mostly because those songs are nearest and dearest to me, but this time around I wanted to put a hard cap on it. Their well is so deep, you’re not going to be able to cover everything everyone wants to hear, but you can create a power-packed set list that just crushes it.” –Vincent Harris