Phantom Wingo returns to Fiddler's on River St. 

Phantom Wingo ***

Not ones for aggressive self-promotion, this local, southern rock-influenced, jam-oriented quartet of two guitars, bass and drums is nevertheless one of the most solid groups on the regional bar and nightclub circuit — and from time to time, they hit the road, playing festivals and clubs within a few hours of their home base.

Anchored by the rhythm section of drummer Josh Fallin (a fluid timekeeper with a percussionist’s flair for snare drum grace notes, cymbal flourishes and seemingly endless tom rolls) and bassist Adam Celeste (formerly of the little-known but mightily impressive regional funk-metal outfit Undermind), the band is essentially fronted by guitarists Tyler Roe (who doubles as lead vocalist) and Shane Baldwin. Both are extremely capable soloists with distinctly different amp tones and playing styles, which complement each other’s immensely.

Routinely compared to the Allman Brothers Band (if only for the Gregg-like husk in Roe’s blue-eyed soul vocals, and the freewheeling approach of the guitarists’ cascading and occasionally interweaving lead lines), the members themselves are more likely to point to the bold and muscular improv jamming of Allmans associates Gov’t Mule as a key influence. PW drew some small measure of critical praise for their debut DIY CD (mostly from hardcore southern rock devotees), but I’ve been fortunate enough to hear some rough mixes of their follow-up album and it’s literally heads and tails beyond what they accomplished the first time out. With any luck, this will be the record to put them on the national map in some form or fashion.

The informal setting of this River St. restaurant (which shifts into nightclub mode after dinner ends) is a great place to see them, as you can literally stand almost toe to toe with the musicians as thy lay it down. No cover. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/phantomwingo. Sat., 10 pm, Fiddler’s Crab House.

Christmas with I Cantori

This 33-member singing group, which bills itself as “Savannah’s premier chamber choir,” presents their eagerly anticipated holiday concert for two performances — both under the direction of its founder, Robert Harris. This year, the varied program includes Yuletide compositions from two different continents, and spotlights Carols of both Spanish and Polish origin as well as more widely known Christmas songs.

Arrangements come courtesy of such notables as Robert Shaw, plus, in what’s billed as a very special treat, this year’s recitals feature a guest soloist: Baritone Jason Moon. This internationally-known classical vocalist specializes in opera and oratorio, and will be remembered by many for his memorable local debut in the Savannah Choral Society’s recent production of La Traviata. He’ll be featured on a quartet of British Carols arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Tickets for these shows are $15 for adults and $10 for students, and will be sold at the door both nights. Learn more at 925-7866. Tues., 7:30 pm, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Skidaway Isl.) + Thurs., 7:30 pm, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Hammerhead Stew ***

This relatively new local trio makes a surprising amount of ruckus with just a guitar, bass and drums — but that’s perhaps to be expected, as their lineup includes former members of such beloved local rock, blues, pop and R & B acts as The Veraflames and Bluesonics. Lead vocalist and guitarist Bob Erickson loves Tx.-style blues, and it shows in the roadhouse grit of his rhythm playing and the biting, mournful arcs of his solos. The setlist is mostly covers, but these guys put their own stamp on most everything they interpret — from blues to boogie to beach music. They’re definitely several cuts above the usual “corner of the bar” combos in the area. No cover. Sat., 8 pm, The Warehouse.

Savannah Winds’ Fall Concert ***

Made up of a diverse group of volunteers, this community concert band (in residency at AASU) includes high schoolers, college students, amateur players and former and current pros. In existence for over a quarter of a century, they only play a handful of shows annually, and as a result, demand for tickets often threatens to outpace supply. Most community bands of this sort are much smaller, and so Savannah is blessed with a rare example of a volunteer ensemble that can accurately render traditional and contemporary concert band music, as well as light classics — all of which will be tackled at this performance. $12 advance tix at finearts.armstrong.edu/tickets, the AASU Box Office (344-2801) and at the door. Tues., 7:30 pm, Armstrong Center.


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