Music Scene: Charlie Mars, Passion Pit, The Expendables
By Matthew Godbey Special to The Post and Courier – Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Charlie Mars isn’t a loud man.
The Mississippi-born crooner behind such hits as “Listen to the Darkside,” “How I Roll” and “Meet Me By the Backdoor” is that kind of quiet and humble cool type who knows it rather than speaks it.
But this isn’t a guy with an equally quiet life.
Let us not forget the time Mars won $16,000 shortly before passing out at a Biloxi blackjack table, a night’s earnings that afforded him the time to write much of his 2004 breakthrough self-titled album.
Just as surprising to Mars as that casino winning streak was the reaction the industry and audience had to the album.
In truth, Mars was feeling the walls closing in before the chips began mounting up. He was out of money, out of a manager, agent, band and, seemingly, out of luck. He hadn’t released an album in nearly five years, and the ones he had were small indie releases that fell short of the mark.
He was road-weary and discouragement was beginning to become a burden too heavy to carry any longer.
That blacked-out gamble, however, offered the singer-songwriter a much-needed rest. It gave Mars time to write without the day-to-day pressures and frustrations that financial struggle creates.
That calm comes through in Mars’ songs. There’s a composed subtlety to his voice, but also a desperation and yearning that evades pathetic whimpering in favor of honest emotion at the hands of just a sensitive man. As such, a propelling predilection for him grows as he quietly, slowly, almost apprehensively, shapes those subtleties into powerful moments of revelation and distinction.
Charlie Mars will celebrate the release of his latest album, “Blackberry Light,” Thursday with a performance at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway.
Matt MacKelcan and Luke Cunnigham also will perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 the day of the show, and are available online at etix.com or at the door.
Go tocharlestonpourhouse.com or call 571-4343.
Every so often, a band or artist who silences the humdrum radio waves with one song, one note, one peculiar moment of savagery and beauty and crispness comes along to breathe new life into the stale monotony in which popular music tends to find itself.
While it’s a rare sound to hear, the magnitude of such a thing is so immediate and so fiercely obvious that it’s difficult to turn away from.
With that being said, the pressing momentousness surrounding the experimental indie/rock, or “electropop,” band Passion Pit certainly abounds itself in great proportions.
The Massachusetts-based quintet began as a one-man project for singer and chief songwriter Michael Angelakos, who was writing techno-influenced pop songs as a Valentine’s Day gift for his college girlfriend. Angelakos made copies of the EP after friends heard the recording. Eventually, the songs recorded for his girlfriend were blaring around Emerson College’s campus in Boston.
Angelakos seized the EP’s momentum by recruiting his bandmates from nearby Berklee College of Music, eventually going on to record 2009’s “Manners.” The album revealed the band’s refreshingly bright, smart and infectious style, giving an American equal to the growing U.K. electropop scene.
Several of the album’s songs have since been used in commercials, television shows, movies and video games.
Passion Pit’s latest album, “Gossamer,” was released over the summer, quickly ascending the Billboard charts to crack the overall top five.
Passion Pit will perform Friday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Youngblood Hawke. Tickets are $28 in advance, $30 the day of the show and are available online at etix.com or at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Go to musicfarm.com or call 577-6989.
The Expendables first rose to widespread popularity in the early 2000s after spending nearly seven years building a following in and around its native Santa Cruz, Calif.
The punk-inspired reggae quartet scored the hits “Bowl for Two” and “Sacrifice” off its 2004 album, “Gettin’ Filthy,” and hasn’t stopped touring or recording ever since, all while maintaining its original lineup.
The band became a local favorite among the large reggae and ska scene in Santa Cruz and soon sought to expand its popularity with self-funded national tours.
After The Expendables signed with Stoopid Records and began touring with the likes of 311, Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, G. Love and The Special Sauce, and The Kottonmouth Kings, the band’s acclaim began to broaden beyond the confines of its Santa Cruz beginnings.
The Expendables will perform Thursday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Iration and Cisco Adler, in support of its new acoustic album, “Gone Soft.” Tickets are $16 and are available online at etix.com or at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Go tomusicfarm.com or call 577-6989.