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

Updated September 5, 2023 at 1:26 p.m.


FRI & SAT, SEPT 8 & 9 | 8 PM

Sought-after drummer Edwin Hamilton studied in New Orleans before launching a jazz career that includes performing, recording and educating the next generation. He’s worked with Wynton Marsalis, Teddy Adams, Amos Hoffman and too many more to count. His 2015 release “The Whole World Must Change” was praised by All About Jazz and Jazz Inside. His quintet features pianist Aaron Lehrian, an under-30 keyboard maestro who plays regularly with the Jacksonville and Hilton Head Symphony orchestras. Rounding out the rhythm section is Minnesota native fellow teacher of the craft Dustin Retzleff on the thunder broom. Trumpeter Mark Rapp has lent his talents to artists as varied as Delfeayo & Branford Marsalis to former Hootie and the Blowfish member Darius Rucker. He is also an official Ambassador of Jazz in South Carolina. Last but not least, Stutz Wimmer completes the horn section. His resume includes arranging for the Gap Band and Ohio Players and leading the 16-piece Rupert’s Orchestra Atlanta. Ever tried managing 16 artists at once? That’s advanced PMI territory. Apparently, musical talent isn’t all you’ll see on stage this weekend.



Atlanta-based comic Taylor Neely devised a novel idea that puts an interesting spin on improv comedy. Neely hosts the show on a stage decorated with envelopes and calls upon other comics to pick one and start riffing on the words written down inside. The notes vary from "Joe Biden falling down, but this time he scurries away like a beetle" to "making racoons a four-star, five-course, seven-story meal," so you know it’s unafraid of mocking the coddled or getting very silly, often at the same time. Like every working comedian in the country, seemingly mandated under the threat of excruciating torture, Neely hosts a podcast, “Sober Boyz,” that’s very funny. His YouTube channel is also loaded with other content, including bits from his regular stand-up work. It’s all pretty strong, but innovating improv may be his most extraordinary feat.



SAT SEPT 9 | 10 PM

Mexico City’s electro-pop princess brings her sultry voice, big bass and trap sound, and unique vibe to Savannah for a stop on her Mad House World Tour. On record or moving the crowd at Electric Daisy, Lost Lands, Beyond Wonderland and other major EDM festivals, Audiffred has solidified her position in the genre. Her recent release, “Rise,” is a collaboration with dubstep heavyweight Excision, a full circle completed after he initially helped put her on the map. She was also endorsed early on by U.S. and U.K. EDM big shots Skrillex and Flux Pavilion. No small feat for a genre with endless competition. Various publications saw the same, and she was a known quantity in the U.S. before ever leaving Mexico. After the tour, Audiffred will continue growing her A Records imprint, looking for more talent south of the border. She’s also scheduled for a collab with DJ Diesel, aka Shaquille O’Neal. Talk about EDM heavyweights!



Soft rock isn’t dead, not if New York’s Sam Evian has something to say about it. Drawing from the smooth ‘70s sound that includes pop, soft rock and Yacht Rock, his twist on the formula is quite interesting. Consider how The Eagles took a little country and a smaller amount of folk instrumentation and created their easy-listening sound. In Evian’s case, it’s a similar idea of adding a softening element to a more raucous sound. The result is an alt-soft rock sound that is original and compelling. One example is his cover of former Stealer’s Wheel frontman Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line.” There isn’t much spin on it, which can be interpreted as a statement. Or not. Either way, it’s a declaration of what he likes and wants to create more of. The plethora of original singles confirms this. His songs are sweet, simple and full of surprises.


THU SEPT 14 | 8 PM

Who doesn’t love Led Zeppelin? If you like rock music in general, or pretty much anything resulting from drums, bass, guitar and singing all at the same time, it would be hard to take dislike seriously. Imitating the best major league talent scouts, industry veterans Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones found and recruited unknowns Robert Plant and John Bonham for their new blues rock-based project. To say it was a success in chemistry and artistic achievement would be an understatement. Estimated global sales of up to 300 million records (LZ IV alone sold 37M copies) make the case. So it’s no surprise tribute bands are out there — lots of them. Lucky for Savannah, ZOSO may be the best. Former newspaper The Los Angeles Times calls them “head and shoulders above all other Led Zeppelin tributes.” Formed in the mid-90s, they’ve played more than 4500 shows over 28+ years. That may not be the same as selling 300M records, but it does make a case for the show they put on. Not to mention the passion the performers bring to recreating perhaps the best classic rock band of all time.

Published September 5, 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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