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THE CONNECT 5: Shows you shouldn't miss this week

Updated August 22, 2023 at 10:44 a.m.

TONY HIGHTOWER @ GOOD TIMES JAZZ BAR

FRI-SAT, AUG 25-26 | 8 PM

If you think about the combination of jazz and pop music, you might think of Al Jarreau, and you would be correct. Now you can add a new name to that list. Atlanta’s Tony Hightower is on a mission to bridge popular R&B and traditional jazz for a younger audience. He grew up in Atlanta, the son of a local celebrity funk-rock and jazz singer, and his first vocal heroes were Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. He began entertaining people at age 14 playing drums in the stage band for “The Dinah Washington Story” at the 14th Street Playhouse. There was no turning back. His 2014 release, “The New Standard,” is a nod to the sounds of big band and vocal jazz, his first steps on leading R&B fans to jazz. He kicked it up to a higher level on last year’s “Legacy” album, a deft mix of strong originals and unexpected cover versions of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love” and Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.” His talent extends to a few acting gigs with Tyler Perry Studios, but it’s clear music is his calling.

 

LUCI @ ELAN SAVANNAH

FRI AUG 25 | 10 PM

Around 2017, Florida was becoming the home of a new alien gangster space bass. This reputation was solidified by the release of Luci’s debut EP “Abduction.” The four-track record put Luci on the EDM map and accolades and festival appearances followed. Her subsequent releases proved the debut was no fluke, and Luci was enjoying success. The pandemic lockdown led to soul searching and an unexpected musical turn. Luci was in a creative rut and making music felt too much like work. She needed to do something new. Setting aside the wubs and squiggly sounds of her unique style of dubstep and experimental bass, Luci decided to focus on singing and songwriting. Despite the risk of alienating fans, Luci forged ahead and released “Identity Crisis,” dropped the second “i” from her name and took her show on the road. Dark pop is one way the new music is described, but don’t expect a danceable Billie Eilish or brooding Taylor Swift. Just expect something rather different than what came before.

 

NORDISTA FREEZE + CRUMBSNATCHERS + DONNA SAVAGE @ EL ROCKO

SAT AUG 26 | 8 PM

With the potential to be one of the wildest shows in Savannah’s summer of ’23, you can’t ask for a better lineup. Nashville’s Nordista Freeze has put on legendary performances in Savannah, playing here five times over the last 28 months. From climbing the rafters at Stopover ‘22 to running into traffic on Whitaker during the Oct. ‘22 performance at El Rocko, Freeze is an unpredictable, exuberant entertainer backed by a killer band. The sound is indie pop with a ‘60s psychedelic edge, but boundaries are pushed in all directions. Live, it’s a bit heavier and harder, but much more fun. Lemmy once said, “if you don’t like the Supersuckers, you don’t like rock and roll.” He probably would’ve felt the same way about Nordista Freeze. Crumbsnatchers are another Nashville indie rock powerhouse for fans of Pixies, Talking Heads and Beastie Boys. Led by the very tall and charismatic Samuel “Guetts” Guetterman, who sometimes backs up Freeze on guitar, the band seems unable to write an uncatchy tune. Opening is Donna Savage, one of Savannah’s consistently entertaining live acts. They are veteran musicians, fully skilled, playing the highest level of authentic surf rock and having a damn good time doing it. The mid-song banter is a riot, too. Props to AURA/Coastal Rock/Tim for a three-headliner show.

NICK MURPHY @ THE WORMHOLE

SAT AUG 26 | 8 PM

The Atlanta-based comic grew up on basketball and chess. The former took him to a D-3 school on the prowess of his free throw percentage, but after two years he was back in Atlanta finishing up at UGA while contemplating how a career in stand-up comedy might work. He took the jump before his Mom insisted on something else. More than eight years in, his act can still come off as an out-loud, ongoing therapy session about her taking credit for all his hard work and hilarious observations, but there’s more to it than self-deprecation. His delivery is as dry as Las Vegas in June, and he doesn’t deny the serial killer look (he blames his eyebrows). It works with his material, which is heavy on everyday analysis of society’s increasingly bizarre behavior and the differences between white Uncle Sam and black Uncle Sam. Murphy is now a regular on Atlanta’s comedy scene, having worked with Ron White and the Lucas Bros.

THE HOLY GHOST TABERNACLE CHOIR + THIN + HEEL TURN + LOBSTROSITY @ EL ROCKO

TUES AUG 29 | 8 PM

Savannah’s heaviest and nicest play their second hometown show since the July tour through the South and Midwest. Preaching love and acceptance for all over a tornado of multiple Category 5 hurricanes colliding over an earthquake that coincided with a meteor hitting the planet during a routinely ugly political shitstorm, the Choir will most definitely get your attention. It’s not subtle, and it’s not quiet, but there is an undeniable soul that breaks through the din. Plus, their IG is a lot of fun. NY’s THIN are a mayhemic three-piece who call their music “screamo-laced math grind,” which is apparently a close cousin of powerviolence. Heel Turn from Huntsville, Al., play a harsh metallic punk rock and expertly blend pro wrestling into their themes, aesthetics, and their badass name. For the uninitiated, a “heel turn” is when a fan favorite (Face, or Babyface) “goes bad” and draws angry heat from the crowd. Don't be surprised if the honor of your mom is questioned from the stage. Finally, expect Savannah’s progressive death metal chiefs Lobstrosity to get the proceedings off to a very loud and felicitous start. 

Published August 22, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Frank Ricci

Frank Ricci is a freelance writer living in Savannah, Georgia. In his career, he's contributed to many Las Vegas megaresort brands owned by Mandalay Resort Group and Mirage Resorts. He’s also worked with Dell, Root Sports Network, Savannah College of Art and Design, ad agencies in Las Vegas and New York, and a...
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