With an upcoming side stage slot on the Atlanta stop of the Warped Tour, a new full-length CD about to drop in August on Hotfoot Records, and a regional merchandising deal with indie-rock mall store chain Hot Topic (Spencer Gifts for the white belt set), AGAGAG seems poised to become one of the most visible Savannah-area bands. One of the hardest-working local acts in recent memory, they’ve quickly gone from relative unknowns to a bankable act with the potential to galvanize disaffected emo kiddies, modern metalheads and the post-hardcore crowd. Vocalist Matte Wagner flirts with the screamo thing, but also throws references to old-school hip-hop rhyme schemes and straight-up rock singing in with the more standard-issue razor blade gargling, and on record at least, the band’s pummelling, technical arrangements are as tight and attention-grabbing as most any of their contemporaries. Hopefully, their upcoming 35-date U.S. tour (which this local show in the basement of a popular late-night pizza joint kicks off) will embolden rather than break them. Openers include Chevy Chase Stabbed The King, Fun In Washington and Stone Cold Killas. It’s one of the first offerings from GroundUp Productions, new local promoters specializing in youth-oriented metal, hardcore and indie-rock. If you’d like to see the floundering DIY scene flourish in town, you’ll want to show up (with earplugs) and support this show. Thurs., 8 pm, Sweet Melissa’s (35 Whitaker St.) - ALL-AGES.
Nominated for a 2007 Gospel Music Association Dove Award, this uplifting acoustic quintet (featuring a female singing upright bassist) plays a mixture of bluegrass, contemporary Christian gospel and old-time mountain music. As always at Randy’s way-cool listening room just a few minutes’ drive from Savannah, this is a chance for people to get up close and personal with rising stars in the world of traditional country and bluegrass in a smoke and alcohol-free environment. See a great show, meet the band, and get filled with the spirit — all at the same time! Call 748-1930 to charge $20 advance tix. Sat., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES.
Scandals is one of the best-kept secrets on Tybee Island. Located at the far end of Butler Ave. near the Arby’s, it’s an out-of-the-way watering hole with a diverse clientele (i.e., local/tourist, gay/straight, black/white, young/old). It used to be a strip club (and it shows in the low stage and horseshoe-shaped bar), but now it’s one of the premiere live music rooms on the island. This 2-nighter by these immensely popular modern rockers —named Best Local Cover Band in our 2007 Readers’ Poll— coincides with Tybee’s Independence Day celebration and fireworks, and will feature well-known hits plus originals from their impressive indie albums. Wed., 8 pm & Thurs., 9 pm, Scandals (Tybee).
Over the past few years, this extremely talented member of the Marsalis family of New Orleans’ jazz royalty (which also includes trumpeter Wynton, pianist Ellis and saxophonist Branford) has been regularly featured at the Savannah Music Festival as the drummer in pianist Marcus Roberts’ amazing combo. Now, for the first time in this area, he leads his own quartet of piano, bass, drums and vibraphone through a weekend stint at downtown’s newest jazz room. Even more unexpectedly, for this show he’ll be playing the vibes and leaving the trap drumming to someone else! Although he’s shown off his chops on this notoriously difficult instrument both on record and —most recently— during a string of Italian dates, this will be a side of the percussionist most of us have never seen.
Marsalis has always cut a slightly strange figure behind the drums: his rigid posture and bobbing head at times resemble an ostrich or Muppet, while his playing itself is a sight to behold. His timing is impeccable and the musical vocabulary he draws from is as wide and varied as one might expect coming from someone who was raised by professional jazzbos in the cradle of America’s soul belt. How his talent and personality manifest themselves in his vibe playing is anybody’s guess, but the odds are it will be both invigorating and inspiring. $15 cover. Fri. - Sat., 8 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.