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Currently riding a wave of exceptionally positive press and reaping the benefits of years of indie cred, this sludgey, locally-based metalcore band is bracing themselves for what may – or may not – be one wild ride.

Formed from the ashes of infamous Savannah punk act Damad (how many times has some version of that sentence been written and/or published?), the group has crisscrossed the country on countless DIY tours, starting at the bottom and playing houses, church basements and juice bars. Before long, the punishing schedule paid off, and they became a viable headlining act at clubs and small festivals.

Now, with a new big-budget CD out on Los Angeles’ label Prosthetic Records, and high-profile opening slots in large halls for some of the bigger names in their field, they’re poised for the big break most bands dream about and some wind up wishing they’d never went for. For their first hometown gig since the record’s release, they’ll be joined by Alternative Tentacles act Akimbo, and up-and-coming locals Two Days of Freedom, whose soon-to-be-issued disc posits them as a pretty safe bet for next in line (behind Kylesa and Circle Takes The Square) to represent Savannah nationwide in the punk and hardcore underground. Thurs., The Jinx.

Eric Sommer

Attention all you Richard Leo Johnson fans: Anyone who’s been in need of a fix of spectacular, percussive and virtuosic guitarwork can rest easily.

Eric Sommer’s coming to town.

One of the finest American guitarists on the road today, Sommer shifts seemingly effortlessly between slidework, fingerpicking and a percussive, open-tuned style that fans of Johnson (and Leo Kottke) should instantly appreciate.

Of late, he’s been playing in a duo setting with the classically-trained drummer Pearson Constantino. Together – with all apologies to the late Wesley Willis – they whup the camel’s ass. Switching between 4 different Taylors, and a ‘69 Telecaster with the original Bigsby tremelo, he mixes up blues, pop, jazz, and the avant-garde into something quite wonderful. Highly recommended. Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean - ALL AGES.

University of West Georgia Jazz Ensemble

This 19-piece group performs big band arrangements of famous and historic bands such as those of Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton – as well as the work of more modern composers. under the direction of Dr. Daniel Bakos (professor of music at the school’s Carrollton campus), they’ve toured Europe and gig extensively throughout the entire Southeast.

In a stroke of great luck, they’re playing a free lunchtime concert in the Jewish Education Alliance’s wonderful facility near Derenne Avenue, and the public is encouraged to attend.

On tap for this gig: classic tunes such as “Dancing in the Dark,” “Stella by Starlight,” “Uno Mas,” and “Sister Sadie.” For more info, call 355-8111. Fri., 1:30 pm, Jewish Community Center (5111 Abercorn St.) - FREE TO ALL AGES.

I Cantori

Savannah’s only professional a capella ensemble has been a regional favorite for years, and has earned its position as the finest vocal ensemble in our area. led by Dr. Robert Harris, the 24-piece group has steadily performed a handful of times each year for more than a decade.

This special appearance offers a chance to see and hear a reprise of the program they recently performed at The Savannah Music Festival to great acclaim. It’s a great chance to catch what many in attendance proclaimed one of the best parts of that terrific 17-day showcase. Call 925-7866 for more info. Fri., 8 pm, Skidaway Island United Methodist Church.

The Kissers

The pride of Madison, Wisconsin is a raucous Celtic rock band that puts their own spin on traditional Irish music, as well as the works of such decidedly un-traditional tunesmiths as Pink Floyd and Johnny Cash (they’ve been known to faithfully recreate both of The Man In Black’s legendary live prison concert recordings when the mood strikes them).

In true indie fashion, the group formed close to a decade ago without even knowing how to properly play their instruments. But hard work and dedication took care of that stumbling block long ago... Tues., Finnegan’s Wake.

Kenny & Amanda Smith Band

Yet another coup for Randy Wood’s tiny 100-seat listening room, this fantastic group was named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist of The Year in 2003, although they have tons of experience between them.

Abetted by the romantic connection between its married namesakes, the acoustic string group is known for an almost telepathic link between its members, which is in great evidence on their recorded work. Kenny spent 6 years with the Lonesome River Band, and Amanda came to bluegrass through her love of vocalists like Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss. They’re joined by famed banjoist (and banjo maker) Steve Huber.

Simply put, this is an All-star lineup and should not be missed. For advance tickets, call 748-1930. Sat., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (Bloomingdale).



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Jim Reed

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