THE SHANIQUA BROWN
MEGAN JEAN & THE KFB
At 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
"Iron your party pants and break out the bourbon."
That's the published manifesto of the atomically charged Charleston outfit The Shaniqua Brown, which has become a Savannah favorite over the past year.
Not that vocalist Rachel Kate Gillon has any need for pants, thank you. She prefers to wear brightly-colored tutus onstage, because she "likes getting dressed up" and flinging about.
"This band is about fun, high-energy, face-melting rock ‘n' roll," the 24-year-old Gillon says. "Need I say more?"
Gillon pooh-poohs labels, categories and sub-genres. It's only rock ‘n' roll, and she likes it. "I think it's the experience, the connection with us and you that happens," she explains. "That's what's exciting. Something comes over us. And something comes over you."
The boys in the band are Thomas Concannon and James Rogers on guitar, drummer David Bair and bassman Denis Blyth.
A native Nashvillian, Gillon moved to Charleston in 2005 to go to school. "After college, I joined this band that sort of fizzled out because they were really too drunk to do anything," she says.
At the time, Blyth was in an all-instrumental rock band with the unlikely moniker The Shaniqua Brown. At his invitation, Gillon checked them out at the Village Tavern - they were sharing the bill with a group called Bitch Digger - and was suitably impressed. She officially joined the band in October 2009.
"I think I brought a lot more energy to them," she remembers. "I mean, this is all still really fresh and new to everyone.
"Even our first shows, you can look up videos of us all super-timid. There's one where I'm standing there looking around, just slapping my tambourine. Nobody's really comfortable in their own skin."
Things ... evolved. "As I got more comfortable I just started jumping around." As for her sartorial choices: "It's fun to spin around in a tutu."
The name Shaniqua is a derivation of the African word Shanika, which means "God is gracious." To some, it also translates as "warrior princess."
Gillon's been approached by fans saying "Hey, Shaniqua." A guy on the beach once asked if she was, indeed, Shanny Brown. "I think I'm just going to make up something different for every time someone asks me," she says. "I can't tell you. If I told you, I'd have to kill you." See theshaniquabrown.com
This Live Wire bill also includes Megan Jean & the KFB, Charleston's reigning Americana band (actually, it's just Megan Jean and her husband Byrne Klay, on an assortment of guitars, banjos, mandolins, basses, washboards and percussion).
Megan Jean has tambourines strapped to her calves; she’s a stomper and an apparition-summoner.
This isn't your grandma's old-time music - it's intense and it's boiling, and MJ's got a mighty, full-bodied voice that can thrill, chill and/or scare the bejeezus out of you.
The two puree blues, rock ‘n' roll and even gypsy music into an utterly enthralling and seriously liquored musical milkshake. See meganjean.net