Over the years, the West Columbia/Cayce Chamber’s Rhythm on the River has been a showcase for some of Columbia’s most interesting, yet still crowd-pleasing, local bands.
The Friday edition will continue this tradition with SYR, a folk-inflected rock band that takes its inspiration from everything from Celtic history to heavy metal and even Hobbits.
“We actually started playing death metal, but got tired of that,” says Kyle MacCollum, who, along with his sister Laurel, brothers Jacob and Josh McCleery, Tim Stevenson and Emily Bracey, form the group. “My mom is a Celtic singer, and we’ve always been into that part of our heritage, so it made sense to move our music in that direction,” he said.
And while SYR could have stuck with traditional Irish ditties and ballads, band members expanded their repertoire to include sea shanties, fierce Celtic battle songs, complex compositions featuring Bracey’s lilting fiddle and even drinking songs – which is where the Hobbits come in.
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“There’s this great scene early in the Lord of the Rings movie where the Hobbits are all standing on tables singing and drinking,” said MacCollum. “We decided to write a Celtic drinking song so we could emulate that moment! But we’re pretty diverse. The best way to describe our music is Celtic folk rock, although someone once described our versions of traditional Celtic battle songs “metal acoustic,” if there is such a thing.”
Rhythm on the River runs from 6-9 p.m. at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater, located at the base of the Gervais Street Bridge on the West Columbia side.
For more information, visit rhythmontheriversc.com.
Katie McElveen, Special to The State