Music News & Reviews


Summertime, and the listenin’ is easy.

At least it is if you’re a music fan along the Grand Strand and you’re craving live performances, but don’t know where to turn.

Look no further than Weekly Surge’s annual summer concert preview, where we give you a look at some of the best live music on tap from now until the summer’s end.

This year’s list is a little different: 18 for ‘14. We’ve done 12-packs before, but just like those dozen beers you buy at the store, it always leaves you wanting more - thus breweries have given us the 18-pack -in between a case and a half-case. Maybe we like even numbers, or maybe that was just the way the list worked out. Either way, that’s the way it is. It spans dates from May to late August, and, as usual, features styles all over the musical map.

This list has a little bit of something for everybody. We’ve got Southern rock, hip-hop, hard rock and country. If you’re musically homesick for the ‘80s and the ‘90s, there are bands for you, too, offering up either their original hit singles from the era or tributes and parodies to the eras’ most memorable sounds.

Know that classic image of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other? Grand Strand music fans might find a little bit of that here, too, as our list encompasses everything from bands and hip hop artists not afraid to use all of George Carlin’s seven dirty words and then some, to an afternoon and evening full of the finest in contemporary Christian music.

You might like all of these, some of these or even none of them. That’s your prerogative and your right as a music fanatic. All we ask of you is if you care about live music at all, check out this list and make an effort to go see some of these artists. You might hear some old favorites, you might find something new and different.

All that counts is that you spend at least part of your summer hearing some good sounds. That’s what this list is for:

Yung Joc

Where: Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

How much: Free

Why you should go: Nothing like a hip-hop party to kick off the summer. Georgia’s Jasiel Robinson, also known as Yung Joc, has been one of the most consistent and versatile voices in Southern hip-hop since he broke onto the scene in 2006 with the award-winning No. 1 single “It’s Goin’ Down.” Combining infectious beats with strong lyrics that show both originality and, frequently, a sense of humor, Yung Joc has continued to produce strong rap music that doesn’t fall into the gangsta/booty/bling trap that too much of hip-hop has been in. Expect to hear other hits such as “Bottle Poppin’,” the hilarious “Coffee Shop,” “I know What She Like” and the recent “Buy You a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) which saw Joc pair up with T-Pain.


Where: Myrtle Beach Speedway (presented by the Boathouse)

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

How much: $20

Why you should go: California’s Buckcherry has been playing hard, raunchy rock ‘n’ roll since the band was founded in 1995, and the live show offers up a free-for-all party atmosphere that’s sometimes hard to find in today’. Buckcherry’s sound harvests elements of hard rock, metal and even occasional ‘70s glam rock influences, and the lyrics deal with the tried and true rock ‘n’ roll topics of hard partying, hard living, and hard loving. Expect hit singles like “Sorry,” “Lit Up,” “All Night Long,” and “Crazy Bitch.” A great addition to the live music lineup for Bike Week.

Kentucky Headhunters

Where: Spokes & Bones Saloon, Garden City Beach

When: 8-11 p.m. May 15

How much: No charge to watch from ground level, admission charge for VIP section.

Why you should go: The Headhunters won a slew of awards and sold a bunch of records in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s for combining Southern rock, pure country and a rowdy, good-natured sense of Southern humor, best evident on classic singles like “Dumas Walker” and “My Daddy Was a Milkman.” They’ve kept recording and touring through lineup changes and ups and downs in popularity since then, and in recent years have incorporated everything from R&B and classic soul to more of a classic rock sound in their music. The Headhunters haven’t forgotten their country roots, however, have never given up the unpretentious fun that made them popular in the first place, and their sound also makes them another near-perfect pick for Bike Week.

