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Spotlighted Gigs & Recommended Shows 

Dueling Pianos

Shows of this sort are fairly common in most major U.S. cities, but Savannah has only one venue offering this unique and raucous brand of semi-spontaneous live musical entertainment — but it’s a large, cavernous bar/restaurant combo with great sight lines, plenty of seats, and a varied menu. It’s perfect for mainstream crowds and more mature partiers.

The setup: the crowd tries to stump two talented (and quick-witted) keyboardists —with a wide-ranging knowledge of pop, rock, soul and showtunes— with oddball requests passed to the stage on cocktail napkins. It’s part music concert, part standup comedy, and part audience participation. Anything from showtunes to jazz ballads to hair metal power anthems are liable to be heard on any given night. While devoted Dueling Pianos fans are just as obsessed as some folks are with karaoke, this should also be seen at least once by anyone who appreciates camp. Wed. - Sat., 8:30 pm, Savannah Smiles (314 Williamson St. - behind the Bay St. Quality Inn).


Jackson Evans

A rare solo stand at Savannah’s only dedicated jazz club from this young and talented guitarist known best for his key role in the area trio Silver Lining (who recently released a most impressive debut CD of original compositions). A published lyricist as well as an instrumentalist, Evans has played in pit orchestras, big bands and rock and funk groups, and says that elements of all those efforts can be heard in his solo performances. Fri. - Sat., 8 pm, 9:30 pm, 11 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.


First Friday Fetish Night

This monthly theme party finds local impresario and provocateur Chris Cook rounding up a coterie of exhibitionist club kids to put on displays of a variety of kinky diversions, such as “power, seduction, domination, submission, suffering and humiliation.” Sounds like a Republican presidential debate...

Along with gadgets and set pieces like “The Cage,” “The Cross,” “The Saw,” and “Hot Wax,” dance music will be spun by resident DJ Analog Kid, who was named Best Club DJ in our most recent Readers’ Poll. Fetish attire is encouraged for all attendees. Fri., 10 pm, B & B Ale House.


First Friday for Folk Music

I look forward to the first Friday of each month because this listing usually follows the previous one. Sponsored by the Savannah Folk Music Society, this old-fashioned coffeehouse-style showcase for acoustic music brings together local, regional and national artists. This time around, local Piedmont blues guitarist/singer Michael Maddox and 12-string guitarist/singer Bill Schumann (known for a deep voice and wide variety of material —from Western tunes to Celtic ballads to humorous ditties) open for Canada-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Tia McGraff and her husband, Tommy Parham.

McGraff is a gifted artist who’s collaborated with the likes of Dan Hill, Randy Bachman and Andrew Gold. Her voice is often compared to Linda Ronstadt’s. This family-oriented (smoke and alcohol-free) show is free with a suggested donation of $2. Homemade deserts and soft drinks are available. Fri., 7:30 pm, Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church (429 Abercorn St.) - ALL-AGES.


The New Billy Hoffman Trio

What’s new about Billy Hoffman’s Trio? Your guess is as good as mine. However, this talented and versatile trap drummer and percussionist often plays with top-shelf area musicians like Ben Tucker and Howard Paul, so it’s a safe bet this will be an evening of terrific, straight-ahead jazz. Fri., 9 pm, Mansion on Forsyth Park.


Nephew Tommy’s Where’s Poppa Ray’s Money?

This comedic stage drama aims for the same crowd as those increasingly popular “gospel plays,” which blend spiritual messages, soulful R & B and an easy to grasp moral message. Written by “Nephew Tommy,” a standup comic who rose to fame as a regular on his uncle (superstar comedian) Steve Harvey’s successful syndicated morning radio show, this production —which centers around feuding siblings squabbling over their recently deceased father’s estate— stars Mo Better Blues’ Cynda Williams, R & B singer Carl Thomas, Flava of Love’s Delisious, and Def Comedy Jam’s J. Anthony Brown. Reserved seats $32.50 at the Civic Center Box Office (ph. 651-6556) or at www.savannahcivic.com. Thurs., 8 pm, Johnny Mercer Theater.


Gail Thurmond

After more than a decade playing regularly at downtown’s Olde Pink House, this locally beloved singing pianist brings her deft, jazzy take on standards, showtunes and originals (from her own indie CDs) to this cozy, unpretentious Mediterranean eatery. Thurs., 6:30 pm, Grapevine Restaurant (Wilmington Isl.).

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Jim Reed

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