Thomas Johnson and The People are one of the most cohesive units on the Baton Rouge music scene these days, swimming in a distinctly Louisiana but universally accessible brand of soulful roots rock. While their songs are steeped in dozens of sub-genres of music that people like me uselessly try to describe as "roots rock", as I just did, this band never leans on any influence or tradition long enough to be anything but truly original. Mr. Johnson is right at home crooning quietly from the low register of his breath while accompanying his own voice with faint airy strumming, but chances are he'll rip a thick and vicious Telecaster blues solo before you can even think about relegating him to the folk troubadour bin. And as his guitar volume increases so too does his heartfelt howl. What makes Johnson much more than just a good songwriter is how instead of treating his band as a stage accessory, he instead leverages their talents as a vehicle to enhance and deliver his own. This is their only scheduled show in BR this summer, so don't miss out. Check out their website to sample or purchase their latest, It's Okay, I'll Die Too by clicking here.
Saturday, June 30 @ Chelsea's.
Eisley is a true family affair of a rock band from Tyler, Texas. The group is fully comprised of four siblings and a cousin, making them even less genetically diverse than Kings of Leon (3 siblings and a cousin), which is no small feat. Since I have already gone and mentioned KOL in this space without specifically mentioning that I only recognize the existence of their first two albums, I should also mention that Eisley have opened for arena rock giants like Coldplay and Dave Matthews Band, and also alternative rock bands with slightly more street cred like New Found Glory, Brand New and Mutemath, which is pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing. Although I personally am not, I can say without reservation that this group is exceptionally talented and that if you are a fan of any of the bands mentioned above (or have recently become infatuated with Florence and the Machine), then you definitely should not miss this show. There is nothing simple or formulaic about their compositions, which seem to effortlessly meld their individual voices into harmonies so natural and tightly woven that it's almost obvious that their shared urge to sing out originated from a common strand of DNA. Having been road tested at much larger venues, I'm sure their collective voice will be on impressive display filling the cozy confines of the Moon all the way up to the rafters.
Friday, June 29 @ Spanish Moon.
If a more danceable, lively and down-home type of affair is what you're after on Friday night, look no further than The Rebirth Brass Band, the Grammy winning heavyweights who always bring a heaping helping of New Orleans culture and spirit to any stage they happen to occupy, regardless of geographic location. Since anyone reading this likely resides in Louisiana and has at least a passing interest in music, I need not expound on the virtues or traditions of brass in New Orleans or this particular band. Any description of experiencing a Rebirth performance that this transplanted yankee can attempt would be decidedly ham-handed and foolish, so I will instead leave you with the most trite and simple sentiment I can offer--get out and see something great this weekend.
Friday, June 29 @ Chelsea's.
Most recent Surround Sounds blog posts
How to master the fish fillet
Step-by-step instructions for filleting fresh fish, which is a particularly useful culinary skill for those of us fortunate enough to live in southeast Louisiana.
Social media style
With our cover story featuring 25 must-follow Twitter accounts in Baton Rouge, and examining the growing social media site's impact on the local community, we wondered what Twitter might look like in the flesh—living, breathing, fashionable flesh. Prices are approximate, and price and availability are subject to change. (Styling: Erin Mehta)
Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.