Live Current: Two Shows at Gottrocks

Anyone who has ever seen the movie "Idiocracy" knows one thing for certain — electrolytes are what plants crave.

Upstate singer/songwriter Jef Chandler laughs as he explains the name of his new band. “I have always loved that movie and wanted to work it into a band name somehow,” he says.

After years of playing with an ensemble of friends as the Jef Chandler Band, he felt it was time to make things more official and The Electrolytes were born. The official lineup of Chandler, Mark Dye, Kevin Hoyer and John Atkins kicks off a two-show residency at Gottrocks next Wednesday, with a follow-up performance going down on Dec 7. Guessing that he has played with this group of musicians since “2000 or so,” this is hardly a new band and more of a new look at an established local favorite.

As for the band’s repertoire, Chandler promises good things and a healthy mix of material to look forward to.

“We keep it old school and upbeat,” he says while not committing to all out party music, but rather a fun mix that will surely keep you on your feet. Everything from old Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers covers will intermingle with Chandler and Dye’s own original material for an eclectic set list.

Two nights later, Chandler will return to the Gottrocks stage in an entirely different incarnation that promises an equally appetizing evening of music. One of Chandler’s other projects, The Bad Popes, will split the bill with The Carousers for a raucous evening of entertainment.

Established in the late 2000s, The Bad Popes have stayed busy entertaining Upstate music lovers with three albums and more live shows than one can count. The Carousers just formed in 2014 but have also cemented themselves as a must-see show on the local music scene. Chandler promises that having the two bands on the same bill is going to be a pretty remarkable opportunity.

“They (The Carousers) do old-style swing while we (The Bad Popes) take that Western swing and then rock it up a bit,” he said.

For listeners that want to get up and dance their evening away, both bands guarantee an evening perfectly suited for just that. For his part, Chandler speaks of the show as much as a music fan as one of the evening’s contributors. He gushingly calls The Carousers style “such a unique thing to be doing in Greenville,” as if his own role in two Upstate bands is not every bit as inventive and creative.

This passion for their art is what makes Jef Chandler, both his bands, and his friends and fellow musicians such valuable parts of the Upstate music scene. See for yourself when The Electrolytes take the Gottrocks stage next Wednesday and then The Bad Popes and Carousers follow up Nov. 11.

Brett Barest