Night Sounds

Hardsoul Poets reunite to celebrate 25 years

Hardsoul Poets 25th anniversary celebration is Saturday at The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte.
Hardsoul Poets 25th anniversary celebration is Saturday at The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte. HARDSOUL POETS

Reunions are running rampant including a round-up of renowned Charlotte area band The Hardsoul Poets for a 25th anniversary celebration Saturday at The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte.

It was a different time in late 80s, when original music came from every direction in the metro area, including Wingate College where a band of buddies called The Beatnics originated then changed their name live on stage and launch a new persona to go with it.

That new name – The Hardsoul Poets says it all about their intent – combines rootsy heavy-ish rock with a moody psyche waxing sincere to deliver artsy catchy tunes.

Along the way several lineups emerged but the reunion focuses particularly on the original as well as early 90s phase that features John Crooke, Brannon Helms, Reid Mansell, Chris Michael, Mike Mitschele and Mike Kenerley. This lineup would also eventually factor in the new band Jolene.

Jolene would then volley all their groundswell buzz to grab national label attention and a much larger national and international fan base, as well as add another aspect by pioneering the genre of alt-country.

Their fans – dubbed ‘Hardheads’ by some – are dedicated and faithful. Regardless of nit-picking the categories and genres, The Hardsoul Poets do have a sound much like that of R.E.M.

It’s only natural – both have Southern heritage – one from Athens, Ga. college scene, while the other from Charlotte area college/club scene. But, the Poets were different, especially where their lead singer John Crooke was concerned. His style, stance and voice were vital components. Likewise, The Poets were career-oriented, achieving various levels of success cleverly capitalizing on the basic formula of guitar, bass, drums, a singer, and so much more.

An “alterna-dazzle” parade of shared experiences, fun and fantastic music comes together for The Hardsoul Poets 25th Anniversary Celebration Saturday at The Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. in Charlotte. The band Maddog will be the evening’s opening guest. Get show details by calling 704-358-9200 and at For more on the music find The Hardsoul Poets on Facebook.


Friday: Weekends at Empire II-Newport, Rock Hill; SuttleBand for Food Truck Friday at Fountain Park-Downtown, Rock Hill; Well Known Strangers at the Handle Bar & Grill, Catawba; Songwriters’ Showcase with Christina Raine, Mark Wertz, David Griffin at Sylvia Theater, York; Chubby Knuckles at T-Bones on the Lake, Lake Wylie; Spiral Eyes at Eaglespeak Coffee House, Charlotte; Wink Keziah at McKoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon, Charlotte; Scythia, Avalon Steel, Teratorn, Dogbane at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Hair Nation-Hair Metal; Dr. Feelgood-Motley Crue Tribute; Sound of Madness-Shinedown Tribute at Amos' Southend, Charlotte; The Apache Relay, Maradeen at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Greg Humphreys Trio, Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; The Seduction, Unfortunate Gentlemen, Greevace at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Marta Christmas & Scaldcat at Petra’s Piano Bar, Charlotte; C2 & The Brothers Reed CD Release w-Harmonic Blue at The Rabbit Hole, Charlotte; Heroes at Last at RiRa, Charlotte; Seether, 10 Years at The Fillmore, Charlotte; Order of Leviathan, Heron at Milestone, Charlotte; Cody Jenks, The Piedmont Boys, Eric Strickland & The B Sides at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; Gene Gene & The Blues Machine at Bar Louie, Charlotte; Miss Tess & The Talkbacks; The Well Reds, Sacramento; at Evening Muse, Charlotte; Bankertown Brawl 5 with Vulture, Bask, Votnut, Base of Bass, Funeral Chic at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte.

Saturday: Danielle Dease, Anna LaPrad, Crashbox at Come See Me Tailgate-Winthrop Lake, Rock Hill; Whiskey All-Star Grass at Original Empire Pizza, Rock Hill; Well Known Strangers at The SandBar Grill, Rock Hill; Hoodwinked at Empire Pizza II-Newport, Rock Hill; Leslie & Rico Duo at Mickey Shag Shack, Fort Mill; Jody Edwards & Co. Acoustic at D’Vine Wine-Ballantyne, Charlotte; Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Remy Banks at Amos' Southend, Charlotte; Carolina Gator Gumbo at Comet Grill, Charlotte; Samantha Fish at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Aggrocragg, The Business People, Del Rio, Banda Suki at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Perfect Strangers at Stooges Pub & Grub, Charlotte; The Broadcast, Travers Brothership at The Rabbit Hole, Charlotte; Brinley Addington at Tin Roof, Charlotte; Who Rescued Who at RiRa, Charlotte; The Diplomats, Jueiz Santana, Jim Jones, more at The Fillmore, Charlotte; Tim Barry, Sam Russo, 25 Minutes to Go at Milestone, Charlotte; 12th Annual Cash Bash 2 with Tommy Ray & The Ray Gunz, Jem Crossland and The Hypertonics, more at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; Brandy Clark, Sam Lewis at Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte; Frank Fairfield, Runner of the Woods at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Sunday: Saints & Sinners Vaudeville-Style Variety Show at Amos' Southend, Charlotte; Project Halo Benefit with The Lenny Federal Band, Toleman Randall, Mike Strauss Band, Leadville Social Club, Dead Cat, more at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Lost Dog Street Band at Tommy’s Pub, Charlotte; Hudson Branch at Tin Roof, Charlotte; Vampirates, The Sticky Bandits, more at Milestone, Charlotte.

Monday: 36 Crazy Fists, The Feral, Auxilia, more at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Open Mic with 3 Piece Buckets at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; Knocturnal at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Open Mic with Dawn Drapes at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Tuesday: Megan, Jean & the KFB at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Korpiklaani, Trollfest at Chop Shop, Charlotte; Harps, Haley Dreis at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Wednesday: Kid Ink, Luke Christopher, more at Amos' Southend, Charlotte; Seryn, Songs of Water, Corey James Bost at Visulite Theatre, Charlotte; Andy the Doorbum and Justin Aswell, Robert Childers, more at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Tyler the Creator, Taco at The Fillmore, Charlotte; Mo Lowda and the Humble, Kenny George Band at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Thursday: Zach Deputy at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Shiprocked at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Jazz Room Special Edition with Delfeayo Marsalis at McGlohon Theater-Spirit Square, Charlotte; Jon Caneda at Village Tavern, Charlotte.

“And that was all she wrote.”

Send bio, press kits, photos, music links to or mail to Debby Jet Jennings, PO Box 13, Catawba, SC 29704. More info on Facebook &