Women behind Girls Rock Charleston showcased

Shelley Smith plays drums during Girls Rock Charleston’s first Volunteer and Supporter Showcase last year.

With so much live music around us in Charleston, it’s easy to forget how much guts it takes to get up on stage and bare your creative side for all to see.

I mean, imagine someone tosses you an instrument and says, “Here, learn how to play this, write some original stuff, and I’ll see you on stage in two months.”

Pretty daunting, right?

Because that’s essentially the task handed to the women participating in the Girls Rock Charleston Volunteer and Supporter Showcase on Sunday at the Pour House.

Girls Rock Charleston is the local nonprofit organization that runs summer camps and after-school programs that teaches girls and transgender youth how to play instruments and form rock bands, all while learning about important issues facing women and the community at large.

At the end of the camps, the young bands perform original songs in a public showcase usually held at a local rock club.

“For the kids, it’s really an empowering experience for them to know they can perform music and write a song because just in general, the music industry tends to be sexist and you don’t see many females being drummers and shredding guitars,” said Loni Lewis of Girls Rock Charleston.

Still, Lewis said all the women running the organization realize how much it takes for kids to get up on stage and perform for a real, live audience. So last year, the adult leaders, volunteers and supporters decided to hold their own showcase as a sign of solidarity.

“We started it last year because we thought it would be a fun way for adults to try out what the kids do,” Lewis said.

Adults volunteer for the performance and organizers piece them together in bands, just like in the kids camp. They borrow instruments from Girls Rock and for two months, they collaborate on two or three original tunes. This year, there are four bands and each one will perform about a 15-minute set, Lewis said.

Some participants are seasoned musicians, such as Kim Larson of Southern Femispheres and Paisley Addams of Tripping the Mechanism. Others know how to play instruments but don’t usually perform out on the town, and a few have never picked up an instrument before.

Even with all the different experience levels, Lewis said there wasn’t a “bad band in the bunch” last year, and she expects the same thing for this year’s showcase.

“For the adults it’s just really fun ... it’s kind of letting your guard down and going for it,” Lewis said.

What’s really worthwhile for the audience, though, is just seeing an all-female performance, a rarity in Charleston, Lewis said.

“It’s really cool to see,” she said. “All of our performers are female or trans, and to go to a show when there’s not a bunch of dudes on stage, that to me is really cool because you don’t always see that representation in the same way.”

The Volunteer and Supporter Showcase will be from 5-7 p.m. and $5 to $10 donations will be collected at the door to support the organization’s ongoing efforts in the community.

Another Girls Rock Charleston showcase featuring the young women who have participated in this semester’s after-school program will be 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Redux Contemporary Art Center.

For more information, visit www.girlsrockcharleston.org.

The Revivalists return to the Music Farm on Friday with even more momentum than their last show at the venue about a year ago.

The New Orleans seven-piece band known for their unusual blends of Big Easy funk, Delta Blues, jam-rock and Southern soul released yet another critically acclaimed album, “Men Amongst Mountains,” in July, signaling that the group isn’t losing steam any time soon.

The band’s earlier release, 2014’s “City of Sound,” put them on the proverbial map of the music industry with glowing reviews from plenty of top media outlets such as Relix and NPR.

What “Men Amongst Mountains” seems to say is that the group has heard the praise and channeled the energy into an even more complex and larger-than-life sound — an upward trajectory not all bands can achieve album after album.

The show Friday starts at 9 p.m. with two South Carolina-bred opening acts: Marcus King of Greenville and Dead 27s of Charleston. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information, go to www.musicfarm.com.

Local performers known for preserving the history and traditions of the Gullah culture in South Carolina will reach national audiences on a major cable network this weekend.

An episode of “Born to Explore With Richard Wiese,” an adventure show on ABC, will feature Charleston in a segment about Boone Hall Plantation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The episode titled “Taste of America” will feature performances by The Plantation Singers, a local troupe of singers that perform gospel and spiritual tunes, as well as Jackie Odom Mickel, a local spoken-word poet.

“With ‘Born to Explore,’ we travel around the world and we’ve prided ourselves on highlighting lesser-known cultures,” Wiese said in an interview last week. He added that he had never heard of the Gullah culture before traveling to the area for the production.

“The group of performers were upbeat, and welcoming ... and they were very inclusive. It’s given me a whole different perspective on that aspect of life,” he said.

The show is part of ABC’s “Weekend Adventure,” a block of educational programs aired on Saturday mornings that’s produced by Litton Entertainment, a Charleston-based production firm.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.

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