Steel Panther

Where: House of Blues, Barefoot Landing

When: 9 p.m. May 15

How much: General admission $22-$41.50

Why you should go: Call it what you will – hair metal, glam metal, cheese metal, whatever – but there was a certain something about those years in the ‘80s when metal bands had to be as adept with a blow dryer and a bottle of Aquanet as they were with a guitar. If you’re missing the best (and worst) of that era, California’s Steel Panther brings it all back for you in an evening of parody and retro fun as they bring the “All You Can Eat” tour to the beach. The hair. The Jack Sparrow-meets-Elvira eye makeup. The spandex. The scarves. Ah yes, and the sexual sleaze. Steel Panther cuts away any innuendo that may have been used by your favorite bands back in the day to bring you tunes such as “I Like Drugs,” “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’, “It Won’t Suck Itself” and (my personal favorite) “Glory Hole.” Not for the easily offended. Definitely for those with a sense of humor (and a dirty mind).

Beach Blast! Christian Music Festival

Where: Between Eighth and Ninth avenues north, downtown Myrtle Beach.

When: 3 p.m. -10:15 p.m. May 17

How much: VIP gold $45, regular adult $43, child $25, group $30, super group $34, family “four pack” $85.

Why you should go: It’s a chance to get your praise and worship on by the sea. And it proves how versatile Myrtle Beach is. While the leather and chrome of Bike Week still will be going strong, music fans with more of a WWJD than a T&A mentality can enjoy the fifth annual Beach Blast, with a lineup that includes headliners and Christian hard rockers Skillet, along with Jesus Culture’s Kim Wallker-Smith, Derek Johnson and Katie Torwalt, Jamie Grace and For King and Country. And those who are firmly up on the Duck Dynasty bandwagon will be glad to know duck family members Sadie Robertson and John Luke Robertson will be making an appearance as well.

Neon Trees (with Smallpools and Nightmare and the Cat)

Where: House of Blues, Barefoot Landing

When: 8 p.m. May 25

How much: General admission $22-$35

Why you should go: This band’s sound makes them seem like they ought to be making music in a loft somewhere in Tribeca or maybe San Francisco, but the Trees hail, believe it or not, from Provo, Utah. The sound, which combines ‘80s-style synth-pop and new wave influences with alternative rock and pop, is both retro and very current. They’re best known for the single “Everybody Talks,” which unfortunately ended up as the backing track for a car commercial, but it’s worth it to check out other songs such as “I Love You But I Hate Your Friends,” “First Things First” and the wonderfully smooth and atmospheric “Sleeping with a Friend.”

American Aquarium

Where: Pirate’s Cove, North Myrtle Beach

When: 8 p.m. May 30

How much: Cover charge to be announced.

Why you should go: Raleigh, N.C.’s American Aquarium has been soldiering along out on the road for more than six years including frequent visits to the Grand Strand, building up a dedicated fan base and perfecting a gritty yet soulful blend of Southern rock, alt-rock and folk elements. The song lyrics tell stories of hard living, broken dreams, whiskey shots and smoke-filled bars, and love of family, home and heritage. AA’s latest record, “Burn. Flicker. Die.” features standout tracks such as the hard-luck rock poetry of “Cape Fear River,” the loose-limbed party anthem “Saturday Nights” and the introspective “Harmless Sparks.”

Drive-By Truckers

Where: House of Blues, Barefoot Landing

When: 9 p.m. June 7

How much: General admission $22.50-$46.50

Why you should go: Whether you’re a native-born Southerner looking for music that speaks to the region’s complicated history, or a newcomer desperately trying to understand the place you’ve moved to, you’ll find no place better to begin and no deeper well of Southern songwriting out there right now than the catalog of the Drive-by Truckers. One of the many bands to spring from the fertile musical cradle of Athens, Ga., the Truckers, led by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, have produced more than 20 years and 13 albums’ worth of sprawling, gorgeous Southern rock that calls up everybody from the Allmans to William Faulkner to drop by and add an idea. Their good songs are too many to mention. Suffice it to say that Hood and Cooley have produced things that range from the goofy humor of “Panties in Your Purse” and “Too Much Sex/Too Little Jesus” to the beautifully terrifying “Decoration Day” and “Nine Bullets.” You’ll hear the old stuff and the new stuff from DBT’s latest album, “English Oceans.” The most important thing is when you hear the Truckers, you’ll hear the whole South. The good, bad, the ugly and glorious. Right on stage.


