Concerts in Columbia: Aug 28 - Sept 3

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Donald Merckle, Casting Crowns, Worker’s Comp Labor Day Festival
By Free Times
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Casting Crowns

Thursday 28

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ — Among the odd facts in the online bio for Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ — penned by singer and primary songwriter Kevn Kinney — is this: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ is the only band to have played with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sonic Youth and Neil Young in the same year. That shouldn’t surprise longtime fans. The group has always obliterated the lines between hard rock, folk, country and punk. The group’s current strategy for releasing music is equally unconventional: It’s touring behind the fourth entry in an ongoing series of short EP releases scattered across the last two years. With Bandkamp and Marshall Brown. — Kevin Oliver [This show has been cancelled.]

New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $15 ($12 advance); 791-4413,

Lock Robster & the Unidahmer — Lock Robster & the Unidahmer’s built for lovable dives like Foxfield, sloppy and grimy and humid and sweating booze and perfumed with stale cigarette smoke. The New Orleans trio’s punk is down and dirty and ready to party, not sleazy but slimy, not nihilistic but markedly uninhibited. Asheville’s Uninhabitable offers apocalyptic sludge with a crust bent, while locals Fishwives plays chaotic, noisy, screamy punk. — Patrick Wall

Foxfield Bar & Grille: 7 p.m., donations; 728-0420,

Friday 29

Donald Merckle — With his Blacksmiths in tow, Donald Merckle breeds energetic acoustic rock in the fertile gap between Irish balladry and American folk, sounding just as strong during energetic ramblers as he does during tender odes. This versatility bodes well for today’s solo performance; Merckle’s emotional range is the kind that can play just as well over stark and determined acoustic strums as it does when backed by the Blacksmiths’ lush bits of banjo, guitar and bass. — Jordan Lawrence

River Rat Brewery: 5:30 p.m., free; 724-5712,

Saturday 30

Casting Crowns — Numbering among today’s more successful contemporary Christian acts, Casting Crowns boast an arena-sized mainstream rock sound that’s employed in service of some powerful worship. Christian music stands or falls on its lyrics, and the words of songs such as “Who Am I,” “Does Anybody Hear Her?” and “All You’ve Ever Wanted” — the latter from their latest album, Thrive — go beyond simple praise to explore the inherent complexities of faith. — Kevin Oliver

Township Auditorium: 7 p.m., $26-$56; 576-2356,

The Makeshifts, Italo & the Passions, Infinite — Local trio The Makeshifts recently added a percussionist to their fold, but the band’s focus on guitar-driven indie rock with plenty of fancy fingerwork should remain unchanged. Italo and the Passions frontman Michael Italo prefers a raucous howl to conventional singing, while the Passions blend classic soul hooks with guitar-rock sleaze — both contributing to the band’s aura of controlled debauchery. Infinite claims a reggae-rock tag and does its best to deliver, but winds up sounding too much like 311 to arouse much excitement. — Michael Spawn

Art Bar: 8 p.m., $5; 929-0198,

Mississippi Kites — If you haven’t heard, Utopia Food & Spirits, the cozy listening room that once resided on Rosewood Drive, is back in business. Closed for only a few weeks, the venue is now open in a new location on Fort Jackson Boulevard. Tonight presents a nice opportunity to check out the new space as the Mississippi Kites, a mercurial Columbia-based Southern rock band bridging the gap between Giant Sand and CCR, stop in for an intimate performance. — Jordan Lawrence

Utopia Food & Spirits: 8 p.m., free; 782-8522,

Qwintis Sential, Dzyne By God — Among the most shocking events to happen to gospel rap in recent memory was when the subgenre’s most recognizable name, Lecrae, appeared in the 2011 BET Awards lineup. Then there was former cocaine rapper and ex-Clipse member Malice (now No Malice) suddenly switching to holy hip-hop. For a style more known for its vulgarity than its potential for praise, such developments likely left a few listners feeling pretty confused. So maybe you’re still dispirited by the thought of Christian emcees and need a night like this to confront your preconceived biases. Dzyne By God leads this worship medley, disguising dogma with pop rhythms, while Qwintis Sential is more prone to have you worship his wordplay than worry about God. — Eric Tullis

Conundrum Music Hall 8 p.m., $10; 250-1295;

Sunday 31

Worker’s Comp Labor Day Festival — Two things you can count on from Stereofly, the Columbia-based ‘zine and promotions hub dedicated to highlighting unheralded regional talent — ambition and enthusiasm, both erupting from stores that seemingly have no end. Just take a spin through Worker’s Comp. Vol. II, the free digital companion piece to Stereofly’s second annual Labor Day Weekend mini-fest. It includes some artists that won’t be at Art Bar this weekend, but there’s still plenty here to justify your attendance —  a woozy new pop-rock number from The Restoration’s Adam Corbett, a swaggering cut from the all-star hip-hop collective NewSC, a somber invocation from the melodically astute alt-rock trio The Fire Tonight. All three play as part of a nine-band bill that also includes the hypnotic hip-hop of We Roll Like Madmen, the burly grime of Grüzer and the playful, funky synth-hop of Grand Prize Winners From Last Year. Free beer from Charleston’s Holy City Brewing until it runs out. — Jordan Lawrence

Art Bar: 5 p.m., $8; 929-0198,

Wednesday 3

Gravy, Funk You, Mesa Verde — Kicking off this lineup of funky bands is Mesa Verde, which imbues its meaty classic rock melodies with rhythmic bombast and loads of delay and wah-wah. Verde is followed by Gravy, which owns a jazz-infused sound punctuated by sax and melodious keys, with sleepy, squealing leads and soulful vocals. Finishing off the evening is the jam band Funk You. The group layers raspy vocals over effect-soaked riffs with splashy cymbals, popping snares and a backdrop of milky synths and keys. — Dade Driggers

New Brookland Tavern: 7:30 p.m., $5 ($8 under 21); 791-4413,

Music Break — Columbia Opportunity Resource presents this networking event for musicians and those in related businesses around town. Given that many working musicians are playing gigs too often to get to see their peers and compare notes, it’s an interesting idea, and a good way to check out the new Music Farm at Tin Roof, which will soon become Columbia’s largest rock club. A Musician’s Workshop kicks things off, then the networking is thrown wide open as Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar and Lazy A & the Green Thing provide the soundtrack. — Kevin Oliver

Music Farm: 5 p.m., $20 (free for musicians and COR members);

Occult 45 — Grindcore is not for the faint of heart. Case in point: Philadelphia’s Occult 45. The cleverly named group rips through the heavy subgenre as it was originally intended, blitzing through caustic riffs and agitated rhythms with speed and precision. But unlike some of its peers, Occult 45 never lets its technicality get in the way of its menace; the tones groan and growl even as they hurtle along full-force. With Ramlord and Birth Kontrol.
— Jordan Lawrence

Foxfield Bar and Grille: 7 p.m., $5; 728-0420,

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