Spotlighted gigs and recommended shows 

Rev. Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy, Reckless Kelly ***

I can’t deny that the last time I tried to take in a rare, independently promoted rock show at this primarily black-oriented dance club, I thought it was quite literally a terrible place to see a band. I know some will think I beat this point like a dead horse, but I feel if someone buys a ticket to a show, they expect to be able to easily see the artists as well as hear them.

Unfortunately, this venue’s ceiling and stage are too low and its layout too convoluted to afford more than a glimpse of the acts’ heads bobbing up and down above the crowd. Only the folks pressed right up against the stage can take in the totality of the spectacle.

That said, this town currently has virtually no venues of any sort that hold enough people to make a show like this financially viable (while still allowing for strong sight lines). It’s still a worthwhile gig to make, as long as you know in advance that you will likely have a fairly hard time seeing the bands.

L.A.-based Wagatail Productions deserve props for continuing to take risks to bring in artists of this caliber and fame, but I can’t help but fear that their willingness to embrace performance spaces with serious flaws may harm these promoters in the long run. Then again, at the last show they did in this room (Dropkick Murphys), I got the distinct impression that hardly anyone there cared that they couldn’t see shit, so maybe I’m the one with unreasonable expectations.

click to enlarge Rev. Horton Heat
  • Rev. Horton Heat

The Rev.’s a guitar-slinging Texas psycho-billy legend who came up in the punk scene, but found fame by embracing his love of early rock & roll and roots music. He’s a favorite with the rockabilly, punk and outlaw C&W sets, and is known for putting on kickass shows.


Here's a live clip from the good Rev.:


Atlanta’s Nashville Pussy are a Grammy-nominated, heavy cowpunk quartet that’s unrepentantly vulgar (who’d have thought?).


Here's a live clip from Nashville Pussy (warning - explicit euphamisms):


Opener Reckless Kelly is a terrific, Austin-based alt.country band that’s a favorite of Joe Ely himself (no small feat). They earn tons of satellite radio airplay, and are highly recommended for fans of middle-period Steve Earle, Webb Wilder and Lucero.


Here's a great live clip of a new song by Reckless Kelly:


Listen & Learn: reverendhortonheat.com, nashvillepussy.com, recklesskelly.com. Tix: $25 adv. @ wagatailpresents.com, AMR Music. Tues., 7 pm (doors), Malone’s.

Junior Brown, The Luke Mitchell Band ***

Last seen in this area as an opening act on Bob Dylan's tour of Minor League Ballparks, Brown is an astonishingly facile, one-of-a-kind country guitarist and singer who's known for his signature, custom-made instrument, the "guit-steel," which is mounted on a tall stand, and played standing up. It's a dual-necked axe that features a standard, six-string guitar as well as a lap-steel version. His suit-and-tied shows are marked by their relentless, hopped-up energy and a slightly corny approach to retro C&W.


Here's Junior playing a surprisingly inclusive medley of classic rock & roll licks about five years ago:


Opening will be young, Hilton Head-based songwriter Luke Mitchell, who recently released a most impressive DIY debut of surprisingly mature power-pop and classic rock-inspired originals. He was backed on that CD by former or current members of GAM, Superhorse, Argyle and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, most of whom will be playing with him at this gig.


Here's a live version of a tune from Luke's debut CD, shot at Stages in Hilton Head a few months back:


Listen & Learn: juniorbrown.com, myspace.com/lukeband. $12 adv. / $16 door at shorelineballroom.com. Fri., 9:15 pm, Shoreline Ballroom (Hilton Head).

Spiritual Rez

This Boston-based reggae septet maintains a fairly grueling tour schedule, but one that has seemingly whipped their rock and funk-tinged sound into an almost impenetrable fortress. There are no cracks in this pyramid — just dead heavy chank guitar, popcorn snare, a woozy horn section and smooth, soulful vocals. They've opened for major acts like The Skatalites, Buju Banton and Jimmy Buffett — and P-Funk/Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell has been known to sit in with them from time to time. The high-energy outfit recently nabbed the 2007 Boston Music Award for Best World Music Act. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/spiritualrez. $5 adv. / $7 door at livewiremusichall.com. Wed., 10 pm, Live Wire Music Hall.


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Jim Reed

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