MUSIC SCENE: Lit, The Taj Mahal Trio, Greg Laswell


When “A Place in the Sun,” Orange County-based quartet Lit’s album, came out in 1999, the state of mainstream alternative music seemed to rotate, ever so slightly, away from the gloomy skies of grunge’s influence to a brighter way to rebel.

What bands such as No Doubt, Sublime and the Offspring had helped introduce to the mainstream was catching on, and after 10 years of trying to catch a break, Lit was about to get its chance.

Audiences began trading in their flannel and greasy hair for studded belts and hair gel as quickly as they could to stay current.

When Lit released that pinnacle record in 1999, the band charged into popularity using hopelessly catchy melodies and modish, Vegas-inspired style as its bugle horn. The album produced three chart-topping singles with “Miserable,” “Zip-Lock” and “My Own Worst Enemy” (which was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for 11 weeks, and received a Billboard Music Award for the biggest modern rock song of 1999).

The band was riding high. And after touring with the Offspring, Garbage and No Doubt for most of 1999 and 2000, Lit released “Atomic” in 2001, an album that produced two successful singles itself.

But tragedy would find the band before it had time to adjust to its newfound fame when A. Jay (vocals) and Jeremy (guitars/vocals) Popoff’s stepfather was killed in a motorcycle accident and their mother was seriously injured. Not long afterward, in 2008, just days before the group left to support KISS on its European tour, drummer Allen Shellenberger was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died one year later.

Now the band is back, having recently finished a new record, “The View From the Bottom” with producers Marti Frederiksen (Motley Crue, Aerosmith) and Butch Walker (Weezer, Pink) and is anticipating its release this June.

Lit will perform today at Jimbo’s Rock Lounge, 1662 Savannah Highway, with A Thousand Horses, With Intent, Fusebox Poet and Cosmic Ash. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at or at the door. Go to www.jimbos or call 225-2200.

With a career spanning more than four decades, Taj Mahal is one of those rare artists who has not only withstood music’s ever-changing times but who also has helped direct the changes.

For generations, Mahal has built a reputation as an intelligent and socially conscious musician. His incorporation of jazz, gospel, zydeco and world music into his blues is the stuff of musical wizardry, while his intense work alongside nonprofits, such as Farm Aid to raise awareness for family farmers in the U.S., is nothing short of inspirational.

He formed one of the first interracial bands, The Rising Sons, in the early ’60s before going solo in 1968. Before long, he became a frequent collaborator with The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters and began getting attention for his gravelly yet peaceful voice and exceptional guitar skills, most of which were self-taught.

The 68-year-old Mahal has released more than 25 studio albums as well as numerous live and compilation albums.

He also has composed scores for several movies, including “Sounder,” “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” “Blues Brothers 2000” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

The Taj Mahal Trio will perform today at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway. Tickets are $36 and are available online at Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show is slated to begin at 8:30 p.m. Call 571-4343 or go to

Singer-songwriter Greg Laswell, 38, has something to say, stories from all of life’s different angles that you just don’t hear from a younger man. That kind of “lived-it” integrity shines brightly in Laswell’s whispery, weathered voice that underground audiences have known and loved since his 2003 debut, “Good Movie.”

While many singers and songwriters seek to grab you and wrestle you into submission, insisting that you listen to their lives and screaming and whining their way into your ear, Laswell politely asks you if maybe you would be interested in hearing a story or two.

Laswell’s latest album, “Landline,” was released in April.

Laswell will perform Wednesday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Elizabeth Ziman. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door or online at Doors open at 8 p.m. Call 571-4343 or go to www.charleston