By Jim Stanford on January 17, 2013
Since taking over programming at Center for the Arts last fall, promoter Shannon McCormick has worked hard to make the theater a better venue for rock music.
Although the acoustics are excellent and the space inviting, the center traditionally has drawn an older, sit-down audience. Production costs are high, and tickets have been expensive.
Still, McCormick has searched to find bands new to Jackson while holding prices lower, and although the names may not be familiar, fans left raving, for example, after last week’s performance by Ruthie Foster.
Tonight the center presents Civil Twilight, an ensemble originally from South Africa but based in Nashville. The group played the Bonnaroo and Voodoo festivals last year and has opened for Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Eat World, Bush and Florence & The Machine.
McCormick first caught the quartet — brothers Steven and Andrew McKellar on guitar and vocals, drummer Richard Wouters and keyboardist Kevin Dailey — at the ACL Festival, where he was blown away.
The musicians arrived in town Wednesday and planned to ski today. Let’s hope they didn’t set off any alarms with their South African accents.
Tickets range from $15 for upper balcony to $35 for orchestra. Opening act Spatial Relations, led by high school phenom Michael Scalabrino, is worth arriving early. (See this review of him sitting in with The Deadlocks last month.)
The center theater will never be the Mangy Moose in its heyday, where McCormick used to book bands, but it has enormous potential to be a premier rock venue a la the Beacon in New York or Joy Theater in New Orleans. I can’t wait for that day.
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