THE CONNECT FIVE: Shows to see this week in Savannah

Release your inner outlaw with a multitude of alt-country iterations surrounded by rock and extra-squiggly EDM.

SAFETY COFFIN + LOCAL SUPERSTARS + CALICO MD
SAT JUN 15 | 9 PM
Fans of the Black Keys and the White Stripes will have little choice but to love Safety Coffin (pictured). The Asheville, North Carolina duo have many similarities to the two bass-free darlings of the rock press. Stripped down to drums and guitar, with occasional harmonica and deeply soulful vocals, the blues rock simmers until it boils and is taken off the heat until the next one. The formula works well, and despite it, the songs are anything but repetitive. There’s simply too much talent and emotion to bog it down. Local almost-superstars Local Superstars offer an easy, breezy alt-country vibe with a bit of twangy dream pop and a highly agreeable flow. Fellow Savannah band Calico MD, now solidly back from their hiatus, bend Sebadoh angst with that Pixies “loud-quiet-loud” method that works so well with indie rock bands that want to explore a variety of sounds and melodies. On that front, Calico MD leader Kevin Block is like Magellan, always looking to discover something new and share it with the people.

STEVE EARLE @ DISTRICT LIVE
THU JUN 13 | 8 PM
The Virginia native and bona fide rock and roll survivor spent most of the 1970s in Nashville, working blue collar and playing music at night. He eventually became a staff songwriter for a local label, but by then he was done with the scene and moved to Texas to form The Dukes. By the mid-1980s, he was back in Nashville but had better luck, writing several charting hits. He kept the Dukes alive and released their debut, “Guitar Town,” in 1986, which garnered recognition. But the second album, 1988’s “Copperhead Road,” was life-changing, eventually going platinum. He's released a slew of records since becoming an elder statesman of the alt-country scene. He also got addicted to heroin and beat it in rehab, got married SEVEN times, and is very outspoken about social justice, capital punishment, and a specific injustice in Canada involving Satan’s Choice biker gang members. These experiences and interests have informed his songwriting to great effect. On the downside, he seems to think socialism works. A true artist!

S’VILLES + MISSING PARTS + TIM THOMPSON @ EL ROCKO
FRI JUN 14 | 9 PM
Far less ostentatious than the two-tone, humpback, new-for-1980 Cadillac that (almost) bears its name and far more reliable than the optional and horrendous 5.7L diesel treating drivers to a discouraging 105 horsepower, S’villes does old-school country rock right. They have a new bass player who doesn’t rock a nose ring quite as well as the departed Meg G, and they recently were voted runner-up in the Connect Best of Savannah’s country band category. A Friday night headlining gig was inevitable. Joining them are locals Missing Parts, who play folky rock, psychedelic jams, and emotional indie pop. Former Nashville punk rocker and current all-grown-up Savannah singer/songwriter Tim Thompson opens the show with his backup band Mass Formation.

HI I’M GHOST  @ ELAN SAVANNAH
FRI JUN 14 | 10 PM
Competing reference sources refer to Hi I’m Ghost as bass music and dubstep. Genres and niches continue to amuse the less inclined to care too much and instigate arguments among those who care too much. That said, it’s safe to assume the Los Angeles duo are expert-level creators of bass, dubstep and all the rest in the EDM canon, including their recent foray into traditional Detroit-style house music. Where they shine is song structure and theory, building the kinetic dance tracks around the pop formula of verse-chorus-verse, but in a very dark and unique style. Original tracks “Spooky Riddim” and “Death Rail” showcase the Halloween-inspired vibe better than any. They also take risks on SoundCloud, with deconstructed and rearranged alternative hits from Nirvana, Korn and Panic At The Disco reminiscent of DJ Skrew’s sonic mutilations. They’re not like other guys.

LUCERO @ VICTORY NORTH
TUE JUN 18 | 8 PM
One of the original cowpunk bands, Lucero has ridden the line between punk, country, alternative rock and alt-country for more than a quarter century. Starting as contemporaries of Uncle Tupelo, Meat Puppets and Nine Pound Hammer, they’ve lasted by sticking to what works and refining it as little as possible. Lucero released their self-titled debut in 2001, three years after starting and haven’t stopped touring and releasing records since. Fourteen studio albums, four live records, nine singles and three movie soundtrack songs are not the worst resume for a band that could’ve gone nowhere, playing a strange mix of genres that goes back as far as the psychobilly of The Cramps, the Screamers and Dallas’ The Nervebreakers. By the time Los Angeles punk originals X learned to play and write better, they also turned into a bit of a cowpunk band. But Lucero set out to be one and may have succeeded better than any of the rest.

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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