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Wednesday September 17th 2014

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Music at the Box

By Jessica Forbes and Sarah McCartan

Although downtown Mobile’s only all original music venue, Alabama Music Box, hosts shows year round, and between karaoke and dance parties, has something going on nearly every night in between, we’ve handpicked a few of the venue’s live music performances taking place in the coming week to help you get your December started off on a good note.

So dust off your AMB membership card (or at least remember to carry a few bucks with you if you’re like us and always end up having to buy a new one), fuel up your gas tank, and consider hitting the road to Mobile to catch one, or all, of these upcoming AMB shows.

The Underhill Family Orchestra CD Release Party

The time has come for Mobile’s own Underhill Family Orchestra to release their second album, a follow up to their 2011 debut release, “This Is…” This much-awaited official release party performance is sure to be quite the bash, boasting ample face paint, and endless energy—between the return of old favorites and fresh tracks to share. The new album promises to carry with it a similar knee-stomping and hand clapping energy to the single that was released earlier this fall, “The Showdown at St. Lawrence.” Be sure to arrive at this show on time—the first 100 friends and fans inside the doors of AMB get to take a complimentary copy of the album home with them.

Supporting acts of the evening include Engine, a group of self-proclaimed space-western storytellers from Northwest Louisiana whose albums each tell a single narrative. While “Lands of Sleep” is their most recent effort, they have an upcoming album in the works. Mississippi Shakedown is also joining the evening’s lineup.

WHAT: Underhill Family Orchestra with Engine and Mississippi Shakedown
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
COST: $10

Alabama Shakes After-Party

Whether you are already planning on attending the sold-out Alabama Shakes show at the Mobile Saenger or didn’t manage to snag one of those coveted tickets, the official after-party at Alabama Music Box promises to be just as much of a good time.

After opening for Alabama Shakes at the Saenger, Clear Plastic Masks will head over to AMB to headline the after show with Birmingham’s Banditos.  With similar rock and soul influences, it’s easy to see why the Shakes invited Clear Plastic Masks to open a run of shows with them. Formed in Brooklyn, CPM is now based in Nashville where they found a sonic home of sorts after previously recording at The Bomb Shelter.

Like Alabama Shakes, Banditos found their way to Nashville from North Alabama, recording at The Bomb Shelter earlier this year. Banditos’ bluesy swing-rock features banjos and the occasional kazoo along with the serious vocal chops of front woman Mary Richardson, who could wow at an upscale jazz joint just as easily as at any hard-nosed blues dive.

And with AMB hinting that Brittany Howard and members of Alabama Shakes may show up and join in, there’s really no reason not to stop by AMB and check out this set of new-school Southern alt rockers.

WHAT: Alabama Shakes Official After-Party with Clear Plastic Masks and Banditos
WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8
COST: $8 General Admission or $3 for Saenger ticket holders

The Soil & The Sun

For starters, this Michigan-made act travels on something of a tiny house on wheels. Yep, a converted bus turned house on the road, complete with a living space and kitchen. Appropriately self-described as part “experiential spiritual orchestra rock” and part “New Mexican space music,” this delightful arrangement that began as an intimate two piece has grown into a seven piece ensemble packed with every instrument under the sun—including oboe, violin, guitars, accordion, percussion, piano, and keys. If you’re a sucker for harmonies that rival Local Natives, or an ambiance that is right up there with Fleet Foxes and Beach House, brace yourself to utter a few “Oooos” and “Ahhhhs” over this bunch. We recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Soil & The Sun’s album “Wake Up, Child” in advance, or at least downloading a track or two, since the band’s crowds have been known to sing along.

WHAT: The Soil & The Sun with The Volks
WHEN: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10
COST: $8

Donate some Dollars

If you can’t make it to one of the aforementioned shows but still want to show the AMB a bit of love and spread some holiday cheer this season, consider donating to their Indiegogo crowdfunding project. Although the venue was originally using the platform to raise funds for sound proofing the building on account of the longstanding lawsuit battle it’s been fighting with its neighbors, it has recently announced the funds will now go toward a springtime move into a new location.

AMB has hosted some of our favorite locals of the last few years, and has even brought national acts to town—Jenny Lewis, Okkervil River, Dr. Dog, Kurt Vile, and GIVERS, just to name a few. AMB continually supports the community, and has even served as a host venue for SouthSounds Music Festival (returning April 2014). AMB has given us nights we will never forget, and nights that were so good the details blur together.

Why not throw a little bone to help AMB keep on keeping on, so we can continue reaping the benefits? And you’ll have the good feeling of knowing that you are giving back to a venue that is constantly opening its doors to worthwhile acts.

If that’s not enough, other incentives for donating include screen-printed T-shirts, koozies and free entrance to shows. To top it off, you will be invited to attend the fundraiser finale event on Dec. 14. Visit indiegogo.com/projects/alabama-music-box to learn more.

Alabama Music Box
455 Dauphin St., Mobile
alabamamusicbox.net or (251) 441-8934