Ryan Bonner, Jack Williams & Friends, Give

Concerts in Columbia SC: Dec. 25-31
By Free Times
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Ryan Bonner | photo by Jonathan Boncek

Thursday 26

Danielle Howle & The Dubber — Danielle Howle and The Dubber, two folk-rocking musicians steeped in relaxing vibes, unite for this collaborative show, offering sanctuary from the post-Christmas hullabaloo. Bolstered by a backing band or laid bare, Howle’s smooth acoustic strums and smoky pipes billow warmly, offering lulling melodies that rarely fail to please. The Dubber lives up to his name with sleek, reggae-tinged blues built on limber bass lines and powered by a rumbling croon. Neither offers many innovations, but they possess reliable skills and never lack for passion. On a day like this, you could do a lot worse. Jordan Lawrence
Tapp’s Arts Center: 8 p.m., $7; 988-0013, tappsartscenter.com.

Saturday 28

Ryan Bonner — Splitting the difference between the roughshod country-rock of Reckless Kelly and the rich reverberations of groups like Band of Horses, Charleston’s Ryan Bonner caters to disparate tastes. His sandpaper croon caresses as well as it blisters, lending Bonner’s songs surprising emotional depth. His arrangements are flush with immersive guitars and seductive melodies, and while they’re never overstated, most every chorus is crisp and immediate. Having already captured the attention of his hometown (readers of the Charleston City Paper voted Bonner’s Only When It’s Burning album of the year), Bonner shines as one of the area’s most promising young songwriters, a rising star with the potential to please fans far and wide. Jordan Lawrence
Tin Roof: 10 p.m., $5; 771-1558.

The Outrivals, The Post-Timey String Band — Never underestimate the power of great guitar tones. They can turn solid but forgettable rock songs into striking cuts. Columbia’s Outrivals splintered from The Rival Brothers, which benefitted from such pretty riffs, sparkling slabs of distortion that transform their country-leaning shuffle into a hypnotic lilt. The songs themselves won’t overwhelm, but The Outrivals’ sound is enough to keep things interesting. The Post-Timey String Band offers a more complete package, tangling antiquated folk with oddball distortion and a wonderfully wacky sense of humor. With Post-Timey, the tunes are always equal to the tones. Celia Gary also plays. Jordan Lawrence
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $5; 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.

Jack Williams & Friends — As I get older, the archetypal New Year’s Eve — crowds, craziness, champagne — appeals to me less and less, and I prefer the comfort of close friends. For years, now, folkie Jack Williams has been ringing in the new year in similarly quiet fashion, trading songs and stories with his friends at the UU Coffeehouse. He’s joined this year by usual guests Danny Harlow and Cary and Susan Taylor, and special guests Steve Klinck, Wayne Manning and Robert Bowlin. The gang’ll play two sets: the first features original tunes from all the players; the second opens up Williams’ back catalog — maybe even some from Four Good Days, an odds-and-sods collections that draws from some of Williams’ out-of-print records, long-unfinished demos and favorites of friends and family. It’s not New Year’s Eve, but, then, does it really need to be? Patrick Wall
UU Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., $20; 200-2824, uucoffeehouse.org.

Sunday 29

Alien Carnival — Alien Carnival strikes me as less a band and more a kind of amorphous hivemind, a loose collective of musicians for whom music-making its tantamount to merry-making. Its songs, loose and tuneful aggregations of bluegrass and country and jam-rock, meander like a group conversation, players trading guitar licks and drum fills with an easy back-and-forth. It’s limber, loosey-goosey stuff, like Waylon and Willie cracking open some beers and woodshedding with the Dead’s rhythm section. Patrick Wall
Jake’s: 5 p.m., $5; 708-4788, jakesofcolumbia.com.

