At 9 p.m. Dec. 31 (with Listen 2 Three), and 9 p.m. Jan. 1
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $10 Friday, $5 Saturday
To understand the philosophy behind Jubal Kane's fierce, take-no-prisoners roadhouse blues, one must first contemplate singer and harmonica player Ace Andersson, who huffs and puffs like smokestack lightnin,' and is a galvanizing, hypnotizing, bearded and beast-like fireball onstage.
He has the blood - and the crazy yellow beard - of a plundering Norse warrior.
Anderson was born and raised in Sweden - he was called Varg Bland Kvinnor, if that helps - and he made music for a living but got restless and gave up on trying to channel the Chicago gutbucket blues from the frozen tundra. In 1999, he came to America and eventually wound up in unincorporated Lizard Lick, N.C., where he met Buckwheat (bass) and Otis (guitar). With Richy Payce in the drummer's chair, they started makin' some noise - as the song goes - and called the unit Jubal Kane.
"He was," explained Andersson, "the first musician ever referenced in any kind of writing, as far as we know. He's part of that Cain and Abel clan, that whole family. His brothers were doing weapons of war, and he felt like he should do something else. Something better for his family. And God told him, you can be a musician. He was actually the first harp player, but not the mouth harp, the stringed harp."
Jubal Kane has become a Savannah favorite over the last two years; they've played virtually every club on the downtown grid. People like the band because there are no frills, and no pretentious rambling, and no interminable "salute to the greats of blues" shtick. They just get up and play. And boil.
"When me, Buckwheat and Otis started the band, our philosophy was that if we're going to play covers, we're going to play obscure covers," Andersson told us. "And we're going to do them our way.
"We do a version of "Going Down," and we listened to it one time in the van before we first went onstage and played it. We listen to it to get our bearings, and then we'll do it to see how it works out." See jubal-kane.com
At 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31
The Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St. Free
The guys in Sinister Moustache call their music "cinematic nightmarish orchestrations," which is a cool way of saying that they play heavy, avant-garde instrumental music, prog rock of the sort that ‘mares are made. The band, previously known as Gravy, sets up an atmospheric bat-cave of "art metal," with guitarist Stephen Lester channeling the prince of the genre, King Crimson patriarch Robert Fripp. There's also a lot of the dark, fleet-fingered semi-classical form of Frank Zappa at work.
The band has put out a moody, impressive CD, Songs From the Super-Sargasso Sea, and since the tail-end of 2008 they've been frequent stage-tenders at the Wormhole Bar, which is where you'll find them this week, holding court for a trippily opaque New Year's Eve extravaganza. "Every note," says the band's website blast, "is analyzed, retooled, and sculpted into a part of a soundscape that can be visualized by the listener." See sinistermoustache.com.