DOWN BY LAW
Singer/guitarist Dave Smalley, a legend in the evolution of American punk and hardcore, brings the latest incarnation of his venerable quartet to town - always a thrill.
Smalley, an educated guy who understands that fierce rock ‘n' roll doesn't have to be about something stupid or meaningless, has a back band catalog that includes Dag Nasty, DYS, All and the Chemical People.Guitarist Sam Williams has been at Smalley's side since the formation of Down By Law - which is, as you've guessed, named after director Jim Jarmusch's 1986 film about escaped cons in the Louisiana bayou.
"One of the things I've always loved about punk rock, as opposed to many other genres of music: it encourages intelligence," Smalley told an interviewer not so long ago.
"From the cleverness of the Buzzcocks to the multisyllabic rantings of Bad Religion, from the passion of The Clash to the burning rage of the Sex Pistols to the simmering angst of Elvis Costello, there's a lot of intense insight out there.
"Of the bands I've been in, I think there's socio-political reflections in Down By Law to the angst of personal inner turmoil found in Dag Nasty or All or DYS. I wouldn't write my lyrics in any other genre - they wouldn't fit any other music and the listeners of other forms of music probably wouldn't relate. In punk, as in no other genre, we all understand that life demands some thought."
Williams' other band, the Spears, opens the Savannah show (it includes punk stalwarts Chris Barrows (from Pink Lincolns) on vocals, Gary Strickland on bass, and D.R.I. drummer Rob Rampy. Listen & learn: www.downbylaw.com, www.myspace.com/thespearsrule. At 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
It’s a big week for fans of vintage hardcore punk; and we’re not talking about Down By Law alone. Social Distortion was one of the keynote bands of the 1980s Los Angeles hardcore scene. Singer and guitarist Mike Ness has endured, through a crippling heroin addiction, the departure of numerous band members, and the 2000 death (from a brain aneurysm) of bassist and guitarist Dennis Danell. This is a group that’s endured the ever-changing musical weather and come out slinging; with blues, rockabilly and even country thrown into the blender on albums such as Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and Mommy’s Little Monster, Ness has made certain his mark on rock ‘n’ roll is indelible. Listen & learn: www.socialdistortion.com. At 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 at Shoreline Ballroom, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head, wit h the Strangers and Middle Class Rut. $27.50 advance, $30 day of show.
SPIDER + OCTOPUS
Rene Arozqueta and Chad Bishop hail from that well–known capital of cosmopolitanism, Pensacola, Fla. S+O is an acoustic duo that includes acoustic guitar, accordion and other instruments – “and we try to play them all at once with our eight arms and eight tentacles,” Arozqueta explains. “It’s a spectacle of coordination if anything, but it’s also contemporary folk that can be sweet and moving at times, but slightly raucous other times.” Sure, the tunes are quirky, but they’re also insanely likeable. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/spideroctopus. At 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at Hang Fire, 37 Whittaker St
Here’s a bluegrass band with a most impressive passel of pedigrees: Alan Bibey is such a revered mandolinist, Gibson even designed an Alan Bibey Signature Model; guitarist Steve Gulley was a member of both Mountain Heart and Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver; Phil Leadbetter, who plays Resonator guitar, gained fame as a member of JD Crowe & the New South, and Wildfire, and has played with everyone from Dolly Parton to Vern Gosdin; Jason Davis (banjo) and Dale Perry (upright bass) are respected veteran players on the bluegrass/acoustic circuit. Blue–ribbon bluegrass at its finest. Listen & learn: www.grasstowne.com. At 8 p.m. Friday, Oct 23 at Randy Wood Guitars, 1304 E. Highway 80, Bloomingdale. $25
From Brooklyn, Lawrey Zilmrah creates electronic music soundscapes using a trunk-full of oscillators, keyboards, drum machines, string and percussion instruments. From his MySpace page: "Influences vary, but lately it has been Harry Partch, Butoh dancers, black light photography, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Takashi Miike, Joe Coleman, Critical Art Ensemble. Sounds Like: A giant Totenkopf wrecking ball swinging the gauntlet of human emotions through the delicate baron wasteland of all things not I." And who are we to disagree? Sharing the bill with the Audacity. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/zilmrah. At 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the Wormhole, 2307 Bull St.