Stop Light Observations -- Night #2

Music Farm Productions Present

Stop Light Observations -- Night #2

Stokeswood, Stoop Kids

Sat, February 18, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Music Farm Charleston

Charleston, SC

$15.00 - $18.00

This event is 16 and over

$3 Surcharge at the door for those under 21. Cash only.

Stop Light Observations
Stop Light Observations
"In the 1930's, the blues sang the sorrows of a man with nothing," says John Keith "Cubby" Culbreth, principal songwriter of Stop Light Observations. "This 21st century album, ironically, sings the sorrows of a man with everything. 'Toogoodoo' is the 'Middle Class Blues.'"

For as long as Americans have sought the illusions of comfort and security in materialism and wealth, there have been those who rejected the predictability of conformity in search of something more authentic. From Thoreau at Walden Pond to Jack Kerouac's manic crosscountry road trips, the quest for fulfillment plays out uniquely in the art of every generation. For Charleston's Stop Light Observations (aka SLO), the search for something more meaningful led them on a journey through ecstatic highs and crippling lows, artistic triumphs and business setbacks, and, ultimately, right back home to the Toogoodoo River in South Carolina.

The roots of SLO stretch deep into childhood, when Cubby first began assembling the lineup as a middle schooler, but things didn't truly take off until the band released their acclaimed 2013 debut album, 'Radiation.' Metronome Charleston hailed their "emotive and elegant" songs, which blended arena-sized rock with undercurrents of hip-hop and folk, while the Charleston City Paper profiled their unexpected rise, which "took many in the music industry by surprise" as they went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston's largest rock club, The Music Farm, in roughly a year. Since then, they've gone on to break the record for most consecutive sellouts at The Music Farm and perform live shows all across the country, including more standout festival sets from Firefly to Summerfest . Despite the rapid growth of their fanbase, though, the band had to deal with misplaced trust in music industry figures along with a series of setbacks and the accompanying disillusionment. They hit rock bottom at the end of a tour in Colorado, facing a depleted budget, no shows on the books, and the potential dissolution of the band.

"I remember sitting in the van wondering what we were going to do and how we were even going to make another record," remembers singer Will Blackburn. "I said, 'Why don't we go out to Toogoodoo?'"

It wasn't the first time Blackburn had suggested it, but it was the first time Cubby took the idea seriously. Toogoodoo is a more than 200-year-old private family compound located about 30 minutes outside of Charleston on the Toogoodoo River . Cubby's family had been renting it out to vacationers in recent years, and while beautiful, it's a far cry from a modern recording studio. The grounds are a trip back in time, far removed from the luxuries of Charleston and its bright, sunny beaches. The property overlooks immense, brackish marshes where the ocean and river water meet, and the specter of Charleston's sometimes dark history hangs heavy, a counterbalance to the currents of peaceful serenity and natural splendor that flow throughout the property.

The band decided the only way to properly record an album there would be to track everything live as a full band over the course of eleven days , and then to render the resulting songs through analog tape. They relocated all of their gear and set up in the house on a tireless quest to capture the sound in their heads. Even once they felt like they'd nailed a perfect take, SLO would push onwards to cut it again with even more intensity. Sometimes 40 performances deep into a song, band members would continue to call for one more, and one more again until something undeniably transcendent happened.

"I grew up in a church, and it was like a Holy Spirit type of situation," says Cubby. "Every single time we got the one, we all knew that was it, there were no arguments. We would just hug and sometimes cry. The best thing about it all is that every single song on this album captures that deep level of emotion we felt performing it. Every song you hear is “The” take and everytime I listen to them it takes me right back.”

'Toogoodoo' opens with the first notes SLO recorded there, the haunting, palm-muted hook of Louis Duffie's guitar on "Dinosaur Bones." As a chorus of crickets fades into the Low Country night, Blackburn's voice enters on top, smooth as silk at first but gaining grit and gravel with each verse, musing on loneliness and emptiness in the modern world over the intensifying rhythms of drummer Luke Withers. "Decorated on the outside, but empty at my core," he sings, setting the stage for a journey through middle class alienation and dissatisfaction over the next eleven tracks.

"My generation has grown up with a ridiculous amount of privilege and lived a better life than any king in history," reflects Cubby. "Think about it: we have planes to fly around the world; grocery stores with endless food; TV and internet; AC and heating; running water and flushing toilets; medicine if we get sick; sound machines to block out the noise if we can't sleep in our soft cotton beds. All of this stuff exists because the human race is chasing after an easier, more comfortable life. But when you experience the absence of pain, you also experience the absence of positive feelings. America is in a numb state, and as a millennial, I feel confident that my generation can speak to this truth better than any."

