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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist discusses Buildings, El Ten Eleven and Lauris Vidal

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Slow Magic’s live performance succeeds through clarified and punctuated presentation, with just enough true live electricity to make his set pop with excitement and legitimacy. Final proof that this guy understands the show concept was when he descended into the middle of a crowd with a drum. See? All it takes to move us is some effort and flair.

Speaking of solo acts, alt-folkster Lauris Vidal has long been an effective one. But he’s now upped himself as an actual one-man band (April 9, Lil’ Indies), turning his formerly floor-stomping feet into a proper rhythm section on drums to channel his original Florida cracker sound in newly robust ways. Turns out, he’s pretty proficient at the art. In addition to his own songs, he liberally peppered the evening with tasteful covers of artists like Tom Waits, Hank Sr., Taj Mahal and the Smiths.

Didn’t make it, slacker? Well, there’s redemption this time because you still have one last chance to catch this next notable version of Vidal’s folksy orange blossom soul up close for free (April 22, Lil’ Indies).

The main reason to love Knoxville’s Black Lillies (April 13, Backbooth) is that they’re a true-hearted country band with exceptional melodic ability. With deluxe instrumentation including pedal steel, piano and upright bass, their music – which spans honky-tonk, gospel, blues, early rock & roll and Southern soul – is tune-smart, played with skill and thoroughly nourishing. Oh, you missed this? That’s probably because booking a little-known out-of-towner to play downtown early on a Saturday night alone, without local support, doesn’t lend itself to much discovery.

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