What: The Black Cadillacs with Sidecar Special
When: 9:30 p.m. today, Jan. 31
Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
Venue website: www.rhythm-brews.com
Artist website: www.black-cadillacs.com
Talking to The Black Cadillacs' John Phillips, it's easy to get a sense of the band's blue-collar work ethic.
The Knoxville-based indie blues rockers aren't asking anybody for handouts or easy shows. Give them a show with 15 people in a cramped club in Charlottesville, Va., where the stage is really just the floor? They'll take it. Give them a packed-out theater in their hometown? Yeah, that's fine, too.
All they want to do, the rhythm guitarist said, is play music, and that isn't a right but something they have to earn.
"We want to make people care," he said. "I know we traveled a long way or whatever [for the show], but that doesn't matter to them. They had a hard day at work, too."
With six people onstage at once, at least volume isn't an issue. The band's mix of smoky juke-joint blues, the dense, grandiosity of psychedelia and a blistering, electric rock howl helps fill a venue just fine.
In fact, Phillips said, when the Cadillacs played a show recently at Knoxville's 700-seat Bijou Theater, the audience might as well have been standing next to them.
"I don't know how you fill that theater without doing it with the six of us," he said. "The theater doesn't feel that big when we play because it brings the guys on the balcony over to us."
Tonight, The Black Cadillacs will try their luck at closing the distance at Rhythm & Brews, where they'll headline a two-act bill alongside local guitar/drum duo Sidecar Special.
Even with just a handful of years between them and their formation as students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the band already has developed a touring circuit up the East Coast and has put out a pair of albums. With the release of sophomore album "Run" last May, The Cadillacs are looking forward to expanding their touring circuit even further in 2013.
And as always, Phillips said, they won't take any new fans for granted; each and every one will be hard-won.
"It's about making the best of it and playing the music as best we can and as enthusiastically as we can," he said. "If they're there spending money on a cover to see us, then we'll give them a show."
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...