Where: House of Blues, Barefoot Landing.

When: 8 p.m. June 11

How much: General admission $25-$47.50

Why you should go: Yet another Georgia hip-hop artist making his mark on the charts, but with a very different style. Atlanta-based Future raps about many of the same topics others do – gangs, drugs, mean streets, violence, getting paid, women – but his sound is what sets him apart. Some critics have referred to what he does as “ringtone rap.” Future raps, sings, talks, shouts – occasionally even barks out just one word repetitively such as on his recent single “Shit!” All of it’s done using Autotune, which combines for a weirdly layered and atmospheric sound that at times seems like it’s coming from the inside of a tunnel. It’s a creative and unusual kind of sound that is vaguely reminiscent of some of the more unusual things Timbaland did in his early days back in the mid-‘90s. Future’s style is much in demand and he has worked with everybody from T.I. and Pusha T to Pharrell, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and even Miley Cyrus. Expect to hear early singles such as “Tony Montana” and “Turn on the Lights” along with new material such as “Move That Dope.”

Badfish (A tribute to Sublime)

Where: Pirate’s Cove, North Myrtle Beach

When: 8 p.m. June 21

How much: $15.

Why you should go: Of all the drug-related deaths that came during the ‘90s, one of the most tragic and ill-timed was the 1996 overdose of Brad Nowell, lead singer of Long Beach’s ska/punk/reggae band Sublime. The had been a fixture on the touring scene for several years, but their eclectic sound, which was just right for the experimental chart environment of the ‘90s, didn’t hit it big until after Nowell’s death. The guys in Badfish have taken all the elements that made Sublime special, put their own twist on it, and developed a spirited group of devoted followers that treat them more like a unique act than just another tribute band. Expect to hear hits like “Santeria” and “What I Got,” expect to experience some good musical memories with a shot of the new. This show is also notable because Badfish usually plays at the much-larger House of Blues, so you can catch the act in a more intimate setting at Pirate’s Cove.


Where: Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill

When: 5 p.m. June 22

How much: Free

Why you should go: Because consistency deserves to be rewarded, especially when it produces good hard rock ‘n’ roll. Since they formed in the ‘90s, Fuel has been through a mess of lineup changes but still continues to play their signature blend of hard, melodic rock, with just enough metal and alternative thrown in to please a wide range of fans. You’ll best remember them for stellar late ‘90s/early 2000s singles such as “Shimmer,” “Hemorrhage in My Hands,” “Bad Day” and “Falls On Me,” but expect to also hear strong tracks off this year’s new release “Puppet Strings,” including the title track, “Yeah!” and “Soul to Preach To.”


When: 8:30 p.m. June 17

Where: House of Blues, Barefoot Landing

How much: General admission $23.50-$35

Why you should go: Spawned in Los Angeles, this wacky but gifted band is much-loved by hipsters, but don’t let that put you off. Grouplove, led by vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christopher Zucconi, produces a giddily transcendent brand of alternative/indie rock that is powerful and joyful at the same time. Strong, multi-layered instrumentals combine with intricately layered vocals that sometimes use an off-kilter call-and-response style, best in evidence on the song “Ways to Go.” (The band’s humor is evident in the video for this song, which somehow combines references to early Nirvana, the North Korean army and Kim-Jong Il. But it works!) Other standout tracks: “Tongue Tied “and “Itchin’ on a Photograph.”


