Live Music

Brett Barest on The Upstate Music Scene: Don’t Miss The Great Dying at The Radio Room

My usual process for writing this piece starts with me scrolling through the iOnGreenville music calendar on Sunday or Monday, making a list of the shows that intrigue me, and listening to as many new (and familiar) bands as possible. I let all the musical goodness simmer until I sit down at my desk Tuesday morning to write about all the good things to look forward to in the days ahead. This week, however, I took a totally different approach because Wednesday, November 20 has been flagged on my calendar for nearly a month and I have been patiently waiting to tell you all about it.

Late in October I received an e-mail from a record label alerting me to the fact that The Great Dying would be at The Radio Room this Wednesday, complete with a press kit, links to the latest album, and all of the things that most bands should do more of when promoting their shows. Admittedly, I ignored it for a couple of days as the show was so far out in terms of how I research and plan things but, after a few days,  cleaning the kitchen seemed like the perfect time to listen to something new. Needless to say, I spent less time cleaning than I did sitting down and listening and saying “holy $#it” more than a few times.

The Great Dying is a two piece ensemble led by Mississippi’s Will Griffith and it is one of the most interesting new bands I have come across in quite some time. Their recent album Bloody Noses & Roses is a rollercoaster of musical expression, taking you through so many genres and styles that it would almost feel like a mix tape were it not for Griffith’s distinctly Southern, gravelly voice keeping it all tied together. The opening track “Nobody Arrives” has a clear singer/songwriter feel before giving way to a full on hard rock sound with a distinct Mississippi Delta blues influence on “The Cellar Below”. Things slow down for a moment with the slower, haunting Americana feel of “Catchin’ Hell” before “100 MPH” clubs you over the head with a punk rock ride reflective of the song’s title. The line “I want to dance/I want to scream your name/I want some more tequila/and I always want cocaine” stuck in my craw to the point that I have been randomly blurting it in less than appropriate situations.

And so it goes for the entirety of the album as folk, rock, blues, country, and punk all come together on one album with dark, often intense songwriting keeping you hanging on every word. I have lost track of the number of times I have listened to the album yet new lines keep catching my attention, forcing me to hit rewind just to digest them in full – a sure mark of a well-written album in my opinion.

The Great Dying takes the stage at The Radio Room Wednesday night and will be joined by Spartanburg’s Irises and Greenville’s own folk rockers Morgan of the Pines. In a surprising turn of events, The Great Dying will actually kick things off around 8:15 as the evening’s only acoustic act which means I am actively looking for a substitute host for Trivia with Brett at Quest Wednesday evening so I can catch the show. Applicants must have basic reading and mathematical skills and comfort asking inappropriate questions of strangers. Self deprecating humor is a plus.

Whether or not I pull off making it to the show tonight remains to be seen but I cannot recommend this one enough. The Great Dying is an incredibly talented and eclectic act and is sure to put on an unforgettable performance. Check it out and thank me later. In the meantime, enjoy the show.  

Upstate Live Music Calendar

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