NOMA Square, 220 N. Main St., Greenville (Greenville Heritage Main St. Friday)
Friday, Sept. 13 @ 5:30 p.m.
Put simply, Wanda Johnson is the best blues singer that South Carolina has to offer. She can handle a slow-burning ballad with elegance, and then throw some fiery grit into an uptempo rocker. But the key to her brilliance is understatement. She’s never been the cliched blues woman onstage, over-singing or falling to her knees in dramatic anguish. She prefers to let her voice do the emoting, either on classics by Etta James (her version of “At Last” is damn near as definitive as James’) or Sarah Vaughan. Sure, she’s capable of gospel-style passion and jazz-style control, but she’s not one to indulge in theatrics. With those skills in her toolbox, it’s no wonder that she’s commonly known as “South Carolina’s First Lady Of Rhythm & Blues,” and any opportunity to see her work her magic onstage is a welcome one. Don’t miss out on this chance to see a brilliant, home-grown vocalist.
Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Hwy., Greenville
Sunday, Sept. 15 @ 7 p.m.
$30 (standing), $40 (seated)
There are plenty of progressive-tinged rock bands that play sweeping, epic music, but Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin has more drama in their songs than most groups. And that’s because a great deal of what the veteran Italian band plays is literally soundtrack music designed to heighten the mood or raise the tension in films. In their upcoming show at the Radio Room, for example, Simonetti and his band will be playing the entire soundtrack to Italian director Dario Argento’s acclaimed 1975 thriller Profondo rosso, aka Deep Red. Simonetti helped to compose the eerie, keyboard-fueled music for that film, and he was inspired to perform all of it live after a similarly successful tour with his soundtrack to Argento’s 1977 film Suspiria. “Deep Red is certainly one of Dario Argento’s best films,” Simonetti says, “and after the great success of the last US tour with Suspiria, we decided to play Deep Red this time thinking that people will love it as well. It is a fantastic experience to play these famous tracks, especially in front of a young audience who loves this genre.”
Quest Brewing Company, 55 Airview Dr., Greenville
Sunday, Sept. 15@ 5 p.m.
The last time we checked in with Asheville’s Kirby Bright, he was creating electronic dance music (EDM) as a DJ and percussionist. But his new project, Scrumptious, is a full band affair, mixing EDM with a more experimental, jam-band style. Bright handles sampling and “finger-drumming” on pre-programmed percussion pads while he and his cohorts in the band, bassist David Katilius, lead guitarist Vincent Crow and guitarist Vince Morse, make joyfully flexible, infectiously danceable music that radiates a sort of child-like enthusiasm. “I wanted to form this band because I wanted to help bind the two areas of music that I love the most: Electronic and jam,” Bright says. “My background is actually heavy in live instrumentation, and I have this ability to finger drum, so I wanted to fuse the two of my favorite genres using this skill. I love the idea of making people dance in any setting; I just wanna make the world dance and smile and find a child-like state of mind.”