Brett Barest on the Upstate Music Scene
While the primary focus of this series is talking to local musicians about who they are listening to, it is titled “Artists Picking Artists” for a reason. Simply put, not all of the important people in the local music scene are strictly musicians. Promoters, venue owners, producers, and so many others are key players in making the Upstate music what it is. It is for that reason that I simply had to reach out to co-owner and talent buyer of The Radio Room, Wes Gilliam for his take on all of this.
There is an art, after all, in having an ear for talented acts, knowing your audience’s tastes, and being able to manage the business side of things well enough to bring live music to a single Upstate stage five or more nights a week. Wes is a master at all of that and I am constantly in awe of the lineups and quality of talent he brings to a perfect little dive bar just over a mile from where I live. Radio Room shows make my job as a music writer very easy as there are always more than a few shows there that I want to talk about so I knew at the start of the series that Wes was going to be high on my list of people to talk to.
As expected, Wes put a very Radio Room spin on things the moment I reached out to him. When I asked him for three to five bands that he was digging right now, he came back with “how about three to five bands that had album release shows at The Radio Room canceled because of all this?” While we have all been wallowing in the misery of all these canceled shows, I had not considered the subset of that group – bands that put in the time and money to record an album of original material and finding out at the last minute there would be no shows to celebrate its release for the foreseeable future. Ouch.
When Wes’s list arrived in my email, he mentioned that “three of the four bands on here are definitely in the heavier spectrum of music which, to my knowledge, is a rarity in most of Greenville’s music coverage. While Greenville has a lot of diverse talent, I generally see the folkier elements embraced by crowds and critics alike, and while I’ll be the first to admit my plaid shirt collection is rapidly growing (along with my collection of white beard hairs), I’m always excited to have a kick-ass punk or metal band darken our doors at Radio Room, and leave me/us with a sense of inevitable whip-lash.” This is exactly why I wanted Wes to weigh in here so, without further ado, here is his assigned listening to help get you through the week ahead. Enjoy!
Daddy’s Beemer – Denmark – Album release show previously scheduled March 28
Wes says: “Charleston’s Daddy’s Beemer (previously from Clemson) continues to pull off the neat trick of blending infectious melodies and fun, upbeat tempos, without being obviously overt about either one. It’s a sound that translates well live, and even some of their more mid-tempo numbers get the crowd moving, bopping their heads and singing along louder than one might think upon initial listen.”
Redefind – Let’s Party – E.P. release show previously scheduled April 3
Wes says: “Nu Metal band Redefind come back with a renewed swagger, thanks in part to new lead vocalist Jordan Caparell. The title track sees them blending the best of the infectious energy of early Limp Bizkit with blast beats and guttural growls, firmly embracing the heavier aspects of the genre.”
WVRM – Colony Collapse (Prosthetic Records) – Album release show previously scheduled April 11
Wes says: “14 tracks in 26 minutes. For most bands that seems absurdly short for an album, to WVRM it’s just another sonic onslaught primed to melt off the faces of the listener. Perhaps the most likely band from Greenville to break out in 2020, is also the one least likely to ever be seen at Fall For Greenville or Downtown Alive. However, genre enthusiasts and beyond have taken note of their newest release on Prosthetic Records (I’ve seen glowing reviews on BrooklynVegan.com and Kerrang just to name a few). The band was even personally selected by Napalm Death to open their upcoming (now postponed) tour.”
Neverfall – Admit One – E.P. release show previously scheduled April 25
Wes says: “While many modern Metal bands can cite legacy acts such as Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth as influences, few can pull off the relentless riffage, and ripping guitar solos that made this brand of Metal slap so hard in the first place. I’m anxiously awaiting the new EP from these guys. There’s just something fun about Thrash Metal done right, and these guys always deliver.” Visit Neverfall on bandcamp
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