Who: Hustle Souls
When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23
Where: Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe, 111 Augusta St., Greenville
Tickets: Free

Hustle Souls will play Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe on Feb. 23. Photo provided. 

Capturing a live band’s essence on album is difficult, but it seems like the Asheville, North Carolina, quartet Hustle Souls pulled it off on their 2018 debut album, “Color.” Producer Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin (Ben Harper, The Broadcast) set singer/keyboard player Billy Litz’s soulful, honey-and-vinegar vocals and warm piano and organ tones against guitarist Chris Everett’s chunky riffs, helping the band create a sparse, bouncy funk-rock sound. Coming off of that album, the band, which formed in 2014, felt more confident about their path than ever. “That was a turning point for us,” Litz says. “It was a marker we could stand on and move from.” That confidence has come in handy, because Hustle Souls lost their original rhythm section after “Color,” bringing in bassist Jonathon Taylor and drummer Clark Eden after the album was released. But rather than see it as a negative, Litz saw it as a chance to make the band better. “When we had a lineup change, we were able to reflect on how we wanted the band to sound and how to orchestrate our new songs,” he says. “I think that there’s an element of intention behind our parts now, the songs pop a little bit more, and we have more of a vision of what we want for the band.”


The Supergroup Rivals will play The Eighth State Brewing Co. on Feb. 22.

 

Who: TPP Events presents Pinky Doodle Poodle and Supergroup Rivals
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
Where: The Eighth State Brewing Co., 400 Augusta St., Greenville
Tickets: Free

Upstate singer/guitarist Mickey Kriese’s last band, Trolls, was a punk band that concentrated on speed and attitude. His new outfit, Supergroup Rivals, is a different proposition. On its new EP, “Sledgefest,” Kriese takes a turn into twin-guitar hard-rock, working in tandem with Zach Guttery’s six-string and layering riffs and solos on top and around each other. It’s a fittingly direct, and brutal, result of a group of guys getting together to pay respect to another simple-is-better band. “It spawned from a Queens of the Stone Age tribute show I did,” Kriese says. “We’d practiced so much for that show and we were getting so tight that we figured that we might as well start a band. I felt like I wanted to do something a little more guitar-heavy, and I hadn’t played in a twin-guitar band in a long time. It opens things up a little bit more.” You can catch the members of Supergroup Rivals making their acting debut in a new short film called “An Underdog Story,” in which they take on an evil character named Pennybags who’s intent on destroying their favorite bar … and they lose. “The idea was Joshua Jones’ brainchild, from Brando Jones films,” Kriese says. In fact, the new EP exists only because the film needed a soundtrack: A local production studio, Koolflix, offered the band some free studio time to create it. “It started with us doing a song or two and then morphed into doing a whole EP,” Kriese says. “Koolflix had just started their sound-production side, and they were sort of looking for a guinea pig band, so they were willing to donate the time. They were very gracious in allowing us the time to come up with a quality product.”


 

Who: Little Texas, w/ Ashland Craft and Trevor Hewitt
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
Where: The Firmament, 5 Market Point Drive, Greenville
Tickets: $18-$30

Little Texas will play The Firmament on Feb. 22. Photo provided.

For about five years in the 1990s, the Nashville, Tennessee, quartet Little Texas ruled the country-music landscape, scoring hit singles and multiplatinum albums with ease. Starting with 1992’s “First Time for Everything,” Little Texas sold 7 million albums and landed an astounding 17 singles on the Billboard Country Charts, sending seven songs, including “You and Forever and Me,” “What Might Have Been,” “God Blessed Texas,” and “Kick a Little” into the Top 5. In the golden era of modern country music, when the songs still actually had a bit of twang and some pedal-steel guitar and fiddles to boot, Little Texas was one of the big dogs. Those multimillion-selling days might be gone, but with a catalog like they’ve got, Little Texas is still a reliable live act, and they’re bound to bust out some familiar favorites at The Firmament. And as an added bonus, Piedmont’s own Ashland Craft, who recently made a huge splash on NBC’s “The Voice,” will be opening the show.

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