Weekend Twofer

Devin Grant

I love it when I head out to a local club to see a band I like, and in the process I discover another act just as exciting. It happened this past Saturday night at The Pour House on James Island. I went to see local band The Royal Tinfoil, whose CD I've been listening to a lot lately. 


I became aware of both the band and its CD thanks to the Early Bird Diner in West Ashley, one of my favorite restaurants in town. The family was there one night this summer for dinner, and I spied The Royal Tinfoil's CD for sale on a shelf across from our table. I picked up a copy, and listened to it on the way home. It's pretty much been in my car's CD changer ever since.


The band is hard to pigeonhole, but if you take a little country, some rock, a healthy dose of blues, and toss some pinches of tin pan alley, folk, and gypsy swing into the blender, then you might begin to understand the band's sound... or maybe I've just confused you even more. Whatever the case, two of the best things about The Royal Tinfoil are the voices of its singers, Mackie Boles and Lily Slay. They couldn't be further apart in sound, but they work so well together. Boles has a great, scraggly, whiskey-soaked voice that reminds me of Dr. John. His bluesy, slurred delivery sounds great in the songs he sings lead on, especially when he's also furiously strumming his electric guitar. Slays voice? Well, let's just say it fills the room. It's sweetly delicate while its power smacks you in the face. She can go from a growl to a trill mid-lyric, and when she sings "Excuuuuse Meeee" on the opening track of the band's CD, I get goosebumps.  


The Royal Tinfoil's appearance at The Pour House on Saturday night was billed as their last local show of the year, and the venue was comfortably full of fans. The band played quite a few songs from the CD, as well as a couple of new tunes. Another great local singer, Rachel Kate Gillon, fresh from her own performance at the Jailbreak 4 event downtown, came out to harmonize on a few tunes with Slay. It was a loose, fun, alcohol-fueled show that exemplifies why I love live music in this town as much as I do. 


As a bonus, I arrived early enough to witness a band that can count me as its newest fan. The Whiskey Gentry hails from Atlanta, and while its sound could best be described as alt-country, the band threw a few surprises into its set Saturday night. Lead singer Lauren Staley has just the right amount of twang to make every word she sings sound authentic, while guitarist Jason Morrow, mandolin player Michael Smith, and the rest of the band provide a wall of country, bluegrass, and rock as needed. During Saturday night's show the band played plenty of great originals, as well as covers by The Rolling Stones, Ryan Adams, and Radiohead. The Radiohead song, "Creep," worked surprisingly well when set to a bluegrass tempo. 


It would have been good enough to have seen either of these bands by themselves on a given night, but the anticipation of seeing a band I've become a fan of over the last few months, coupled with the delight of discovering a new act that I wasn't aware of before, made for a truly satisfying night out.