Civil Twilight to rock center

By Jim Stanford on January 17, 2013

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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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7 Comments so far

  1. js January 17, 2013 2:59 pm

    In other music news, Jazz Fest released its lineup today, featuring Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr., Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Andrew Bird, Willie Nelson, The Meter Men with Page McConnell, Widespread Panic, Billy Joel, DMB and more.

  2. Rob Weinstein January 17, 2013 10:18 pm

    You’re right. The biggest turn off about the Center isn’t even the ticket prices…it’s the fact that people sit down. Last year during the Mofro show I was standing up, dancing when people asked me to get down–to which I very kindly replied ‘Suck my Lochloosa.’

  3. AJ January 18, 2013 8:20 am

    Outstanding show last night though unfortunate that the center was only 40-50% full.

  4. Pete January 22, 2013 7:01 am

    Jazz Fest and Widespread Panic?

    Perhaps this points to a common problem with the ‘arts’ that’s played out at the CFTA.

    It doesn’t meet the community needs or desires. Without generous subsidies, the Center would never make it as an ‘arts’ center.

    Like the Jazz Fest, it needs a Widespread Panic to make things work. Perhaps we should turn it over to the school district.

  5. David February 16, 2013 1:59 pm

    Why is it that you mention ‘Civil Twilight to rock center’ but don’t mention the Cutter Races in your blog? No profit angle?

    Seems to me that the biggest tailgate party in Jackson should get some respect even if you don’t consider it worthy of your attendance.

  6. js February 17, 2013 10:28 am
  7. D February 18, 2013 7:10 pm

    David must have forgot about the hillclimbs.

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