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Spotlighted gigs & Noteworthy Shows 

Annie The original Broadway production of this stage musical (based on Harold Gray’s immensely popular 1920s comic strip) ran for more than half a decade on ToBroadway, and wound up taking home the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book (among others).While its initial run closed in 1983, the show —which spawned the hits “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow”— lives on via road companies and at least two major Broadway revivals. Beloved by children as well as adults, its setting during the Great Depression seems increasingly appropriate, given today’s looming financial woes. Alas, this production does not feature the great thespian John Shuck in the major role of Daddy Warbucks —despite the fact he had held that role in this tour for the past few years.Some may remember Shuck from his star making turn as Gregory “Yo-Yo” Yoyonovich in the all-too-short-lived TV sitcom Holmes & Yo-Yo. It’s also too bad that Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith won’t be onstage to sing “Tomorrow,” as she’s been known to bust out a mighty fine version on occasion. Seriously. Tickets are $50 - $25, with additional discounts for kids 14 and under. Call 651-6556 or go to www.savannahcivic.com for more info. Thurs., 7:30 pm, Johnny Mercer Theater.
Blacktusk CD Release The brutal Savannah metal band seemingly next in line for some sort of national acclaim after Kylesa and Baroness, this dynamic lineup of guitar, bass and drums has released a couple of impressively frenzied EPs in the past, and their newest effort seems like the next logical step in what might be termed a natural progression. Their sound is a dense, sludgy —but tight-fisted— mix of aggressive, distorted guitar attack and propulsive drumming they term “swamp metal.” Openers for this celebratory gig include ASG, a N.C.-based modern punk/metal act that’s been featured on more than one of the fabled Warped Tours, and The Unnamed, a new “improvised stoner-rock” duo of locals Chris Autry (guitar) and Jay Lane (drums). Sat., 11 pm, The Jinx.
Indie Film: 8 BITAs a prelude of sorts to their upcoming Technology & Art Week (focusing on cutting-edge artists who choose to use and re purpose emerging new media such as video game consoles for creating both music and art), the Jepson is screening this acclaimed, low-budget indie doc. that focuses on some of the standout protagonists who are blurring the lines between video games and fine art. Most notably, the film features interviews and performances by “chiptune” musician Nullsleep, who’ll actually appear live in concert at the museum just a few days later as part of that eagerly anticipated multi-day event. Admission is only $6. Thurs., 6 pm, Jepson Center For The Arts - ALL-AGES.
Flamin’ Yawn One of the most promising (and refreshingly unpretentious) locally-based original rock bands, this hard-hitting power trio’s material and stage presence harkens back to the glory days of college-based indie-rock. That means anyone who digs/dug The Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr or even The Replacements may find much to like about this group. They write and play no-frills, overloaded, hooky pop that’s long on string bends and screaming leads. Opening act Two Days of Freedom has long been one of the most underrated local punk bands. Their stamina and onstage energy is relentless. Fri., 11 pm, The Jinx.
The Jazz Conceptions Orchestra w/Alex Nguyen & Annie Sellick Roger Crane, writing in L.A. Jazz Scene said of vocalist Sellick, “After now seeing her perform twice I see no reason why she should not be a star.” Judge for yourself if such effusive praise is warranted (warning: other critics have already weighed in similarly), when the Nashville-based singer joins young trumpet prodigy Nguyen and his large band of up-and-comers for a special evening of rearranged standards and originals at this low-key Broughton St. music venue and restaurant. The last time the former Savannah resident brought his group to town (he now lives and studies in NYC) was for New Year’s Eve, when they sold out this same room with their guest vocalist Mary Louise. Sat., 8 pm, 9:30 pm, 11 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.
Bobby Lee Rodgers & The CodeTalkers Guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and former Berklee College of Music Professor Rodgers came to some measure of cult prominence as a musical associate of the esteemed musical genius/oddball/raconteur Col. Bruce Hampton (of The Hampton-Grease Band and The Aquarium Rescue Unit). However, when that fabled elder statesman of the southern jam-band scene decided it was time to move on and dive into a new bag —as he is wont to do— Bobby Lee knew that was his cue to take the reins even more than he was previously given credit for. As the main focal point of a re-jiggered, three-piece CodeTalkers, he continued to play theaters, clubs and all manner of major outdoor music festivals.However, all bets were off several months ago when he abruptly jettisoned his rhythm section in favor of two new musicians that he met by chance at an Open Mic night at this downtown jazz club. Invigorated by the potential he heard in their combined groove and interplay, he essentially offered the position of bassist and drummer to Andrew Altman and Mark Raudabaugh on the spot, likely blowing their minds as well as those of his longtime fans who initially feared he’d made a big mistake. Now, according to Rodgers, the band is much more to his liking than ever before, and they’ve thrown themselves into the road with gusto.This will be his first hometown show in quite a while, and the fact that it finds him in a playful, “all-jazz” mood should bode well for folks who want to see what three dazzling, improvisational players can do when trying to mold far-reaching material into a tighter-than-normal bag. This came over the wire at the last minute, so readers are advised to call the club first to confirm the gig before showing up. Thurs., 8 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.
Savannah Sinfonietta & Chamber Players

The latest installment of an ongoing series of time-honored classical works by some of the greatest composers of all time, these two “Masterworks IV” performances of the same repertoire will include Three Latin American Sketches by Copland, Piano Concerto No. 23 In A Major by Mozart, Symphony No. 96 in D Major by Haydn, and Symphony No. 1 in D. Major, O 25 by Prokofiev.

Pianist Kevin Hampton will be featured, alongside the increasingly entrenched classical organization that has talent to branding itself “Savannah’s Orchestra.” Ticket prices range from $30 - $35 for adults, from $25 - $30 for senior citizens, and from $10 - $35 for students. Call 514-3849 for more info, or go to www.savannahorchestra.org. Sat., 8 pm, Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church + Sun., 3 pm, The Plantation Club (The Landings).


Tony Williamson & Jeff Autry

Either one or both of these amazingly gifted acoustic string musicians play this tiny, old-school listening room a few minutes from downtown with such a degree of regularity (at least a few times a year) that one could almost be forgiven for shrugging their shoulders and taking their gigs for granted. That would be a huge mistake.

I’d liken it to having the opportunity to see any musical master at their craft, be it one of The Three Tenors, Guy Clark, Bjork, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Wayne Shorter, Emmylou Harris, David Bowie, John Hammond, etc... I mean, really, when someone operates at such a high level of skill and inspiration, how much is too much of a good thing?

Some folks have so much ability and creativity at their fingertips that there’s likely to be at least a handful of transcendent moments in every show they give. Such is the case with mandolinist Williamson, an acknowledged legend in his field who plays with symphonies as well as traditional string bands and jazz-fusion hybrids which draw on the bluegrass realm.

Guitarist Autry is at the top of the heap as well. A brilliant improviser with lightning fast reflexes and an ear for the subtleties of live, improvisatory performance which simply can’t be taught, but must be earned through perseverance.

Both men grace this small, 100-capacity venue so often because of their close bond to the proprietor, luthier Randy Wood. However, some of the shows at this great space are (unfortunately and somewhat bewilderingly) sparsely attended, so it’s wise not to assume it —and players of this caliber— will forever be seen there for chump change. Dig?Call 748-1930 for $20 advance tickets to this family-oriented (smoke and alcohol free) show. Sat., 7:30 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES.

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Connect Today 12.10.2016

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