The Afromotive ***It doesn’t get much cooler than this: a ten-piece funk group from Asheville fusing vintage James Brown-style horn lines with West African dance beats and native percussion.
Their ability to extend deceptively simple grooves and syncopated guitar and organ riffs into monstrously hypnotic, trance-inducing themes is mightily impressive. Anchored by a 33rd-generation djembe player from Cote d‘Ivoire, West Africa, the group also incorporates congas, sang bang and bells, the group sings and chants their intoxicating message music in French, English and the frontman’s native Baoule. Theirs is a riveting, non-stop erotic mantra built on complex time signatures and lowdown drumming. Now’s your chance to catch a group that recently turned in a super-charged performance at Bonnaroo in a small room. $8 in adv. or $10 at the door. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/theafromotive. Fri., 11 pm, Live Wire Music Hall.
Gringo Star ***
Back when this amazing Atlanta band was known as A-Fir-Ju-Well, I described them in these pages as one of the only bands I’d ever heard that lived up to their massive hype. Now, under a pun-ishing new moniker, they’re winning raves everywhere they go for their spot-on melding of British Invasion pop hooks and Nuggets-era psych overtones. Even Babysue Magazine loves them! Imagine The Kinks circa 1967 dropping acid and attempting a Motown tribute album. Can they pull it off live? Go find out for yourself. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/thegringostars. Fri., 11 pm, The Jinx.
Late last month, only hours before local musicians Jason Statts and David J. Williams were viciously shot at point blank range in Ardsley Park, their new band opened for this established area prog-rock powerhouse at this rising River St. venue. Now, this unbelievably tight and idiosyncratic freakout metal Tilt-A-Whirl is back for an encore performance, with all door proceeds going to the guys’ astronomical medical expenses. Minimum donation of $5 to the cause. Listen & Learn: sofro.com. Sat., 10 pm, Live Wire Music Hall.
Statts/Williams Benefit ***
This dance-oriented lounge/restaurant is hosting an unusual triple bill of local acts The Train Wrecks (uptempo Americana), Port City Music (moody, droning alt.rock) and Pink Kodiak (snarky, partially sequenced electro “Death Pop”) and donating 100% of all door and raffle proceeds to the aforementioned Jason and Dave. With a handful of small benefits like these already taking place and a larger scale event planned for mid-September, there’s no shortage of sincere support from the local music community for their brethren in need. DJ Absynth and DJ Paynt kick things off with a spin at 8 pm, with the live music starting two hours later. $10 donation (all proceeds go to the stattswilliams.com). Listen & Learn: myspace.com/thetrainwrecks, myspace.com/pinkkodiak, portcitymusic.com. Wed., 8 pm, Tantra Sushi & Tapas Bar.
Superhorse CD Release with American Gun
It took this local garage and noise-rock septet twelve years to release a proper debut album, and now, three years later they’re following it up. That first disc, The High Impedance Majesty of Superhorse, found this motley group of veteran players (of which I am a member) paying stylistic homage to such musical touchstones as the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, early Rolling Stones and Jonathan Richman’s original Modern Lovers lineup. Their new EP Country Lovin’ is a twang-filled detour into Golden Age C & W (they cover a Mel Tillis-penned late-’50s hit for Webb Pierce), ‘70s country-funk (think Jerry Reed or Vegas-period Elvis) and Highway 61-era Butterfield Blues-esque rockabilly. Columbia, S.C.’s American Gun opens with a set of critically-acclaimed, rocking Americana, a la Steve Earle or Lucero. $10 cover includes a free copy of Superhorse’s new CD. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/superhorse, americangun.net. Sat., 10 pm, The Jinx.