FUTUREBIRDS @ VICTORY NORTH | THU + FRI, JUN 1 + 2 | 8 PM
After 13 years playing their own brand of rock and roll, the ‘boids are hard to pin down with a succinct description. Singer/guitarist Carter King explains, “We were always too indie rock for the jam festival, too country for the indie scene, a little too psych-rock to feel like we were Americana.” It makes good sense and reveals a confidence that whatever it is they’re doing, it’s working. The four core members met at UGA in Athens, and like Drive-by Truckers at their peak, they have three distinct songwriters. This keeps their sound hard to pin down, whether on purpose or not.
SUPER BLUE: KURT ELLING & CHARLIE HUNTER @ DISTRICT LIVE | SAT MAY 27 | 8 PM
Jazz singer Kurt Elling won a Grammy in 2009 for his album “Dedicated to You.” He struck gold again for the 2020 release “Secrets Are the Best Stories,” solidifying his position as a premier vocalist in the genre. Elling then went a bit rogue, teaming with prolific producer-guitarist Charlie Hunter, whose ability to play bass lines and melody simultaneously on a 7- and 8-string axe has been described as “mind-boggling.” Their collaboration resulted in the epic “Superblue” album. Heavy on funk and hard beats, it’s timely and inspirational. If this combination of talent seems intriguing in words, try hearing the entire record performed live. It’s much better.
SAPPHIRE BULLETS OF PURE LOVE @ COACH’S CORNER | SAT MAY 27 | 7 PM
Named after the 1973 24-second instrumental track by Mahavishnu Orchestra, and not the 1990 They Might Be Giants song, this band is nothing like either of those acts. The 13-piece soul and R&B big band is heavily accented by the Bonaventure Horns (pictured), allowing them to tackle work from James Brown to Tom Jones and the vast space in between. Playing in a band this large works because they’re all friends, having fun, and not trying to break out or do anything more than give a live crowd music to dance and have fun to. After more than 30 years of treating Savannah, mission accomplished and still kicking.
WHAT SO NOT @ ELAN SAVANNAH | SAT MAY 27 | 10 PM
Australian record producer Emoh Instead (née Christopher John Emerson) has previously dropped his What So Not electronic music project on Coachella, Pukkelpop and Lollapalooza. He revived the project once before in early 2021 with a remix for Run The Jewels with Pharrell Williams and the RATM’s Zack de la Rocha. Savannah is one of just 11 stops on the current tour to support his 2022 record “Anomaly.” It’s a new swing on the trap/bass/house formula, with hip hop and vocal elements you won’t see coming. This one could easily find the top of a “best of Savannah EDM shows” list at the end of the year.
ROD HARRIS JR. QUARTET @ GOODTIMES JAZZ BAR | FRI + SAT, MAY 26 + 27 | 8 PM
When Harris was 17, he bought himself a guitar with birthday money. He fell in love with it and spent his senior year of high school holed up in his room determined to be a great player. Hard work pays off, and after just one run around the sun, he was accepted to the Georgia State U. School of Music. After a few years of the dual life of working corporate jobs and playing at night, he left the office behind when an offer from a cover band took him to Japan and then Musiq Soulchild made him a member of his band. He spent more than a decade touring and recording with a laundry list of legendary artists, earning a Grammy nomination for his work with Musiq Soulchild. GoodTimes Jazz Bar maintains a nonstop calendar of skilled jazz musicians, but guitarists are a rare commodity. Here’s one of the hottest.