Show of the Week? More like Shows of the Week in a Great Weekend Ahead
When I started writing about the Upstate music scene several years ago, I generally found the best show of the week and made it a feature column. I still try to do that from time to time but I also like to spread the love around and highlight a few shows for your consideration as we all have different tastes and available time on our hands. This week I am actually being forced to do that because the musical talent on stage this weekend is so deep that I would not be able to pick one single “show of the week” if my journalistic career depended on it.
Thursday, at least, does not offer much in the way of conflict as the show of the day is Young Mister at The Radio Room. Young Mister is the alter ego of songwriter Steven Fiore and is a profoundly introspective storyteller holds your attention hostage with every verse. Having released three albums since his self titled debut in 2016, Young Mister has built a significant fan following as well as his fair share of critical acclaim. I simply cannot think of a better place to see a show like this than The Radio Room as it also serves as the best way to kick off the weekend early I could ever imagine.
Friday serves up a couple of drastically different options at both The Radio Room and The Spinning Jenny. The Jenny welcomes progressive bluegrass and folk masters The Arcadian Wild for fans of American roots music with a modern twist.
Over at Radio Room, a night of indie rock is headlined by Curfue and the official release of their LP Back to the Ending. They are joined by Cry Baby, Beket, Quality Time, and potentially a few other surprise guests for a huge evening of music. Rock or roots – there are no wrong answers here as they both promise to be great shows.
If I am being honest, I went into this weekend convinced that Molly Tuttle at The Spinning Jenny was the must-see show of the week. Tuttle is an amazing talent that blew me away at an in-store performance at Horizon Records a few years back (both as a musician and human being) and is arguably the biggest name on any marquee in town this weekend. She is the first woman ever awarded the International Bluegrass Associations Guitar Player of the Year Award (2017) which is a feat she humbly topped by winning again the following year while adding Instrumentalist of the Year to the pile for good measure. I am also in awe of the cover album she recorded mid-pandemic, most notably covering – and completely reinventing – a personal childhood favorite with Rancid’s “Olympia, WA”. As far as big name talent goes, you never miss an opportunity to see Molly Tuttle live and major kudos go to The Spinning Jenny for bringing her to the Upstate.
In other Saturday news, The Radio Room’s Wes Gilliam strongly suggested that I check out Coma Therapy’s new album which releases the same night on his stage. All I can say to this is, holy crap, wow, and are you kidding me? July might be too early to call anything 2021’s local album of the year but this is definitely going to be in the conversation. Gilliam described it “a wall of sound” but I have never met a wall that hit me over the head quite like this release. A 10 pound sledgehammer would be a more accurate description of this local post-punk release This House Was Built on Terror, if I had to guess. It also does not hurt that Coma Therapy will be joined by John Ballentine, Monsoon, and a personal favorite of mine The Parlor Pinks to round out the evening.
All of these shows – but especially Saturday night’s options – perfectly illustrate how rich and diverse our local music scene is. On a single night, you can see a nationally touring, internationally acclaimed bluegrass virtuoso or a gritty local indie band releasing just their second album in the early stages of what one hopes to be a long promising musical journey. We have plenty of options and opportunities here, Friends. We just need to know where to look and, thankfully, the iOnGreenville music calendar is here to make that a whole lot easier.