Published on April 2nd, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Half Way Down Climbs To the Top of 98 Rock’s ‘Locals on the Roof’

It took five loud weeks for local radio station 98 Rock and West Ashley music venue the Tin Roof to finalize their weekly “Locals Rock the Roof,” a judged competition that kicked off on March 4. After four preliminary rounds, up-and-coming hard-rockers Half Way Down snagged first place with a tight, energetic set of originals at the venue on April 1.


Half Way Down at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)

Heavy-rockin’ five-piece Skwirl Grinda earned the top score on the first week, beating alt-metal combo Five Silent Miles and punkish power-pop/garage trio Actual Size. On March 11, alt-rock quintet Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags edged past local rock band Savage Tongues and indie-pop combo Carnaval.

Punk band Hybrid Mutants, acoustic duo Acoustic Rejects, and sludgy metal act Hooded Eagle competed during the third round on March 18. Hooded Eagle came out on top. On March 25, three metal groups — Volusia, MaryTre, and Halfway Down — went head-to-head in the closest scoring of the series.

Metronome Charleston attended and judged every round alongside radio personality Nikki (from the Bridge at 105.5), Eric Rickert (of Ocean Industries Studio), Box and Potter from 98 Rock, and the Tin Roof crew. Each act was scored in three categories: originality, performance, and audience reaction.

On April 1, fans and friends packed the club round 8 p.m. as Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags hit the stage with a dual-guitar, synth-tinged set of solid pop-rockers and anthems. Their slow/fast rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison” seemed a little of place within the set, but they earned loud applause throughout.

Fresh from their big win the week before, Half Way Down — singer/guitarist Chris Summers, drummer Brad Turner, bassist Mike Shaheen, and lead guitarist Benjamin Kuhn — loaded extra lighting gear onto the stage for the next set. Frontman Summers was especially boisterous and gracious on the mic. Their riff-laden, down-tuned originals drew equally from the guttural dirge of hardcore metal and the melodic side of contemporary alternative rock. The response from the audience was undoubtedly the loudest and most enthusiast of the night.

Skwirl Grinda had a more stoner-metal vibe as they delivered a muscular, punk-fueled set of riff-rattling rock. Hooded Eagle closed the night with a quick but lumbering set of low-toned dirges, massive riffs, and dramatic howls. They were definitely the heaviest and most menacing act of the night.

The final scores were close, but Half Way Down’s vigorous performance and over-the-top crowd reaction helped win them the top spot, Their prizes include a day of free recording time and CD production at Charleston Sound, a $1,000 gift card and a live recording at Mt. Pleasant’s Encore Music, airplay on 98 Rock, and a headlining gig at the Tin Roof this spring or summer.

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Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)


Half Way Down at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)


Skwrl Grinda at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)


Skwrl Grinda at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)


Hooded Eagle at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)


Hooded Eagle at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)





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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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