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Brett Barest on Upstate Music: The Musical Fireworks Of Saturday Evening

One of my favorite parts of my work week is sitting down to write this column, mostly because I know that I am about to listen to new music. I look at the iOnGreenville Concert calendar, identify all of the shows that are playing in the week ahead, and listen to all of the bands that I have either never heard of or want to freshen up on. It never feels like work to sit down and listen to new music for an hour or so and I would surely continue the exercise even if I had no column to write.

The results of the process are varied, to say the least. Some weeks I find myself with one band in particular that absolutely blew me away and left me with no choice but to write about them. Other weeks, however infrequent they might be, I am left not terribly enamored with one show in particular. The third option, which is the case today and seems to be happening more often, is that there are a multitude of shows worth putting an entire spotlight on and I simply cannot decide on just one. I like to view that as a testament to the increased growth and quality of the local music scene.

This week, not only are there a healthy handful of shows that I want to talk about, but they are all on Saturday night, meaning music lovers have some hard decisions to make.

Saturday’s biggest show is the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Heritage Park Amphitheatre. If you are unfamiliar with the Grammy winning powerhouse rock and blues band led by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi then, well, you are probably not reading a music column in the first place. Seriously, this is the type of band that people complain about having to drive to Asheville for when they disparage the local music scene, but here they are coming to the Upstate. The band is touring in support of their fourth studio album Signs and will be appearing with Charleston’s Shovels and Rope and Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke making this a full evening of some the most talented touring artists on the road today.

If a club show is more your speed, check out Perpetual Groove at The Firmament. The Savannah based jam band formed in 1997 and made an international name for themselves in the early 2000’s. The band took a brief hiatus between 2013 and 2015 but thankfully reformed and continues to release new music with their most recent self-titled album coming out this past May. Fans of Southern rock, jazz, and jam are in for a treat with Perpetual Groove this weekend.

Over at Eighth State Brewing Company you will find their latest block party with the likes of Kid Trails, The Parlor Pinks, Canopy Hands, and YR Lad each taking a turn on stage. True to Eighth State form, this evening of music will blend electronic, psych, rock, and folk artists for an eclectic array of genres across the event. For my tastes, the lo-fi, slightly psychedelic folk rock sound of Kid Trails catches my ear in the biggest way but each one of these artists is worth a listen to see for yourself.

Lastly, a newer Greenville band Rufus Lee & the Handful will be taking the stage at Smiley’s Saturday night. I have known local singer and guitarist Chuck Hughes for a while now and when he told me recently that he was a part of a new band on the scene, I knew they were worth a listen. Rufus Lee & the Handful is old school honky tonk country the way it was meant to be and I suspect these guys are going to catch a lot of ears and turn a lot of heads in the months ahead. Get a head start on the fun Saturday night at Smiley’s Acoustic Café.

So there you have it – Grammy winning blues rockers, a renowned jam band, a block party that runs the gamut of sound, and some old school honky tonk are all yours for the taking this Saturday night alone. And that is just four of the shows going down across a whole weekend full of music. Keep track of it all with the iOnGreenville and have a spectacular 4th of July weekend.  

Weekend Concert Calendar

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