What: Merck Mtn. Jam 2019, presented by Community First Real Estate, featuring The Wobblers, Dysfunkshun, OLM, Fred Engler & The Trouble Shooters, Nash-South, Mojo On Max, Parker Ford, Chasing Vixen, Justin Clyde Williams, Dimestore Gypsy, the Anna Leigh Band, The Drovers and Groove Matter
Where: Merck Mtn., 310 Browning Rd., Central
When: Friday, April 19 at noon
Sheila Merck and her family have been putting on the Merck Mountain Jam, an annual music and camping party on a large patch of property they owned near Six Mile, for the last five years. And just like the previous Jams, the 2019 edition features an array of talented local and regional musicians, with styles ranging from country (the Anna Leigh Band) to power-trio rock (Groove Matter) to acoustic folk (Parker Ford). But Sheila says the Jam isn’t as much about the bands, who are all donating their time, as it is the cause that the Jam raises money for: Helping Hands of Clemson. “It’s an emergency shelter for abused and neglected kids,” Merck says of Helping Hands. “It’s been around for over 30 years now. They get kids out of dangerous situations, and the kids may stay there for night or a week or years, until they can rehabilitate the family or get kids into foster care or adopted. Helping Hands only gets a certain amount of state funding so we’re trying to help provide some of the funding with this party.”
What: WTPT 93.3 The Planet and The Firmament present Interstellar Echoes: A Tribute To Pink Floyd
Where: The Firmament, 5 Market Point Dr., Greenville
When: Saturday, April 20th at 8 p.m.
If you’re going to be in a Pink Floyd tribute band and do it well, you’re going to need to have a couple of things nailed down. First of all, you’re gonna have to love the music that David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett and company created, and not just the 1970’s concept albums like Wish You Were Here and The Dark Side Of The Moon. You have to love the late period stuff and the 1960’s psychedelic-rock tunes, as well. Secondly, you’re going to need a killer light show, just like the one the Floyd spent their career perfecting. Fortunately, Atlanta’s Interstellar Echoes has both requirements down pat. In fact, drummer Mike Altis says they weren’t even planning to start a Pink Floyd tribute band when they got started, it was just music they all loved. “We were going to be a cover band doing SOME Pink Floyd songs,” he says, “but we played so many Pink Floyd songs and Jim’s voice sounded so much like both Roger Waters and David Gilmour, it just seemed like a tribute was the right way to go.”
And the band plays stuff from every Pink Floyd era, from 1967’s The Piper At The Gates of Dawn to 1994’s The Division Bell, with a laser-light show working right alongside the musicians. “From the very beginning we wanted to make the show more than just music,” Altis says. “We brought out some lasers and some additional lighting and incorporated the visual aspects, and it’s kept growing and growing. We keep building on the audio-visual stuff just like Pink Floyd did.”
What: The Saturday Smoke show, w/ Adam Knight’s Buried Alive – A Phish Tribute
Where: The Fr8yard, 125 E. Main St., Spartanburg
When: Saturday, April 20th at 6 p.m.
Tickets: $10 adv., $15 gate
Upstate guitarist and bandleader Adam Knight is used to playing his own original material, and it’s typically jazz-oriented, as with his band, Earsight. He’s never been into tribute bands as a rule, and thus did not want to be in one. But when Knight’s friend Kenneth Cribb, who owns The FR8yard outdoor biergarten, approached him about a year ago about putting together a band to play material by the iconic jam-band Phish, Knight couldn’t say no. “Kenneth he had a chance to put together a Phish-themed show called the Phish Fry to correspond with the live streaming of a Phish show,” Knight says, “and he asked me if I wanted to put together a band to do all Phish tunes before the live stream. I’ve always been a really avid Phish fan; I’ve seen somewhere between 50-100 shows and (guitarist) Trey Anastasio is a huge hero to me.”
The ACTUAL Phish show that was supposed to be live-streamed got rained-out, but Knight’s band, Buried Alive, went over so well that he decided to keep it going. “I’ve just loved transcribing the tunes and learning them and playing them live, and it’s exciting to try to create something and build the energy in those jams like they do. I’m not trying to be a Trey clone, though. I want to play the parts right, but I want to interject my playing and the way I improvise into it.”