Music Scene: Umphrey's McGee, Stop Light Observations, SOJA

Umphrey's McGee will perform Friday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.

Since 1997, South Bend, Ind.'s Umphrey's McGee has been one of the pioneers of the prog-rock jam band movement.

Combining influences from Yes and Zappa with the Dead, Zeppelin and Phish, Umphrey's McGee has been labeled as one of the innovators of modern-day jam music, as well as one of its best-reviewed live acts.

With a seemingly countless number of compilations, live albums and bootlegs released, Umphrey's McGee most recently added to its long list of recordings with its eighth studio album, "Similar Skin," which will be released in June.

The sextet will perform Friday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show, and can be purchased through the North Charleston Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, Ticketmaster outlets (select Publix grocery stores), or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.

Call 529-5000 or go to for more information.

It's not easy to find a new band like Stop Light Observations.

In a time when anyone can record and market music, even the digital libraries can't keep up with the accumulating stacks, the proverbial dusty shelf lives on.

It's a liberating revolution to be sure, but one that carries overwhelming moments along with it.

Every act needs to distinguish itself, and in the race to do so, gimmicks and copycats abound. But for the Charleston sextet, the distinction lies in its obliviousness to either.

The band lists its influences as hip-hop, Motown, indie, classic rock, revival, psychedelic, garage and arena rock. And believe it or not, they're all in the band's overall sound, and it does, in fact, work really well.

The most obvious reason it works is found in the band's uncontrived approach to its songwriting: six childhood friends-turned-musicians with fair input playing music that moves them collectively. It's a simple creative formula in which less is more.

Instead of packaging the act for others to believe in, Stop Light Observations believes in itself, without all the embellishments.

Stop Light Observations will perform Saturday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., in support of its 2013 debut album, "Radiation." Tickets are $15-$18 and are available at the door or online at Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show slated to start at 9 p.m.

For more info, call 577-6989 or go to

Soldiers of Jah Army, more commonly known as SOJA, has become a leading American reggae group since its formation 17 years ago.

The octet's laid-back spirit and traditional reggae-inspired style remains infectious and uplifting, leading to a devoted following ranging from festivalgoers and suburbanites to devout reggae purists.

The group's latest album, "Strength to Survive," has sold more than 500,000 copies, topping the Billboard Reggae Album chart for more than a month straight following its January 2012 release.

Soja will perform Wednesday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Murs. Tickets are $20-$25 and are available at the door or online at Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show starting at 9 p.m.

Call 577-6989 or go to for more information.