When: 5 p.m. June 29

Where: Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill

How much: Free

Why you should go: Missing the ‘90s? This is the second week in a row you can head to the Boathouse to soak up some favorite sounds of that decade. Alternative pop-rock unit Fastball was a come-from-nowhere success story in the late ‘90s. The members still had second jobs back home in Austin, Tex. when their 1998 album “All The Pain Money Can Buy” was released. Little did they realize the thing would go platinum, first single, “The Way,” would become a huge hit, capitalizing on the loopy disillusionment a lot of Gen-Xers felt with its tale of two people who hop in the car, leave everything (including the kids) behind, and embark on some sort of surreal journey into the ether. On subsequent releases, the band went for more “cinematic and expansive sounds” (their words) that didn’t match their previous chart-topping success, but still showed their skills as songwriters and musicians. Fastball has continued to receive some chart attention in Europe and recently released a new album “Love Comes in Waves.”

Joe Nichols

Where: The Alabama Theatre, Barefoot Landing

When: 7 p.m. July 17

How much: $29.95 balcony, $34.95 floor, $39.95 orchestra

Why you should go: Arkansas native Nichols qualifies as a must-see for a beach-town magazine simply on the basis of his current hit “Sunny and 75,” but there are plenty of other reasons country fans should enjoy this show. Since the late ‘90s, Nichols has offered one of the fresher voices on the country music scene, offering up a variety of songs that explore topics from humor to heartbreak, throwing some pop and rock influences in with the down-home stuff and these days offering up something a little more than the usual “come on girl let’s get wasted and make out in my truck” that seems to have overrun country airwaves. His hits include upbeat love songs that praise a gal for looking natural (“Gimme That Girl”), honky-tonk heartbreak tunes (“Brokenheartsville”) and a humorous commentary on what happens when Jose Cuervo meets female Bon Jovi fans out on the town (“Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”)

Weaving the Fate

Where: Pirate’s Cove, North Myrtle Beach.

When: 8 p.m. July 25

How much: Cover charge to be announced.

Why you should go: It’s always worth it to support regional music, and Weaving the Fate from Columbia has one of the most versatile sounds coming out of the Midlands – or anywhere else in the state – right now. Originally formed as Villanova, this quartet combines pop, rock, soul and funk into an interesting blend of originals that veers easily from ballads to beat-heavy songs such as “Str8 to the Bottom.”

Little Texas

Where: Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill

When: 5 p.m. Aug. 3

How much: Free

Why you should go: Fans of country music and Southern rock will get a good dose of party music from Nashville’s Little Texas, whose ride atop the charts began in the ‘90s with boot-stompers such as “God Blessed Texas” and “Kick A Little.” Little Texas also proved to be equally adept at tear-in-your-PBR ballads such as “My Love” and “What Might Have Been.” The band broke up in ’98 but reunited in 2004 with a new lineup and has been recording and touring since. Expect to hear a good dose of the older hits as well as newer material such as the introspective “The Missing Years,” and the hilarious “Rednecks Do Exist,” a country/rock hybrid that features references to trucks, Georgia clay, UFOs and Bigfoot. What more do you need?

Darius Rucker

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23

Where: HTC Center at Coastal Carolina University

How much: $50 standing room, $55 bronze seats, $60 teal seats

Why you should go: Because it’s Darius Rucker. In case you’ve been living under a rock – a really, REALLY secluded rock – since the early 1990s, this is the South Carolina native who went from USC student to multiplatinum selling pop recording artist as lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. And unlike many stars who try it, he was able to construct a wildly successful second incarnation as a country artist, beginning with 2008’s “Learn to Live” album which produced the single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” the first country No. 1 for an African-American artist since Charlie Pride in 1983. His current “True Believers” has produced hits “Radio” and the multi-platinum and Grammy award-winning cover of Bob Dylan/Old Crow Medicine Show’s song “Wagon Wheel.” Rucker has the rare voice and personality that hops genres effortlessly. Even people that don’t like country music like his current stuff. Face it, about the only career misstep Darius has ever made was that unfortunate and kind of nightmarish appearance as a cowboy in a Burger King commercial circa 2007.