Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance
Col. Bruce, with his swinging, funky, bluesy, fluid sense of toe-tapping tuneage, is a microcosm of Georgia music, every salt and stripe of it. He's been a legend for 20 years, and a semi-legend for 20 more, and every jam band that's passed through the Peach State - any player who's stolen a Duane Allman or Berry Oakley riff - owes something to the Colonel whether they know it or not.
That's because Bruce Hampton has been the cornerstone of Atlanta's live music scene since the mid 1960s, when the twin rivers of rhythm ‘n' blues and rock ‘n' roll came together to create a mighty torrent. Everyone who's anyone (and even some that never were) passed through the ranks of one of Hampton's high-energy electric bands, including members of the Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic and Savannah's own Codetalkers. Today he's considered the unofficial godfather of the jam band universe.
A soulful vocalist, skilled guitarist and one of the most kinetic performers you'll ever see, Hampton's humor is a tad on the quirky side - which kind of makes him the Frank Zappa of the South. Or the Sun Ra of the South. Either way - and that is a very cool thing. Listen & learn: www.bratoganibe.com. Friday, June 26 at the Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. Tickets $10 advance, $12 at the door.
Playing at Sweet Melissa's pizza joint, this Atlanta band has a ‘60s aesthetic, in that some of the songs are trippy and psychedelic, some are hard-hitting and rocky, and some have sweet, Beach Boys-style harmonies. The attention to the vocals, as a matter of fact, are what sets It's Elephant's a notch above other contemporary post-pop guitar bands. I hear Jefferson Airplane and Talking Heads in the musical constructs on Gets Along, the band's just-released second CD. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/itselephants. 9 p.m. June 27 at Sweet Melissa's, 35 Whitaker St.
David Davis & the Warrior River Boys
From Cullman, Ala., this is a bluegrass quintet with a rock-solid pedigree: Mandolinist Davis' uncle Cleo was an original member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1930s, and in fact was a member of the band when they made their Grand Ole Opry debut. David Davis has fronted the Warrior River Boys since the early ‘80s, when their blueprint was all-traditionalist, all the time. Davis relaxed that rule some time ago, and these days his group is known for playing music by contemporary, unknown writers, and even the occasional country/rock tune - done up, of course, in quintessential bluegrass style. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/daviddavisandwrb. 8 p.m. June 26 at Randy Wood Guitars, 1304 E. Highway 80, Bloomingdale. Tickets $20.
Punk, country, rockabilly and flat-out rock ‘n' roll come together in the tough, speed-dialed guitar music of this quartet from Charlotte. Lamb Handler is power pop with more emphasis on the former, and less on the latter, although there are some pretty solid melodies under all the hardcore riffing. They all wear black onstage, too, which oughta tell you something. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/lambhandler. 9 p.m. June 26 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.