Gallery: Post-Rock, Experi-Funk, and Modern Man Noise…

Metronome Charleston skipped the St Patrick’s Day block parties and bar bashes around town over the weekend, but we bounced in and out of several Lowcountry venues over the last two weeks to see and hear some killer performances — from experimental Latin-punk-jazz at the Pour House to wall-of-noise post-rock, Americana-pop, and pub fare.

Chapel Hill, N.C.-based indie-rock combo Mount Moriah kicked off their winter/spring tour at the Tin Roof on March 6 in support of their new disc Miracle Temple (Merge). Singer/guitarist Heather McEntire fronted the foursome through a dynamic set. Local band Company, fronted by singer/songwriter Brian Hannon, shared the bill and delivered a surprisingly heavy-handed, rock-solid show of their own (they’re heading back from SXSW in Texas this week).

New York-based indie songwriter Michael Gerner’s acclaimed VietNam headlined a three-band show at the Royal American on March 8. Bearded in his promo photos, a clean-shaven Gerner led his eclectic backing band (drums, guitar, violin, and bass) though classics and new stuff from his new release A.merican D.ream (Mexican Summer). Openers Justin Jones (with a loud full band from D.C.) and local gal Rachel Kate (with extra drums and cello) earned as much applause from the full house as the headliners.

We caught a late-night set by veteran local bar band Baby Fat at Art’s Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant after VietNam’s show. Lead singer Jack Sprott and lead guitarist Joey Kanner rocked and grooved with their tight rhythm section — drummer Robert Thorn, bassist Marcus Leonardz, and keyboardist John Fitzgerald.

The second round of Charleston’s 98 Rock’s “Locals Rock the Roof” series at the Tin Roof featured three local bands on March 11 — rock quintet Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags, riffy rock four-piece Savage Tongues, and experimental, piano-driven indie-pop combo Carnaval. Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags eked out the win (it was a very close score at the end of the night).

The wild and unpredictable Mike Dillon Band returned to the Pour House on March 13 (their third gig there since the holidays). Bandleader/percussionist Dillon conducted trombonist Carly Meyers, drummer Adam Gertner, and baritone guitarist Cliff Hines through a lengthy set of deep grooves, Latin rhythms, off-kilter ska-funk, and just plain weird jams and compositions. They’re on-stage chemistry was amazing as they twisted, detoured, and tangled joyfully from piece to piece. Meyers’ jumpy energy and dance moves seemed limitless. Dillon’s and Meyers’ dual cuíca solos might have been among the weirdest moment of the night.

We traveled up to the Triangle area in North Carolina over the weekend to catch legendary Boston post-punk band Mission of Burma at the Cat’s Cradle in Carborro (they rarely travel down South for shows). Arriving the night before the Burma show, we managed to catch Charleston-based “darkwave garage psychedelia” quartet Modern Man on March 14 at the cozy Slim’s Downtown venue in Raleigh. Their massive, reverb-soaked, guitar-heavy sound knocked us out. Tarheel indie-rock group Octopus Jones closed the night at Slim’s with a dance-ably perky-jerky rock set.

Local freelancer Stratton Lawrence attended local band Crowfield’s big farewell gig at the Charleston Music Hall on March 15. In front of a nearly sold-out crowd, frontman Tyler Mechem and his current crew welcomed several special guests, including pianist and co-founding member Joe Giant (piano), guitarist Micah Nichols, bassist Jonathan Gray, and a three-piece horn section. Apparently, the vibes in the Hall were lively and positive as the veteran band’s final set winded down. Look for Mechem at solo shows in the near future — including an opening slot for classic soul-rock singer Michael McDonald at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Oct. 12.




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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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