Drivin N Cryin — With Drivin N Cryin, the songs are never as straightforward as the band’s name would suggest. Yes, the tunes plow headlong with rebellious country energy, taking cues from pretty much every outlaw picker from Hank Williams onward. But some songs rumble with burly distortion. Others drift with jangly abandon, like a Southern-born Jefferson Airplane. Indeed, few rock bands shape-shift so convincingly. But somehow, Drivin N Cryin manages to keep its vast influences united, hitching them to wry words and melodies that are always pushing forward. Expect the unexpected. Jordan Lawrence
New Brookland Tavern: 7:30 p.m., $15 ($12 advance); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.

Give — Washington, D.C.’s famous Revolution Summer of 1985, a reaction to how hyperviolent the district’s punk scene had become, birthed a more personal and introspective interpretation of punk rock. The bands that came from that fertile period — Embrace, Rites of Spring — were short-lived, but they redefined punk and hardcore’s musical and stylistic rules. (And shortly afterward, members of Rites of Spring and landmark hardcore band Minor Threat would go on to form Fugazi, one of the most important bands of the last three decades.) Give, a classic D.C. post-hardcore band, would have fit right in, sonically, during Revolution Summer, its snaking melodies and explosive rhythms built using the Dischord blueprint. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Give isn’t blithely derivative. Rather, the spirit of Revolution Summer lives in it. With Barge, Vorov, Hard Stripes. Patrick Wall
Foxfield Bar & Grille: 7 p.m., $5; 728-0420.

Tuesday 31

Bourgeous — If you watched last Sunday’s Raiders-Chargers game, you heard snippets of Bourgeous’ “Tsunami.” The track’s built more for such grandiose stages than for the dance floor, its lockstep march augmented by sweeping violins and blaring blasts of synthesizers. And its drop hits more like a riptide than a tidal wave, its throbbing sub-octave bass line chest-crushingly heavy. Another of his EDM hits, “Stampede,” works the same way, its ballast crushing under foot with a Panzer tank grind. This isn’t electro built for hot-stepping. It’s built for mosh pits. For fight clubs. For the crunch of shoulder pads and helmets on the line. Patrick Wall
Social: 8 p.m., $10; socialcolumbiasc.com.

Curmudgeon, Torchrunner — They say whatever you do on New Year’s Eve sets the tone for how you’ll spend the upcoming year. Well, Curmudgeon is a brutal and intense powerviolence trio from Boston and Torch Runner is a raunchy and incendiary grindcore trio from North Carolina. And then there are the openers: Mourning Cloak, a funereally heavy doom duo from North Carolina; They Eat Their Own God, a blackened crust-punk outfit from Columbia; and FK MT., a grungy local trio that’s a throwback to D.C.-born first-wave emo. If this is how you choose to ring in the new year, you’re in for one hell of a time — and probably a year of well-earned mosh pit bruises. Patrick Wall
Foxfield Bar & Grille: 7 p.m., $5; 728-0420.

Isabelle’s Gift — New Year’s Eve is traditionally a night when many of us get really, really drunk, do things we regret the next day and generally make asses of ourselves in the name of celebration. For Isabelle’s Gift, in other words, it’s just another night. The raunchy redneck rockers have made a decades-long career of thumbing their noses at the conventional, commercial and crass pabulum that passes for pop music, with snarling sets of songs such as “Haulin Ass and Oats” and “Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas,” so who better to ring in the new year with in true bacchanalian fashion? Kevin Oliver
Concocktions: $10 ($7 advance); 256-8860.

New Brookland Tavern New Year’s Eve Cover Show — For years, venerable dive New Brookland Tavern’s been opening its stage on New Year’s Eve as an opportunity for regular guests to pay tribute to their favorite acts and biggest influences. This year’s no different, with a bevy of local musicians banding together to do some one-off tributeering: Members of Frontier Sons and Versus the Robot cover The Killers; The Marshall Brown Band does The Kinks; Sportsmanship tackles Radiohead; Daniel Yellion does The White Stripes. But most promising of all: Mel Washington takes on Kanye West. Patrick Wall
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $7; 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.

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