This Friday, January 24th marks the return of Top of the Roc’s Free Music Friday local music shows.
The shows, hosted by local record label Cavetone Records, showcase original music from mainly local bands.
According to Cavetone’s website, the shows always consist of an acoustic opener, 2 local Charleston-area bands, and one touring band.
“All shows are booked, promoted, and worked by musicians,” the website said. “We only book during Eastern Illinois University’s fall and spring semesters (with the exception of winter break, spring break, and fall break) and only on Fridays.”
Scott Walus started Cavetone Records in 2007 while he pursued a doctorate in Communication at the University of Missouri. After moving to Charleston, he began booking shows for Top of the Roc, located above Roc’s Black Front Restaurant on 6th Street in Charleston.
“Top of the Roc has hosted music upstairs since 1998, but the Free Music Friday concept began in May 2013 when it paired with local all-vinyl record label Cavetone Records to host bills that featured live original local and regional music without a cover charge,” Walus said.
This week, the bands and artists performing are no strangers to Free Music Friday shows.
The Ex-Bombers, a two-piece band from Charleston, have been performing at Top of the Roc since their move to Charleston three years ago.
“It’s a great venue, good sound, good crowd, good drinks, everything we could ask for!” they said of the venue.
Carlos Danger’s Inbox, a sextet, are also from Charleston with journalism professor Bryan Murley playing guitar and singing. Their influences range from Dave Mathews Band drummer Carter Beauford, to folk legend Tom Waits, to 1960’s singer-songwriter Jim Croce.
The out of town act this week is Carbondale, Ill. band The Flowers of Evil. The self-described “___” band have released 4 albums since they started playing together in 2009.
The Tim Blys, a self-described “cartoon punk” band from Mattoon, Ill., have played Free Music Fridays before, but are excited to be performing again tonight.
“It’s always been a great time so we’re especially happy to be invited back for a third round,” guitarist Matt Davis said. “We’re psyched to be playing with the Ex-Bombers tonight. They’ve been huge supporters of us and the local music scene at large. We love them.”
This adoration between bands is definitely not a one-sided phenomena.
“The Tim Blys are our favorite new Coles County punk band,” The Ex-Bombers said. “They put on a fun show for any musical taste. Top of the Roc is really good about bringing in bands from all music genres to Charleston.”
Opening the night is acoustic guitarist Joe McLean. McLean is best known for playing with the Moondogs, a group that plays blues, reggae, and rock n roll covers. However, tonight he will be performing his own original folk songs.
The doors open tonight at 7:30, and McLean plays at 8:30.