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Eighth State Brings the Heat

Brett Barest on The Upstate Music Scene

Brett Barest

In the words of the immortal Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly”.

Fortunately we are not in a land where Brick killed a guy with a trident and has to lay low for a while. Instead, the brewery formerly named Upstate Craft Beer has rebranded itself as Eighth State Brewing Company and has immersed itself in the arts as much as we want to immerse our taste buds in their delicious craft brews. The walls are now adorned with local art and the music calendar is filled out from now through May, at a minimum.

In old news, the Excons just played on Saturday which is always a good time delivered by a bunch of North Main dads serving up their brand of indie rock better than any bunch of kids doing indie rock that I have ever met. Looking forward, I cannot help but be excited about Brother Oliver this coming Saturday for a psychedelic folk rock experience that defies comparison. The tiny electric mandolin is a force to be reckoned with and we all need more of it in our lives.

Bookings like these encouraged me to look at the bigger picture and that is what made me pump the brakes on my widespread search for shows in the weeks ahead and just focus on what Eighth State is up to. Friday night features Mason Jar Menagerie in cahoots with Charleston’s Orange Doors and Atlanta’s Apache! Personal note to Apache! – You had me at “hip hop and strings” for a style of music that I fell in love with even before my first listen.

The fun continues with artists like Darby Wilcox, Mourning Dove, Italo and the Passions, April B. & the Cool and so many others to look forward to in the coming months. One big thing that stands out on the calendar is the emphasis on mixed bill shows that pairs acts that you might not instinctively expect to see sharing a bill. A singer/songwriter might open things up before an indie rock band and an electronic ensemble round out the evening. This both ensures a little something for everyone and opens the door to discovering something new and unfamiliar (which is a huge reason for listening to live music in the first place if you ask me).

Not to rest on the laurels of weekly shows, Eighth State also has a couple of special events to put on your calendar. The 2nd Annual Skunk Patrick’s Day brings a little taste of Skunk Fest to the brewery while the Spring Flight serves up an eclectic day of music representative of Eighth State’s vision as a brewery.

First, there is Skunk Patrick’s Day on March 16 featuring twice as many bands as last year with six artists taking a turn on stage. The Moon and You, Vilai Harrington & the Hamptones, Glory Day Loflin, TC Costello, Lynn Holcombe, and Julia Ruby all combine for a day of Skunktastic fun just steps from Downtown Greenville. The big festival – Spring Skunk – will be less than four weeks away making this the perfect way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and start getting in mood for the three day festival just on the horizon.  

Just two weeks later on March 30, we can look forward to Spring Flight, featuring the likes of Apache!, The Parlor Pinks, Pure Ghost, Boo Hag, and Tiger Tiger! The Parlor Pinks are an electronic duo of Rachel Clark and Ash Foster who, incidentally, is the driving force behind Eighth State’s music booking (but more on him another day).  For this event he has combined electronic music with rock, that hip-hop and strings mash up I mentioned early, and more for an incredibly diverse and satisfying day of music.

Eighth State Brewing Company presents all of this in a space brimming with artistic creativity. Beyond the visual art on the walls, the list of brews on tap is wildly creative and as diverse as the bands on the upcoming calendar. This reinvention of Upstate Craft Beer is a fascinating one and, to my surprise, has moved them high on the list of places to catch a show. Stop in any Friday or Saturday night between now and quite possibly the end of time and see (and hear) for yourself.

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