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Mick Ayres

A versatile entertainer who’s been a crowd-pleasing bluegrass-based act for the last quarter of a century, he’s a three-time winner of Florida’s Old-Time Music Championships. He plays claw hammer banjo, fiddle and mandolin, and he’s an ace storyteller.

In 2001, he was also named South Carolina Magician Of The Year by his illusionist peers, and he has authored six books on the art of magic. He’s a regular attraction at Disney’s Vacation Resort on Hilton Head – as he was prior at Florida’s Disney World. This family-oriented concert at one of the area’s finest acoustic showcases is a great alternative to noisy, smoke-filled bars, not to mention the nihilistic tone of much of today’s popular music. $15 advance tickets can be charged by calling 748-1930. Sat., 7:30 pm, Randy Wood’s Pickin’ Parlor (Bloomingdale).

"Abbey Road Live”

While disbanded for more than three decades now, the back catalog of the Fab Four continues to be one of the strongest-selling libraries of popular music in the world – and there are literally hundreds of tribute bands worldwide offering reasonable facsimiles of the group’s songs everywhere from tiny clubs and bars to large outdoor festival stages.

However, most of those groups concentrate on the band’s early years, when their Cuban heels, mop-top haircuts and matching suits-and-ties helped catapult them to superstardom. That particular era of Beatlemania makes for a wise choice to emulate, as the group had yet to immerse themselves in the sea of possibilities afforded them by almost unlimited time in some of the U.K.’s finest recording facilities. By the last third of their short – but prolific – career, the band’s increasing reliance on overdubbing, studio trickery and state-of-the-art sonic experimentation allowed them to craft some of the most amazing records of their generation (such as Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). However, that creative freedom drastically outpaced the ability of anyone (even The Beatles) to approximate those compositions in a live setting without carting around upwards of ten additional musicians and the sort of PA system that had yet to be developed – something their fetishists ELO would do several years later.

In light of this (and the crippling fame that threatened their lives and sanity), the band gave up the road in August of 1966, and fans never got a chance to hear what their later period material might have sounded like live. That’s where this Athens-based tribute act comes in.

Since October of 2003 this group (featuring members of such well-known Classic City bands as the Grateful Dead tribute Cosmic Charlie and The Fuzzy Sprouts) has periodically dusted off 1969’s Abbey Road in its entirety, but over the last few months, they’ve been touring regularly, with a full evening’s worth of Beatles music that includes that famed album (often thought to be the band’s finest moment), and a setlist containing 70 other rarely-heard tunes from throughout the band’s lifespan.

These guys don’t dress up like their heroes – instead, they concentrate on pulling of the band’s more mature and musically complex arrangements with vitality – without straying too far from the original, iconic versions. Many who have seen the group’s show rave at their devotion to the material, and word is that watching them air out these majestic rock gems only further cements one’s awareness of just how unique and transcendent some of this stuff truly is. Sat., Locos Deli & Pub.

The Clay Ross Band

A few weeks back, this downtown venue more known for local acts enjoyed a full house for a set by NYC’s cult lounge music faves Dave’s True Story. Hopefully they’ll do that again for this rare set by a great guitarist who was named a 2005 Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. State Dept.

Ross is also a new member of the legendary percussionist Cyro Baptista’s group Beat The Donkey. Clay’s new album is an instrumental pleasure, grooving hard through a number of genres, including samba, Sephardic jazz, swing, and meditative mantra music. A native of Anderson, S.C. (home of Skin Thrashers Hot Dogs!), Ross is wowing critics with his tasteful, melancholic chops, and with the generous way he spotlights his bandmates. This CD release party should be an inspiring evening of inventive, thought-provoking music. No cover, so arrive early for the best seats. Sun., 7 pm, Jazz’d Tapas Bar.

Look What I Did

This double bill of buzzworthy modern rock bands offers a decent snapshot of the current state of underground (hoping to be mainstream) heavy rock. Look What I Did are touring behind their brand-new CD Minuteman For The Moment. The quintet relocated to Los Angels from their hometown of Nashville with a disjointed and spastic sound that’s one part technical hardcore, one part sour pop-metal, and one part vintage Jane’s Addiction vocal posturing and guitar pyrotechnics.

St. Louis, Mo.’s Calico System have been around since the late ‘90s, and their slightly less daring blend of emo, modern punk and thrash has seen them open for everyone from Hatebreed and Poison The Well to Open Hand. This newly-opened ALL-AGES venue has already announced a full roster of upcoming shows by touring bands of a similar bent. Mon., 7 pm, Le Morte Rouge (103 W. Congress St.).

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Jim Reed

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Connect Today 12.03.2016

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