On the hypnotic "Security," Blackburn sings sarcastically of the only things that will bring true satisfaction ("two cold beers, a hot bitch, and security") and later asks, "Shit, why don't we feel happy?" The gospelinfluenced "50 Ways" and rollicking "Know It Alls" examine ego and humility, while "Aquarius Apocalyptic" is a stream of consciousness musing on the end of the world that came to Cubby in a lucid dream. Despite the frequently grand themes, there are more intimate, personal moments on the album, too, like "For Elizabeth"—a fond farewell to a lover—and "Who You Are," a reminder that in spite of the time and distance while the band is on the road, their loved ones are always on their minds. Many of the tracks were directly inspired by SLO's surroundings, too, from the bluesy "Leroy"—named after a homeless man in Charleston's Old Village who came to work at Toogoodoo—to the chain gang a cappella of "Dead"—which captures the eerie footsteps of one of the property's ghosts—to the sweet, instrumental tranquility of " Stepping Away ," recorded at night on the dock that hangs above the Toogoodoo River.

While South Carolina is an essential element of SLO's identity, they're certainly not a "Southern rock" band.

"Southerners are the storytellers of America," reflects Cubby. "You might listen to our music and hear elements of classic rock and modern indie rock and blues and folk and hip hop, but underneath all of that tying everything together is southern storytelling."

The stories on 'Toogoodoo' will at once feel familiar and revelatory, as SLO takes an insightful look at the contradictions of a modern society that has access to everything (and everyone) at its fingertips, yet still so often feels empty and alone. The answers, they discovered while creating this album, don't lie in possessions, or status, or in anything external.

"There's no such thing as security, and all the answers you're searching for and the fulfillment you want is a daily struggle that lives within you," concludes Cubby. "It's your responsibility to love and accept yourself and to share the energy you receive from that with others. And that's what this album is. It's the story of some 23 year olds living in America in 2016."
Stokeswood
Stokeswood
Atlanta-based pop band Stokeswood formed in 2009 and takes its name from a well-known thoroughfare where founding members Adam Patterson (vocals) and Mark Godwin (lead guitar) once lived in a haunted house. The current lineup also includes Michael Roman (keys), Jon Joiner (drums) and Justin Mullinix (bass and live production).

The musicians are known to switch instruments between songs — one hint as to their eclecticism and energy — and they eschew limits on influences. New EP 2075, the band's most accessible release to date, taps new wave, power-pop and indie rock, and even references Atlanta hip-hop beats. Sounds are expertly layered to maximize textures and sonic impact. These are song that earn their place on the dance floor.

Stokeswood was named Best Local Rock Act by Creative Loafing Atlanta in 2013 & 2014 and Best Local Pop Act in 2015, the publication's voters also voted '2075' Best Local Album 2015 and Best Music Video for "Our Streets." The band has played The Rock Boat, Party in the Park, CounterPoint Music Festival, SweetWater 420 Festival and Wakarusa to name a few and shared stages with artists such as X Ambassadors, Wiz Khalifa, JR JR, Primus, Cage The Elephant, Sister Hazel, MGMT, Girl Talk, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Minus the Bear, Coleman Hell, Michael Franti and Barenaked Ladies.

"Stokeswood is an "electronic wave of pure sweetness… [2075] in all likelihood will have them prepped for EDM festivals galore" - Consequence of Sound

"4 out of 5 stars... The group creates song structures that carry a timeless and ethereal quality, merging electronic dance beats with post-punk synths, crisp rhythms, and vocals that capture a mix of soulful musical stylings from alt/indie rock's past." - Creative Loafing Atlanta

"Atlanta-based band Stokeswood have already grown a devoted following locally thanks to their buoyant electronic pop sound and edgier rock undertones. Now, they're positioning themselves to reach fans beyond the Southeast with forthcoming album 2075" - Paste Magazine

"Combining elements of electronic/dance music with the charged energy of indie rock, 2075 successfully marries together the pop components of 80's bands like Depeche Mode and New Order with bombastic hip-shakers like The Killers, Bastille, The 1975, and Panic! At The Disco." - FuzzyHeadphonez

"Vocalist Adam Patterson is the hypothetical iceberg tip: a cool, confident, Chris Martin type from the Southeastern US that puts comparisons to MGMT in perspective." - Consequence of Sound

Learn more at stokeswoodmusic.com
Stoop Kids
Stoop Kids are a psychedelic jukebox: they write and play inside a melting pot of genres, re-imagining the last 75 years of popular music.

Stoop Kids' sound is an eclectic mix of soul, hip-hop, surf, jazz, and rock with a psychedelic aftertaste. This, combined with their high-energy, theatrical, performances, makes Stoop Kids unique and unpredictable. While based in New Orleans, the band has toured extensively throughout the eastern United States over the past two years and plans to expand upon that. Their sophomore album, Already Out of Time, was described as "a genre-bending masterpiece" and "an essential album of 2015".

The group is fronted by Griffin Dean singing, rapping, dancing, playing guitar, and writing the majority of the music. He is backed by Thomas Eisenhood (Baritone Saxophone, Harmonies), Sam Fruend (Bass, Harmonies), David Paternostro (Keys, Guitar), and Joe Tontillo (Drums). The five-piece band has independently released two albums and self-booked over 200 shows over the three years since their inception.
Venue Information:
Music Farm Charleston
32 Ann St.
Charleston, SC, 29403
http://www.musicfarm.com/