Picture a ramshackle one-room church by a gravel road in the swampy South. You take a seat in the front pew and the preacher strolls up to the pulpit, his demon-haunted face showing that he knows from firsthand experience that you cannot experience redemption without first experiencing sin. A lot of it.
And just as you think the sermon is about to start, the preacher pulls out a harmonica and coaxes trailing hellhound sounds from it, twitching and gyrating like Iggy Pop’s Vegas tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis, and that’s when you notice the choir is a guitar/doghouse bass/drum set-up, providing a sonic gumbo that veers madly from Country/Punk to caffeinated Gypsy Jazz to rafter rattling Garage Rock to twisted Delta Blues to shivering Rockabilly, all of it suggestive of Tony Joe White, the Cramps, Southern Culture on the Skids, Junior Brown, Tom Waits and Oingo Boingo getting blind drunk on radiator distilled homebrew.
Welcome to the non-denominational worship space of Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers.
On their latest traveling tent revival, the Shack*Shakers will likely be singing from the upcoming chapter in their snake-handling hymnal, the fall-scheduled AgriDustrial. Col. J.D. Wilkes remains the hypnotically frenetic presence behind the microphone and harmonica, and stand-up bassist Mark Robertson still thumps out the Shack*Shakers’ pulse. But if you haven’t prayed at the band’s live altar in the past few years, this may be your first taste of former Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison and drummer Brett Whitacre.
Get on your go-to-meetin’ duds and find out why News of the World called Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers the Rockabilly Sex Pistols. Snakes are optional.
(Buy tickets to the Southgate House's Independence Day Throwdown, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)