A Week In The Charleston Indie Rock Scene: Highlighting tree limbs & Ollie’s Alright

In the span of a week, I had the pleasure of attending two great Charleston shows in very different circumstances. On Saturday the 19th, I attended the annual Extra Chill Fest. The fest was loaded with talent from the likes of tree limbs, DJ DollaMenu, Baby Yaga, She Returns From War, and many more including a Hip Hop Happy Hour in which artists rotated after every track. It was an excellent way to be exposed to the best that Charleston has to offer. I’ll be highlighting tree limbs’ set in this article.

The second show I attended last week came the following Saturday (the 26th) in the form of a house show, where college kids packed in like sardines to hear the debut of Ollie’s Alright. The band hammered out cover after cover, tearing up the chords for almost two hours! 

Coincidentally, there’s overlap between the two bands in the forms of bass player Michael Ahern and drummer Drake Broadwater. These two are just about everywhere you look in the Charleston scene and you know it’s always gonna be a killer show if they’re playing it.

tree limbs play extra chill fest – the boys are back in town

Extra Chill Fest 2023 marked a homecoming for tree limbs. With the release of their newest EP, To Mold Again, earlier this month, the indie rockers are on a hot streak and show no signs of stopping, with shows at Lo-Fi Brewing (16th) & Royal American (29th) in September. 

Kicking off with “Housefire,” tree limbs ushered in the event, changing it up a bit with speedy verses where they would once slowly meander. This allowed them to burst out the gate at high velocity, burning up in the chorus. There is however an awesome break in the pace where they descend into a slowed-down section that only feels more satisfying now. “Housefire” also happens to be my favorite tree limbs song.

The new EP shows tree limbs’ ability to evolve and grow with their sound. This next track is a testament to this free-spirited creativity. “In Hours” absolutely ripped up the fest with raw industrial riffs and guitars that ping-ponged around the stage. Elijah Sky Springs (E.S.S.) sang out lines in repeated calls, “I’m stuck in hours / stuck in hours again.” I find the track to be really interesting for its ability to fuse these garage-y riffs with tree limbs’ classic janglepop sound. 

In an absolutely legendary moment for the tree limbs boys, Michael Ahern Sr. took to the stage, dawning a yellow stratocaster. With a quick introduction of the band and some applause, the crew struck up the house with “6 Minute Drive.” This was easily my favorite moment of the show.

“Name” has been a favorite of both the band and fans alike, always standing out as a landmark during their set and Extra Chill Fest was no different. The song has many faces: A hearty bassline grooves the song along while E.S.S. serenades the crowd and teary guitars gleam in the background. Not to be forgotten is the steady drumming that provides a head-bobbing beat to the track. They break into the chorus as E.S.S. sings, “I want to hear the way you say my name.” It all culminates in a storm of shoegazey guitars where the band blows out all their engines.

Finally, the set came to a close with “Your Morning” the lead single from their newest EP. With its infectious bassline and another glossy shoegaze finisher, it made for an excellent ending to tree limbs’ set at Extra Chill Fest 2023.

Thank you to Kaylyn Oyer (ig: sound_wavves) for the wonderful concert photography.

Listen to tree limbs’ new EP, To Mold Again, below.

Ollie’s Alright – the new kids on the blo(g)ck

Ollie’s Alright delivered a classic Saturday night with their debut show on the 26th. Sure, the room was hot but the energy was palpable as the band of college indie rockers shook a house full of occupants. The show was littered with awesome moments from Michael Ahern (tree limbs & Mirage) moseying his way through the crowd amidst killer bass solos to thunderous beats held down by Drake Broadwater (tree limbs), lightning-fast solos from lead guitarist Oliver Pierce (Overlay), and beautifully belted vocals from singer and rhythm guitarist, Coulson Geltz (Mirage). 

As they blasted cover after cover the night raved on. The taste in each song played was apparent… not a single miss. I heard so many favorites from “Mary” to “Self-Control” (fun fact: both songs have guitar written by Alex G). All the while, Ollie’s Alright managed to tag their own spin on- leaning into their indie rock roots.

The house exploded to the sounds of a timeless classic recognizable by anyone, “Hey Ya!” by OutKast- simply hearing roaring guitars where Andre3000 would have once been made for a really fun cover.

They continued to hammer out track after track, indulging in their own solos while passing it on to the next player. One high point of the show for me was just watching Mikey dip into the crowd with gnarly bass solos.

However, no moment felt more iconic than hearing the band break out into a killer cover of “Freaking Out The Neighborhood.” The crowd instantly erupted- dancing around the room while Ollie’s Alright rained down on us with an indie classic.

Finally, we reached the end of the night. Everyone scattered and the once raucous venue was empty.

Thank you to Joshua Silverman (ig: joshuasilverman__) for the rockin’ media.

After some reflection, I think something I really enjoyed about these shows was just the energy that the bands brought. It felt so good listening to live music. Gone are the days of the “Covid Renaissance” and music drought. It’s great to see that things are back in full swing down in Chucktown- and a lot of it is thanks to the college indie rockers like Ollie’s Alright & tree limbs.

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