From Mofro to the Drive By Truckers, Southern Culture on the Skids and these Shack*Shakers, there's a trend for bands from south of the Mason-Dixon to celebrate the region's genuine, often inherently bizarre customs and traditions, now endangered by urbanization and the so-called sophistication of the New South. Virtually all drip with moss-covered irony and varying degrees of defiance, pride, or self-parody. Or all three in the case of chief Shaker "Col." J.D. Wilkes, who, armed with a studio arts degree, produces comics strongly influenced by Zap! classics and writes equally cartoonish, fractured Southern gothic fairy tales for his band. Like some Pappy Yocum gone intellectual, Wilkes exults in the absurdity of it all, as he and his fellow Shakers careen through a dicey Dixie maelstrom of raging rockabilly, swamp-gas blues, grizzly gospel, blasphemous bluegrass, felonious folk, and preposterous punk. Wilkes has also ventured into filmmaking—preceding the Shakers' performance will be a showing of his hour-long Seven Signs, a documentary-style attempt, according to his website, "to prove that the older, stranger South still exists in all of its eerie, time-worn, & gothic glory."
Tue., May 20, 7 p.m., 2008