Downtown offers eclectic music scene

Luke Winslow-King is touring with his wife Esther Rose and will be perfoming at T-Bones on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. - Courtesy photo
Luke Winslow-King is touring with his wife Esther Rose and will perform at T-Bones Records  & Cafe Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. – Courtesy photo

If there ever was a contest for the most live music scene in Hattiesburg, all the fingers would point toward downtown. With artists such as Mike Dillon, Luke Winslow King and Paradox Charlie, the music scene is active as ever.

As one works his or her way toward the historical part of the city from campus, the night lights and various sounds of all kinds seem to multiply, starting with T-Bones Records & Café, which gives the first clue of what direction to head for more. After presenting a show with Hattiesburg’s own Oh, Jeremiah Sept. 20, T-Bones is on the move with two new early shows. Paul Collins’ Beat, the 1980s pop rock artist from Los Angeles, has resurfaced and is now coming to Hattiesburg Monday.

On Tueday, Luke Winslow King will take T-Bones back in time with a performance at 5:30 pm. Touring with his wife and singing partner Esther Rose, King has found a lot of success across the country with his, “eclectic mix, taking in delta-folk music, classical composition, ragtime and rock and roll; juxtaposing original songs with those from a bygone era,” according to his website.

If you are more of an owl and find the night awfully young coming out of these early shows, the solution is found just a little farther down Hardy Street. Friday, the Thirsty Hippo presented the Hattiesburg native Paradox Charlie.

After a young, local guitar and drums duo called Rooster Blues opened the night with a steady-rock performance, the Hippo’s warm and caliginous lights turned to Paradox Charlie, who proceeded to take the stage and settle its groove. The trio is composed of Adam Kelly on the keys and organ, Ray Bradford on bass and Drew Wooten on drums.

As Bradford’s groovy and imposing bass lines carried the operation, Kelly and Wooten roamed across their instruments with energy, invoking sounds long buried in the 1970s, when Booker T. & the MGs passed the torch to fusion and Herbie Hancock pioneered new keyboard sounds.

Outside of the variety of local musicians who help keep the Hattiesburg music scene alive, the main resource for club owners for a good show is from the boundless musical well that is New Orleans. After Luke Winslow King at T-Bones, it is Benny’s Boom Boom Room who will present a prominent artist from the Crescent City.

Mike Dillon has been around for a long time and he can do just about anything with a pair of drum sticks in his hands. But when he takes the stage with the Mike Dillon Band, the audience is in for a unique, demented show.

“People are always trying to figure out how to describe our music,” Dillon said. “Maybe we should call it New Orleans punk jazz Brazilian math rock? It’s a gumbo of tribal percussion, The Meters, old school hardcore, Brazil, hard bop and anything else that might move us.”

“But you know, I really don’t care what you call it. We kick out the jams harder than anyone, and we also know when to heed the lessons of The Minutemen’s ‘Double Nickels On The Dime’ and keep things straight to the point. There’s a reason we called the record what we did. We’re the living, breathing definition of a band of outsiders, but together we deliver simple majestic beauty,” he said.

The Mike Dillon Band, featuring young artists Claude Coleman Jr., JJ Jungle and Cliff Hines, will play at Hattiesburg Live at Five and at Benny’s Boom Boom Room Friday.