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Published on March 26th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Ticker: News Bits from Charleston’s Music Scene

Rockers Halfway Down Win Final Round of 98 Rock’s Band Battle

On March 25, the final round of 98 Rock’s “Locals Rock the Roof” series went down at the Tin Roof with three hard-rock contestants — Volusia, Marytre, and Halfway Down (pictured above). Metronome Charleston was there with judge sheets alongside radio personality Nikki (from the Bridge at 105.5), Eric Rickert (of Ocean Industries Studio), Potter from 98 Rock, and the Tin Roof team.


Volusia at the Tin Roof (photo by Jessica Mickey)

The judged scored each band in three categories: originality, performance, and audience reaction. It was a larger-than-usual turnout — the largest thus far. Each band brought friends and fans donned in T-shirts. All three bands delivered strong sets. Rickert commented that Marytre in particular had improved and tightened up since last year. At the end of the night, Halfway Down — lead singer/guitarist Chris Summers, drummer Brad Turner, bassist Mike Shaheen, and lead guitarist Benjamin Kuhn — narrowly beat Volusia for the top slot by only two points.

The winners from all four rounds — Skwrl Grinda, Dan’s Tramp Stamp and the Money Bags, Hooded Eagle, and Halfway Down — will compete in the finals on Mon. April 1 at 8 p.m. Prizes for the top winners included recording time and CD production at Charleston Sound, a $1,000 gift card at Encore Music, a live recording courtesy of Encore Music, airplay on 98 Rock, and a headlining gig at the Tin Roof. Visit for more.

Luke Cunningham Collaborates with the Tarlatans

Singer/guitarist Taylor McCleskey of local Americana/rock quartet the Tarlatans recently recorded an acoustic ballad titled “Leaving A Mark” with songwriter Luke Cunningham. The melodic track might land on an upcoming Tarlatans studio album. McCleskey and his bandmates — Ryan Williams, Eric Mixon, and Blake Shorter — continue to perform at bars and clubs around town — either as a full four-piece or as an acoustic duo. The Tarlatans are solid for a festival show at Party at the Point at Patriots Point with Sol Driven Train on Fri. June 21.

Cunningham has been tracking and mixing new songs for a forthcoming EP due in the late spring or early summer. His next big Charleston show is coming up at Jail Break V at the Old City Jail on Sat. April 27.

Check out and for more.

23rd Annual Sea and Sand Festival at Folly

Things are coming together for this year’s Folly Beach Sea and Sand Festival on Folly Beach. The 23rd annual event kicks off on Fri. April 12 and continues through Sun. April 14 on Center Street.


James Justin & Co. (provided)

Organized by music agency Follywood Productions, the Sea and Sand Festival celebrate the culture and vibes of Folly Beach with local music, local cuisine, and family activities. The “street party” music schedule on Sat. April 13 starts at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. This year’s roster features James Justin & Co., Fuller Condon (of the Two-Man Gentleman Band) and the V-Tones, the Shakin’ Martinis, Sweet T n’A, the Folly Beach Reggae Allstars, the Folly Beach Bluegrass Society and more.

The finals of the Tides Classic Surfing Competition and the Coffin Island Sand Sculpting Contest will close things out on Sun April 14 with the East Coast Party Band performing oldies and beach music classics on the beach in front of Tides Hotel and Blu Restaurant. Visit for more.

New Acoustic Series at


Nathan Hussey performs on “Upstairs Acoustic” at

Columbia-based indie music blog recently posted the first video of their series of new “Upstairs Acoustics” series — a live performance series filmed in an echo-y ballroom located next door/upstairs from New Brookland Tavern in West Columbia. Singer/guitarist Nathan Hussey of rock band All Get Out sat on an antique couch and strummed a six-string during his rendition of “Ground Me,” a folky new ballad. The clip was filmed and edited by ThatRainwater, a video/design company run by Columbians Josh Morris Wayne and Samantha Crumpler. Each post in the series will include a free mp3 download of the songs. Visit for more.

Willie’s Birthday Bash in the Works

Charleston-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Holler (Western Polaroids, Oh Ginger, Matadero) has been organizing yet another thematic showcase at the Tin Roof this spring. On Mon. April 29, she’ll welcome a slew of local bands and musicians to the Willie Nelson Tribute Show. The legendary country singer will be turning 80 on April 30.

Lindsay Holler with Thomas McElwee at the TV Land Undercover Show at the Tin Roof. Sept. 2012 (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

Lindsay Holler with Thomas McElwee at the TV Land Undercover Show at the Tin Roof, Sept. 2012 (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

“It’ll be a ‘bring-your-own-band’ kind of thing,” Holler says. “It was [Tin Roof owner] Erin Tyler’s idea. She mentioned that Willie’s birthday was coming up and thought it would be a great show, so I offered to help organize.”

So far, the roster includes Jamie Resch, Jimmy Snyder, Glowgoyle, Lauren Bevins Cahill & Matt Cahill, Lesley Carroll, and a handful of other Lowcountry acts.

“As far as people dressing up as Willie, that is definitely welcome and encouraged,” Holler adds. “I’m also talking with a few local artistically minded individuals about some decor ideas. It should be a real fun show. We’ll stick with the previous format from the TV Land and holiday shows.” Visit for more.

Famous ’90s Rockers and Alt-Pop Has-Beens 

Last July, the alt-rock/jam band showcase Last Summer on Earth Tour hit the Family Circle Magazine Stadium on Daniel Island with the Barenaked Ladies headlining with support from Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Cracker. Apparently, it wasn’t quite the last summer on earth. The Barenaked Ladies will be back on the road for another Last Summer on Earth Tour that will land in arenas and amphitheaters across the U.S. The tour kicks off in Dallas, Texas, in mid-June and comes to the Family Circle Magazine Stadium on Sat. July 27 with Barenaked Ladies, the Ben Folds Five, and Guster on the bill.


The Ben Fold Five: not quite has-beens (provided)

Advance tickets are available for $60 (box and floor), $50 (terrace), and $21.50 (grandstand) online at and all Ticketmaster outlets. See and for more.

A showcase of ’90s-era alternative rock and cheesy pop will come through Charleston in August as well. The Under the Sun 2013 tour — featuring Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Fastball — is solid for Fri. Aug. 9 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

No word on any upcoming Crazy Town, New Radicals, or Deep Blue Something tour dates…

Tickets go on sale on Fri. March 29 for $59.50 and $39.50 (plus fees) at the coliseum box office, by phone at (800) 745-3000, and online at Check out for more.

(Top 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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